“Open war is upon you, whether you would risk it or not.” -Aragorn, The Two Towers
I’m seeing some things on social media which bother me. Lots of things, actually. But to be specific, it’s about school shootings and what our response should be. There are teachers who are appalled at the idea that they or their colleagues might carry firearms on campus. Now, I would never support forcing anyone to carry. That would be stupid. Not everyone has the skill set or disposition to use one safely and effectively.
Many moons ago, I lived by myself in a cheap apartment near Dallas. I was chilling out, watching TV after a long day of driving. And something made me turn and look out the sliding glass door. In the gathering dark, I could see a man peering in at me. I slid off the couch, grabbed my phone and dialed 9-1-1. The nearest weapon was a fireplace poker. And I’ve got to tell you, if you’ve never had a tense moment like that, time stretches. You can do a lot of thinking in the minutes that follow.
If it came down to a fight, I’m not useless. I could give an attacker quite a lot of trouble. But, even with a couple extra feet of reach that poker would give, I’d have to be awful close to the bad guy. As I stood there, phone in one hand, poker in the other, I realized something. I never want someone with an unknown ill intent to get that close to me.
I didn’t ask for a prowler to lurk outside my apartment. The question that must be answered in such moments is “How will you respond to this threat”. What skills do you have to counter it? If Uvalde has taught us anything, it’s that we can’t count on the police to respond decisively.
So, you’re in your classroom and hear gun shots and they’re close. How do you answer that threat? Are you going to shelter in place waiting for the police to come and help. Uvalde waited an hour. An hour for a shooter to openly roam the halls is an eternity. Literally, for some. It’s a long time to watch as your students bleed out. Are you going to be a sitting duck? Or are you going to do something about it? That’s a decision you have to make NOW. Because if you wait for that moment, it’s too late.
If a teacher decides they can’t carry for some reason, that’s understandable. If that is their choice, then they need to take some first aid courses. And I don’t mean how to treat a second-degree burn or scrapes. How do you deal with a sucking chest wound? How do you properly apply a tourniquet? Those skills are needed, too.
Teachers, war may come to your classroom. You didn’t ask for it anymore than I asked for a peeping Tom. As long as schools are seen as easy pickings, there will be more of this. If you want it to stop, make it known your school is ready to respond.