I cannot resist posting this right after the previous post.
The last time Ethics Alarms discussed punishing children for making finger guns was in 2013. A six-year-old boy in Maryland’s ultra-progressive Montgomery County was suspended from school for making a finger and thumb gun gesture.
This came at the height of post-Sandy Hook anti-gun hysteria, though that was no excuse. I concluded the post,
This is, in order of importance,
- Child abuse. This young boy is being treated like a wrongdoer because the adults around him are acting like babies. Will they suspend him for making really scary faces next? Biting his pizza slice into threatening shapes?
- Proof of incompetence on the part of the school administrators. Why incompetence? They are stupid, that’s why. Only certifiably stupid people would think it is fair, sensible or reasonable to punish a first-grader for making a gesture kids have been making on playgrounds for hundreds of years, without a single casualty.
- Why many people lose respect for anti-gun zealots early in life. They forfeit all respect by acting like ninnies.
The dismaying aspect of this is ridiculous episode is that it has happened before in other schools, and clearly the message wasn’t sent clearly enough to the previous offenders–that is, the fools who victimized innocent children for miming, drawing or otherwise suggesting guns—that this kind of conduct is a career-ender. It should be; it has to be. Such irrational fearfulness, bad judgment, panic, disregard for the sensibilities of the young, lack of proportion and brain dysfunction forfeits all right to trust, and such fools must not be allowed to have power over young bodies and minds.
Nevertheless, it has happened again.
The Kansas City Star reports that a 12-year-old girl formed a gun with her fingers, pointed at four of her Westridge Middle School classmates, and then turned the weapon on herself. The police were called, and she was taken out of out of school in handcuffs, then charged with the felonyof “unlawfully and feloniously communicating a threat to commit violence, with the intent to place another in fear, or with the intent to cause the evacuation, lock down or disruption in regular, ongoing activities…”
A source told The Star that the bloody finger-gun massacre occurred after the girl was asked by another student , during a class discussion, who she would target if she could kill five members of the class. In response, the girl allegedly used her finger gun to answer the question, aiming at five kids in sequence. The teacher, if she wasn’t completely incompetent, would have shut that discussion down before the student answered the question.
Everything I wrote in 2013 applies, but conservative wag Jim Treacher did have some quotable quips about the Kansas City shooter:
- “The first rule of gun safety is to treat every gun like it’s loaded, even the one that’s literally just your thumb and forefinger.”
- “Are we going to force kids to wear mittens year-round so they don’t accidentally shoot somebody?”
- And, of course, the obligatory, “If finger guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have finger guns.”