To My Students: I Will Not Carry a Gun

To My Students:

I will not carry a gun
because the classroom is a sacred space
because a gun means danger, not safety
because a weapon in class conveys hierarchy and authority, which are antithetical to learning
because the idea of discipline through force is rightist ideology
forging a worldview that the world is untamed and must be tamed
and that a gun is how we tame it
because the fascists of the 20th century were elected, elected, to “make us safe”
because an atmosphere of danger
makes people cry “make us safe”
because I do not partake of the American mythos of the gun

I do carry
knowledge, interaction, pedagogical tools
a desire for you to succeed brilliantly
a portfolio of exercises to address what may come up in the moment
structure, narrative, object lessons
group work honed over many semesters
case study examples
responsibility to give you a safe space to learn
to express yourselves and grow
responsibility for your learning outcomes
joy and pride when you thrive and expand

Which is why I will not carry a gun in our class

For people who know me by the films I have produced and this publication, I also teach, or have taught, at UC Berkeley, Chapman, plus seminars and workshops around the world. Teaching is not my vocation, but it is my work.

Political implications of another school shooting

1. Gun-owners are more likely to vote Republican than ever before. Source: Social Science Quarterly, quoted in Newsweek.

2. Americans with less education are more likely to vote Republican; Americans with more education are more likely to vote Democratic. Source: Pew Research Center.

3. Republicans consistently vote against gun control/gun safety measures, and consistently vote to reduce education funding. Both of these political positions increase their voter base. Fifty-eight percent of Republicans believe higher education is hurting America. Sources: The New York TimesPew Research Center.

4. I do not believe that Republicans advocate violence in any form, especially not school shootings.

5. Nevertheless, the shooting at Douglas High School in Broward County, Florida, advances the Republican agenda, because it activates gun-rights supporters (who get energized by the inevitable calls for gun control) and fulfills the narrative that education is dangerous.

It is self-evident that a society with fewer weapons and more education is a better society. It is also evident that a society with more weapons and less education is more likely to vote Republican.

Isn’t it time we call out the cynical bargain that has been struck? By keeping weapons at-large and education minimized, Republicans hold onto power.

Image: NBC News interrupted regular programming to carry live coverage.