Chicago, Newtown, New Yorker

Here's a fascinating essay on the Newtown shooting by Chris Ware, a New Yorker illustrator who also happens to be a Chicago parent and husband of a CPS teacher, who recalls his daughter's 2nd grade field trip held the same day as the shooting, his wife's experiences with the metal detectors and armed guards at her high school, and the experience of some teachers feeling blamed or responsible for keeping kids safe as well as educating and caring for them.

"As parents and citizens, we entrust our children not only to the safety of schools but also to the nurturing and cultivated environment of schools and teachers. Education is the very foundation of civilization and cannot be undermined or undersold. That we now have to somehow consider an unchecked population of firearms as part of this equation seems absolutely ludicrous and terrifying."

Ware also reveals that the cover he illustrated for the September back to school issue was inspired by his daughter's school -- though he doesn't say which school she goes to.

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  • Murder Map in New York Times shows Chicago Teachers Union was right about tale of two cities

    http://www.substancenews.net/articles.php?page=3862&section=Article

  • That was a well written essay by Chris Ware and I would not have read it if Alexander hadn't linked it on 299, so thanks. At the conclusion of his essay Chris wrote: "As parents and citizens, we entrust our children not only to the safety of schools but also to the nurturing and cultivated environment of schools and teachers. Education is the very foundation of civilization and cannot be undermined or undersold. That we now have to somehow consider an unchecked population of firearms as part of this equation seems absolutely ludicrous and terrifying."

    America is a strange place and I suppose we always should have to consider our nation's deeply embedded constitutional association of right of citizens to have weapons with enforceable democracy as being very exceptional in the world. But none the less it exists. These twenty seven words in our Constitution are unique: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

    The "right" to which the Second Amendment refers is clearly the right "of the people, to keep and bear arms." No matter the meaning of the Amendment's reference to a "well-regulated militia," that reference does not modify the right recognized by the Amendment. There is substantial evidence that the Framers intended the Second Amendment to protect an individual right to arms. The most discussed piece of evidence for this proposition is that such a right was protected by the English Bill of Rights of 1689. As such, it became one of the "Rights of Englishmen" around which the American Revolutionaries initially rallied.

    When I taught the second amendment to CPS students as a social studies teacher that is exactly the way I taught it with the addition to my all African American students that when the amendment was written it was not applied to slaves and free black people in the south. I taught my students that the right to keep and bear arms was considered an essential form of protection not just for home and personal security, but also against government tyranny. It should be understood as one of the forms of division of power that the Framers created to protect citizens' liberties. This presentation of the second amendment is sometimes called by those opposed to free access to weapons the insurrectionist theory of the Second Amendment. That may be true, but it is none the less a correct interpretation of those twenty seven words in my opinion.

    Because one purpose of the right is to allow individuals to form up into militia units at a moment's notice, the kinds of weapons protected are those in general military use, or those that, though designed for civilians like the AR15, are substantially equivalent to those military weapons. The "assault rifle" used in the Newtown killings would be protected under this interpretation of the Second Amendment—not in spite of its military character, but because of it. Just like our Constitutional right to free speech there are rational limits to how far one can stretch this right.

    There is a social cost to the freedom embedded in the Second Amendment I think Chris Ware's essay gets to the fears associated with those costs. Like Chris I think the NRA's solution to the Newtown murders of having armed guards in all schools or arming teachers is pretty much nuts. The reality is there isn't a solution and in our society because of the freedom of weapons enshrined in our Constitution we all live at some risk. If the mass of the population believed that this risk is too high then the Second Amendment could itself be revoked by following the process established in the Constitution itself. But that solution is not even being considered because it would surely fail.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    When you taught at Calumet i was at Simeon.We both had armed
    CPD officers in the building.If we were to be honest we probably
    would admit some of the teachers had guns.And i know that some of my students were armed because every year when the metal detector
    squad came they caught somebody with one.
    I am not for arming teachers,But we both were protected from
    armed lunatics.

  • sad and uplifiting essay. His original illus., shown at the bottom of the essay, brought a tear to my eye. God bless public eduation.

  • I suppose the fears a person carries with them are based on
    life experiences.As a history teacher at the old Simeon guns did not
    scare me as much as fire did.All third floor classrooms at that place were at least 45 feet above the street,a couple of rooms were even higher.None of the 4 foot wide stairways could handle an evacuation.
    When the lights were off it was absolutely pitch black.
    These fears were all based on a tragic fire at the Our Lady of
    The Angles School that killed over a hundred people.The old Simeon
    was a real death trap,Thank god they never had a real fire.

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