“Whenever I use the projector I have to try every light switch to get the ones at the front to turn off. Every single time,” says Dallas teacher, Mike Martinez, raising his eyebrows meaningfully. “I can’t remember where I last put the chalk, my phone code is 111111 for practical reasons, and an average of three times a semester I accidentally lock my keys in the classroom. The hell do you want give me a gun for?”
As the United States grapples with the rise in school shootings, one idea has stood out from all the others as the stupidest thing anyone has proposed since the Australians decided to take care of a beetle problem with toads: that of arming teachers. Yes. With guns.
Global reaction upon learning that this suggestion is being made with a straight face by people who are not receiving intensive psychological care, has been to put one’s head between one’s legs and rock quietly back and forth while questioning the future of our species.
“And I totally agree with that,” says Mr. Martinez. “It’s absurd. Our school’s budget is so tight I cut pencils in half and collect scrap paper from my friends and family like some sort of monk with a cardboard box instead of an alms bowl. But the board is suddenly going to find the thousands of dollars necessary to provide all of my colleagues and myself with firearms? And enough training to take down an active shooter without hitting anyone’s favourite son or daughter? Give me a fucking break. Sorry. That’s a bit coarse. I meant give me a fucking recess.”
Saying that if that was the best suggestion the gun lobby had maybe they needed to start thinking outside the ammo box, Martinez began to list on his fingers the various ways to reduce the number of mass shootings in the United States. He gets ten obvious statements in before his teacher training causes him to leap to his feet to commandeer the wall-to-wall chalkboard at the front of the room. Energized now, he is ready to start listing his ideas. But he pauses. He casts his hands around. He pats his pockets. He checks the top desk drawer.
“Well shoot. Has anyone seen the chalk?”