Monday, October 16, 2006

"see the man with the big gun? you go smack him with your trapper-keeper and tell him we don't stand for this in America!"

One of my favorite things about this country is how, when gripped in the clutches of fear, we calmly and rationally extract ourselves from that fear using clear-headed logic and entirely proportional repsonses to adversity.

Teaching kids to fight back against classroom invaders

"Getting under desks and praying for rescue from professionals is not a recipe for success," said Robin Browne, a major in the British Army reserve and an instructor for Response Options, the company providing the training to the Burleson schools. That kind of fight-back advice is all but unheard of among schools, and some fear it will get children killed.

But school officials in Burleson said they are drawing on the lessons learned from a string of disasters such as Columbine in 1999 and the Amish schoolhouse attack in Pennsylvania last week.

Browne recommends students and teachers "react immediately to the sight of a gun by picking up anything and everything and throwing it at the head and body of the attacker and making as much noise as possible. Go toward him as fast as we can and bring them down."

Response Options trains students and teachers to "lock onto the attacker's limbs and use their body weight," Browne said. Everyday classroom objects, such as paperbacks and pencils, can become weapons.

"We show them they can win," he said. "The fact that someone walks into
a classroom with a gun does not make them a god. Five or six seventh-grade kids
and a 95-pound art teacher can basically challenge, bring down and immobilize a
200-pound man with a gun."

Yup, completely rational and well-advised. Everyone knows that public schools in suburban Texas are even more dangerous than downtown Baghdad, and that armed gunmen burst into classrooms EVERY MINUTE OF EVERY DAY. Therefore, the only way your children are not going to be murdered between morning recess and Ms. Pingleton's art class is if you teach them to gouge out a would-be gunman's eyes with their colored pencils. Yes, teaching kids how to punch and kick and attack is truly the ideal use of classroom time.

But of course completely random and unpredictable school shootings are teeny baby potatoes when compared to the long national nightmare that is: Terrorism in the Rural Midwest. Good thing the Coast Guard is now using Grand Haven, Michigan as a base for submachine gun practice.

U.S. Firing Plans for Great Lakes Raise Concerns

For the first time, Coast Guard officials want to mount machine guns routinely on their cutters and small boats here and around all five of the Great Lakes as part of a program addressing the threats of terrorism after Sept. 11.

“The Coast Guard has looked at an increased terrorist threat since 2001,” Rear Adm. John E. Crowley Jr., commander of the Coast Guard district that oversees the Great Lakes, said in a telephone interview. “I don’t know when or if something might happen on the Great Lakes, but I don’t want to learn the hard way.”

Some members of the Coast Guard assigned to law enforcement duties always carried weapons, but most of those were personal semiautomatic pistols. Since the arrival of the boat-mounted machine guns, the Coast Guard has conducted 24 training sessions on the lakes this year, although it has halted the exercises temporarily after news of the program seeped out last month and, with it, a barrage of objection.

“When I heard, I thought it was something from The Onion newspaper or an Internet hoax,” said Mike Bradley, the mayor of Sarnia, Ontario, which sits beside Lake Huron, where 6 of the 34 live fire zones are planned. “This whole thing was done way below the radar.”

You may think that there is a really high chance that soon an innocent family out sailing will suddenly find themselves under assault from friendly fire. You may then think "this is something that is generally not supposed to happen on Lake Michigan." You may think that it is completely absurb to use the Great Lakes as a repository both for spent machine gun rounds and our ever-crumbling faith in national leadership. Yes, you might think these things but you would be WRONG. This is:

1) highly necessary to our national security interests and if you have a problem with it THEN YOU HATE AMERICA, and

2) highly necessary because Grand Haven, Michigan is a well-known center for terrorist activity. Those terrorists are going to strike America right where it will hurt us the most: the whitefish industry.

*Sigh.* These days, you don't really have to read The Onion for absurdity. Just crack open the New York Times and get the hilarity begin.

1 comment:

I-66 said...

1) Love the mention of a trapper-keeper.

2) I have to figure out where I read/heard that arming the teachers was a suggested possible step to take to make the classroom more safe. I mean, I would've thought that was the next logical step after what you've written here, but evidently someone jumped the gun.