In a farewell speech as Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan decided to boo-hoo-hoo about gun violence in America. He wants gun control now, now, now.
Sixteen thousand. In my first six years as secretary of education, that's the number of young people who were killed across our country. That's an average of seven a day. That's a devastating loss.Well, 16,000 young people in 7 years in a nation of 320 million is far less than the people under 18 we lose to suicide, or car accidents, but gun violence can be reduced. We have to be smart about it.
While there are homicides of teens across America, most of the perpetrators and the victims are black males who live in the ghetto. That is where we should concentrate our efforts.
Gun control is a proven mistake. We have had gun control since 1968 (although federal laws date back to 1934, the 1968 law was the biggy). A Democratic Congress and a Democratic president enacted the law after the assassinations of JFK and Martin Luther King. Both were shot by rifles. The law had little effect on rifles. Democrats went after handguns. The result was disastrous. The homicide rate rose from 6.2 homicides per 100,000 Americans in 1967 (the last full year before the law was enacted) to 10.2 by 1980. It dropped slightly but stayed above the pre-gun control rate for 30 years, falling only after states eased restrictions on concealed weapons permits (Vermont never required a permit).
The government can use schools to reduce gun violence by concentrating on schools where young black males kill other young black males. We already dole out extra money for reading teachers under Title I to these schools, and have for 40 years. OK, the reading scores are worse but that is because they do not attack the real problem. It is not that these kids are stupid, it is that they are undisciplined. Most have no father or any other positive male role model in their life. And yes, that happens to white kids too (I was one) and it sucks too. Race is not the issue. Lack of discipline is.
Schools need to be run by principals who will instill pride and discipline. That means principals should be given free rein to run the schools, and teachers should be given free rein to run the classrooms.
Sadly, we now give free rein to the children.
By discipline, I do not necessarily mean paddling them. A drop in octave and volume in one's voice has a menacing way of getting a message across. But I do not necessarily mean we shouldn't paddle them.
We should let boys be boys. Recess should be monitored but with the knowledge that boys do stupid stuff. Boys also should be taught to respect their elders and to respect girls. Foul language should be met with a soap bar in the mouth.
What we should give boys in ghetto schools is a safe place called school. They need to teach them at an early age that actions have consequences. It is cheaper than prisons, as the saying goes.
They also need to learn that someone cares about them.
But of course, the Brainiacs in government are going in the opposite direction, pushing to end the racial disparity between black kids who get disciplined at school and white kids. I think Duncan and the others know what they are doing by undermining discipline. Frankly, the Democratic Party must somehow benefit from ghetto violence because every city they run seems to have a Third World-level homicide rate.