Month: February 2018
Dear Mrs. Brown,
I’m pleased to see that Mr. Trump and the NRA have finally decided to take the long overdue step of having you carry heat in your classroom. As a grandparent of one of your students, I think this is a great idea, and I’d like to take this opportunity to offer my support and to make a few suggestions.
I realize that you are a young teacher. Maybe your early thirties, I might guess. That means your reaction times are probably still pretty good. I think there’s a fair chance that with a bit of training, you would be well able to take down a shooter.
But I’m not naïve. I know there are certain issues you’d have to overcome, like the inevitable challenge of having a loaded gun in your desk where unruly or inquisitive students might find it when you left the room to go to the toilet, or even turned your back to return corrected papers. As you know, some of those kids are light-fingered and quick on their feet, especially when they reach the age of seven or eight. But if you are prepared for them, you should be able to stop them before they manage to shoot off more than a round or two. And chances are that they wouldn’t have time to aim, so any shots fired would probably lodge harmlessly in a ceiling or door, or at worst, deliver only a glancing blow to an unfortunate student who happened to be in the way.
Of course, you could avoid this problem by keeping the gun locked up, or even by having a trigger lock. But that would slow you down a bit when the shooter burst into your room. And, knowing the way schools work, some paper shuffling administrator probably would have enacted a policy requiring you to keep your ammunition separate from the gun itself, further slowing your response time.
There’s really not much you can do about this except to be aware of it as a potential problem and practice whipping out your weapon and doing a quick “drop, lock, and load” during your prep time. Frankly, I would advocate getting an AK-15 with a bump stock — they are cheap and easily accessible — so you would be on equal footing with the shooter. I can just see him bursting into your classroom only to find you standing there spraying bullets from your “equalizer,” grinning and growling, “Go ahead, make my day.”
Actually, you are in pretty good shape. You work with young students, and most of them are short, so all you have to do is aim high. There would very likely be little collateral damage except for those few students who have recently experienced a growth spurt.
However, I do admit to being a bit concerned about the teachers of the older students. They have to rely on Mrs. Fenster who mans the check-in desk at the front door, and Dewey, the security guard, to slow down the shooter.
Mrs. Fenster is certainly good at her job – I can attest to that from the way she always insists that I show I.D. when I come to pick up my granddaughter, even though she knows me. But, just between you and me, I think she’s a bit of a pushover and would not know how to deal with a shooter who was adamant about not signing in or showing proper I.D.
Dewey is even a bigger problem. He is the last line of defense, and frankly, I worry about his skills and commitment. I looked him up – he’s seventy one and simply does not seem quick on his feet. I know he’s had some health issues, and I know that the kids like him. But he clearly is only a shell of the man who more than once was “school bus driver of the year” before his retirement. Even so, if properly trained, he might have the advantage. Given the cumbersome bullet proof vest and all the weaponry the shooter will be carrying, it is unlikely that he could execute any successful evasive bob-and-weave maneuvers, and Dewey might well be able to pick him off. At minimum, he might be slow him down until you teachers had your weapons loaded and ready to send him off to his final reward once he stepped into your classroom.
I know that you may look at the extra training all this will require as one more unnecessary burden on your already full schedule. But think of it this way. When you drop that charging, suicidal shooter, you will be providing an indelible lesson in self reliance and self esteem to the students who are fortunate enough to see you exercising this new dimension of your teacherly craft.
I hope I am not being too forward in sending this letter. But I remember as a child the thrill we all felt as we were made to get under our desks or kneel down facing the wall in preparation for a Soviet nuclear attack. I’m sure my granddaughter will feel the same thrill as the school runs through drills of ducking under desks and locking classroom doors in preparation for the arrival of a shooter. It makes you feel like you’re part of the solution, not just a part of the problem.
I know you may have doubts about your ability to gain the skills necessary to pull this off. But try to keep your eye on the positive, and it is a great, a tremendous positive: the math and social studies that you teach the children often goes in one ear and out the other. But the image of you blowing the head off the shooter is something they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.
Your biggest supporter, Kent
I just received a request from woman in a community that is using Voices in the Stones as its community reads selection. She asked if I had any readers’ guide or questions they could use for discussion. I decided that I would put that to you readers. You know better than I what is significant for readers in that book. So, please send me your thoughts: What are good subjects or questions for discussion groups who are reading Voices in the Stones? I would love to hear from both Native and non-Native readers.