Too Much Forged in Fire?

  • You might be watching too much Forged in Fire if:

  • Your kids are making a fortune selling snow cones, as there is a constant supply of chopped ice.

  • You can't watch TV because the satellite dish is in the back yard filled with coal.

  • You walk into the kitchen to see why Sunday dinner is late, to find a $35 roast beast hanging from the ceiling, your wife wielding a knife in each hand, watching a youtube clip of Doug Marcaida.

  • The beater car in your neighbor's backyard seems to be walking away piece by piece - first the leaf springs, then the axle …

  • Neighborhood cats are dragging cleanly sliced fish heads to someplace where the two of them can be alone.

  • Most of the trees in the backyard have been reduced to branchless poles, creating the look of an abandoned settlement.

  • Instead of calming ocean sounds to sleep by, your white noise generator produces a numbing hammer to anvil clanking, backed up by 3-part neighing & whinnying.

  • You've begun wearing a kilt/toolbelt combo around the house, with remotes, beer and snacks in the pockets.

  • You no longer shake hands or wave, but instead greet and acknowledge people with palms together and a nod. Namaste.

  • You start looking for a new house … near the junkyard.

  • At bedtime you stand at the bottom of the stairs and yell, "5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Put your toys down children - play time is over. Return to the bathroom to brush your teeth and get ready for bed. You will have ten minutes to complete this task, starting . . . . . . . . . now!."

  • You can't do laundry because the washing machine is filled with quench oil.

  • The local FD has you on speed dial.

  • While working on a presentation with your team at work, you acknowledge each good idea by saying, "That will keel".

Bogus Federal Commission on School Safety

Kids are so much fun to be around. Little bundles of energy, they are overcome with curiosity; constantly information-gathering, testing and discovering new things. It's hard to imagine a place specifically designed to feed that curiosity and offer information and present new things that some children would fake a tummy ache to avoid.

It's equally difficult to imagine parents in the most world's most prosperous nation who expect their children be both educated and tended to during work hours, yet balk at providing the financial support required to get the jobs done well.

photo by Gage SkidmoreAnd it is almost impossible to imagine a person responsible for overseeing the public education system in a great country like ours that:
  • doesn't believe in the system she oversees and sends her children to private religious school;

  • shows no awareness that we are in a technological revolution and desperately hangs on the same antiquated values, processes and systems that caused her to send her kids to private school instead of embracing the technology and working to incorporate it in a way that can improve learning and reduce teacher workloads;

  • fills her organization's website with flowery, meaningless prose that promise nothing, say nothing and do nothing - like her;

  • has the gall to announce that the newly-formed Federal Commission on School Safety won't look at the role of guns in school violence, disregarding the fact that so far in 2018, at the rate of one incident per week, school shootings have caused the death of at least thirty-seven students and adults and at least thirty-one serious injuries.
No need to imagine! This is American education in 2018 - all of it - from kids not wanting to go to school to the religious, elitist, imaginationless trumpie that currently heads the Department of Education. Betsy DeVos, for the good of America and its children, please resign. Do it now. It cannot happen too soon.

A commission on school safety prompted by school shootings and gun violence that will not address or look into school shootings or gun violence could only happen in the Divided States of Ameritrump. After the murders at Santa Fe High School some of the heads commented that since the killer used a shotgun and a .38 instead of an assault rifle, that it didn't fit into the same category as, e.g., Parkland!

This is how far things have been twisted and distorted - that kids killing kids with a shotgun and pistol is no big deal … 'we can't expect to do anything about that!' Sure we can. It is not now, nor will it ever be, OK for a sixteen-year-old to grab his dad's guns and kill people. ¡Despierta America! Wake up!

James Madison originally proposed an amendment that read:
  • "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country: but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person."
Which was reduced to:
  • "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."
With the insight into Madison's reasoning found in the above comparison, along with mentions in the Federalist Papers 29 and 45 penned by he and Hamilton, it becomes clear that the cited militia is a civilian fighting force to be organized in an emergency such as an invasion, to supplement the regular army. We know without a doubt that the arms referred to are muzzle loaders and flintlocks, as that's all there were! The Second Amendment also very clearly indicates that some regulations should be in place. Updated, it would read,
  • "The right of the people to keep and bear single-shot rifles, regulated by the government, to be used in case of an emergency in which the nation's armed forces need to be supplemented, shall not be infringed."
Which is a far cry from the NRA's interpretation, which is roughly,
  • "The right of the people to keep and bear any weapon ever created on this planet that will shoot a projectile meant for no other purpose than to kill shall not be infringed, in perpetuity."
Since 1791 we have created overseeing bodies that require and administer licenses for driving a car, the car itself, boats and trailers, dispensing medical advice and drugs, working with chemicals and electricity and heavy equipment - all of which can cause fatalities, while guns of all sorts, crossbows and spearguns - all which can only cause fatalities, are sold predominantly without restriction or regulation. The Second Amendment calls for regulation! Where the heck is it?
We have an obligation to make sure that The Young People Will Win! Unfortunately, in order for that to happen, The Old Farts Must Act! Keeping our children and teachers safe in their educational/work environment is at least a three-part issue:
  1. Why are an increasing number of young people so distraught that they decide to kill and be killed?
  2. School building security.
  3. Gun availability.
While the 'why' must remain a topic for another day, making changes to availability and security require only the decision to do so.

School building security is a matter of money. School districts must stop approaching every tax levy like an unwanted orphan begging for just enough gruel to survive and tell the tax payers what you really need and what it will be used for. Stop presenting your case for reasonable funding as a pathetic plea to save jobs and ask for enough to keep jobs and help keep the buildings secure.

Automatic assault rifles serve no positive purpose in our society. Like slavery, witch trials, McCarthyism, Japanese internment camps, Viet Nam and other historical national embarrassments, easy access to automatic assault rifles needs to end. At the very least, each weapon must be registered and the weapons sold only to licensed adult users. If you extend the permitting and licensing to all firearms, maybe Dad wouldn't so carelessly leave his weapons lying around, knowing their use will lead back to him … maybe not?

After so many hollow words and broken promises it becomes more clear each day that there is as much chance of Congress enacting new gun control legislation as there is that Trump's hair style will create a new fad. Something would have to happen that more or less shut down the country before the steely grip of the NRA would be loosened and Congress felt pressured to act. Other than forcing our representatives to live off their salaries or a general strike by the nation's Teamsters or Teachers, nothing seems to fit the bill.

Clearly neither the bogus-before-it-begins federal school safety commission nor Betsy DeVos are sincerely concerned about school safety - perhaps because their kids are all in private school!? Unless Teachers decide to strike in the name of school safety and demand particular gun controls be put in place before they return to work, we will need to focus on what we can affect: school building security; apparently without any help from the feds.

In conclusion:

Betsy DeVos, please resign.

School Districts, stop acting like weenies and 1) justify and then 2) ask for what you really need. This 'poor us' act is tired.

Teachers, you are the only group that has the power. Wouldn't it be awesome if you used it?

A graduate of Portland State University, Steve (Reeno) Kloser is the author of Beginning Band - A Guide to Success and Let's Make Music - Classroom Recorder Course. He is also an accomplished teacher, conductor and composer, having penned numerous pieces including La Vida and Fly With Me.

Teacher, cook, Packers fan and proud American, Reeno's usually slanted outlook often presents an unlikely perspective on issues old and new.

Reeno currently lives in Portland, OR.

Follow Reeno on Twitter

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