Sideshow Shitstorm

I’ve probably mentioned before that one of my brothers is a teacher. While some cranks are talking about husky 12 year-olds and janitor buckets vs assault weapons, I’m thinking about a conversation he and I had a couple of years ago. He was a little irritated that his school district was spending money refitting his school with new, tougher doors that locked from the inside (the old doors had no locks – I don’t remember doors in my childhood schools having them, either). He thought it was a waste of the district’s limited money, since the chances of needing to lock the door were low, and it sent a message of fear to his students.

I was trying to be supportive in that conversation, but, frankly, I was glad he had a good sturdy door he could lock when one of his gun country students lost the plot, or if some other idiot with a military-grade weapon decided he wanted to kill a bunch of innocent children. I didn’t want him to end up like this teacher at Virginia Tech, who held the door closed while his students escaped, and was shot dead.

So, locking doors are good, and it sounds like they may have saved some lives in Newtown. The rest of this discussion of playground ninjas is a distraction. Children are essentially defenseless and in need of protection, teachers aren’t police, and the notion that we’ll change those two facts by what amounts to nothing more than wishful thinking is a stupid fucking waste of time.

47 replies
  1. 1
    JPL says:

    The front doors of Sandy Hook were blasted open with an assault rifle. I agree that locked doors might have helped but a locked door won’t prevent mass murder. Is anyone talking about day care centers? Is anyone talking about recreation buildings? The problem is the gun and ammunition.

  2. 2
    WereBear says:

    They are frantically pointing in any direction but themselves.

    How dare we stroll unarmed in a meadow with our grandmother and our toddler! How dare we want to!

    It is our fault if we are victims.

  3. 3
    amk says:

    How very thoughtful of ‘founding fathers’ to provide the self-destruct buttons in 1st & 2nd amendments.

  4. 4
    Dan says:

    I can’t wait until the talking point becomes that union thug teachers are too lazy to learn how to use guns, and don’t care about the safety of our children.

  5. 5
  6. 6
    c u n d gulag says:

    On top of keeping killers out, if we can also have the locked doors keep keep the students in should an armed maniac somehow enter, that will encourage the students to form “McArdle Mass Bonzai Brigades,’ and form to swarm the shooter!

    BONZAI ! ! !

    Hmm… I thik we need to Americanize that:
    MEGAN ! ! !

  7. 7
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @amk: Even under the current interpretation of the 2d Amendment in Heller, a case can be made for eliminating high capacity magazines and restricting access to semi-automatic weapons. One doesn’t need to rewrite the Constitution in order to take steps to solve the gun problem.

  8. 8
    Mark S. says:

    A couple years ago, I was driving with a co-worker, and we passed a school that was surrounded by barbed wire. I was like, “Geez, it looks like a fucking prison,” and he replied “You mean you didn’t go to a school with barbed wire?”

    I hope this doesn’t mean we’re going to turn our elementary schools into armed camps.

  9. 9
    SteveM says:

    teachers aren’t police

    [ wingnut ] We are all the police. Or at least we all should be the police. Except the police themselves. They shouldn’t be the police. Just us. [ / wingnut ]

  10. 10
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    Let’s toss the guns in school argument out and instead give the kids grenades to throw at any gunman that attacks them.

    After all, kids like throwing stuff in class so why not take advantage of that?

    I made the mistake of checking out Daily Obama Sold Us Out, I mean, Daily Kos, and see that they are still in full Kermit the Frog panic mode. Hopefully there will come a day when they grow up and stop acting like kids.

    FSM I’m glad I gave up on that mosh pit of stupid in 2005.

  11. 11
    the Conster says:

    My beautiful daughter, the elementary school teacher, wants nothing to do with guns. She’s paying off her loan she had to get for her master’s degree, and is doing the job she loves. I’ve been to her open houses and have had parents come up to me to thank me, FOR HER. I’ve seen the looks her students give her, like every word she speaks directly to them is a pearl dropping from her lips into their hand. She’s loved, and she loves them all. I’ve helped set up her classrooms, I’ve seen the money she spends of her own for things that she wants them to have in their classroom, she haunts places that sell used books, spends countless hours preparing fun projects that enrich their world, always has glitter stuck on her cheek or box of found stuff in her car that will end up making some child’s memory of that day with Mrs. Fuller. She will quit if there’s anything more required of her because of some fucking asshole gun nut. What happened last week makes me angry beyond where I can bear, because I can see so clearly in my minds eye how it could all go down, and how it could have been her.

  12. 12
    jibeaux says:

    I was not floored to learn that the wingnut gun stocking brigade went into overtime mode and started buying up AR-15s and the like, but I was a little bit floored to learn that they are $2400. Apparently rednecks have more money in late December than I do. Just imagine the good you could do in this world if you channeled that $2400 differently.

  13. 13
    jibeaux says:

    I was teaching in 1999 after Columbine. They came around the school and replaced all the doors, which were wooden with big glass panes in the middle, with ones which had a tiny strip of glass maybe 2″ wide, with mesh reinforcement in the glass, and which locked. It is definitely good safety bang for the buck. It would not be impossible to blast your way through, but it sure beats a teacher trying to hold the door closed and having a giant pane of glass in the middle. For that matter, putting a locking storage closet in every classroom big enough to hide a class in is not a bad idea.

  14. 14
    bemused says:

    It’s surreal to hear these conservatives enthusiastically promoting arming teachers, the same teachers that are vastly overpaid moochers with too much vacation time! Sadly, far too many idiots would probably not bitch about paying higher taxes for militarized schools as long as no money goes for teacher salaries or improved curriculums.

    I was reading about the Brothers Grimm this morning. When the dark Grimm’s Fairy Tales came out in the early 1800’s, there were objections to the sexual content which was removed from subsequent printings. There was no such backlash against the violence in the stories and was even increased in later tales. Some things never change.

  15. 15
    Linda Featheringill says:

    There are people working on gun control. I don’t know how effective we’ll be, but we are putting in the effort. If there are enough of us, we might turn this thing around.

    That’s my optimism for the day. It is frustrating, isn’t it?

    [Still writing letters.]

  16. 16
    Punchy says:

    What’s not being discussed is the relationship between packing teachers and non-packers. So far, only the teacher-student aspect has been discussed (stolen weapons, misfires in classroom, etc.).

    What happens when a teacher not versed in guns (a suburbanite, f.e.) is asked to intermingle, perhaps have parties with, and maybe even be oogled by other teachers with guns? How does that level of uncomfortableness and fear of weapons play out in the teachers’ lounge? I, for one, would like to be at least a city block away from someone with a gun…how are these teachers afraid of guns going to work in that environment?

  17. 17
    Mark S. says:


    Just imagine the good you could do in this world if you channeled that $2400 differently.

    Yeah, right. I think ABL linked to a story last week where the police found $100,000 worth of ammo in some gun nut’s house. $100,000 of ammo?

  18. 18
    ed_finnerty says:

    All I can think of when I hear all this nonsense about 6 year olds in human wave attacks is that they should have squads in schools like in that TV show Combat,

    “Kirby, bring up the B.A.R.”

  19. 19
    jibeaux says:

    @Mark S.: Yeah, that’s what my first house cost. Course, you could probably build yourself a shelter out of ammo if you had $100k worth of it, but cooking would be tricky.

  20. 20
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @jibeaux: Don’t put the ammo in the microwave. Just trust me.

  21. 21
    Feudalism Now! says:

    The security theater at most schools is amazing. There is a lot of spending on electronic ID tags/key tags, electronic locks at major entrances and video surveillance. There is very little spending or focus on training or preparedness. There is a lockdown drill at most schools once a year and maybe a packet or emergency folder with protocols. It is the modern duck and cover drill. Close the door and hope the gunman passes you by is a bit better than bend over and kiss your azz goodbye, but not much. Many of the doors can be popped with a good pull, and most entrances have a good amount of glass on or around doors.
    A school is not a fortress and will never be. The very nature of a school is a community nexus. Education, sports, concerts and plays, plus facility use by other groups, like 4-H, Boy Scouts, even some smaller churches, all require a building that is accessible. Constricting school budgets will make infrastructure hardening and repair impossible. So we get administrators and staff as Walmart greeters at the doors to serve as speed bumps for a dedicated attacker, or the school uses funds that could go to improving education being used to turn the school into a prison. The Walking Dead is a fictional TV program, not a prophetic vision of the New Amurika.

  22. 22
    duck-billed placelot says:

    So you’re saying the one concrete advancement in safety from our entire Homeland Security Theater (locking cockpit doors) had an application somewhere else??


  23. 23
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    Here’s something to help brighten your day, maybe: Pete Souza, presidential photographer, interviewed in Time, and a slideshow of some of his favorite photos from the first four years.

  24. 24
    Paul says:


    How dare we stroll unarmed in a meadow with our grandmother and our toddler! How dare we want to!

    I said it before and I’ll say it again. I’m so tired of the loudmouths at the NRA who keep yapping about their so called freedom per the 2nd amendment to bear arms. This from an amendment that was created in a world, which is completely different than today’s world.

    What about my freedom not to get shot by these idiots? I have already altered my life because of them. So much for freedom…

  25. 25
    mapaghimagsik says:

    Wow, all this so the firearm manufacturers can increase their market. That is some serious greed, there. Clearly, the tobacco lobby has a lot to learn.

    Locked doors are a fine mitigation, but with nigh unlimited firepower and ammo capacity, the control is easily overridden.

  26. 26
    shortstop says:

    @jibeaux: Perhaps they offer “no interest for 24 months!” payment plans to enable insufficiently resourced paranoid rubes to immediate gratify their gun desires.

  27. 27
    lonesomerobot says:

    Was doing a little research and came across this bit of insane prematurity:

    Whitney is obsessed with being more stringent in using the information accessible to our existing Brady Law background check system to ensure no one labeled as psychiatrically disturbed or a drug abuser can own a gun. He ignores the reality that the vast majority of people in those categories never use a gun in a criminal way and deserve to own guns for purposes of protection or recreation the same way other Americans do.

    Yes, the author really is suggesting that even those with mental health or drug abuse issues deserve to own guns for protection. AMERICA #1 FOREVER!!1! WOLVERINES!!

  28. 28
    whidby says:

    Anyone have predictions about which Republicans in congress are going to peel off and vote for these new gun laws?

    It might be time to start thinking about this situation realistically.

  29. 29
    joeyess says:

    husky 12 year-olds and janitor buckets vs. assault weapons

    Now that’s some first rate thinking, there.

  30. 30
    joeyess says:

    @whidby: my prediction?

    Exactly zero.

  31. 31
    peorgietirebiter says:

    @Feudalism Now!:

    There is very little spending or focus on training or preparedness.

    The well funded school where my wife teaches went through a serious retrofit a few years back. The entire staff trains and drills regularly. With a couple of years of experience with it behind her now, Toni tells me the kids are still the most persistent obstacle they face. Teaching them not to be the sweet natured, open hearted, kids that they are is tough. Training them not to be helpful to the adult knocking on the locked door, even when that adult smiles and knows their name is a pretty sad statement about us.

  32. 32
    mapaghimagsik says:

    Do do we jump to the conclusion that abused children should fight their abuser, and it’s their failing of they don’t?

  33. 33
    joeyess says:

    And can I just say that the comments section over at Allen’s NRO piece is simply devastating. She is being ripped by every person there. NRO has either been completely overrun by liberals or the regular readers over there are actually disgusted.

  34. 34
    MikeJ says:

    Looks like the NRA is getting ready to fire up the flying monkeys. They had been quiet on twitter other than link to a press release saying they wouldn’t say anything out of “respect” for the victims.

    Yesterday they tweeted: President Obama supports gun control measures, including reinstating an assault weapons ban

  35. 35
    Paul in KY says:

    @c u n d gulag: The ‘McArgle Brigades’.

    Insignia: Crossed Himalayan Salt Shakers over dunce cap rampant.

  36. 36
    Ejoiner says:

    The new teacher training program that will soon be implemented across the nation. And remember, Ra’s was the BAD GUY.

  37. 37
    Cassidy says:

    1) Still waiting for my representatives to respond back. I imagine they’re busy, so I’m being generous, but it has been almost a week.

    2) I just wrote the owner/ CEO of my kids daycare/ afterschool place. He published a letter to let the parents know that they do have drills and SOP’s in place to respond to something like this. That made me sad. Anyway, I’m a CPR Instructor and I offerred to teach CPR and a Basic Trauma/ First Responder class to the staff at my kids location for nothing.

    3) I’ve talked to some activists friends here in Jacksonville, one who started a charity, and I’m fleshing out the creation of a gun control advocacy group in this area. I’m thinking a couple of attack methods. First, I want to advocate for sensible gun control (licensed, insured, registered, etc.) and more stringent requirements for a concealed carry license as the NRA class is a joke. I’m hoping to shame those “enthusiaists” into compliance. I also want to connect it with a group of combat veterans who advocate gun safety and the tool aspect of guns. Hopefully we can remove the fetish and sexy aspect of owning the gun and rewire some brains. Lastly, I want to provide a service like I offerred to my kid’s daycare as a more formal course in some sort of non-profit aspect. I’m still trying to make my thougts more coherent, so my hope is to get something officially off the ground next week. This week has been research and making contact with people to get tips and advice.

    So that’s what I’m doing. It’s Florida, so maybe I’m tilting at windmills, but it’s something.

  38. 38
    Lee says:


    …locking storage closet in every classroom big enough to hide a class in is not a bad idea.

    In an actual shooting yeah that would be a bad idea unless it is actual safe room. All you are doing is hearding them into one spot.

    A toughened classroom door and an emergency exit is a much better idea.

  39. 39
    Cassidy says:

    @Lee: That’s what they already do. Most of the drills for a spree shooter involve everyone piling into the corner that’s out of view of the door, while the teacher locks, barricades, etc. I’m already going to hell for telling my kids to be the first in the corner.

  40. 40
    Lee says:


    Last night my wife had me talk to the kids about what to do in case of a mass shooting (USMC 84-90).

    I told them if they are just around the shots being fired, run as fast as they can in the opposite direction putting anything solid between them and the sounds.

    If they are involved in the shooting (people close to them getting hit) fall to the ground and not to move under any circumstances unless an exit is really close.

    If they are in the corner in school, be in the back of the group and and fall to the ground if people start getting shot.

  41. 41
    Paul in KY says:

    @lonesomerobot: I have had another person tell me that’s why ‘Saturday Night Specials’ (the real thing, a $20 gun made out of same ‘metal’ as a Hot Wheels car) should be legal: “so a poor person can own a gun for self protection”.

    IMO, those ‘guns’ are as liable to explode in your hand as fire a round.

  42. 42

    I just realized: Buying spendy firearms on credit implies that “Gun Repo-Man” must be an actual profession.

    I smell reality show.

  43. 43
    Cassidy says:

    @Lee: God it makes me sick and sad that we have to have those conversations.

  44. 44
    Brachiator says:


    I was reading about the Brothers Grimm this morning.

    Today is the 200th Anniversary of Grimm’s Fairy Tales.

    Check yer Google Doodle.

    And I wish the terrible tragedy in Connecticut had been a fairy tale and we could make it all go away. And the insipid counterarguments of the gun nuts are worse than a nightmare.


    Yesterday they tweeted: President Obama supports gun control measures, including reinstating an assault weapons ban

    Somebody should tweet back that the NRA had better start contributing to reasonable gun control legislation instead of obstructing it.

  45. 45
    Marshall says:

    Any political campaign that requires little old ladies to learn to shoot has lost before it started. If that’s all you have to offer, you needn’t bother.

    Imagine an airline whose only safety policy was parachute training for all, with discounts for grandmothers…

  46. 46
    grandpa john says:


    ocked doors are a fine mitigation, but with nigh unlimited firepower and ammo capacity, the control is easily overridden.

    Which is why the schools in my county ,here in rural SC, also have CCTV cameras on each entrance, plus a full time police officer, called a resource officer. These officers have their own office within the building and they are there for the full school day including parking lots and busses loading, unloading before and after school.Being a resource officer is their official policeman duty. They are also constantly moving through the building and interacting with the students in positive ways such as talking about drugs and alcohol, or other problems that the students may have thus showing law enforcement in a positive way.

  47. 47
    Paula says:

    Armed security guards and metal detectors have been a regular thing for a lot of schools for a while.

    I went to a relatively safe suburban school, and we had two full-time security guards and a system where no one got in or out without proper ID check at the front entrance. All other entrances were closed except when the day was over.

    This was all pre-Columbine, but post Rodney-King Los Angeles County. This was actually on the light side. I can’t imagine how how much worse it was for schools with known gang activity. You can’t operate schools like prisons and expect students to feel good about themselves and their ability to learn.

    Not to mention: it seems like Sandy Hook had security measures in place and all Lanza had to do was force his way inside their one open entrance.

Comments are closed.