Hey, bruh! I thought we were going to do an explainer yesterday, but you seem so distracted. What’s going on?
I’m sorry. I was keeping an eye on Florida’s House of Representatives all day. House members passed a school-safety/gun control bill and sent it to the governor for his signature.
That’s great! Maybe they’ve finally seen the light and can pass legislation that will put a stop to all these mass shootings!
I hear you, but this bill will probably mean more dead black kids.
Wait ... but you just said it’s a gun control and school-safety law. By definition, that means it will control guns and make schools safe, right?
This is Florida, man. You can buy a boa constrictor at a convenience store in Florida. Don’t forget, the 9/11 hijackers took flying lessons in Florida and it didn’t raise any red flags when they told their instructor, “Don’t worry about the landing part.”
Nothing in Florida makes any sense.
The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act raises the minimum age to buy a weapon to 18, allows citizens to “red flag” people with mental health problems and enacts a three-day waiting period on most weapons, all of which are needed. But it does nothing to curb the sale of military-style weapons. It does not close loopholes regarding purchasing guns at gun shows or in private sales.
But even more troubling than the previously mentioned exemptions, the new law creates a program that will result in armed school employees.
Why is that a bad thing? You know what they say: The only person who can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.
First of all, almost every legitimate study shows that when more guns are present, more people die. A 2015 study of FBI and national crime by the Violence Policy Center (pdf) concluded that people are more likely to cause an accidental death than prevent a crime when pulling a gun in self-defense. The Washington Post reports that for every justifiable homicide using a gun, there are 34 criminal homicides, 78 gun suicides and two accidental deaths. A 2013 study by the FBI (pdf) even shows that more active shooters are stopped by unarmed citizens.
Also, no one ever says that thing about “bad guys with guns being stopped by good guys with guns.” It’s a National Rifle Association marketing slogan. But then again, I’ve also never seen anyone eating a Chicken McNugget while muttering the catchphrase, “I’m lovin’ it!”
But you said black kids will die. How do you figure that?
Because I trust these little-known, seldom-used things called “facts.”
For instance, a study by Ohio State University revealed that black students receive harsher punishments than white kids for the same relatively minor infractions. Federal data shows that teachers and schools are four times more likely to suspend black students. Research by the American Psychological Association shows that even away from school, people with darker skin are perceived as bigger, stronger and more threatening than white people the same size.
So whom do you think gun-toting school employees are more likely to shoot?
Black kids. But I’ve read a little about this legislation. It proposes training, mental health evaluations and drug screenings. Wouldn’t that help?
Has training, drug screenings and mental health evaluations stopped police from killing black people disproportionately?
Good point. But what about the fact that they could go to jail for shooting the wrong kid? You’ve gotta admit that the law wouldn’t shield anyone from prosecution.
How is that different from any other self-protection legislation like Florida’s “Stand your ground” law? In a “Stand your ground” study that looked solely at cases in Florida, researchers discovered that between 2005 and 2013, Florida juries were twice as likely to convict the perpetrator of a crime against a white person as they were to convict in a crime against a person of color.
“These results are similar to pre-civil-rights-era statistics, with strict enforcement for crimes when the victim was white and less-rigorous enforcement with the victim is nonwhite,” the report said.
If you give anyone the legal authority to shoot people, they are always going to shoot black people.
Damn. So if this data is readily available, why would they consider such a stupid law?
Because Florida legislators don’t care about dead bodies as much as they care about the buckets of cash from the NRA. It’s why the homicide rate has surged 22 percent since the state passed the “Stand your ground” law. It’s why Sen. Marco Rubio stood in front of a Parkland, Fla., shooting survivor and explained his loyalty to the NRA by explaining that “people buy into” his agenda.
So black students are in a lot of danger, huh?
It’s not just the students. It’s the black school employees, too. The Florida law doesn’t arm classroom teachers, but it allows all of the other school workers to carry weapons if their school district opts in. Traditionally, black people carrying concealed weapons haven’t fared so well, even if the gun is legal.
In fact, I read a story a couple of years ago about a black school employee who carried a legal firearm. He was a lunchroom worker. He was stopped by the cops, and he informed the officer that he was licensed to carry. I think his name was Philando Castile.
I can’t recall how that situation ended up, but I’m sure everything turned out OK.
Ummm ... I think you should go back and ... you know what? Never mind. Look, I know it’s Florida, but come on man. It couldn’t be that bad. Maybe you’re wrong about how dangerous this could turn out to be.
Perhaps. After all, there’s no way the state of Florida would allow an adult to shoot an innocent black kid and get away with it. Especially if the kid wasn’t involved in any kind of crime or threatening the life of anyone around him. That would be incredibly racist. Maybe I’m just overreacting. I probably should call someone who would know better.
Would you happen to have a phone number for George Zimmerman?