Go Lean Commentary
Which is worse: the Frying Pan or the Fire?
This is the decision-making that Caribbean people seem to be doing. Which residential option is worse for them: remain in the Failing–States of their Caribbean homeland or emigrate to the United States of America where societal defects like mass shootings / school shootings persist?
The optics are that bad!
The American gun culture cannot be excused, rationalized or minimized. As of January 23rd, there were already 11 school shootings in the country.
Just think how our Caribbean people have fled their homelands – “Frying Pan” – to seek refuge in this society – “the Fire”.
See how the actuality of this American “fire” is conveyed in this New York Times news story here:
Title – School Shooting in Kentucky Was Nation’s 11th of Year. It Was Jan. 23
By: Alan Blinder and Daniel Victor
ATLANTA — On Tuesday, it was a high school in small-town Kentucky. On Monday, a school cafeteria outside Dallas and a charter school parking lot in New Orleans. And before that, a school bus in Iowa, a college campus in Southern California, a high school in Seattle.
Gunfire ringing out in American schools used to be rare, and shocking. Now it seems to happen all the time.
The scene in Benton, Ky., on Tuesday was the worst so far in 2018: Two 15-year-old students were killed and 18 more people were injured. But it was one of at least 11 shootings on school property recorded since Jan. 1, and roughly the 50th of the academic year.
Researchers and gun control advocates say that since 2013, they have logged school shootings at a rate of about one a week.
“We have absolutely become numb to these kinds of shootings, and I think that will continue,” said Katherine W. Schweit, a former senior F.B.I. official and the co-author of a study of 160 active shooting incidents in the United States.
Some of the shootings at schools this year were suicides that injured no one else; some did not result in any injuries at all. But in the years since the massacres at Columbine High School in Colorado, Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., gun safety advocates say, all school shootings seem to have lost some of their capacity to shock.
Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action, a gun safety group, said that’s because in 2012 in Newtown, “20 first graders and six educators were slaughtered in an elementary school.”
“The news cycles are so short right now in America, and there’s a lot going on,” she said. “But you would think that shootings in American schools would be able to clear away some of that clutter.”
Gov. Matt Bevin of Kentucky said the gunman who opened fire Tuesday morning at Marshall County High School in Benton, near the western tip of the state was a 15-year-old student. The authorities said the student entered the school just before 8 a.m., fired shots that struck 14 people, and set off a panicked flight in which five more were hurt.
One girl who was shot, Bailey Nicole Holt, died at the scene; a boy, Preston Ryan Cope, died of his injuries at a hospital.
Bryson Conkwright, a junior at the school, said he was talking with a friend on Tuesday morning when he spotted the gunman walking up near him. “It took me a second to process it,” Mr. Conkwright, 17, said in an interview. “One of my best friends got shot in the face, and then another one of my best friends was shot in the shoulder.”
He said he was part of a group of students who fled, kicked down a door to get outside and ran.
The suspect, who was not immediately identified, was taken into custody in “a nonviolent apprehension,” Mr. Bevin said, and officials said he would be charged with two counts of murder and several counts of attempted murder. But the authorities had not yet decided whether to charge the suspect, who was armed with a pistol, as a juvenile or as an adult.
Of the 18 people injured, five remained in critical condition, law enforcement officials said on Tuesday night.
“This is something that has struck in the heart of Kentucky,” Lt. Michael B. Webb of Kentucky State Police said at a news conference. “It’s not far away, it’s here.”
Not for the first time. The region was scarred about two decades ago by a deadly school shooting in West Paducah, about a 40-minute drive away. Three people were killed when a student opened fire into a prayer circle, and five more were injured.
Benton is a small town about 200 miles southwest of Louisville, and its high school serves students from all over Marshall County, which has a population of about 31,000.
John Parks, who owns the Fisherman’s Headquarters store about a mile from the school, described the area as a “very close-knit community” where just about everyone would have known a student at the school. “It’s personal when it’s a small town like this,” he said.
About a mile from the high school, a large American flag flew at half-staff over a Ponderosa Steakhouse on Tuesday night. Taylor McCuiston, 21, a manager at the restaurant who graduated from Marshall County High School two years ago, was working when the shooting occurred down the road.
“It was very scary because, like, 90 percent of the staff that works here goes to that school,” she said. “So for the first hour we were just scrambling trying to make sure they were all O.K. and accounted for.”
The town of Italy, Tex., is not any bigger than Benton. On Monday, a 15-year-old girl there was hospitalized after she was shot by a 16-year-old classmate, according to local news reports. That suspect, a boy, was taken into custody by the Ellis County Sheriff’s Department. The authorities said on Tuesday that the victim was recovering.
The F.B.I. study that Ms. Schweit helped write examined active shooter episodes in the United States between 2000 and 2013. It found that nearly one-quarter of them occurred in educational environments, and they were on the rise.
In the first half of the study period, federal officials counted 16 active shooter incidents in educational settings, meaning instances of a person “actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area.” In the second half, the number rose to 23. (Many, but not all, of the school shootings tallied by advocates so far this year meet that definition.)
“Any time there’s a school shooting, it’s more gut-wrenching, and I think we have a tendency to react in a more visceral way,” Ms. Schweit said in an interview on Tuesday. “But I really don’t think as a whole, in society, we’re taking shootings more seriously than we were before — and that’s wrong.”
Even so, jarred and fearful school administrators across the country have been placing greater emphasis on preparing for the possibility of an active shooter. According to a report issued by the Government Accountability Office in March 2016, 19 states were requiring individual schools to have plans for how to deal with an active shooter. Only 12 states required schools to conduct drills, but two-thirds of school districts reported that they had staged active shooter exercises.
School safety experts say steps like the drills are crucial, if imperfect, safeguards.
“I think we’ve become somewhat desensitized to the fact that these things happened, and it takes a thing like Sandy Hook to bring us back to our senses,” said William Modzeleski, a consultant who formerly led the Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools.
“My fear is that if you don’t hear about a school shooting for a while, educators move on to other things,” he said. “Principals are busy. Teachers are busy. Superintendents are busy.”
In Kentucky, lawmakers have grappled with how to address the risk of school shootings. Last year, state legislators considered, but did not pass, a bill that would have allowed people with concealed-carry permits to bring weapons on to public school campuses, where proponents argue they could be used to respond to active shooters. A similar bill, limited to college campuses and certain other government buildings, has been introduced this year. It was not immediately clear how the shooting in Benton might affect the debate in Frankfort, the Kentucky capital.
But in Benton, “this is a wound that is going to take a long time to heal,” said Mr. Bevin, the governor, “ and for some in this community, will never fully heal.”
Alan Blinder reported from Atlanta and Daniel Victor from New York. Steven Hale contributed reporting from Benton, Ky., and Timothy Williams and Matthew Haag from New York.
Source: New York Times – posted January 23, 2017; retrieved January 30, 2017: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/23/us/kentucky-school-shooting.html
Life in American schools is risky. Life in the US in general, may experience a shorter mortality due to the risky gun culture.
This is not an unfamiliar theme for this movement behind the book Go Lean…Caribbean; on October 11, 2017 a blog-commentary entitled: “Pulled” – Despite American Guns was published. That entry lamented how the US continues to draw the human capital out of the Caribbean, despite the unconscionable gun-death rate in the country. That commentary related:
… the US has far more gun deaths than most other advanced economy countries.
Reference: Visualizing gun deaths: Comparing the U.S. to rest of the world
Whenever a mass shooting occurs, a debate about gun violence ensues. An often-cited counter to the point about the United States’ high rates of gun homicides is that people in other countries kill one another at the same rate using different types of weapons. It’s not true.
Compared to other countries with similar levels of development or socioeconomic status, the United States has exceptional homicide rates, and it’s driven by gun violence.
Life in the US may be more prosperous, but it is “fast & furious” compared to the Caribbean homeland. If only, we can assuage our societal defects – Frying Pan – and foster more economic opportunities, then our people will be able to prosper where planted in the Caribbean homeland. They would not have to “jump into the Fire” as they do now – one report estimates 70 percent of the professional classes have fled to foreign destinations like the United States. To be clear, there are two reasons why are they leaving:
- “Push” refers to people who feel compelled to leave, to seek refuge in a foreign land. “Refuge” is an appropriate word; because of societal defects, many from the Caribbean must leave as refugees – think LGBT, Disability, Domestic-abuse, Medically-challenged– for their life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.
- “Pull”, on the other hand refers to the lure of a more prosperous life abroad; many times our people are emigrating for economics solely.
It is the quest of this Go Lean movement that we reform and transform our societal engines so as to lower the “Push” factors. As for the “Pull” factors, this is all about messaging, knowledge-sharing and declaring the truth. Take a moment and acknowledge this truth:
Before this article, did you really know that there were 11 school-shootings in the US between January 1st and 23rd, 2018?
For most, that answer is no!
This is the truism that we must contend with in our region: The “grass is not necessarily greener” on the American side.
The Go Lean book serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU) to elevate the societal engines – economics, homeland security and governance – for all 30 Caribbean member-states in the region. In fact, the prime directives of the roadmap includes the following 3 statements:
- Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
- Establishment of a security apparatus to ensure public safety and protect the resultant economic engines with proactive and reactive measures.
- Improvement of Caribbean governance to support these engines, including a separation-of-powers between the member-states and CU federal agencies.
The Go Lean quest is to minimize any paradox of future-planning/decision-making for Caribbean citizens. We want to make the Caribbean region better places to live, work and play; this way our citizens would not have to “jump in to the Fire” by relocating to American shores.
How would you live with yourself if your children or grandchildren die in a school shooting in some US location?!
This is not to say that there will never be any violence in the Caribbean. No, the Go Lean book contends that bad actors will always emerge just as a result of economic successes in society. Once the prospects of guns are factored it, the inevitable “bad guy with a gun” can do more damage than ordinary. The Way Forward from the book is real remediation and mitigation for minimizing incidents of gun violence.
Many times in the US, the post mass-shooting platitudes from Pro-Gun Advocacy groups – i.e. the NRA – is that the best way to stop a “bad guy with a gun” is with a “good guy with a gun”.
Platitudes – flat, dull, or trite remark – indeed …
Remember the April 1999 Columbine High massacre – school shooting – in Colorado – Greater Denver Metropolitan area:
In addition to the shootings, the complex and highly planned attack involved a fire bomb to divert firefighters, propane tanks converted to bombs placed in the cafeteria, 99 explosive devices, and car bombs. The perpetrators, senior students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, murdered 12 students and one teacher. They injured 21 additional people, and three more were injured while attempting to escape the school. After exchanging fire with responding police officers, the pair subsequently committed suicide. – Wikipedia
See this dramatic portrayal for the documentary-movie Bowling for Columbine here with this Trailer and critical review:
VIDEO – Bowling for Columbine – Official Trailer – Michael Moore Movie (2002) – https://youtu.be/hH0mSAjp_Jw
Movieclips Trailer Vault
Published on Nov 15, 2011 – Bowling for Columbine Trailer – Michael Moore (Michael Moore) takes an inside-look at America’s fascination with firearms. MGM – 2002
- Category: Film & Animation
- License: Standard YouTube License
Movie Review: Bowling for Columbine
By: Roger Eber
Michael Moore’s “Bowling for Columbine,” a documentary that is both hilarious and sorrowful, is like a two-hour version of that anecdote. We live in a nation of millions of handguns, but that isn’t really what bothers Moore. What bothers him is that we so frequently shoot them at one another. Canada has a similar ratio of guns to citizens, but a 10th of the shooting deaths. What makes us kill so many times more fellow citizens than is the case in other developed nations? Moore, the jolly populist rabble-rouser, explains that he’s a former sharpshooting instructor and a lifelong member of the National Rifle Association. No doubt this is true, but Moore has moved on from his early fondness for guns. In “Bowling for Columbine,” however, he is not so sure of the answers …
Moore’s thoughtfulness doesn’t inhibit the sensational set-pieces he devises to illustrate his concern. He returns several times to Columbine High School, at one point showing horrifying security-camera footage of the massacre. And Columbine inspires one of the great confrontations in a career devoted to radical grandstanding. Moore introduces us to two of the students wounded at Columbine, both still with bullets in their bodies. He explains that all of the Columbine bullets were freely sold to the teenage killers by Kmart, at 17 cents apiece. And then he takes the two victims to Kmart headquarters to return the bullets for a refund.
This is brilliant theater and would seem to be unanswerable for the hapless Kmart public relations spokespeople, who fidget and evade in front of Moore’s merciless camera. But then, on Moore’s third visit to headquarters, he is told that Kmart will agree to completely phase out the sale of ammunition. “We’ve won,” says Moore, not believing it. “This has never happened before.” For once, he’s at a loss for words.
The movie is a mosaic of Moore confrontations and supplementary footage. One moment that cuts to the core is from a standup routine by Chris Rock, who suggests that our problem could be solved by simply increasing the price of bullets–taxing them like cigarettes. Instead of 17 cents apiece, why not $5,000? “At that price,” he speculates, “you’d have a lot fewer innocent bystanders being shot.”
Source: RogerEbert.com E-Zine/Website – Posted October 18, 2002; retrieved January 30, 2018 from: https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/bowling-for-columbine-2002
We can do better in the Caribbean!
We do not have the same gun culture, nor legal entanglements. The 2nd Amendment – gun rights guaranteed by the US Constitution – does not apply for most of the Caribbean and can even be curtailed more in the US Territories (Puerto Rico & US Virgin Islands) as opposed to the US mainland.
Doing better and being better than the US – a protégé , not a parasite – is a need pronounced early in the Go Lean book with the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Pages 12 – 13) that claims:
x. Whereas we are surrounded and allied to nations of larger proportions in land mass, populations, and treasuries, elements in their societies may have ill-intent in their pursuits, at the expense of the safety and security of our citizens. We must therefore appoint “new guards” to ensure our public safety and threats against our society, both domestic and foreign. The Federation must employ the latest advances and best practices … to assuage continuous threats against public safety.
xi. Whereas all men are entitled to the benefits of good governance in a free society, “new guards” must be enacted to dissuade the emergence of incompetence, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the peril of the people’s best interest. The Federation must guarantee the executions of a social contract between government and the governed.
xvi. Whereas security of our homeland is inextricably linked to prosperity of the homeland, the economic and security interest of the region needs to be aligned under the same governance. Since economic crimes, including piracy and other forms of terrorism, can imperil the functioning of the wheels of commerce for all the citizenry, the accedence of this Federation must equip the security apparatus with the tools and techniques for predictive and proactive interdictions.
The Go Lean book provides 370 pages of turn-by-turn directions on how to adopt a more productive Public Safety ethos, plus the executions of strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to better secure the Caribbean homeland, school campus protections and gun control. The book details (Page 181) this sample mitigation for school bullying:
Consider Bullying as Junior Terrorism
The CU wants to “leave no child behind”. So bullying will be managed under a domestic terrorism and Juvenile Justice jurisdiction. The CU will conduct media campaigns for anti-bullying, life-coaching, and school-mentoring programs. The problem with teen distress is that violence can ensue from bullying perpetrators or in response to bullying.
In addition, there have been a number of previous blog-commentaries by the Go Lean movement that highlighted the eco-system of crime-domestic terrorism and homeland security initiatives. See this sample list here:
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=14087||Opioids – Another Example of America’s Deadly Culture|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=13999||First Steps – Deputize the CU to Monitor-Mitigate-Manage Threats|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=13126||“Must Love Dogs” – Providing K9 Solutions for Better Security|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=12400||Accede the Caribbean Arrest Treaty|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=11332||Boston Bombing Anniversary – Learning Lessons|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=11244||Live Fast; Die Young – The Fast & Furious Life in the US|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=11048||Managing the ‘Strong versus the Weak’ Series – Mitigating Bullies|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=9072||Model: Shots-Fired Monitoring – Securing the Homeland on the Ground|
|http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=7485||Mitigating Interpersonal Violence Series – Street Crimes|
In summary, fleeing to a life of refuge in the US may be likened to “jumping from the Frying Pan to the Fire”. It seems so basic to protect our children so that they can study safely in school, and yet, there had been 11 gun attacks already in the US this month by the 23rd of the month. The repeated occurrences reflect a failure in American society and American stewardship. This view considers the premise of the implied Social Contract:
Citizens surrender some of their freedoms and submit to the authority of the State in exchange for protection of remaining natural and legal rights. – Go Lean book Page 170.
Yes, it is only natural, logical, and mature that any stewards of society would remediate any known risks and threats; yet this is not the case for guns in America. (The 2nd Amendment is a societal defect!)
In that previous blog-commentary, this was the simple conclusion:
… surely we can convince our Caribbean people to Stay Home and not be lured to this [dysfunctional-gun] madness in the first place; and for those of the Diaspora in the US: you are in harm’s way, just living an ordinary life. It is Time to Go … back home!
Now is the time for all of the Caribbean – in and out of schools – to lean-in for the empowerments of the Go Lean roadmap. It is conceivable, believable and achievable to prosper where planted here in the region; to make the Caribbean a better place to live, work and play. 🙂
Sign the petition to lean-in for the roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation.