Jim Terry
Of pencil pointers and guns
By Jim Terry
June 1, 2018

In 1957 I was in the eighth grade. The teacher of our mechanical drawing class announced midway through class one day that a small nut was missing from the pencil pointer. This device was a small cast iron, round mechanism with a hole in the top. In order to have a super sharp point on the pencil for making crisp lines of those drawings of sheet metal patterns or three dimensional cubes, you would stick the pencil into the hole and swirl it around a few times. The top of the pointer was fastened with a small acorn shaped nut.

Mr. Teacher said he wanted the culprit to come forward and turn in the nut. Furthermore, he announced that if the nut were not turned in before class ended, the entire class would receive an after school detention to be served in his classroom, until the offender gave up or was ratted out. A room full of thirteen and fourteen year old boys, in those days, notwithstanding a few who would always cause trouble, didn't know anything other than to comply. But, how did any of us know whether the nut was on the device when we entered the room; or whether one of our pimple-faced classmate goons had, indeed, stolen the nut. Nevertheless, after the final bell of the day rang, we all showed up in Mr. Teacher's room for our corporate punishment.

I lived about six miles from the school and the district provided bus was important for me. The big yellow bus waited each day after school for about fifteen minutes, then left to take those diligent scholars who were conscious of time to their homes, saving them a long walk or a telephone call to an upset parent. And in those days, not many households had two or three cars. At five o'clock, Mr. Teacher, once more, threatened the entire class to produce the nut. I don't recall whether anyone 'fessed up, but Mr. Teacher released us shortly thereafter. However, I remember the phone call, the ride home and my father's response.

My father was at work at four each morning, so, by five o'clock each afternoon, he was home and had almost finished his first six-pack of Schlitz for the night. On the way home, I told him what had happened. I don't think he ever complained to the teacher or school. But the threats of the things he would do to that teacher, in today's environment, would earn him a sentence to prison for a decade or more.

Today, collective punishment in the classroom is a hot topic in some areas of the country. It is an attempt by school administrators to use peer pressure (of the whole group) to control a few, by punishing the entire group for the actions of a few.

A long story to say why I am not favorable to corporate, group, or collective punishment or whatever name punishment of an entire group for the actions of a few of that group is called. The issue at hand these days is how to protect our schools from shooters, and liberals in this country want to impose collective punishment. They want to repeal the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution-the one that guarantees all Americans the right to possess firearms- because a few in the population abuse that right. A February 2018 poll by the Economist/YouGov found that thirty-nine percent of Democrats support repeal of the Second Amendment. Liberals' answer is to repeal the Second Amendment, despite evidence that an overwhelming majority of firearm owners do not use their guns in an illegal manner.

In 1949, the Geneva Convention made collective punishment in war a crime.

While the absolute number is unknown, the website Statista reports that as of 2017, approximately forty-two percent of U.S. households have a firearm. On the other hand, some sources have reported in recent times that only three percent of Americans own the firearms in private ownership. If that is true, that means that only 9.8 million Americans own all the guns in private ownership. I don't buy that.

So far, in 2018, there have been twenty-three school shootings. Most of those were single person victims, some accidental or unintentional, most at colleges with three classified as mass shootings. If the reports are true that only 9.8 million Americans own firearms, that means .00000234693 percent of gun owners have used their guns for this evil action. If, say, 100 million Americans own firearms, then that percent goes to 0.00000023 or 2.3e-7 in scientific notation. If my math is not correct, the statistical insignificance of the numbers remains.

Let us suppose that we, the people, decide to repeal the Second Amendment. In that event, we would no longer allow any private individual to possess a firearm. Current owners of firearms would be given a period of time to turn in those guns to Big Brother. After the grace period expires, anyone in possession of a firearm would face some punishment.

We would then live in the Utopia of the liberal mind. No more guns-no more killing. Oh, those pesky deaths by automobiles, knives, hands, clubs, poison, and other mundane assault machines are just a part of living. Of course, the autocides will slowly subside as we move to robotic, self-driving cars.

That's all great. But, what if a criminal who doesn't live according to the rules of society obtains a gun from Mexico, or some other underground source, then shows up at a busy shopping mall on a Saturday afternoon, or at a school on a Monday morning, and unloads his illegally obtained gun on innocent people? Having taken guns from millions of law abiding citizens to solve the problem, what, then, will the liberal solution be?

In 1920, the eighteenth amendment to the U.S. Constitution became effective. This amendment prohibited the manufacture, sale, import or export of alcoholic beverages in the U.S. This was an attempt by certain people via the government, to control, or punish, all Americans, by prohibiting them from responsible use of alcohol, because a minority of Americans abused alcohol. There followed a period of lawlessness across the country as gangsters provided an underground, illegal network for the supply of Americans' desire for alcoholic beverages. The rise in organized crime gangs was fueled during this period. The eighteenth amendment was repealed thirteen years later, in 1933.

It was called a "noble experiment." It was a failed experiment in the power of the government to control people's actions, and some say, morality.

Many smart people have made the following comment, or something similar, "Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

What we know that liberals have learned from history is that they haven't learned anything from history. Liberals continue to offer failed ideas by which we will be doomed.

© Jim Terry


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

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Jim Terry

Jim Terry has worked in Republican grassroots politics for 40 years. Terry was an administrative assistant to a Republican elected official in Dallas for twenty years. In 1996, he ran for and was elected to Justice Court 2 in Dallas County where he served eight years. Contact Jim at tr4guy62@yahoo.com


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