May 2, 2013

Who stole America, redux

It was by all accounts an experiment gone wrong, though not desperately so.  It involved the mixing of household chemicals in a bottle.  Which I’m not terribly interested in other than to expose how the school and school board reacted.  “Zero Tolerance Watch: Teen Faces Felony Charges for Science Experiment“:

[…] No one was hurt. There’s no sign that Wilmot was up to something malevolent. The kid’s own principal thinks this wasn’t anything more than an experiment, and he says she didn’t try to cover up what she had done. What punishment do you think she received? A stern talking-to? A day or two of after-school detention? Maybe she’ll have to help clean up the lab for a week?

Nope. The budding chemist has been kicked out of school and charged with a couple of felonies:

Wilmot was arrested Monday morning and charged with possession/discharge of a weapon on school property and discharging a destructive device.

The teen was expelled and will now complete her education in an expulsion program.Miami New Times reports that Wilmot will be tried as an adult.

A statement from Polk County Schools says, “We urge our parents to join us in conveying the message that there are consequences to actions. We will not compromise the safety and security of our students and staff.” […]

— This brought to you by those caring educators who provide condom demonstrations on fruit and are instructed to hide your daughter’s abortion plans from you, should it come to that.

Let’s just put this bluntly: the current progressive educational mindset that promotes a risk-averse, politically-correct esteem curricula –one geared more toward protecting teachers and their employment than toward creating independent thinkers —  is an absolute pox on real intellectualism, curiosity, innovation, individualism, and experimentation.

— Unless, of course, one wishes to engage in bi-curiousness, in which case s/he’ll be applauded and, on a good day, get a Tweet from the First Lady.

We live in a culture in which actual intellectual pursuit is moribund; dogma is promoted and encouraged; and free speech and free thought have been bastardized to such a degree that they require cultural / government sanction, with “tolerance” having been refigured as “not giving offense.”

Not to beat yet again on how language and intentionalism plays into all this, but look at what’s at work here:  the student and the principal — hell, all parties involved — agree that there was no malicious intent.  No one was injured.  The student was forthcoming and cooperated with school administrators.  And she had been a model student.  Forever.

And yet the school and the school board are all pretending that they are hopelessly constrained by rules, as if those rules can exist without a human agency behind them, or a human agency available to interpret and implement them — as if the rules merely appeared one day in the sand, produced by the accidental scratchings of egret feet, and a cult was built up around them demanding that they be followed to the letter, with no room to consider the intent behind them.  Rendering all powerless forever more to defy the dictates of their found totem!

Were these rules produced and implemented to punish students who, with no malice, accidentally caused a disturbance — students who had never been in trouble and who were engaging in scientific experimentation — in a way that forces their expulsion?  Was this the intent behind them?

If so, the rules are surreal and need to be scrapped and their authors punished — or, if they have passed on, dug up and bitch slapped.   If not, then the school administrators’ decision to hide behind them to justify they’re overreaction and petty tyrannical impulses is merely disgusting and, of course, linguistically incoherent.

How you get there matters. 

Maybe one day people will figure this all out, and I can finally take a fucking nap.

Until then, here we go again.

(h/t Howie)

Posted by Jeff G. @ 12:49pm

Comments (50)

  1. Sometimes you’ll get to be one the grindstones, but most of the times you’ll be the grist.

    What you won’t get to be in the newer new brave new socialist utopia is human.

  2. A couple of “should have been felons” comment here.

  3. Americans are not a people what prize freedom very highly. They’re rather prone to piss on it, actually.

  4. Zero Tolerance = Zero Brains = No Responsibility = I Can’t Be Sued!

  5. mojo’s got it: the no-tolerance rules are there to save the bureaucrats from having to use any judgment at all. That way, there’s no ambiguity, no questions, no lawsuits.

    So if you don’t want to get expelled from school and charged with a felony for having an exploding device on campus, have the Russians and the Saudis inform the FBI that you’re a threat to world security, and you’ll be left in peace and tranquility.

  6. All risks need to be eliminated. Only then will we be free.

  7. I used to believe that the intent of the accused mattered when charging someone with a crime.

    That was a long time ago.

  8. How mens rea transmogrified into strict liability, I’ll never know, cranky.

  9. mojo’s got it: the no-tolerance rules are there to save the bureaucrats from having to use any judgment at all. That way, there’s no ambiguity, no questions, no lawsuits.

    Also no adults. And eventually, because there’s no agency, no humans. Just borg.

  10. Malice aforethought, or bad intent is not strictly a requirement to be charged with a crime. If you kill someone but didn’t mean to you should not be charged with murder but you may be charged with manslaughter, which is further broken down into voluntary and involuntary charges. There is an old dictum that ignorance of the law is no excuse. Difficult to prove mens rea if the offender didn’t even know it was a crime.

    And let’s not get started on how the contrapositive of morality implies legality, i.e., if its not illegal it’s not immoral, reached its zenith under Bill Clinton.

  11. I am reminded of what the character of Floyd Ferris said to Hank Reardon in Atlas Shrugged:

    There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kinds of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of lawbreakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now that’s the system, Mr. Rearden, that’s the game, and once you understand it, you’ll be much easier to deal with.

  12. That Ayn Rand was a kook!

  13. Sometimes even kooks get a thing or two right.

  14. I can see I’m not communicating my intent well. I think she was prescient, and if kooky, that is vastly outweighed by what she saw as the future.

  15. I knew what you meant, cranky.

  16. Maybe she can make use of the solely “defensive” experimental explanation? In which case, allowances can possibly be made:

    However, the report to Congress for the first time states Iran’s military doctrine is “defensive,” a significant shift reflecting the more soft line policy views toward the theocratic state held by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

  17. ‘I think she was prescient, and if kooky, that is vastly outweighed by what she saw as the future.”

    Well, if actually seeing it happen in Russia in her youth and then seeing the signs of it trying to happen here in her adulthood in the late 40’s and 50’s and wanting to make sure that people knew what was up can be called “prescience” rather than mere “recognition” and “illustration for the benefit of complacent LIV types who like adventure long stories”…okay.

  18. If only Ms. Rand had had an editor. Think of the wider audience she could have reached.

  19. Also creepy fucks like H.G Wells and Jack London had long since occupied that particular edutainment frontier so why shouldn’t she give it whirl to?

  20. I knew what he meant too, and the fact that she was prescient in this instance doesn’t change the fact that she was a kook.

    I’ll put it this way: just because she was wrong about everything else doesn’t mean she didn’t have Leftists nailed for what they were.

  21. I’m pretty sure that Jack London typed The Iron Heel with his dick.

  22. ” so why shouldn’t she give it whirl to? ” -> so why shouldn’t she give it a whirl too?


  23. I think I’ll quit anything but snark from now on.

  24. They’ve stolen America, but they’ll give it back after they’re through destroying it and have bled it dry.

  25. There. Much better.

  26. I think Ayn Rand was a very perceptive lady; she saw, as palaeomerus remarked, that what she had witnessed in the USSR was starting to happen here.

    Her grand mistake was to take her perceptions use them to construct an Ideology – a system of ideas devloped in the sterile laboratory of her mind, far away from the Real World.

    As time went on, she became, as all Ideologues do, a fanatic for her system and anyone who failed to accept it was deemed, in a sense, Evil.

    Sad, because she was possessed of a brilliant mind.

  27. ‘to take her perceptions and use them’ -apologies.

  28. If only Ms. Rand had had an editor.

    Alissa Rosenbaum would have benefitted from a a good editor. Ayn Rand, on the other hand, didn’t believe she needed one.

  29. I think I’ll quit anything but snark from now on.

    They’ve stolen America, but they’ll give it back after they’re through destroying it and have bled it dry.

    There. Much better.

    I’m just broadly saying that Rand is a bit more problematic for conservatives than she is for libertarians. Perhaps she’s not unlike Orwell that way, though I suspect Orwell’s socialism gives both conservatives and libertarians problems.

    Hope I didn’t rub your fur the wrong way cranky.

  30. – J Carney: “Nothing to see here folks…..move along….”

  31. I’d forgotten she had renamed herself. That’s usually an indicator that one is not one of us any longer.

  32. – O’bummer doesn’t want 11 year olds to have access to the morning after pill, 15 year olds he’s cool with, so the feminazis are going apeshit .

  33. One must have complete freedom to fuck without consequences. All other freedoms are subject to being taken away without notice.

  34. -“You see, when I’m doing the handouts and bloating the size of government or public Unions, its for the children, but when my opponents are doing it its bad.”

  35. did y’all see this today it’s kinda cool in a way

    “It’s disappointing and disgusting that she can pretty much look me in the eye and try to justify my mother’s murder and the murder of five other educators and the murders of 6- and 7-year-olds,” [self-righteous newtown cooze] Lafferty told Politico afterwards. “It’s disgusting.”

    No, what is disgusting is deliberately mischaracterizing someone’s position for the purpose of portraying that person as a willing accomplice to murder. That has been the left’s strategy since Newtown.*

    more please

  36. – Lessons in Progressive politics 101: “Its always an option to use any tactic necessary as long as you get what you want. For the children.”

  37. O’bummer doesn’t want 11 year olds to have access to the morning after pill, 15 year olds he’s cool with, so the feminazis are going apeshit.

    Well cool, since 15 year old girls * are now fully-formed, self-reliant sexual beings, able to make all their own decisions without their parents consent or knowlege, then I suppose we’ve also removed that whole pesky “statutory rape” thing. And it’s clearly no longer illegal if some precocious 16 year old wants to send out naked pictures of herself to old men and/or the internet at large. Her body, her choices, obviously.

    I mean, any other situation would be inconsistent, and wouldn’t make a lick of sense.

    Awesome. Time to make like Booger and cruise the high schools all day. In theory, if not practice.

    * Boys as well, presumably, if that’s your bag.

  38. You will never see consistency from the left, so no dice on the cruising for the underage chickies.

  39. Pingback: Zero Tolerance Criminalizing Normal Boneheaded Teenage Behavior | The Pink Flamingo

  40. Are the 15 year old girls required to have a valid ID?

  41. Related- tales from the front.

    My high school senior was assigned to read “The Five People You Meet in HEaven” in his lit class (they spent agonizing weeks on it, reading it at a snail’s pace), but then for “Frankenstein” – they’re reading some passages, but relying on Spark’s Notes.

    Schools are useless.

  42. Pingback: ZION'S TRUMPET » Insanity Now Rules in American Society.

  43. “The law is very clear when a person knowingly and willingly brings a weapon onto educational property,” spokesperson Tracey Peedin Jones said. “The situation was turned over to law enforcement immediately.”

    “knowingly and willingly”?

    I got an idea, how about zero tolerance for knowingly and willingly allowing illiterate idiots to teach our kids?

  44. “Ah, Sextus. What news from the Barbaricum? All is well on the Ister, I presume,” asked the Emperor Valens.

  45. Pingback: The Spot-On Quote Of The Day… | The Camp Of The Saints

  46. Ugh, do these people even know how many chemical reactions can end up with smoke and/or explosions? ALL THE INTERESTING ONES!

    We blew up tonnes of stuff in Chemistry class and afterschool. It’s about the only thing that makes studying chemistry any fun.

    I’d figure she should play a race card/title X of some sort on this one. Why is the school administration so adamant to keep little black girls out STEM schools? Racist Patriarchy that’s why.

  47. Having 2 girls who fairly recently graduated high school, I can tell you horror stories that may or may not even include me asking teachers to meet me in a back alley. ( Muzzie stuff )

    I can relate one though and I think I sent Jeff the whole screed I wrote. Now, I’m not the most intelligent man, but I do know that when a woman is in labor, she cannot conceivably watch a friggin’ inauguration. (Coronation? ) Yet? When she went back to school, she was tasked to write a report and do an interview on it.

    Well? I went off. I wrote the school, the school board and the individual teacher. There were NO exceptions. So I did the damned thing myself, pissing off pretty much everybody.

    Made my heart warm.