Florida: The Magical Thinking Kingdom

August 18, 2020

Most of us are familiar with the Magic Kingdom in Orlando. I’m here to write about the Mickey Mouse regime in Tallahassee.

Late in July, the Florida Department of Education sent a letter to Duval County Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene denying the district’s request to suspend active shooter drills during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It seems the regular practice of piling into closets together to avoid armed madmen doesn’t contemplate the airborne contagion of the Coronavirus.

For those of you who don’t live in Florida’s realm of Magical Thinking, you might not know how the current legislature was, in great part, hand-raised by National Rifle Association lobbyist Marion Hammer. You also might not be familiar with our state’s response to the tragic Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, which occurred February 14, 2018 in Parkland.

Florida was not going to lead with sensible gun laws. No Sirree, Bob. Not the Gunshine State.

Picture assiduous shills carefully lifting their thoughts off of NRA stationery before formulating the bills authorizing these two gems: underpaid and undertrained yet armed school “guardians,” and active shooter drills.

Florida’s kindergarteners, one hopes, know these drills only as “Code Red.” Code Red means “hide for your life.”

Teachers lead students to hide behind “hard corners” in their classrooms. Sadly, “hard corners” is a term easily Google-able in the days before the hard fall of the NRA.

Attorneys in New York have uncovered massive fraud and self-dealing among the leaders of this nonprofit organization.

May they rot in prison cells adjoining, if at all possible, the likes of Ahmed Arbery’s killers—among any number of NRA dog-whistle followers. Through insidious laws like Stand Your Ground, the NRA falsely empowered myriad racist, white men to practice the deadly antics of America’s once-Wild West.

Sorry, school teachers. The tail end of the NRA’s hegemony seems to be overlapping with a phenomenon even more deadly than this nation’s gun violence: COVID-19.

But, fear not. The same Thought Giants asking you to re-open in-person school have suggested ways you can be flexible with your Code Reds. In an August 7 memo, officials say teachers can use exponentially more classroom minutes conducting drills one student at a time!

(Just don’t let it cut into your curriculum-pacing guidelines.)

And don’t ask why Florida—whose new COVID-positive test rates have not yet dipped below 5% for the recommended two weeks—is mandating in-person school options for students.

That’s a whole ‘nother division of The Magical Thinking Kingdom.

With hundreds of employees in Florida’s 67 county health departments—all of whom failed to blow the whistle on the Governor’s gag order—we might call that division “Brownshirt Land.”

As published in the Florida Times Union today: Florida reports 576,094 cases of COVID-19, with 34,194 total hospitalizations due to the virus, and 9,534 resident deaths.

Florida is graduating fast from “God’s waiting room,” to DeSantis’s morgue.

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