My Child is an American Ambassador

I have very little sympathy for American Ambassadors who are killed in foreign countries, where the mere presence of "outsiders" is seen as a threat to the existing regime. Thus, I am completely sick and tired of hearing about Benghazi. Especially how the death of one ambassador and three American nationals is somehow cause for upheaval in Congress. Cause for Hillary Clinton to drop her bid for the White House. Cause for Obama to be scrutinized, once again by the white wing-nuts, because he failed to send more security to the Embassy.

Here are some more failures happening right now:

Millions of children go to school every day without a single armed security guard on their open campuses. While it's true that some schools have neared the point of prison-culture--metal detectors and city police at every entrance--the overwhelming majority of schools, especially in suburbs and rural areas, don't even employ a Mall Cop. Yet four Americans in Benghazi, one who was ex-military, needed heightened security in an area that was becoming increasingly hostile as September 11, 2013 approached. The threats were obvious. Instead of leaving, the diplomats chose to stay put. Which is probably why I'd never hope to be a diplomat--if angry mobs shouted at me, threw things, killed other diplomats in the street, I'd be on the next plane to Geneva.

Millions of children practice in-school "drills" during the school week. Instruction time is consumed by these drills that teach kids--in the event of an emergency--to stay silent in a darkened corner of their classrooms, lest a "bad person" open the door and find them. Yet four American adults, who'd chosen to stay in an antagonistic environment, couldn't take a similar precaution.

Millions of teachers are asked to go to work every day, put themselves in harm's way to save the lives of the children in their classrooms. Ambassadors assume risk when accepting their positions. Teachers should not have to assume the risk of bodily harm.

A group of community college teachers took it upon themselves to invent a way of barricading their classrooms against an attack. The college where they worked didn't think their lives were worth the cost of installing doors that could protect classroom occupants during an Active Shooter event.

Bulletproof backpacks and backpack inserts are being marketed and sold to parents.

I've written about my stance on gun control before.

After over forty more school shootings since that post, my view hasn't changed.

***

On the roadside in front of my daughter's elementary school are yellow yield signs with the message
"Caution: Future World and Local Leaders at Work and Play."

My daughter's school administrators value the lives of the children inside, so much so that they caution passersby to slow their roll lest they run down a future American Ambassador. Yet my own local, state, and federal politicians could care less about those future leaders. They're too busy getting kick-backs and payoffs from the NRA.

They're allowing children to die.

I want those politicians to be held accountable. They need to be brought up on charges of treason--their crimes include the deaths of 117 students. 117 future leaders. 117 future Ambassadors.

Out of 160 Active Shooter incidents between 2000-2013, 39 took place at schools. During those 39 incidents, 117 students were killed, and 120 were wounded. According to the FBI, "Incidents in educational facilities account for some of the higher casualty counts." So while more Active Shooter incidents happen in public places (45.6%), the casualty rate is lower per incident.

In 13 years, 117 students were gunned down in a place that was supposed to be safe--their own country--by one (sometimes more) of their own citizens. And our politicians continue to allow that to happen. The people with the power to make our future ambassadors safe are failing to do so. Because they're being paid to allow students to die.

How many ambassadors have been killed in that same time? After looking at several different sources, I've come up with a total: 6. A half dozen adults die in foreign countries, where risk is part of the job description, and the nation loses its collective mind.

But 117 students are simply par for the course. A sacrifice to the gun lobby gods. I'm sure their parents will understand.

What's even more alarming about the "outrage" over Lybia, is this graphic (Courtesy of Mother Jones):
The number of attacks (not even resulting in the death of an Ambassador or diplomat) has decreased over forty years, dramatically so within the last eight.

Yet, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, "Between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012, there were a total of 45 school-associated violent deaths in elementary and secondary schools in the United States. Of the 45 student, staff, and non-student school-associated violent deaths occurring during this time span, there were 26 homicides."

In one year: 26 innocent children
In over a decade: 6 adults who knew the risks they were assuming


Even more alarming is the information about the way students actually feel on campus or going to/from campus: "In 2013, about 3 percent of students ages 12–18 reported that they were afraid of attack or harm at school or on the way to and from school during the school year. Similarly, 3 percent of students ages 12–18 reported that they were afraid of attack or harm away from school during the school year."

According to the 2010 census, there were 53,980,105 children in America aged 5-17. Three percent of that number is 1,619,403. Though the NCES only measured middle and high school fear levels, if we assume that elementary students--who practice the same "drills" as their older counterparts--share those fears, over 1.5 million schoolchildren live in fear of "attack or harm."

Schoolchildren: over 1.5 million
Ambassadors: 6

***

An all-out ban on weapons will not work. I lived through the "Just Say No to Drugs" campaign and have studied enough about Prohibition to know that an all-out "ban" won't work. Americans are assholes that way. Tell us "no" and we'll find a way to do it.

I've been told by rational, educated people that restricting the purchase of guns won't keep them from being bought and/or traded. Truer words were never spoken, according to a recent New York Times article chronicling the ability of 8 Active Shooters with documented mental illnesses to obtain several guns each.


But the status quo isn't working.

As of this post, nothing is being done.

No legislators are coming forward to address this very real problem.

There is no one voice fighting the blood money.


When the future leaders at my daughter's school become old enough to vote, I wonder what they'll do with the fear and terror they've lived with for the entirety of their school years. Will they vote for change, advocate for change, demand change? Will one of them be the voice we need?

Or will these future leaders go out and buy guns, and more guns, and more guns, with the hope of making themselves feel safe? Will they carry those guns with them to the grocery store, to their own childrens' schools? Or will they, one day, be so overwhelmed with fear that they wander into a gun shop, purchase an automatic weapon, and turn it on their neighbors, their coworkers, their own children?

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