Language Matters: Harden The Schools

Language Matters: Harden The Schools

Language Matters: Harden The Schools

Ivy League linguists who pen opinion columns for The New York Times are so, so clever in their language. At least, they would like their readership to be impressed with their wordsmithing, especially when it comes to hot-button social issues, like guns.

I mean, no one in a mature society wants armed guards, or hardened security, nor should they need these things. In fact, 27 Democrats, in a very “mature” decision, voted against Supreme Court Justices having protection after threats to their lives. Kavanaugh does not deserve protection, they say. Why, on earth, would they care about your kids at school?

Still, discussing extra security and “hardening” is such harsh language. No one knows language more than a linguist from Columbi-uhh. John McWhorter penned some prose for The New York Times yesterday. His thoughts? “Republicans want to ‘Harden’ Schools. That’s an Awful Euphemism.”

An awful euphemism, says McWhorter. The language is absolutely triggering to this linguist, to say the least.

I must admit that, as the armchair sort that I am, I hadn’t heard the term ‘hardening’ in relation to school security until lately, in the wake of our current spate of mass shootings. But now we are hearing earnest officials urging that we ‘harden’ schools against attackers by, for example, requiring single points of entry to school facilities; locking all other doors; placing more guards on school grounds, drawn from the ranks of former service members; and training teachers to carry and use firearms while on campus.”-John McWhorter

McWhorter goes on to cite Ted Cruz’s NRA speech a few days after the Uvalde shooting and educates readers on the definition of “hardening” being short for “target hardening” used by the military, police forces and security forces to refer to strategies used to protect potentially vulnerable targets from attack. He says this language is “off-putting”. He is rankled, actually. Why? Because “hardening” is being used with regard to discourse on “temples of learning” and “the children”. And (GASP!) what has this world come to? The math teacher and music teacher being ready to lock and load armed with…wait for it…(shudder)…guns!

The horror. They are the smart people. To relegate them to some dumb, gun-toting, ‘Mericans in ‘Merica is demeaning! Those Republicans like Ted Cruz and Mike DeWine want to arm teachers! They’re educators, for Chrissake. Not glorified security guards.

‘Hardening’ schools isn’t a metaphorical extension of target hardening but a direct usage of it, where we contemplate a strategy for repelling violence at schools, as opposed to city halls or train stations, as if this were an ordinary development in a mature society.”-John McWhorter

A mature society? How about a society that has degenerated over time? This armchair linguist is pretending to understand and dissect language with incessant editorial psycho-babble? Maturity comes in knowing the facts and accepting them. Fact: 21 people died in Uvalde, Texas the day some nutcase walked onto the school campus of Robb Elementary, into its open doors and shot innocent adults and children. This guy wants to talk about how the language of “hardening” schools is upsetting to him and “awfully sad”? These are some of the same schools that placed arrows on their floors so that students would travel in one direction to not spread the COVID. Again, these are the smart people.

And now, the smart people want to talk to us about language? If we sift through this, McWhotrer claims the word “hardening” is a euphemism for the more militaristic “target hardening” and this is abhorrent, to say the least. The fact that the right, The Republicans, would be using euphemisms when our precious, precious children are involved to hide a more sinister agenda is simply dreadful! (Cough.)

Let us take a look at these euphemisms from the left-tipping scale, if we dare. Social-Emotional Learning. “Diversity and Inclusion”. Say what you all really mean. Critical Race Theory. Pride Month. It’s not okay to have teachers packing heat or single points of entry or bollards or security guards at schools but it certainly is just fine-and-dandy to sign-in a drag queen to read a story to a Kindergarten class or shame the little white boy for being….well, white and, of course, decidedly, “all boy”? All of this happens inside of the doors that are bannered with, “Spread Kindness Like Confetti, This is a Gun-Free Zone”.

To be completely honest, I am done with the euphemisms. As a parent, I am done with tiptoeing and dancing around things. I am tired of walking on eggshells. When the language of “common sense gun control” is brought to the forefront in the same breath as “school shootings”, I see the Democrats for who they really are. Utterly useless and having no desire to do anything to protect our most innocent Americans. They, and their supporters, are using these innocent children to drive a deeper, more sinister agenda. So, forgive me, Oh Armchair, Ivy League Linguist who is triggered and has a “sad” about the word “hardening” used in the same breath as the magical havens of learning known as our “schools”. Our lack of “hardening” has made us soft. Hard criminals sense this. They know this. It is a weakness that is exploited for all to see. Twenty-one people dead-most of them children-is not a good look. And yes, language does matter, which is why we need to harden our schools. Harden security. Harden academics. Harden consequences. Harden the truth and become rooted in reality. Ask the hard questions. There, I said it. Hard. Harder. Hardest. Hardened AF. And no, I will not mince words or temper my language. A generation depends on it. This pistol-packing mama will not lay her pistol down.

Photo Credit: Annekingsley/Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Wikimedia Commons

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7 Comments
  • […] post Language Matters: Harden The Schools appeared first on Victory Girls […]

  • Scott says:

    Seems the linguist done pissed off a momma bear.. don’t think it will end well for him..

    Good on ya Lisa, and spot on!

  • GWB says:

    I also do not like “hardening” in the sense it is normally used – precisely because it represents a fortress mindset, and I think that is a bad thing for our children and for society in general. Locking yourself inside a fortress is a defeatist attitude that causes everyone to live in fear. (But, this guy’s approach and reasoning is dumb.)

    I do believe in “common sense” measures like single-point-of-entry (to some extent) and lockable classroom doors. But mostly I think the right answers are cultural (we need morals and punishment instead of therapy for rules-breaking) and self-defense. Harden the individuals, not the school. This helps create a culture of self-reliance and self-responsibility.

    Here is what I consider “common sense” gun control:
    1. 4 Basic Rules (Bang [always loaded], Booger-hook, Backstop, Only what you want to destroy)
    2. Don’t let children access your weapons without proper supervision
    3. Squeeze, don’t jerk, the trigger
    4. Good sight picture
    5. If you’re carrying, be in at least Condition Yellow

    • Hate_me says:

      I’m not sure if there’s a better term than “hardening” or “target hardening” in this case. It’s part of the professional security vernacular. We could play the semantics game and call it “threat mitigation” or “protective redundancy” to avoid that fortress mentality – but that’s quite the tangent.

      While I don’t agree with any kind of qualification in order to exercise the right to bear arms, I do support requiring those teachers who choose to carry in the classroom undergo rigorous qualification prior to doing so (same for any SRO or veteran guards).

      Common sense gun control, in addition to the basics you name, should include access to firearm (as well as knife, bat, etc.) education in grade school.

      Do the Boy Scouts still offer the Rifle merit badge?

      • GWB says:

        I’m more concerned with the mentality developed based on doing the things generally included in “hardening”, no matter what euphemism is used. I don’t want teachers and kids thinking they have to brave the fearsome outside world going from their safe home to their safe school. I want them thinking in terms of the world itself being generally safe for them – because they can take care of themselves. I would rather they have a sheepdog mentality than one of sheep.

        I concur on the training aspect. The Boy Scouts do still offer Rifle and Shotgun merit badges, but often in a very limited context of summer camp and age requirements.

  • M. Anderson says:

    Yes, let us say what we mean and what YOU mean by “harden the schools” is to sell more guns by arming teachers. The gun industry and its supporters want those contracts with school districts but if that doesn’t happen right away, at least some individual teachers will buy some guns = more sales.

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