“What’s up honey? How was your day?”
“I’ve had better. Yours?”
“Oh, you know. Lots of manufactured drama.”
“Be glad it was manufactured.”
“You look kind of down.”
“I am. Look at this.” Sharon handed her husband the paper she’d found in her mailbox at school.
“WTF? They can’t be serious.”
“They are. Arming us is cheaper than hiring more security guards.”
“And you get to buy your own gun and pay for the training? Honey, you’re not the least conversant in matters ballistic and your temper when the family is here for Christmas? Yikes!”
“Yeah, that’s exactly WHY I shouldn’t be armed at all ever.”
“I know those kids can push your buttons pretty hard sometimes.”
Sharon nodded. “I agree. I don’t want to — can you imagine? The school can’t even supply fucking white board markers and erasers for a whole year, and now GUNS?”
“Whatever was wrong with chalkboards?”
“Nothing and they were virtually free once they were up. What’s cheaper than chalk?”
“OK. So you have to supply your weapon, pay for its ammo and pay for your training.”
“Where’s the gun going to be kept? In your desk drawer? Locked? So you fumble around for a key while someone’s shooting?”
“They’re talking about a centralized gun locker.”
“Oh yeah, that’s smart. You get a shooter in your classroom. You raise your hand and say, ‘Excuse me Joey, but I have to go down the hall to the principal’s office and get my gun out of the gun locker’? Why?”
“I guess the idea is that in the event of a shooting we ALL go to the gun locker and THEN to the classroom that’s in trouble, an army of people in hand-knit sweaters and soft-soled shoes.”
“Those things are over in 3 minutes.”
“Reality and logic have no currency here.”
“Couldn’t you just assign a gun monitor? I bet there are already kids in your class who know all about using a gun and own one.”
“Right? Hand me that bottle of Scotch, would you?”
“You don’t drink.”
“I do now.”
Caveat: I’m not anti-gun. I’m not against the responsible use of shotguns, muzzle loaders or bows and arrows for hunting food. I’m equivocal about rifles but pretty OK with them for hunting. I’m good with people being trained to use firearms. I am NOT OK with weapons designed to kill people being in the possession of private individuals. I am cognizant of the difficulty — I had a student who was an arms dealer. He ended up in the penitentiary, but I actually got a ride home from him once and, without my knowing it, I was also riding with some pretty heavy weaponry. Other than the gun dealer thing, he was a very nice guy, but there was a lot of money in weapons smuggling.
I lived in a neighborhood where there was a lot of violence — including gun violence — and I saw a man die of a gunshot wound. I don’t know the story behind it — jealous husband, angry brother, drug deal gone bad — I don’t know, but he died on the street right in front of me and the Boys on Bikes. It was — sorry, no adjective.
California, around that same time, instituted gun laws that drastically reduced the number of gun-related fatalities. I am really OK with reducing that statistic. Reducing it is better than nothing.