Tuesday, March 12, 2013

It's Come to This

A seven year old Maryland boy was recently punished by school administrators for the crime of having sculpted a pop tart into the form of a gun. The horrified authorities sprang into action and quickly taught the young terrorist a lesson he'd never forget. They suspended his miserable little redneck self from school.

Now a Maryland lawmaker, incredulous that the stupidity of these administrators makes such measures necessary, has introduced a bill that would prevent schools from suspending students for making a gun with their fingers, and, presumably, out of the fearsome pop tart as well.
Zero tolerance for zero tolerance. That’s how one lawmaker feels about young children being suspended from school for forming their finger or food in the shape of a gun. As [reporter] Gigi Barnett explains, he has a bill designed to keep students in class if they’re caught.

State Senator J.B. Jennings says he does not intend for this bill to be a part of the growing gun debate in Maryland, but he does say he wants it to bring some common sense discipline to state schools.

Anne Arundel County school leaders suspended 7-year-old Joshua Welch last week for eating a pastry in the shape of a gun.

“When you compare the caliber of the offense to the caliber of the punishment, they don’t match up,” the boy’s father said.
Uh, oh. I hope the school principals didn't read this. It'd afford them the perfect explanation for why the little miscreant is obsessed with guns. "The apple falls nigh to the tree," we can hear them say. "His father thinks in terms of calibers. Get it? Calibers? Ammo? Guns?" Doubtless the school authorities believe the father should also be penalized for setting such a loathesome example for his son.
Back in January, 6-year-old Rodney Lynch received the same punishment for forming his fingers in the shape of a gun. Montgomery County school leaders sent Lynch home for two days.

“These kids are 6 or 7 years old. They don’t understand what they’re doing,” said Sen. Jennings.
"Well," our Solomonic administrators are probably objecting, "what does that matter? Who says the urchins have to understand what they're doing?" When you're on a mission to eliminate gun violence, as these zealous educators are, you have to assume that anything that remotely resembles a gun strikes terror into the hearts of students and teachers, and anyone who simulates use of a deadly weapon must be punished.
Jennings says zero tolerance rules on school campuses are going too far, so he wrote a bill. It bans school leaders from suspending students who make the shape of a gun with their fingers or food, or students who draw a gun on a piece of paper.

“If it’s done in a violent manner, then yes, we can take it to the next level. We can look at suspension,” said Jennings.
By all means, any use of a pop tart suggestive of violence should be taken to the "next level." So, too, should suggestive displays of donuts, which, when pointed at someone can vaguely resemble the muzzle of a gun. Any child who points a donut at someone, assuming those agglomerations of fat and sugar are even allowed on school campuses in politically correct Maryland, should be summarily suspended for perpetrating an act of violence.
Jennings says his office has received several calls from parents who fear that a suspension in elementary school will mar their children’s academic career.

“So the parents are the one’s who’ve had concerns saying ‘OK, now my kid has to carry this.’ So when they get into middle school and they start placing them in classes, they’re going to look and say ‘Well wait a minute, this kid has been suspended when he was in second grade.’ And he’s always going to be looked at as ‘what did he do?’” Jennings said.
Indeed, why not brand a scarlet G for "gun" into his forehead so everyone knows that when this psychopath was in second grade he actually - with malice aforethought and without remorse - shaped a pop tart to look like a firearm, and if he ever points an index finger at someone - whether the thumb be raised or not - perhaps he should have the offending digit cut off.
If the bill passes and a student is caught forming their food or fingers in the shape of a gun, they would be sent to a counselor’s office first–not suspension.
By all means, get the child counseling. Who knows what terrible crimes a young boy who draws pictures of guns is capable of? If he's not shown the wickedness of his ways the next thing you know he'll be pointing bananas and pickles at people and saying "bang." Then what does an administrator with an advanced college degree that presumably implies an IQ somewhere above the freezing point of water do?

I wonder en passant if counseling is required for young boys who, as boys are wont to do, fashion their food into the simulacrum of genitalia and festoon their notebooks with sketches of marijuana leaves and depictions of various pornographic fantasies. Probably not. Those creations are no doubt deemed by the liberal sachems to be imaginative, if inchoate, artistic expressions and are only offensive to prudish conservatives. The real problem are the children who make guns out of pop tarts.

Alas, there seems to be no end to this lunacy.

Absence Featured in Sunday Paper

Sarah Chain does a column on books for the local paper, and she did a piece for last Sunday's edition on my novel In the Absence of God (Follow the link at the top right of this page for more info on the book).

Sarah's article was marred only by the fact that it included a picture of me, but other than that it was a fine summary of the book. Check it out at the link, and if you haven't read Absence yet it's available at Amazon and at Hearts and Minds bookstore. It'll soon be available in other bookstores as well. It'd make a fine gift, I say humbly, for someone of a philosophical frame of mind interested in questions surrounding the existence or non-existence of God.