The students, teachers and staff of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School return to campus in Parkland, Florida. But things will never be the same. After Marjory, just like after Columbine, Virginia Tech, Santana, San Bernardino, Las Vegas…, the debate on gun control is rekindled and is surely about to die an early death (yes, a sad pun), thanks to the gun-toting lobby.
Lobbying. What a lovely word. Makes me visualise the lobby of a five-star hotel adorned with chandeliers, soft music playing, well dressed people speaking in whispers on topics which I'm sure are not at all sinister…
Lobbying, the act of influencing (legislative) decisions. And how is the “influencing” done? Gee, I don't know, it's too complicated. I think other parts of the world have defined it in a much simpler way: bribe.
But let's give President Donald Trump the benefit of the doubt. For he is a self-made (initially inheritance made) billionaire with supposedly no decisions based on donations. Trump definitively suggests that teachers in American schools be armed. Why didn't anybody think of that? So what if there's already a dwindling school budget with teachers getting laid off and programmes getting cut? The money to buy those arms will be managed just like the funds gathered for the wall. And I'm sure it will be reassuring for a seventh grader to know that the geography teacher has a pistol in his holster. Finally, school kids in America will empathise with a fearful seventh grader in rural Bangladesh who is in view of his teacher holding a tree branch that is freshly peeled off a nearby tree.
But President Trump clarifies. He is not talking about randomly putting guns in the hands of teachers, but arming only those who have already had extensive experiences with fire arms, like retired military personnel turned teachers. So, what in Bangladesh is corporal punishment by way of a tree branch, is, in America, a former US Marine corporal with a concealed Magnum.
POTUS re-clarifies. What he means is that there surely are people with “talent” when it comes to firearms. Yes, that's right, the use of firearms is a gene-based talent, cannot be indoctrinated into just about anybody. So, you walk by a street shootout and say, “Hmm, that fellow looks like he's got talent and can be a teacher.”
And then President Trump valiantly says that he would have just gone into the Florida school bare armed if he were there during the incident. Sure, that's the same level of gallantry that he exhibited when dodging the Vietnam draft by way of a bone spur in his foot. That perhaps explains his constantly drafting dodgy tweets on the spur of the moment by putting his foot in his mouth while picking a bone with just about everybody opposing guns.
President Trump goes on to talk about violence in movies that kids are exposed to and suggests a rating system. Uhm, Mr President, there actually ARE rating systems in place (G, R, PG13, X…). Even my 12-year-old sitting in Bangladesh knows that.
Well, it all boils down to the Second Amendment, something that America sticks to like a diehard (oh man, another pun…)—“…the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” Yes, for the “settlers” to bear arms in the bare Frontier America to ward off strange looking, bare chested “hooligans” (later termed Native Americans) from the acres and acres of “properties” created from putting stakes in the ground at will (did Trump get the idea of the wall there?). That somehow still holds in the US in the age of sophisticated protection and law enforcement by police forces, marshals, SWAT, FBI, DEA, ATF, emergency 911…The right to acquire AND bear arms, even if one is a cuckoo, is well protected by the likes of the NRA (National Rifle Association). Then again, in the most advanced nation on earth, some things take their own sweet time—suffrage has been around for less than a hundred years, still no female president, the electoral college alive and kicking, flirting with a khaki president and reverting back to the age-old white (ok, orange)…
And I thought things moved slowly in Bangladesh.
Naveed Mahbub is an engineer at Ford & Qualcomm USA and CEO of IBM & Nokia Siemens Networks Bangladesh turned comedian (by choice), the host of ATN Bangla's The Naveed Mahbub Show and ABC Radio's Good Morning Bangladesh, the founder of Naveed's Comedy Club.