Social & Political

Telling our kids they are the problem: Cops in the schools

<![CDATA[Cops’ new beat might be city schools | | Tacoma, WA:

At first glance, Pierce County Sheriff’s Deputy Ken Board strikes an imposing figure at Bethel High School, with his deep-navy police uniform, a Taser strapped to his left thigh, and a .40-caliber Glock riding his right hip.

I’ll pull my kids out of a school that cannot prevent troublemakers from using the campus as a hangout and headquarters for their criminal activities, choosing to put police in the halls rather than removing troublemakers to a setting where they cannot do harm to other students. Our kids don’t need to be shown they are to be docile by the presence of deadly force.
This all came from the recent school shooting in Tacoma, which the Superintendent of Schools called “our 9/11,” the most irresponsible use of that analogy I’ve heard in a long while. How about spending some money on creating alternative schools where people prone to pulling a gun can be given the treatment they need rather than treat all students as potential killers?
We are losing our minds with fear.

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Social & Political

A war of anatomies

<![CDATA[Bush and Cheney Rebuff Critics of Iraq Troop Increase – New York Times:

But while the president was taking a partially conciliatory stance, Mr. Cheney’s comments on “Fox News Sunday” were muscular and unyielding and appeared to signal an end to any notion that a new bipartisanship on Iraq, as urged by both sides after the November elections, could long survive.

Indeed, the vice president suggested that if the White House followed Democrats’ advice and American . troops began to leave Iraq too quickly, then “we’d simply go back and revalidate the strategy that Osama bin Laden has been following from Day 1 that if you kill enough Americans, you can force them to quit; they don’t have the stomach to fight.”

Clearly, we’re headed toward questions of which party has the right anatomy to solve America’s vast foreign policy problems. The Vice President is setting the stage for a challenge to the Democratic leaderships’ female character. Soon, he’ll be on the Senate floor saying “You don’t have the balls for this,” just as he once said “fuck you” to a male Democratic Senator.
Problem is, the anatomical issue is the American blood being spilled for no sound reason.
The Bush team is pursuing its usual divide-the-messaging-to-conquer approach, which makes it impossible to argue reasonably about the real issue. The war was misconceived to begin with, has no rational purpose for American foreign policy (because it has been justified with to many lies, even if we did break Iraq and now have to pay for it), and is not about the American stomach for battle.
The Bush Administration’s utter failure to lead and bring all Americans into the conflict by repealing tax breaks and fully funding care of military families and the casualties of this war is far more relevant than the anatomical qualifications of leaders. The Bush Administration may think it is the most manly bunch on Earth, but it is plainly a bunch without any brains whatsoever.

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Pictures & Comics

Bush's surge strategy based on less preparation

<![CDATA[Strykers will go to Iraq without usual training | | Tacoma, WA:

A Fort Lewis Stryker brigade will leave for Iraq in April instead of May as part of the “surge” of U.S. forces aimed at reversing sectarian and insurgent violence in Baghdad.

The 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division will skip a previously scheduled trip to the National Training Center in Southern California and instead conduct its last pre-deployment rehearsals at Fort Lewis, a brigade official told reporters Thursday.

The unit of some 4,000 soldiers will be the fifth Stryker brigade to go to Iraq, and the first without the benefit of a test run “in the box” at either Fort Irwin in the Mojave Desert or the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, La.

President Bush should be ashamed to allow the rushing of troops through to deployment to Iraq without the training they need. DIsgraceful.

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Media Comment & Crimes

Tacoma, again….

<![CDATA[My community had a school shooting yesterday.
Impact on Tacoma’s reputation uncertain | | Tacoma, WA:

Tacoma’s name has re-entered the true-crime lexicon, as it did when it had a hometown serial killer, a local rifle used in a series of East Coast shootings, and a police chief who killed himself and his wife.

We all—humans, that is—are sick fucks on the inside (ask any Colorado Springs Baptist), but here in Tacoma it has a nasty way of oozing out all around the gilt edges, no matter how hard the city works at improving its reality and its image. I’ve gotten used to it, so yesterday’s shooting at Foss High School, while tragic, doesn’t make me think all my neighbors are crazed killers or that kids these days are insane or, even, that the school system is shot to hell so much that the kids shoot one another. It’s just that Tacoma lies at the psychic heart of the great middle ground that is American culture.
Tacoma has a lot to be proud about, if only we wouldn’t worry that it will reflect on everyone here when:

  • some dimwit from Tacoma has sex with the family dog (and the wife shoots some footage on her cell phone for the cops);
  • goes to the mall with a gun;
  • gets a job as police chief and then shoots his wife (Police Chief David Brame;
  • your kid’s school crossing guard gets nailed on gun and explosives charges;
  • or shoots people in Washington DC (John Muhammed, the DC Sniper);
  • or kills dozens of women (Ted Bundy, fellow alum of WIlson High School here in Tacoma).

Each time the act is that of one sick jerk, yet Tacoma takes their crime and wraps it around itself like a homeless person does a cardboard box against the cold. Our city mothers and fathers think the stories in the news will change our reality and still crave more stories about Tacoma in the news—if only those were positive stories, they lament—so they end up beggared by a history of accidental history of their most bizarre neighbors. They want media coverage, which invites attention to the bad as well as the good.
Really, it’s just coincidence made worse by articles in our newspaper every time another bizarre event takes place. There’s nothing in the water or our genes that make all of us a certain kind of psycho peculiar, so relax Tacomans. Be less concerned about branding.
Imagine how the people of Waco feel after the Branch Dividians thing—you can’t get away from that kind of sticky weirdness, but they don’t publish stories in their papers about how bad being from Waco is portrayed in the press.
That dog guy wasn’t even from around here. I think he was from somewhere in the South.

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Media Comment & Crimes

Butchering the first draft of history

<![CDATA[Opinion/Editorial: The Low Profile: CNN and the New York Times Execute a Denial of History:

An existential question: If journalism is the first draft of history, then what is journalism that denies history? Is it still journalism?

The question came to mind Friday night as CNN’s Anderson Cooper led Americans through the initial moments following the execution of Saddam Hussein.

ElectronicIraq noticed the same thing I did about the bizarre irreality of CNN’s Saddam execution coverage, but goes into greater depth about the details of U.S. support over the years.

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