MANSFIELD: Thoughts on a Couple of Issues


First off is the illogical gun debate. Is there any other issue in America — and indeed the world — where the proposed solution to the problem is more of the problem? Guns are the problem, but according to Trump and the NRA, the solution to the gun problem is — more guns. Wow, what a concept! What nonsense. But it makes a lot of sense to gun manufacturers since arming just 20 percent of American teachers would result in more than a billion dollars in new gun sales.

The argument Trump makes for putting armed teachers in classrooms to mow down the “bad dudes” is akin to believing in John Wayne, Dirty Harry or an armed Easter Bunny for that matter. It requires a mindboggling suspension of reality — but hey, how is this any different from other craziness that he spouts on a regular basis?

According to Concealed Carry University (CCU), an online information resource for private citizens who choose to carry a concealed handgun, “Statistically, 77 percent of shots fired in self-defense situations will miss their targets, even when fired by trained gun-handlers.” In a classroom setting where would those errant bullets go — into the body of a student?

And this is supposing that the armed teacher would stand and trade shots with a deranged shooter. In the Parkland shooting, a now-disgraced trained deputy sheriff, Scot Peterson — not a $15-per hour rent-a-cop mind you — took cover outside the classroom for four minutes until backup arrived. And while he’s now being reviled as a coward, do you really know what you would do in a similar situation? Really, what would a man like Trump do — someone who used every means at his disposal to dodge military service?

True, there always will be heroic teachers who willingly give their lives to protect their students, but they are damn few and far between. And the fact is, in virtually every situation so far, they have been reacting defensively by blocking students from harm with their own bodies. This is far different from acting offensively, actually running towards gunfire with a firearm blazing.

I’ve talked to a number of men who served in Vietnam and came under hostile fire. To a man they said that, despite their military training, the survival instinct usually kicked in and the desire to live overwhelmed everything else. Can we truly fault a teacher that wants to go home to his wife and children at the end of the day, and more importantly, is not willing to put his or her life on the line to protect the profits of the NRA and gun manufacturers? That’s what we would be asking them to die for: someone’s right to own a military-style assault weapon.


I’ve been researching and studying American slavery and the Civil War for a screenplay that I’ve been working on, and a thought has been crystallizing in my mind: That conflict really didn’t have to happen. Secession — more accurately treason — didn’t have to be engaged in if what Southerners really wanted was to maintain their way of life. They could have done so without going to war.

The lie the Confederacy told — and some of its latter-day adherents still tell — is that the war was fought over “states’ rights.” Yeah, a state’s right to continue slavery.

But the truth of the matter is this: Southern plantation owners could have still had their way even if they had agreed to give up slavery. Here’s why: The Northern abolitionists only wanted an end to slavery; they really did not want a horde of destitute, untrained and largely unskilled black workers dumped on their doorstep. As history — and the failure of Reconstruction — has proven, they had no problem with blacks being held in a form of serfdom known as “sharecropping.”

Plantation owners could have agreed to free their slaves and pay them. In that way, instead of giving them food and clothing, they would then charge the freed slaves the same amount as their pay, thus making it a zero sum outcome transaction at the end of the year, with the planters being just as wealthy as they were before.

Why didn’t they do this? Because it wasn’t just about dollars and cents, it was about controlling other human beings — about being a master race. That’s all it ever was about. And for some, it still is.

From CoolCleveland correspondent Mansfield B. Frazier Frazier’s From Behind The Wall: Commentary on Crime, Punishment, Race and the Underclass by a Prison Inmate is available in hardback. Snag your copy and have it signed by the author at http://NeighborhoodSolutionsInc.

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