U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., says the cowards who shoot up schools can be stopped with deadly force.
Daines has been known to hide under his desk at the sight of a loaded question, but he may have a point. And If we are going to start arming teachers, I’m a pretty good candidate.
I was an expert marksman in the Army. I haven’t even so much as a traffic ticket on my criminal record.
I haven’t worked in law enforcement, but I was a volunteer firefighter. Firefighting never put me at certain risk of life and limb, but it did put me in situations that I couldn’t be sure were safe. I fought on anyway.
Although I am not a hunter, I did once shoot a turtle. I have just about gotten over the guilt of that senseless slaying.
Moreover, at my age and untenured status, I’m pretty expendable. Should anything bad happen to me, higher education could carry on without my vast knowledge of apostrophes and comma splices.
I do need a gun. All I have is my wife’s shotgun, which is probably unsuited for classroom work. Perhaps I can get a grant. In any case, another gun would go into circulation, and that’s good for the National Rifle Association. What’s good for the NRA, some high school students have yet to learn, is good for America.
I also was never in combat, but I have read a lot about it, and I think I understand why a deputy may have failed to go into that high school in Florida and confront that killer. None of us who have never been in that situation can be sure how we would act.
Many novice soldiers faced with the perils of war have broken ranks and run. Soldiers have called that first taste of combat “seeing the elephant” perhaps as far back as Alexander the Great.
Those panicked soldiers weren’t necessarily cowards; once rallied and properly drilled and led, many went on to serve with distinction. It just takes an awful lot of training and dedication for even the bravest souls to willingly face danger when every atom of human nature screams against it. A few days of active shooter training isn’t going to get the job done.
So I can’t be sure how I would act if an active shooter showed up on campus, but I have thought through some possible scenarios with their probable outcomes.
♦ Scenario 1: I’m teaching class and a killer walks in, assault rifle in hand.
Probable outcome: I’m dead. No matter how sharply tuned my reflexes might be, I can’t grab a gun, load it and get off an accurate shot before I am sprayed with bullets. My students are on their own.
♦ Scenario 2: I’m teaching class and hear what sound like gunshots in the hallway. I ready my gun, close the classroom door and focus on protecting my students.
Probable outcome: We all survive. The shooter can only come in through one entrance, and I have that covered. But the shooter is free to wreak havoc on the rest of the school.
♦ Scenario 3: I hear gunshots in the hallway and venture out of my classroom, gun in hand. I immediately confront the shooter face to face.
Probable outcome: I’m dead. Let’s face it: I’m not going to have an assault rifle, and he probably will, so I’m outgunned. I’m also still hoping to avoid trouble. He is all about trouble. Moreover, my death leaves my classroom undefended and delivers an open invitation to further mayhem.
♦ Scenario 4: I venture into the hallway and encounter another good guy with a gun. Is he friend or foe? I have only a second or two to decide.
Probable outcome: Somebody dies. The odds of tragedy vastly increase if, as some legislators favor, students with concealed-carry permits also are roaming the halls looking for the shooter.
♦ Scenario 5: I enter the hallway and see the shooter, but he is looking the other way. I hold fire, thinking I might be able to talk him out of it.
Probable outcome: I’m dead.
♦ Scenario 6: The shooter is looking the other way, and I gun him down.
Probable outcome: I’m a hero. Donald Trump calls me and somehow manages to insult me while praising my action. Steve Daines crawls out from under his desk.
♦ Scenario 7: The shooter hears that local schools have armed teachers and decides to go shoot up the mall instead.
Probable outcome: Not my problem. I hardly ever go to the mall. Mall shoppers will have to get their own guns.
♦ Scenario 8: Everybody has a gun. Potential mass murderers are so discouraged they give up.
Probable outcome: We go back to shooting each other in the traditional American way – a few friends or family members, then suicide. Gun sales soar.