GOOD

Let's All Say No to 'Stand Your Ground' in Schools

After the Sandy Hook school massacre, you'd think schools would say no to bringing Stand Your Ground laws to campus. Well, Indiana's trying.

America has always been of two minds about teachers. We evoke fond memories of teachers who impacted our lives as we joke about "summers off" and "bankers' hours." We force teachers to hold classes in closets and hallways as we blame them for poor student performance. Over time, the mocking and maligning erode our image of teachers as professionals. We lose sight that teachers deserve input in decisions that impact their working conditions and their lives. No issue crystallizes this more than the post-Newtown fixation on school gun laws.

Last week, Indiana state Rep. Kevin Mahan (R) asked state lawmakers to "consider creative solutions" to prevent a Sandy Hook-type massacre in the Hoosier State. His new tactic in school safety: extending Indiana's castle doctrine into public schools. Better known as "stand your ground," the law allows the use of deadly force when threatened.

"Let's look at the possibility of rather than this person going and retreating into a bathroom and allowing someone to barge down the hallways and start shooting, maybe it is possible we could add that to the castle doctrine to give them the ability to possibly take action to stop any kind of intrusion like that," Mahan said.

If this sounds too far-fetched to believe, an online poll by The Times of Northwest Indiana finds 63 percent of respondents want the stand-your-ground law to include schools. Teachers themselves overwhelmingly reject more guns in schools, and school boards and school administrators repeatedly oppose such measures that could make schools more dangerous, lead to accidental shootings, and put guns in the hands of people who are not adequately trained to shoot in emergency situations.

But what do they know? They're only the professionals to whom the nation entrusts its children daily. None of this has deterred state legislators.

Since the Connecticut school shooting, some 30 states have written bills allowing teachers and school staff to carry firearms, according to data compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures. So far, their efforts have been met with varying success. In March, South Dakota became the first state to explicitly authorize school employees to carry guns. Similar laws were passed in Alabama, Arizona, and Kansas. Thirteen districts in Arkansas also allow armed school employees.

For the past 10 months, governors and a host of state legislators have pushed a radical guns-in-schools agenda. What we haven't accomplished since Sandy Hook is getting our elected leaders to pass and implement common-sense gun laws. Enacting universal background checks and banning assault weapons would make children exponentially saferin our schools, on our streets, and in their homes. By contrast, bringing stand-your-ground to the schoolhouse and playground is rooted in a fantasy that armed civilians can stop a mass murderer. It is much more likely innocent bystanders get killed. In a classroom, that means someone's child. December 14, 2012 left our nation with a horrified sense of vulnerability. As we wrestle with how something so incomprehensible could happen, we have seen reactions ranging from solidmore gun control and better access to mental health servicesto feeble.

Less than 24 hours after Newtown, a gunman opened fire inside St. Vincent's Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama. He wounded a Birmingham police officer and two employees before he was fatally shot by police. I try to envision a scenario where lawmakers would propose arming doctors and nurses—or expanding stand-your-ground into hospitalsto help prevent tragedies such as St. Vincent's. I try to picture physicians telling them, "That's ludicrous, we don't want this," and lawmakers plowing ahead, regardless of their professional wishes and needs.

And I can't, because it would never happen. With Indiana's stand-your-ground in schools proposal, politicians again failed to get the memo: teachers are grown-ups, not merely tall children.


Want to sign the petition demanding the repeal of Stand Your Ground laws? Click here to say you'll do it.

Bullets as school supplies image via Shutterstock

Articles
via Collection of the New-York Historical Society / Wikimedia Commons

Fredrick Douglass was born into slavery in 1818. At the age of 10 he was given to the Auld family.

As a child, he worked as a house slave and was able to learn to read and write, and he attempted to teach his fellow slaves the same skills.

At the age of 15, he was given to Thomas Auld, a cruel man who beat and starved his slaves and thwarted any opportunity for them to practice their faith or to learn to read or write.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture
via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

On April 20, 1889 at the Braunau am Inn, in Upper Austria Salzburger located at Vorstadt 15, Alois and Klara Hitler brought a son into the world. They named him Adolph.

Little did they know he would grow up to be one of the greatest forces of evil the world has ever known.

The Hitlers moved out of the Braunau am Inn when Adolph was three, but the three-story butter-colored building still stands. It has been the subject of controversy for seven decades.

via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

The building was a meeting place for Nazi loyalists in the 1930s and '40s. After World War II, the building has become an informal pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis and veterans to glorify the murderous dictator.

The building was a thorn in the side to local government and residents to say the least.

RELATED: He photographed Nazi atrocities and buried the negatives. The unearthed images are unforgettable.

For years it was owned by Gerlinde Pommer, a descendant of the original owners. The Austrian government made numerous attempts to purchase it from her, but to no avail. The building has served many purposes, a school, a library, and a makeshift museum.

In 1989, a stone from the building was inscribed with:

"For Peace, Freedom

and Democracy.

Never Again Fascism.

Millions of Dead Remind [us]."

via Jo Oh / Wikimedia Commons

For three decades it was home to an organization that offered support and integration assistance for disabled people. But in 2011, the organization vacated the property because Pommer refused to bring it up to code.

RELATED: 'High Castle' producers destroyed every swastika used on the show and the video is oh-so satisfying

In 2017, the fight between the government and Pommer ended with it seizing the property. Authorities said it would get a "thorough architectural remodeling is necessary to permanently prevent the recognition and the symbolism of the building."

Now, the government intends to turn it into a police station which will surely deter any neo-Nazis from hanging around the building.

Austria has strict anti-Nazi laws that aim to prohibit any potential Nazi revival. The laws state that anyone who denies, belittles, condones or tries to justify the Nazi genocide or other Nazi crimes against humanity shall be punished with imprisonment for one year up to ten years.

In Austria the anti-Nazi laws are so strict one can go to prison for making the Nazi hand salute or saying "Heil Hitler."

"The future use of the house by the police should send an unmistakable signal that the role of this building as a memorial to the Nazis has been permanently revoked," Austria's IInterior Minister, Wolfgang Peschorn said in a statement.

The house is set to be redesigned following an international architectural competition.

Communities
via Chela Horsdal / Twitter

Amazon's "The Man in the High Castle" debuted the first episode of its final season last week.

The show is loosely based on an alternative history novel by Philip K. Dick that postulates what would happen if Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan controlled the United States after being victorious in World War II.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics
via Mike Mozart / Flickr

Chick-fil-A is the third-largest fast food chain in America, behind McDonald's and Starbucks, raking in over $10 billion a year.

But for years, the company has faced boycotts for supporting anti-LGBT charities, including the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Paul Anderson Youth Home.

The Salvation Army faced criticism after a leader in the organization implied that gay people "deserve to die" and the company also came under fire after refusing to offer same-sex couples health insurance. But the organization swears it's evolving on such issues.

via Thomas Hawk / Flickr

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes explicitly announced it was anti gay marriage in a recent "Statement of Faith."

God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.

The Paul Anderson Youth Home teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage is "rage against Jesus Christ and His values."

RELATED: The 1975's singer bravely kissed a man at a Dubai concert to protest anti-LGBT oppression

In 2012, Chick-fil-A's CEO, Dan Cathy, made anti same-sex marriage comments on a radio broadcast:

I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, "We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage". I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.

But the chicken giant has now decided to change it's says its charitable donation strategy because it's bad for business...Not because being homophobic is wrong.

The company recently lost several bids to provide concessions in U.S. airports. A pop-up shop in England was told it would not be renewed after eight days following LGBTQ protests.

Chick-fil-A also has plans to expand to Boston, Massachusetts where its mayor, Thomas Menino, pledged to ban the restaurant from the city.

via Wikimedia Commons

"There's no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are," Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos told Bisnow. "There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message."

RELATED: Alan Turing will appear on the 50-pound note nearly 70 years after being persecuted for his sexuality

Instead, the Chick-fil-A Foundation plans to give $9 million to organizations that support education and fight homelessness. Which is commendable regardless of the company's troubled past.

"If Chick-Fil-A is serious about their pledge to stop holding hands with divisive anti-LGBTQ activists, then further transparency is needed regarding their deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family, which exist purely to harm LGBTQ people and families," Drew Anderson, GLAAD's director of campaigns and rapid response, said in a statement.

Chick-fil-A's decision to back down from contributing to anti-LGBT charities shows the power that people have to fight back against companies by hitting them where it really hurts — the pocket book.

The question remains: If you previously avoided Chick-fil-A because it supported anti-LGBT organizations, is it now OK to eat there? Especially when Popeye's chicken sandwich is so good people will kill for it?

Lifestyle

Oh, irony. You are having quite a day.

The Italian region of Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, is currently experiencing historic flooding. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has stated that the flooding is a direct result of climate change, with the tide measuring the highest level in 50 years. The city (which is actually a collection of 100 islands in a lagoon—hence its famous canal streets), is no stranger to regular flooding, but is currently on the brink of declaring a state of emergency as waters refuse to recede.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet