Sheriff Joe and His Segal-Posses

I've intentionally refrained from writing about the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary here on the Radical. Stories about teachers sharing their final moments cradling dying children are just too heartbreaking to really wrap my head around. 

But as the "arm-'em-all" attitudes continue to break loose in legislatures around the country, I'm finding it harder and harder to stay silent. 

And like so many other moments in the past two decades, Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona — the same guy that dressed convicts in pink underpants, forced them to live in tent cities in the middle of the desert and bragged about feeding them green bologna — has elevated the lunacy to new levels.

You see, good ol' Joe is using Steven Segal — yes THAT Steven Segal –  to train "armed posses" to protect Phoenix area schools:

"The self-proclaimed "America's Toughest Sheriff" joined forces this
weekend with action movie star Steven Seagal to train volunteer armed
posse members to defend Phoenix-area schools against gunmen.

County Sheriff Joe Arpaio announced the controversial plan in the wake
of the Newtown, Conn., school shooting that left 27 people dead,
including the gunman and 20 first-graders.

The exercise took place
Saturday at a closed school site in suburban Fountain Hills, outside
Phoenix, where sheriff's SWAT members acted as shooters and teenagers
played the part of students during mock scenarios involving up to three

Makes you feel safer already, doesn't it? 

After all, what could POSSIBLY go wrong with a bunch of armed volunteers who trained with a washed-up movie star hanging around our buildings?

I think what bugs me the most about the trend in legislatures to find enough money to arm everyone even remotely connected to schools is that we've simultaneously spent the past two decades stripping our buildings of nurses, couselors, psychologists and social workers.

As Regan Mensch Brown explains in a recent letter to our local newspaper:

A nurse and counselor could have a far greater and more positive impact
on children’s lives, identifying physical, mental and emotional problems
that, if dealt with early in childhood, could change the future for the
better of so many children.

These healthier children would become more
successful adults, with less chance of mental and emotional illness –
the real root of our mass shooting.

Regan is right, y'all: The simple truth is that we've GOT to protect our students — but "protecting students" is going to depend on more than just our willingness to flood schools with pistol-toting practitioners or police officers. 

"Protecting students" means making just as many concerted efforts to address the social, mental and emotional health of both the kids in our classrooms and the people living in our communities.

Read more here:

2 thoughts on “Sheriff Joe and His Segal-Posses

  1. Bill Ferriter

    Louise wrote:
    The thing that is TRULY horrifying about Joe Arpaio is that he gets
    elected every time he runs. And hell get elected next time he runs,
    – – – – – – – –
    This is a good point, Louise — and I agree completely: The fact that Arpaio has been elected over and over again for the past 20 years is pretty darn frightening.
    People always get the government that they elect — I just wish more people paid enough attention to be able to identify the difference between sensible policy and extreme solutions. Thats what bothers me the most about America. Theres no middle ground anymore.
    Thanks for stopping by,

  2. Louise Dewar

    Hi Bill, I read your blog religiously and frequently forward it to colleagues of mine at school. And I don’t disagree with what you say here but I would add this: people get the government they choose a lot of the time. The thing that is TRULY horrifying about Joe Arpaio is that he gets elected every time he runs. And he’ll get elected next time he runs, too. In this instance, it’s not big, stupid government foisting these asinine solutions on the people; it’s the people actively choosing people to govern them who regularly provide asinine solutions. My only hope is that the good people of Maricopa County don’t end up sacrificing their children to their lunatic ideas of law and order.

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