Where is the Republican budget plan?

I was in Canada when I read that the Buncombe County Public Schools (our local district) had been awarded $1.7 million for security upgrades. “Security,” we all know by now, means preventing intruders from killing our children and their teachers. 

There are 3,143 counties in the United States. Granted, many have fewer school buildings than Buncombe County. So to make my point I’ll estimate a much lower price tag for making schools secure: $1 million per county. Nationwide, that amounts to $3,143,000,000. That’s three BILLION! This does not include buying firearms for teachers and staff, training them to use the weapons, or placing secure gun storage in each classroom.

In Canada it is not illegal to own a gun, but the country has strict gun laws. In May, 2022, Justin Trudeau issued a statement: “(T)wo years ago we banned over 1,500 types of military-style assault firearms. We also strengthened our gun control laws to expand background checks and keep firearms out of the wrong hands. These measures are helping to keep our children and communities safe” https://pm.gc.ca/en/news/news-releases/2022/05/30/further-strengthening-our-gun-control-laws.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., Republicans have resisted gun legislation. In the House, the Protecting Our Kids Act passed 223 to 204, with only five Republicans voting in favor. In June the House passed H.R.127 by a 234-193 vote. Only 14 Republicans joined the Democratic majority. The bill raises the purchase age of firearms, bans high-capacity magazines, and expands background checks.

Assuming that building-security measures are not going to prevent all school shootings (or shootings in malls, grocery stores, synagogues, or along parade routes), we will continue to have the expenses of medical emergencies, PTSD counseling, and funerals. And if shootings can be blamed on troubled young men, we need to come up with funds for identifying them and paying their mental-health expenses.

Republicans, while they claim to favor lower taxes, say nothing about what their obstinance costs American communities in dollars. 

Not to mention lives and trauma.


List of Republicans who voted against the Protecting Our Kids Act: https://www.newsweek.com/full-list-house-republicans-who-voted-against-gun-control-1714108

Nancy Werking Poling is author of While Earth Still Speaks (a novel) and Before It Was Legal: a black-white marriage (1945-1987), non-fiction.

Doin’ my part, Mr. Trump

Dear President Trump,

This is to let you know that I have been earnestly following your directive regarding mentally disturbed people. In response to your recent tweet, I have reported “such instances [of mental disturbance] to authorities again and again.”

Here is a list of my efforts so far:

2/15—called police about a man who followed me too closely on I-40 then gave me the finger as he passed. White male, youngish, driving a Toyota. Here is his license number: [redacted].

2/15—called police about man behind me in the Ingles check-out line. While the cashier sent another employee for a price check on my cilantro, the man cursed over having to wait to buy a case of beer. He appeared to be about thirty years old, had sandy blond hair, stood about five feet eight, and wore a camouflaged jacket. I could identify him in a lineup.

2/16—called police about my neighbor, who I’m sure is a homosexual. His name is Martin. He lives at [redacted]. They’re mentally disturbed too, according to my pastor. He could be dangerous. Not my pastor, but the homosexual.

2/16—called police about my roommate’s boyfriend, Josh. (I don’t know his last name.) Last night he kicked her dog and cursed, a sign I’ve read that predicts more violent behavior. Josh has dark hair, is about six feet tall, and drives a black Corvette.

2/17—called police about my co-worker deliberately dropping a heavy box on my hand. I now have a splint on my middle finger. He’s named Tim. (I don’t know his last name either.) He has a long scar on his left cheek and wears his brown hair in a crew-cut. I think he’s on drugs.

2/17—called police when I heard the man next door call his wife a f-ing bitch. He yells at her a lot, and I once saw that she had a black eye. He lives at [redacted].

2/17—called police about my roommate’s boyfriend again. He’s got a gun. I’ve seen it.

2/18—called police about my father’s mental instability. He’s been depressed since losing his job and spends his days watching FOX News.

So you see, Mr. President, I’m doing my part to prevent another mass shooting. Thank you for your thoughtful advice.


P.S. Did I mention that all of these men are white?

Nancy Werking Poling is author of Before It Was Legal: a black-white marriage (1945-1987); Had Eve come First and Jonah Been a Woman; and Out of the Pumpkin Shell.