Mass Shootings/Lucid Q&A May 27
Systemic gun violence is part of the Republican political design to destabilize American society.
Welcome back to Lucid. Mark your calendars for our next Lucid Q&A, Friday, May 27, 1-2pmET. There will also be an evening Q&A for paying subscribers only, on Sunday, June 5, 8-9pmET. You’ll receive a link to register for these Q&As a few hours ahead of time. There is no charge, and the Zoom calls are never recorded. Ask a question or just listen in. I look forward to seeing you there.
It is unusual for me to publish essays on consecutive days, but I wanted to share my thoughts in the wake of the latest school shooting. We need a paradigm shift that sees Republican complicity in gun violence as part of a war on democracy.
Yesterday I published an essay on the importance of hope as part of an anti-authoritarian strategy. In one area, hope may seem misplaced: Republican attitudes toward guns. The school shooting in Texas, in which a gunman killed 19 elementary school students and 1 teacher (latest body count), is yet more evidence of the destruction the GOP and its media allies encourage to keep themselves in power. Gun rights groups set new records for lobbying in 2021, spending over $15 million, with GOP Sen. Ted Cruz the biggest recipient.
Systemic gun violence is part of a Republican political design to destabilize American society.
“No amount of dead children will ever make Republicans regulate guns,” I tweeted, “because they know that mass death primes us for authoritarianism.” Here is my 2021 Washington Post essay (which developed from a Lucid post) on how we need to see gun violence as a threat to democracy.
As a parent, I feel sick at the lives interrupted —so many wonderful children gone forever— and at the terror and trauma that will haunt survivors, including other children in victims’ families, for the rest of their lives.
As an educator, I feel angry that spaces which are supposed to spark curiosity, eagerness, and positive bonds through friendship and play have become sites of dread, fear, and lockdown drills. Only in the United States, would a publication called Education Week have a school shootings tracker. It tells us that there have been 27 school shootings in 2022, and 119 since it started the tracker in 2018.
As an expert on authoritarianism, I see Republican complicity in transforming public schools into death traps as part of a deliberate strategy to create an atmosphere of fear and suspicion conducive to survivalist mentalities and support for illiberal politics.
Here is my 2021 CNN op-ed on how making schools sites of hostility over mask mandates plays into that larger far-right design. It earned me a place on Professor Watchlist, the far-right initiative of Turning Point USA/Campus Reform to intimidate educators who denounce the threats to our freedoms.
Republicans know that the chaos and trauma created by school shootings is an efficient way of destabilizing communities and societies. Seeing gun violence through the lens of authoritarianism helps us to understand the big picture.