Nobody had to wait too long for the insane consequences of the recent Heller decision (in which the Supreme Court voted by a one-vote margin to uphold an imaginary “private” right to own handguns) to happen. Now the Harrold Independent School District in Texas will allow its teachers to show up for first day class with books, pencils, rulers – and six shooters.
Maybe the students ought to show up with Kevlar ballistic vests, helmets and first aid kits. Maybe they should organize themselves into infantry squads in case of trouble – you know, the kids sitting in the first row are “point,” another kid is trained as a medic while the others can offer suppressing fire from the rear ranks or the classroom’s flanks. After all, kids need to defend themselves too. It’s only a matter of time until somebody argues that when the Second Amendment was passed in the 18th century, kids as young as 7 years old were bearing blunderbusses and flintlock pistols. In the meantime, I’ll embed some reporters in the school who can watch firsthand the real-time re-enactment of history of the American West: The teachers will be the cowboys and settlers, while the students will play the Indians.
State laws usually allow people to defend themselves with lethal force if they have a reasonable fear of bodily harm from an assailant. If a student makes a sudden move to reach for a calculator in math class, couldn’t this be construed as reaching for a weapon? The button-box for a remote explosive? A suicide vest? Well, nobody in the Harrold Independent School District needs worry about that. Mrs. Smith, the math teacher, will simply shoot the offending kid dead and then use the shooting as a teachable moment: There’s an awful lot of math to be learned as she discusses the bullet’s path and the importance of calculating windage, elevation and humidity on trajectory. And whatever is left unsaid can be discussed in biology class: The anatomy of wound ballistics, complete with autopsy photos and coroner’s report. After all, dissecting some frog is kid’s stuff – time to move into the new millennium.
In all seriousness, this is just a first step in the decivilizing of America. If the argument is true that we’ve had guns in this society since before it’s founding, it’s just as true that the idea of teachers arming themselves in classrooms would have left Washington, Adams and Jefferson stunned in disbelief. (When Jefferson designed the University of Virginia, I don’t recall his plans including gun lockers for professors.) Our society is becoming more beastly and worse, with official sanction. It’s beginning to resemble one of “those places” in the Middle East or Africa where people carry AK-47s and settle their marketplace disputes accordingly.
I suppose it’s easier to quell student outbursts with a well-placed head shot from a .45 caliber than actually having to deal with the kid – counseling takes too long and costs too much. And since Texas parents can already carry guns, the whole idea of the parent-teacher conference takes on a new meaning: A new code duello with “draws” down the middle of Main Street over bad report cards rather than cheating at cards. Instead of western classic films like “High Noon” or the “Gunfight at the OK Corral,” Hollywood will begin to make new classics like, “Justice at Recess” or “Showdown at PTA.”