Friday 28 Oct 2016

Close the Blinds
AJ Robinson

I had my first staff meeting, today, on my new job. It was the first meeting I had in long time. It’s close to a decade since I held a full-time job in engineering, a job that actually necessitated a weekly staff meeting.

I noticed the window blinds.

Sitting, in the meeting, I noticed the blinds on the windows. I thought of some other blinds I saw last week. My wife and I were on the way to a restaurant to eat dinner. We passed the front of some offices, but couldn’t see inside. This was despite the fact that the wall that separated us from the interior was a series of windows.

The reason was simple. The blinds, lowered and closed, was something I didn’t think of. My wife mentioned that the military recruiters were in those offices.

They had closed things off in response to the recent shooting at the recruiting office. It wasn’t so much that they were making the area secure – they weren’t. After all, the wall was still glass. It was merely that they didn’t want people to be able to see inside, and thus they were trying to keep the staff safe.

It got me thinking. We went to the movies before dinner. Before we could go inside the theatre, the ticket taker asked to look inside my wife’s bag. At the time, I didn’t think anything of it. I figured they were looking for “contraband,” such as candy or drinks that we hadn’t bought at their candy counter. In a way, it made sense. The concession stand is how any theatre makes most of its money.

Standing before the recruiting office, reminded of the gun violence such a place had suffered, I flashed back to the movie theater. I finally understood why the theatre staff checked us before we entered. They searched for guns.

It has truly come to that.

It made me sad, as I know the next step will be metal detectors. Yes, it will come to that. Now, we check people before going on planes, going in theme parks or movie theaters and we protect schools, recruiting offices and government buildings.

What makes me even sadder is that I know that these are not the end of the list. No, a shooting will take place in another venue: a coffee shop, restaurant, library, church or some other place. After a dozen or so take place, and they WILL take place, we’ll boost the security at said locations.

A new type of school, armed at a cost of $400k.

In fact, this has already started. I just saw a report on a new type of school that has state of the art security: doors that are bulletproof, cameras everywhere, panic buttons on every teacher, live feed to the police station and remote control gas bombs and flashing lights to disorient an attacker. All that security costs about 400k!

Think about that: four hundred thousand dollars. Are we prepared to implement this type of security in every school in America?

Where will that money come from? I mean, after all, we can’t raise taxes, right; nope, not permitted. We’ll have to cut something. What will we cut, athletics, math or science teacher pay?

Yeah, that’ll work. After all, teacher pay is too much, right? It’s not as if they get into teaching for anything other than the huge paycheck and massive benefits. Oh, and let’s not forget that giant pension. Yeah, teachers make too much. We’ll just slash their salaries in half.

Did I mention that several states are suffering massive teacher shortages? The shortage is mostly in the states ruled by republicans, where cutting the pay of teachers is popular. Huh, go figure.

Oh well, it’s not as if it’s important, right? It sure isn’t for me; my daughter has graduated from college. You folks, with school age children, you’re on your own.

Republicans mean cuts.

When you put Republicans in charge, you must allow cuts in education and ignore gun safety. Then you have only yourself to blame. When you enter that voting booth in the next election and select your candidates, keep this in mind: the GOP has a simple method for dealing with tough issues.

They just close the blinds.




Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.

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