Alan Rhodes

April Fools

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

I refrained from my usual April Fools’ Day pranks this past Sunday because it was also Easter and practical jokes seemed irreverent. Not that I’m opposed to irreverence, but some people are touchy about whistles going off in their exhaust pipes while they are driving to sunrise services. I hate to see a day normally devoted to foolishness go by unrecognized, so instead of celebrating April Fools’ Day this year, I’ll just use this April column to highlight foolishness, fools, damn fools and damn fool ideas.

Topping my list of damn fool ideas is the cockamamie suggestion that in response to school shootings we should arm teachers. In tense, volatile situations, even trained, experienced police officers occasionally shoot unarmed people and innocent bystanders, so why would we assume that armed teachers will react coolly in a blurry, chaotic situation. Here’s what’s more likely to happen. Track coach Hogan hears gunshots inside building C. Drawing his gun, he rushes in, spots the shooter and fires. Unfortunately he has mistakenly shot and wounded Mr. Johnson, a geometry teacher, who had pulled out his gun when he heard shots. Coming around the corner with her gun is Ms. Montez, the chemistry teacher. She sees Mr. Johnson bleeding on the floor, looks up and quickly fires at the shooter before realizing it’s Coach Hogan. He ducks, and she accidentally wounds a student behind him. At this point everyone realizes that the shots are actually coming from building D. Who knows what mishaps might be transpiring elsewhere on campus?

I’m not trying to make light of this serious topic, but it’s not a good idea to send armed, minimally-trained people into confusing, lethal environments. Practicing on the local shooting range while wearing ear protection is a long way from what you’d encounter if the real thing erupted around you. Accidental shootings are commonplace in the United States, and most of them don’t occur under the high-stress conditions of a school shooting. Full disclosure: I taught high school for many years. I would not have felt safer knowing some of my colleagues were armed. As a matter of fact, if the principal had asked for volunteers to carry guns on campus, I can guess who these volunteers would have been. Trust me, you would not want this band of testosterone-fueled hotheads packin’.

By the way, did you read the recent Associated Press story about a California high school teacher whose gun went off accidentally in his classroom, injuring three students? This guy was a reserve police officer and even he screwed up. I rest my case.

While we’re on the subject of guns and foolishness, we should take note of that shameful legislative duo from Whatcom County’s 42nd District, Representatives Vincent Buys and Luanne Van Werven. Recently Governor Inslee signed into law SB4992, banning bump stocks in Washington. Not surprisingly, Buys and Van Werven voted against the ban. It’s pretty hard to justify bump stocks or make a reasonable Second Amendment argument for them since they aren’t actually “arms,” but are accessories that turn a legal weapon into a machine gun. So if these two are not protecting the Second Amendment, what are they protecting? Could it possibly be support and high ratings from the NRA in the conservative 42nd District? This heedless pair do some foolish things to society at large, but when it comes to watching out for number one, they aren’t fools.

Do you suppose that by this time next year Congress will have enacted any meaningful gun legislation, including a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines? Don’t get your hopes up. But let’s end on an optimistic note. Hundreds of thousands of kids across the country are in the streets these days demanding their right not to be killed at school. I joined the 3,000 people who marched here in downtown Bellingham recently, and talked with many of the kids who were there. I don’t have space to include all their comments, but I was very impressed by the youngest person I spoke with, 11-year-old Zack Lyne from Whatcom Middle School. When I asked him why he was there, he answered, “To be part of the change that’s going to happen, and to bring lawmakers to their senses. They look away as children die.”

These kids will be voting soon and the young people I talked to seemed a lot smarter than many of the damn fool politicians their parents’ generation has put in office. I’ll pin my hopes on the kids.

Past Columns
The Lilliputian Gazette

November 20, 2019

Election Elucidations

October 15, 2019

Buying Sedro-Woolley

September 4, 2019

Rescued by Rachmaninoff

July 17, 2019

Hurrahs and Harangues

May 8, 2019

Ranting and Raving

March 6, 2019

Bellingham 2050

February 13, 2019

Looking Backward

January 2, 2019

Joy to the World

December 19, 2018

A Second Spring

October 3, 2018

Dog Days Deliberations

September 12, 2018

Mr. Cranky’s Files

July 11, 2018

Can We Talk?

June 20, 2018

Midnight Musings

May 16, 2018

Rollo and Me

March 7, 2018

Egregious linguistic offenses

February 14, 2018

Events
Today
Holiday Pet Food Drive

10:00am|Whatcom County

Deck the Old City Hall

12:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Giving Tree

9:00am|Village Books

Holiday Festival of the Arts

10:00am

The Naughty List Market and Cabaret

2:00pm|Broadway Hall

Miracle Pop-Up Holiday Cocktail Bar

4:00pm|Swim Club

Treasure Island

7:00pm|Sehome High School Theater

Shrek the Musical

7:00pm|Burlington-Edison High School

Crazy for You

7:30pm|Bellingham Theatre Guild

A Christmas Carol

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Number the Stars

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Wild Things

9:30am|Connelly Creek Nature Area

Toys for Tots

10:00am

Pacific Arts Market

10:00am| Sunset Square

Holiday Tea

11:00am|Willowbrook Manor

Holiday Craft Bazaar

3:30pm|Lynden Library

Drayton Harbor Shellebration

4:00pm|G Street Plaza

Gingerbread House Making

4:30pm|Ferndale Library

Christmas on the Docks

5:00pm|Cap Sante Marina

Photos and Stories with James K. Papp

5:00pm|Gallery Pegasus

Wonderland Walk

5:00pm|Washington Park

Valley Made Holiday Market

5:00pm|Maplehurst Farm

Kids Night Out @ Western

6:00pm|Western Washington University

Lost Feast

7:00pm|Village Books

Honk! The Musical

7:00pm|Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth

Darkness and Light

7:30pm|St. James Presbyterian Church

Narnia the Musical

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Christmastime is Here with Skagit Symphony

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

Tarnation and Holiday Games

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

Tomorrow
Holiday Pet Food Drive

10:00am|Whatcom County

Deck the Old City Hall

12:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Giving Tree

9:00am|Village Books

Holiday Festival of the Arts

10:00am

Miracle Pop-Up Holiday Cocktail Bar

4:00pm|Swim Club

Shrek the Musical

7:00pm|Burlington-Edison High School

Treasure Island

7:00pm|Sehome High School Theater

Number the Stars

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

A Christmas Carol

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Crazy for You

7:30pm|Bellingham Theatre Guild

Pacific Arts Market

10:00am| Sunset Square

Toys for Tots

10:00am

Holiday Tea

11:00am|Willowbrook Manor

Christmas on the Docks

5:00pm|Cap Sante Marina

Wonderland Walk

5:00pm|Washington Park

Valley Made Holiday Market

5:00pm|Maplehurst Farm

Honk! The Musical

7:00pm|Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth

Tarnation and Holiday Games

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

Darkness and Light

7:30pm|St. James Presbyterian Church

Narnia the Musical

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

NSEA Work Party

9:00am

Breakfast with Santa

9:00am|Sedro-Woolley Community Center

Winter Faire

10:00am|Whatcom Hills Waldorf School

Winter Arts & Crafts Festival

10:00am|Pioneer Park Pavilion

Old-Fashioned Christmas Market

10:00am|Friday Harbor Brickworks

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am|Depot Market Square

Fairhaven Winterfest

10:00am|Historic Fairhaven

Sumas Book Club

10:00am|Sumas Library

Mastering Wisteria

10:30am|Full Bloom Farm

Award-Winning Book Club

10:30am|Lynden Library

Snow Geese of Skagit

10:30am|Christianson's Nursery

Your Life is a Story Writers Group

10:30am| South Whatcom Library

Saltadena Celebration

11:00am|Saltadena Bakery

Winter Wonderland Gift Gala

11:00am|Carnation Building

Holiday Craft Bazaars

11:30am

Holiday Maker's Market

12:00pm|Terramar Brewing and Distilling

Holiday Joy with Fidalgo Youth Symphony

1:00pm|McIntyre Hall

Holiday Tea and Crafts

1:00pm|North Fork Library

Festive Feasting Reception

1:00pm|Good Earth Pottery

Teen Art Fair

2:00pm|Blaine Library

Big Holiday reds tasting

2:00pm|eifert & Jones Wine Merchants

Shrinking the Worry Monster

2:00pm|Village Books

Birding for Kids

2:30pm

Bowman Bay Holiday

3:00pm|Bowman Bay

Noel Ensemble

3:00pm|Jansen Art Center

A Deep Dive Into Eve Deisher's Psyche

3:00pm|Museum of Northwest Art

One Meditation

4:00pm| Boulevard Park

The Nativity

6:30pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Early Railroads of Whatcom County

7:00pm|Village Books

Contra Dance

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Center Into Solstice

7:00pm|Cafe Blue

Holiday History Hi-Jinks

7:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Winter Solstice Concert with SeaMuse

7:30pm|Firehouse Arts and Events Center

Cidertails with Alexine Langdon

7:30pm|housand Acre Cider House

Heralding Christmas with Skagit Valley Chorale

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

The Kelley World Tour

7:30pm|Lummi Island Library

Sunday
Holiday Pet Food Drive

10:00am|Whatcom County

Deck the Old City Hall

12:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Giving Tree

9:00am|Village Books

Holiday Festival of the Arts

10:00am

Miracle Pop-Up Holiday Cocktail Bar

4:00pm|Swim Club

Number the Stars

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Crazy for You

7:30pm|Bellingham Theatre Guild

Pacific Arts Market

10:00am| Sunset Square

Christmas on the Docks

5:00pm|Cap Sante Marina

Valley Made Holiday Market

5:00pm|Maplehurst Farm

Honk! The Musical

7:00pm|Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth

Narnia the Musical

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Winter Wonderland Gift Gala

11:00am|Carnation Building

The Nativity

6:30pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Heralding Christmas with Skagit Valley Chorale

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

Sedro-Woolley Community Breakfast

8:00am|American Legion Post #43

Langar in Lynden

11:00am| Guru Nanak Gursikh Gurdwara

Celtic Yuletide

3:00pm|Lincoln Theatre

Scarlett and Dicey

4:00pm|Village Books

Vaudevillingham

7:00pm|Cirque Lab

see our complete calendar »