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Arm the teachers, says Rep. Baxley

In one of the most remarkably inept comments from a Florida legislator this year – a huge accomplishment when there is so, so much competition – State Rep. Dennis Baxley (R-NRA/ALEC/Ocala) has offered this counsel (includes video):

FL State Rep. Dennis Baxley (R-NRA/ALEC/Ocala)
Florida House of Representatives

Responding to the Newtown, Conn., elementary school shooting that left 20 children dead, Rep. Dennis Baxley said Monday that schools would be safer if principals and teachers were authorized to carry guns…. [emphasis added]

Baxley said that declaring schools to be gun-free zones makes them targets for deranged people who know they can’t be stopped because guns aren’t allowed in schools.

“I do think the observation that in our zealous and intent efforts to try and keep children safe with gun free zones, we have inadvertently created a sterile target for deranged activity,” Baxley said.

The Ocala Republican said schools need to be in a position of meeting force with force when events like that happen.

Realizing that this blindingly stupid notion has caused you to lose your breath, your sight, and your slim grip on reality, let’s pause while you recover.

[Pause, ed.]

Baxley is even out in front of the National Rifle Association (NRA) which has pulled down its Facebook page and Twitter feed, presumably to avoid hosting un-NRA supportive commentary. Baxley is the NRA’s chief sponsor of legislation in Florida, including the unforgettably foolish “Stand Your Ground – Shoot First” law which this page has covered several times; just recently here and here.

What is obviously wrong with Baxley’s suggestion is that he has omitted so many people who could still be armed. Why simply arm teachers? We must ask:

  • Would this measure protect substitute teachers? They could really use the help. How about instructional support staff?
  • Would Baxley leave custodians defenseless? Shooting Windex into the eyes of a shooter or swinging the barf mop is simply inadequate.
  • How about cafeteria workers? Those stale muffins may be tough, but can they knock out a determined gun man?
  • Shouldn’t bus drivers be armed since buses are easy targets?
  • Are administrative staff not included and left as sitting ducks?
  • Shall we expose School Board members when they are confronted by enraged citizens (and fellow school board members)?
  • Finally, and most obviously, wouldn’t it make the most sense in Baxley’s line of logic to simply arm the children?

On the other hand, Baxley is promoting armament for teachers, like those who teach your children, who taught children at Sandy Hook ES; you know, union thugs. How wise is that?

The old classic TV show, All in the Family, occurred in a time when airliners were being routinely hijacked by armed gunmen and often taken to Cuba. The arch-conservative main character Archie Bunker suggested in a mock video rebuttal in one episode that if you armed all of the airline passengers, the hijackings would end. The ridiculous notion was met with thunderous laughter from the studio audience who recognized instantly how ludicrous Archie’s idea was. Click here to see the video clip.

As asinine and extreme as Archie Bunker’s remarks were regarded in the early 1970s, they are being touted today by a local elected official as a serious response to one of the most tragic massacres – a slaughter of innocents. If Rep. Dennis Baxley has no more sense than this, then the only people who should be more ashamed are the pathetic individuals in Marion County who have returned this sponsor and supporter of some of the most reactionary, destructive, insensitive, and just plain bad legislation for (now) six terms.

In years between his legislative stints, Baxley turned his ardently professed conservative Christian stances into a job as Executive Director of the Florida Christian Coalition. As a Christian, Baxley reads from a different kind of Holy Bible. In the sermon on the mount, when Jesus said, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers,’ Baxley’s version refers to the famed Colt Single Action revolver known as “Peacemaker.” That’s some Jesus, Dennis! Will you hold a candle to celebrate the Prince of Peace next Monday, or the HALO warrior?

I’m sorry, but such contemptible hypocrisy is utterly unconscionable.

In case you missed it, the Sunday paper’s retail flyer for Gander Mountain featured a great deal on the back page – $100 off – on a .223 Bushmaster semi-automatic assault rifle complete with a 30 round magazine, the only practical purpose of which would be waging a very violent, sustained attack on other human beings, like at Sandy Hook ES. Only $799 plus ammo.

Here’s a Christmas shopping tip from Dennis Baxley – buy one of these high powered suckers for your child’s teacher. Or better, get one for your kid, or any neighbor kid; they’ll need it in school so long as people like Dennis Baxley are elected to public office.

With Baxley leading the way in Florida by showing just how low the discussion can be submerged, we can all hope that real intelligence will yet become manifest, even among Republicans, and that Florida’s legislators will begin the long overdue circumspection that would repeal the tragic “Shoot First – Stand Your Ground” law for starters. Just for starters. Please.


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