The Pulse of Liberty’s Health
by John McIntosh
On Wednesday, March 11, I sat through the Ann Arbor School Board meeting because they were scheduled to discuss the issue of guns in the schools. What I heard coming from the school board, as well as from the attendees, was very telling. While every baseless, emotional, over-reactive argument I expected was there, that was not what was surprising to me.
The meeting started with the board president, Ms. Mexicotte, reading a prepared statement. What followed, along with many of the public comments, demonstrated to me an attitude filled with prejudice and bigoted hatred towards a group of people based on assumptions, appearance, speculation, distortions, and lies.
This is the non-discrimination policy published on the school district’s website.
Statement of Non-Discrimination
No person shall be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination in any educational program or activity available in any school on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, creed, political belief, age, national origin, linguistic and language differences, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, socioeconomic status, height, weight, marital or familial status, disability or veteran status.
Here are a few excerpts from the opening statement Ms. Mexicotte read:
“There are a number of other procedures we may consider when a person carrying a gun is on school property, and we have good examples from other districts to help us consider what is best for our community. We may control areas of the building in which visitors are allowed and under what circumstances we could delay any scheduled events or lockdown our facilities pending resolution of licensure by law enforcement, or we could cancel events and evacuate when a firearm is present on the grounds.”
“...This feels different to us because of the emotional wallop the gun right issue packs, and the take-no-prisoners tone of our current political discourse. This makes us all just a little bit crazier, myself included, because it is a safety issue to many of us that could take our children from us in the blink of an eye (and has over and over in Aurora and Sandy Hook and elsewhere) and a rights issue for those who would never see themselves as anything but a protector of the community and a law-abiding citizen.”
“...people with guns often kill people, and can do so with a speed and lethalness that many other weapons do not possess.“
As you can see, she makes several highly prejudicial comparisons of guns, gun owners, and crime, clearly attempting to attach a stigma to anyone who would choose to exercise a Constitutional right to carry a defensive firearm. She goes so far as to suggest segregation of those carrying a firearm to certain areas of school activity, routinely calling police to verify, and suggests people with guns often kill people.
Moving on to the public comments at the meeting, the board did nothing as we were routinely referred to as “those people,” told that guns have no place in a modern society, and that guns are not socially acceptable. One speaker even equated a law abiding person carrying a firearm to a dog running loose at a park terrorizing people. We were told by those commenting that our rights didn’t matter, and that we were not welcome in “their” school. We were accused of trying to attract attention to ourselves and terrorizing children, and that we were only law abiding because we hadn’t yet become a criminal.
As a free people our rights are guaranteed in our founding documents—the right to freedom of speech, the right to practice the religion of our choosing, the right to a free press, and the right to bear arms, among many others. We as a society do not tolerate racist behavior or discriminatory treatment of or actions toward others.
I could not help but think of the cries of racism and discrimination that would result if the words ‘guns’ or ‘gun owners’ were replaced with any ethnic, religious, or other minority group, but when those attacks were aimed at a minority of law abiding citizens and constituents who choose to exercise their unalienable right of personal protection and to bear arms, the silence was deafening.
For simply exercising our unalienable right to personal protection, by carrying a defensive firearm within the legal requirements set forth by the state of Michigan, we were outcasts in the eyes of these elected officials. We were ordered by law enforcement to show our CPLs in order to be admitted into the building if we were carrying. No others in attendance were asked for ID.
Clearly Ann Arbor is not the tolerant, accepting community they claim to be. It’s okay to discriminate and belittle someone exercising their unalienable right to bear arms. We were the only ones forced to “show our papers,” and to be called names, heckled, and interrupted.
For an elected official to say that they would actively seek a way to undermine our rights, knowing that would be in conflict with state law, is appalling to me.
If this is the pulse of liberty’s health, we are in deep, deep trouble as a nation going forward.