I don’t think it can be emphasized enough that if a dozen or more police officers are collectively too afraid to confront a single untrained 18-year-old who is shooting up an elementary school because of the kind of weapon the child murderer has, that weapon should be illegal.
An important related point is that the creation of special militarized cop units, SWAT, etc., has created both a bureaucratic structure and a psychological atmosphere among police of “not my job,” when the job actually gets dangerous, on the extremely rare occasions when it does.
So we get travesties like what we saw on Tuesday in Uvalde, where a bunch of lying coward cops stood around for more than half an hour, while children were slaughtered, because they might have gotten hurt if they had tried to intervene.
As horrible and disgusting and enraging as this situation is, I’m at least a little encouraged by the amount of backlash and pushback that this particular massacre is inspiring. At least it’s good to see Greg Abbott backing out of the NRA convention in Houston this weekend, although of course this is merely a cynical ploy: that disgusting shitweasel is still doing a recorded talk for the assembled child-murder fans. It’s also good to see that the inane “solutions” Republican scum are putting out there — let’s turn elementary schools into maximum security prisons! — are being met with widespread mockery.
Encouraging as well is the fact that the “let’s not politicize this” trope has been mocked to the point that you have to get down to the ideological crack whore level of Glenn Greenwald to find it now.
So progress of a sort.
So maybe this unspeakable tragedy, unlike the last unspeakable tragedy and the one before that and the one before that, can be a genuine turning point.
I’ll say this: the next 29 months are quite literally going to decide whether anything like a liberal democracy survives in this country, so we had better act like it (I have a concrete proposal on this score that I’m working up with the help of an LGM commenter that we’ll be presenting soon).
A friend points out to me that all of our day to day institutions push against catastrophizing thought:
From churches to self-help books to cognitive therapists, there’s a consistent drumbeat of
“It’s not as bad as you think.”
“Look at the bright side.”
“It was okay last time, right? It’ll be okay this time too.”
All of those memes get ported into the political realm, in my experience. Then you add hot take merchants and contrarians and there are a ton of people out there mindlessly pushing against appropriately dire warnings, even though we are probably looking at the end of democracy if Trump or DeSantis win in 2024.
Those are the stakes, and we need to live and act like it.