Who came up with this stupid idea?

Students in Parkland, Florida are now expected to use transparent plastic backpacks, as a way to prevent future mass murders. This makes no sense.

The “$1.05” tag is meant to suggest how much the NRA pays per student to Florida government officials to kill gun laws.

The article goes on to discuss “better” alternatives, like installing metal detectors at all entrances. I don’t get it. These are all pointless superficial measures to avoid addressing the problem at its root, the easy availability of weapons that have no utility other than mass murder. The kids are going to be so pleased that their worth has probably increased by several dollars more: (NRA donations + cost of backpacks + cost other useless measures) / number of Florida students. Yay!


  1. rpjohnston says

    Yeah, this is what happens when the Right moves the Overton window and the feckless Left doesn’t.

    Compared to arming teachers, this looks downright reasonable. In a few shootings, they’ll suggest training teachers on M16 usage; compared to that, full coverage cameras and a fully staffed security room seem reasonable. A few shootings after that, they’ll call for fortifying schools like bunkers; compared to that, a gun locker with handguns in every breakroom and a riot guard will seem reasonable. And so on.

    Meanwhile I’m out there calling for repeal of the second amendment and all the libs are going “nononono we don’t want to touch the 2A, we just want these tiny baby steps, that’s all we’re asking for”. You don’t go into a job negotiation and ask for minimum wage as your starting offer and you don’t go into a legislation negotiation asking for the bare minimum to start, ffs.

    Not unless what you REALLY want is to look like you’re trying without actually being responsible for anything you accomplish because you’re more terrified of being personally criticized for it than you are concerned about children being mowed down. In other words, the Left are a bunch of godDAMNED cowards.

    The kids are standing their ground though, not giving in to the right-wing bullshit, so maybe they can teach the adults a thing or two about courage.

  2. says

    And god damn it I wish my fellow Americans cared half as much about the 4th and 16th amendments as they do the 2nd. Fucking nation of deplorables.

  3. Zmidponk says

    So the bags are mandatory, but what you put in them is up to the student? Even if you give zero respect for the students rights, this is a half-assed, badly thought out measure – there is nothing whatsoever to stop the student from concealing any weapons, or anything else, by simply putting it inside something inside those clear backpacks. When you also take into account that these are students, not prisoners in a jail, and therefore should not have their right to privacy violated in such a manner, you get a whole new level of bad thinking and half-assedness.

  4. eamick says

    Marcus Ranum @3: I assume you meant 14th instead of 16th. We’ve got way too many people obsessing over the 16th already.

  5. says

    I assume you meant 14th instead of 16th.

    Yes, constitutional brain-fart. Thanks.

    I wish that Congress had the same security as schoolkids.

  6. cartomancer says

    I think the transparent bags could be very useful. But you’d have to tie them tightly over the heads of the gun lobby arseholes, otherwise the air might get in.

  7. Chris Capoccia says

    I’d support the 2nd Amendment if it only applied to those in state militias who could be deployed by the federal government and we disbanded the national armed forces. As it stands now, it appears to apply only to militias of 1 who can’t be deployed. The NRA wants to ignore the two first clauses of the 2nd about these militias being key to national security and the requirement that the militias be well-run. The NRA just wants to turn it into a free-for-all and I’m surprised they’re not advocating for full anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons so they can take on the government

  8. Doubting Thomas says

    Here’s an idea, how about we invest enough in schools and educational make schools interesting fun places where students want to be, with enough resources that each one gets the attention they need to learn and prosper? Just asking.

  9. FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!) says

    It occurs to me that the same people who sold a war with mere possibility of weapons of mass destruction want their own citizens to posses actual weapons of mass destruction.

    Sure, the scale of the weapons’ capabilities are different, but they’re clearly trying to even things out through mass distribution.

  10. Usernames! 🦑 says

    Meanwhile I’m out there calling for repeal of the second amendment
    — rpjohnston (#1)

    Not necessary. Just change “people” to “militia members” and it is fixed.

    “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the militia members to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

    Note that in Article 1; § 8 of the Constitution we have:
    “The Congress shall have Power To…provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;”

    No rando group of drunken arseholes can call themselves a Militia and load up.

  11. robro says

    Is this admitting that prayer doesn’t work? That “thoughts and prayers” aren’t enough?

  12. mamba says

    So what’s stopping a student from putting a handgun inside a pencil or makeup case?

    Oh wait, i forgot, only BIG guns kill students…the small ones DEFEND against them.

    My bad, silly me, forgot my NRA propaganda. (sigh)

  13. mrshinyandnew says

    This is really the most asinine thing ever. The shooter was not a student at the school anymore, so presumably would not feel beholden to follow the school rules, even if that made any sense in the first place.

  14. unclefrogy says

    we can’t do that it would cost too much money. We would have to hire more people and pay them more! That would require us to raise more money to pay for that probably raise taxes of people who have lots of money you know the job creators. We would also be investing money in the lazy and inferior “lower classes” probably even illegal immigrants would benefit!
    we need to spend billions on school security measures for all the schools in the country. It is a job program for the under-educated graduates of the education system we can’t afford.
    uncle frogy

  15. Onamission5 says

    The push to mandate see through book bags was a trend after Columbine, too. We can all tell how much it helped.

  16. Andrew Dalke says

    Usernames! 🦑 @#11, in US law there are two categories of militias. I think you mean your proposed change to only apply to members of the organized militia (eg, state national guards), but there is also unorganized militia, which consists of all able-bodied men between ages 17 and 45. Your new wording doesn’t distinguish between the two categories, so would have no effect on members of the unorganized militia. If a genie could grant your wished for change, the easy work-around would be to extend the definition of “unorganized militia” to include women, older people, and people with disabilities.

  17. gijoel says

    @13 No it’s good guys with guns that will stop mass shootings. Clearly we need to start making more good guys, because so far there hasn’t been one to stop a mass shooting.

  18. Pierce R. Butler says

  19. Derek Vandivere says

    While increasing security at schools doesn’t address the root causes, it’s going to take so long to address those root causes that I’m afraid things like metal detectors are going to be necessary as well.

  20. vucodlak says

    The Columbine massacre was used in many schools (including mine; I was a freshman at the time) as a pretext for pushing a policy of ‘we can do a complete search of a student’s person and property at any time, even if we have hold them down and cut their clothes off.’ This was an authoritarian school administrator’s wet dream, and it had fuck-all to do with keeping kids safe.

    One morning, someone set off a firecracker on the bus I rode to school. It scared the crap out of everybody, but it was clearly a firecracker, and not a starter pistol as the bus driver claimed. Nevertheless, we were all marched off the bus and straight to the cafeteria when we arrived at the school, where we were threated and harangued for almost half an hour by the school’s administration, who said they intended to strip-search everyone who was on the bus to look for the ‘gun.’

    Clearly they did not believe there was an actual gun, since they hadn’t even called the police. It was just the principle, vice principle, and coach, along with the bus-driver and one custodian. And, as much that lot liked to believe we students were as stupid as a sack of turnips, we noticed the distinct lack of cops. We sat and listened to it for a while, but when it seemed like they might actually get down to it someone said the magic word- lawyer.

    They let us go. The lawyer talk was probably a bluff, since most of the students couldn’t afford an attorney if their life depended on it, but the administration decided not to take that chance. Instead they suspended a couple of likely suspects, just because they could.

    This clear backpack rule is the same kind of bullshit, intended to remind children that they have no rights, and should get used to have even the most basic aspects of privacy and security of person subject to the whims of petty tyrants. Cops, bosses, and executives of all kinds will ride most of them throughout their lives. It’s part of the training meant to make children into obedient servants to the great god capitalism.

    It’s really the reason behind the push to turn schools into prison camps, complete with metal detectors and armed guard in every hallway, too. We poor folk have been getting a little too restive, of late, and our “betters” are fixin’ to put us in our place.

  21. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I’m reminded of the out-of-context quote “those who sacrifice essential liberty for temporary safety will get neither liberty nor safety”. Part of living in a society without a police state, without martial law, is that we must accept certain sacrifices of safety. I don’t think that these additional safety measures are worth the loss of liberty. Very few schoolchildren die from gun violence, and it seems like a standard overreaction moral panic “but think of the children” response, and that sort of moral-panic overreaction never ends well for freedom and liberty. Moving the Overton Window indeed concerning what constitutes appropriate police actions.

    Should we ban gun possession entirely? Perhaps (but only as long as we also ban gun possession for the police too). I offer no contest to that plan at this time.

    To Usernames! 🦑

    “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the militia members to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

    No rando group of drunken arseholes can call themselves a Militia and load up.

    Both quotes show a fundamental misunderstanding of the word “militia”. Today’s colloquial meaning of the word “militia” refers to “a small group of asshats who pretend at playing soldier”. However, the legal and historical meaning of the word “militia” refers to the entire population of citizens who are fully-human (e.g. historically white men only), able-bodied, and of fighting age (often 17 to 45 by law).

    Even today, United States federal law uses the historical meaning of the word “militia”.

    The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard

    Are you a United States citizen, male, able-bodied, and between the ages of 17 and 45? Then you’re a member of the militia. I am a member of the United States militia, and I’ve never owned a gun nor fired a gun nor attended any military training in my entire life.

    The following are good indicators that the speaker doesn’t know the meaning of the word “militia”: The speaker uses the plural form “militias”. The speaker uses the singular pronoun “a” instead of “the” with “militia”, e.g. “a militia” instead of “the militia”. (Rarely, it is correct to use the plural form, i.e. “the state militias of Michigan and Ohio”.)

    There is a reason why the text reads “the right of the people” and not “the right of militia members”. However, attacking this point shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the word “militia”.

    This misunderstanding is also often accompanied by a fundamental misunderstanding of the phrase “well-regulated”, which basically means “properly working” and in context means “well armed and well trained in war”, and does not mean intrinsically “controlled and directed by the government”. Of course, the only practical way to get a well-regulated militia is for the government to pass laws governing it, but this sort of governing is very different from the modern meaning of the word “regulated” and “regulation”, e.g. the difference between requiring military training for every vs limiting or banning gun possession.

    Fundamentally, the second amendment was, and is, a guarantee of every yahoo to own military-grade weapons, at least that of an infantry soldier, and probably covering all military weapons. (For example, congress has the power to grant letters of marque and reprisal. That obviously entails privately owned and operated ships of war, cannon and all.) Am I defending this as a good idea? No. Am I saying that current SCOTUS agrees with me on every last point? No. Instead, I am defending the position that this was the clear and ambiguous meaning of the text when it was written, and the clear and unambiguous intent of the writers and ratifiers, and the clear and unambiguous understanding of the general population of the effect of the amendment. Take that as you will.

    Does this mean that all regulation is unconstitutional according to a historical understanding? No. I think there’s a lot that can be constitutionally, and I support a large range of gun control that we should do right now which shouldn’t require repealing the amendment. For example, mandatory training and licensing of gun owners with yearly refresher training courses, waiting periods for first purchase, strict liability rules for proper storage and transport, banning possession of especially destructive weapons in city limits, etc. Maybe some partial or complete bans on open-carry too. It is a right, but driving a car on a public road is also a right, and we license and regulate that right, and there’s no reason we shouldn’t do the same for gun rights (until the second amendment is repealed).

    For a very large list of historical citations and arguments on this point, see my google doc here:

  22. unclefrogy says

    the one sure to happen is the budget for education will not benefit and is just as likely some of the mandated security will come out of the education budget.
    because no new taxes!
    even if the congress passes a new and real gun control law they will not likely provide enough funding to make effective enforcement possible .
    uncle frogy