As I was considering how to write this piece, I read that there have been two more campus shootings today. Yes,today. Two dead and several injured. When did this become so commonplace and our inaction so acceptable? When did murder become so customary?
I send my children off to school each day, not only in anticipation that they will receive a great education, but also with the expectation that they will return home safely. Two sets of parents will be devastated today. Countless others driven to hospital bedsides. I am infuriated and frankly confounded by the idea that somehow arming teachers, arming everyone, is the answer. I began to ponder how difficult this must be for educators when my thoughts turned to Miss Bloom.
Miss Bloom. She is my son’s new 4th grade teacher. As you would imagine by her name, Miss Bloom is a bright young woman, fresh out of school and eager to open young minds. She is kind, friendly and well- liked by her students. My son adores her. He says Miss Bloom is as pretty as a flower. I wonder if Miss Bloom realized that one day, she may be called upon to drop this identity, pick up a weapon and turn into a character from Call of Duty.
How would our Miss Bloom, a first year teacher, respond to an intruder, if she were forced to be armed in the classroom? Let’s take a look.
Cue the dream sequence harp stroking music.
We enter the classroom to find Miss Bloom in the midst of a class project.
“And so, Children, this is how the Fiddler Crab adapts to his habitat”.
“Okay, Children. This is not a drill. There is an active shooter in the building. Everyone take your positions. Don’t panic. Remember what we’ve practiced so many times”.
Shit. What’s the safe combo? Damn it, I overshot 35. SpinSpinSpin. Start over.
“Don’t cry. I will be there in a minute. Get in your positions and stay there. Boys in front, Girls in back”.
OkayOkayOkay. Got it. Where’s the key? Around my neck. Gotta unlock the safety cord. KeyKeyKeyKeyKey. It’s so small. Get in there.
“Timmy. Get up on that chair next to the door and hold that garbage can over your head like we practiced. I know you’re scared, but you can do it”.
Bullets. I need bullets. (Hands shaking. Struggles to insert clip)
“Children! Pick up your weapon of choice. I know we teach you not to hurt one another, but today, we’ve got to get the bad guy. When the gunman comes through that door, Timmy, throw the garbage can at his head. I will start shooting. (Turning to children) If he doesn’t fall down, I need you to charge him all at once. He can’t kill all of us if we run at him together”.
This may be over exaggerated; where, I’m not sure, but you can imagine the chaos. Miss Bloom has morphed from teacher into tactical warfare specialist.
I like guns. I own guns. I get it. Guns are cool. I like the idea of having some form of lethal protection in case of a home invasion. The fact that I only shoot my weapons at soup cans on a farm every few years doesn’t always leave me feeling as if I’m ready to hit an aggressive moving target that is coming straight toward me while my adrenaline is pumping out of the top of my head causing some blindness from straight up fear. Other than that, I’m good.
Miss Bloom went to college to study elementary education. She loves children and wants to be a part of growing them into intelligent, healthy adults. Miss Bloom does not need the added pressure and responsibility of the keeping and control of a firearm. If Miss Bloom is like 99% of gun owners, her reaction to an active shooting would be more hindrance than assistance. Miss Bloom is not Harry Callahan. Miss Bloom has a room full of 10 year olds that need her attention and look to her for comfort. Miss Bloom is not a killer. Miss Bloom does not need to be saddled with that kind of responsibility.
Why not help Miss Bloom by enforcing gun laws already on the books and creating some stronger laws that may prevent another tragedy. As a gun owner, I wouldn’t mind having to re-register my weapons every year and complete a background check. I wouldn’t mind being required to take a gun safety course every few years. I would welcome the idea of a minimum 72 hour waiting period for a gun purchase. I shouldn’t be allowed to walk into a gun show and walk out with an AR-14. No one needs an assault rifle to kill a deer. You do, however, need one if you are planning a mass murder, preparing for the zombie apocalypse, are paranoid and/or intend to hunt down ISIS. I am assuming I don’t know anyone who meets those qualifications, but, if I did, I would be on the phone alerting the authorities.
If these actions would save even one life, isn’t it worth it? We don’t seriously believe that “Stuff Happens” and we just have to deal with it. We cannot truly expect Miss Bloom and the millions of teachers out there to turn into ice-veined assassins in a moment’s notice while children are instructed to bum rush the intruder.
There is a name for societies where everyone is armed and virtually no one is accountable. They are called WAR ZONES. We don’t combat disease by evening the playing field and giving everyone cancer. Why would we even consider that Miss Bloom should know if she fired 6 shots or only 5 because in all the excitement, she kinda lost track herself. That is the one question we need to ask ourselves.