If you’re looking to blame something for much of the mess Americans find themselves in these days, blame Hollywood.
Movies are so good, so real, and so compelling that they persuade a whole lot of Colorado folks that sending teachers to school with guns to fend off bad guys is a good idea.
It’s not. Not at all.
As regular as Colorado seasons, Republican state lawmakers are trying their annual push to let everyone have more guns, bigger guns, bigger magazines, guns anywhere you want, guns without licenses or controls and — my personal favorite — guns for Mrs. Maylene R. Pugh, who teaches music at your local elementary school.
I love the Hollywood-like action drama that comes with these state House and Senate bills each year:
It’s another day on the dusty Colorado plains. Good conservative children, who were reading their Bibles on the school bus on the way to school that morning, are sitting quietly in Mrs. Farnsworth’s social studies class. They’re politely smirking to themselves while reading the folly of the New Deal.
Suddenly, the sound of gunfire echoes down the hallway, outside the classroom.
The loudspeaker from the office blurts out, “Code Yeller.” The kids immediately rush silently to the back of the room, without commenting on how FDR would set up the ruination of America by making old people lazy with the promise of Social Security.
Farnsworth reaches into her top desk drawer and pulls out an ivory-handled hog leg, a .45-caliber gift from her dear daddy, who shot many a commie bastard with it during the Korean War. She pulls close against the wall, inspired by the American flag hanging between her and the door.
Suddenly, the classroom door is yanked open and a masked skinhead with neck tattoos and an eyebrow piercing lurches in, a machete in one hand and a cheap Saturday night special in the other. He turns and faces the surprised children.
Farnsworth steps from behind the flag, both hands gripping the cool ivory.
“Not today, you skate-boarding scumbag,” she hollers from behind. Scumbag whirls around, swinging the machete. Before he can even focus on where to strike, Farnsworth empties her gun, creating a heart-shaped pattern around the place in Scumbag’s chest where his cold, black heart was and has now stopped beating.
The children cheer as Scumbag drops to the floor, and the entire class goes outside to sing “God Bless America” and have a picnic with hot dogs.
It’s so compelling that a host of Republican state lawmakers keep trying to push through an assortment of bills that let teachers pack heat in school or give them a few hours of training by sheriff deputies to do the deed if they feel the need.
If you want to know what would really happen, ask a real expert. Ask a cop. They’ll tell you that highly trained experts wielding guns in places like schools is extremely risky and dangerous. Innocent people can and do get killed in such situations. It’s chaos. It’s nearly impossible to tell a good guy from a bad guy — or any guy. Guns go off pointed at the wrong person.
A few hours on a firing range is not the equivalent of years of study and training to work on a SWAT team — unless it’s in the movies.
Teachers hate the idea. Real law enforcers hate the idea. Those with common sense hate the idea.
Think about it. What if Scumbag doesn’t look like one? What if he looks like every other kid in school? Do you want your kid taking a chance in the hallway as gunfire erupts between Scumbag and Dead-Eye Dan the Janitor? Do you want the shakiest gun in the west wing of school pointing her heater at the classroom door only to shoot some poor kid who comes in looking for a place to hide?
Just stop. I have a kid in school, too. I’m uneasy sometimes, just like everyone. But realistically, be much more afraid of lightning and jerks in Audis on the road. They’re much more a very real statistical threat.
For those in faraway Colorado places who just can’t sleep at night worrying about this, create a local posse to act as deputies until real ones arrive, but have them get real training.
If we want to really make schools safer, spend more money on security. Spend money on experts and training teachers to recognize when a student is having serious problems. Hire off-duty cops to work inside schools. Allow schools to monitor troubled students so they problem just doesn’t move on to an unsuspecting community.
Spend money on mental health programs to prevent children — or anyone — from becoming stars in reality shows that never have a happy ending.
Follow @EditorDavePerry on Twitter and Facebook or reach him at 303-750-7555 or firstname.lastname@example.org.