My mother was a school teacher. Taught elementary school for more than three decades. Only thing she ever packed in her classroom was lunch for those kids too poor to afford one.
She was a devout Catholic, a widow, an independent woman who went back to school after my father died when my brothers and I were quite young. She understood loss, loneliness and love of family.
It occurred to me many times across the past few days that she would be both angry and amazed that many people including the preposterous president want to have teachers with guns in schools; emotion erasing common sense here.
A lot has been said and written about the issue of having teachers “adept” at using a gun trained and ready for the day when the next male mental case walks into Home Room or AP History with his brain on fire and his hands holding an AR-15. Of course the effort to encourage faculty firearms is led by President Bone-Spurs who is so quick to call others cowards and so ignorant to claim and believe that establishing schools as Gun Free Zones makes them magnets for massacres.
Does anyone believe, actually believe, that those whose minds have been destroyed by disease, despair, anger, illogic, insanity would have turned from the door at Columbine, at Sandy Hook? At Virginia Tech? Stoneman Douglas High? because they thought their English teacher or lacrosse coach kept a Glock in the cabinet?
This is a young madman at the door. Not a thinking, rational person.
And here is your designated teacher suddenly alerted to a shooting siege that is already underway. Here we go, armed and ready, safety off, out in a hallway filled with students screaming, running toward some sort of seclusion and safety.
The designated faculty defender has a pistol, not an assault rifle. The teacher is well trained. The teacher has spent hours at the range becoming intimately familiar, “adept,” with the weapon. After so much range time the teacher is an expert marksman. Can shoot the eyes out of a paper target, over and over.
Then, there in the hallway, comes the shooter. In the swiftest second the teacher has ever known multiple things pass through the teacher’s mind faster than light: the shooter has an assault weapon. The shooter is young.The shooter, Oh My God, is a former student. And the shooter is an actual human being. No paper target here. A person. A kid whose name the teacher almost recalls. The teacher, like almost everyone around us, has never killed another human being.
And in that single split second of hesitation, while all those emotions and reactions whirl through this one normal person’s mind the teacher is shot dead by that crazy person in the corridor who is not thinking at all and does not hesitate. The crazy person, the kid with the assault weapon, showed up with a mad purpose and is there doing what he is doing because his demons told him to kill.
Teachers belong in classrooms, teaching. Not in coffins, another casualty of a political culture and a Congress so lacking in courage and character that it continues to bury common sense each and every day, living with more fear of losing an election than any fear of losing another student or now perhaps a school teacher thought to be “adept” with a gun.