Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Freaking Idiot Threat

I recently cautioned my daughter about joking about taking a baking soda and vinegar rocket to school and firing at someone. Don't say that in school because idiots could interpret it as threatening and you could get in trouble. I said don't make jokes like that in school or airports these days. I know it seems silly, I said, but it is true. Lamb was dumbfounded. How in the world could her joke be taken seriously?

Well, this is how:

A 5-year-old Pennsylvania girl who told another girl she was going to shoot her with a pink toy gun that blows soapy bubbles has been suspended from kindergarten. ...

Attorney Robin Ficker says Mount Carmel Area School District officials labeled the girl a "terrorist threat" for the bubble gun remark, made Jan. 10 as both girls waited for a school bus.

And no, coming just after the Newtown shooting doesn't excuse it. Indeed, it demonstrates why I don't trust people who insist they can solve the problem with more laws to control guns. I wonder if the bubble gun falls under the assault weapon ban? Does it fire more than 7 bubbles? Seriously, if this is worrisome what isn't worrisome?

Whatever school official suspended that girl should be fired. And whoever didn't squelch that suspension when the paperwork crossed their desk should be fired.

I'm normally not inclined to reach for the firing solution. But since those who defend the girl's suspension are likely to say that they need to send a message that guns are bad by punishing a girl who doesn't even understand the concept of murder--with a toy that is not a weapon--I think we need to send a message to all school employees that stupidity and bureaucratic rigidity are bad--even if so-called adults don't understand that concept.

This is the weapon that led school officials to wet their pants over the terrorist threat the girl represented:

To be fair, it does fire a bubble every time you pull the trigger, earning the frightening characteristic of being "semi-automatic." I mean really, why can't our kids just use the old style dipping bubble blower that really reduces the rate of bubble?

I hate to admit it, but I could pull out from my closet a Gatling-type bubble blower that is simply awesome. Hopefully no reporter puts my name and address on a published database.

Freaking idiots. Freaking idiots have petty authority over too many aspects of our lives.

UPDATE: It isn't just school officials who are freaking idiots. Check this out from the files of "Are You Freaking Kidding Me?"

The world is beset by terrorists — witness the American hostages taken in Algeria this week — but portions of our federal government continue to obsess about alleged home-grown threats from the “far right.”

The Combating Terrorism Center, which is based at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, has issued a new report on its website entitled

“Challengers from the Sidelines: Understanding America’s Violent Far-Right.”

Normally, the center’s activities are focused on al-Qaeda and other violent Islamic groups seeking to topple governments around the world. But the latest report looks inside America itself, and if the center is to be judged by the quality of its analysis in this report, it might be wise for all of us to be skeptical of its other work. The Center’s report lumps together entirely legitimate tea-party-style activists with three groups it says represent “a racist/white supremacy movement, an anti-federalist movement and a fundamentalist movement.” Together all these forces are said to have engaged in 350 “attacks initiated by far-right groups/individuals” in 2011, although the report never specifies what makes an attack a “far right” action.

The report’s author is Arie Perliger, who directs the Center’s terrorism studies and teaches social sciences at West Point. I can only imagine what his classes are like as his report manages to lump together every known liberal stereotype about conservatives between its covers.

The left has a tendency to take a mocking tone about the whole idea of a war on Islamist terrorism, suggesting those who want to fight it are easily frightened. Yet they are the ones getting their panties in a twist over bubble guns and people suspicious of the federal government's ever-expanding reach. Go figure.

In any case, they can take my bubble Gatling gun when they pry it from my cold, slippery fingers.

That's right. I have my thumb on the trigger. Not even safety crosses my mind. I could be biased, however, since I'm one of those dangerous types that attracts the attention of the federal agents.