123) Arm the kids. (Sort of.)

So after talking about school shootings with my kids, we are all wondering — why not teach kids & teachers to plan ambushes in their classrooms? Just like in, say, a roleplaying game; teach them to plan ahead, know how to fight, have strategies, and when the shit goes down, prepare to kick ass.

Sure, sounds crazy up front, maybe. But, what’s more traumatizing — practicing being helpless, in the vague hope that you’ll be not noticed and therefore spared while bullets fly and your friends die screaming all around you?

Or, learning how to fight back?

Imagine, a gunman enters a school. Whoever notices first and hits the silent alarm sends a light blinking in every classroom. Instantly, lockdown, just like before, but this time, as every classroom closes and locks its door, the students and teachers take a different approach than “being quiet” and hoping.

This time, every child goes to the “bin” in the corner of the classroom and picks up a few of the baseball-sized rocks in there. They’ve all practiced throwing; it’s a regular part of gym class; they’re stronger than they’ve ever been, and they have excellent aim. Everyone grabs clubs; they know how to use them, and what body parts to aim for to take someone down. Everyone turns over desks, and builds a wall; they know how to do it in 30 seconds flat, because they’ve practiced it instead of practicing doing nothing or running in zig-zags. They have become a team.

The gunman enters a classroom. The trap above the door, which the teacher activated upon the alarm flashing, falls on their head. Instantly, the kids unleash. Thirty rocks pelt them, followed by 30 more, and 30 more, and 30 more. They are rushed by a club-wielding gang, fighting for their lives, the teacher in the lead. Once the cry goes up, the nearest classroom doors open, and those kids and teachers rush the gunman as well.

The odds, at that point, of killing 19 kids? Pretty close to zero, I would imagine.

I would sign my kids up for this school in a heartbeat. And yes, it would be upsetting and traumatizing. It would cause some problems at first. There would be “some incidents”. But, stop babying kids, rubberizing everything in their world, and worrying about whether they’ve seen a fucking nipple or heard the word ‘masturbation’ in a sex ed curriculum. Stop pretending kids are living on fucking Sesame Street. Because they are not. So many of them, as we know, are already being molested or have been. Many will be raped. We are afraid to teach kids the real story about real things, like emotional boundaries, like how sex is pleasurable, like how drugs are fun, instead pretending that if we moralize to them and teach them to be helpless , “just say no”, and “obey the adults” everything will be ok.

Well, it won’t, and it isn’t. Kids are not porcelain dolls. They will not live a pure life, so long as we ban all the right books. They are going to live a life of struggle, and suffering. Because that is life. That is what we evolved for. We are, thanks to our ancestors, survivors. We are resilient. We are strong as fuck, when we have to be.

So what if we start treating kids like the life-desiring animals that we all are? With teeth, and muscles, and rage? Animals who love being alive, and will fight tooth and nail when we are threatened? Because THAT IS WHAT WE ARE.

When I was a child, I cornered a chipmunk once in a boathouse. I had good intentions; I just wanted to pet it and didn’t understand the whole wild animal thing at that time. I just thought, “here chippy chippy, I’ll be your friend.”

When it lunged at me, batshit crazy, all tiny claws and squealing, it scared the shit right out of me. A chipmunk.

As an adult, I was a Beaver and Scout semi-leader and spent a lot of time with kids, ages 5-11 or so. They can organize themselves into a capture the flag army, or a snowball fight army, or a ball-tag army, or any other kind of army, spontaneously, effectively, and more efficiently than they’ll listen to an adult telling them to put on their shoes.

Give those kids some training, and pretty soon, any person who wants to take down a school is going to face an army. And no, I don’t want a society where kids form armies for their own survival. But we already have a society where kids go to school and get killed. Regularly. So personally, I’d choose my kids being in an kid-army in their classrooms, bonding with their peers, knowing how to take care of themselves, and knowing that their friends “have their backs”, far more than I’d choose my kids being trained to be helpless, in a society that so readily arms killers.

So, if this isn’t a good idea, or at least better than teaching kids to crawl under their desks and pray, then why not?

And no, “causing chaos to make it harder for the police”, is not a reason, given that the police cannot prevent these massacres in the first place. By the time the police get into position, the gunman will already be dead. And the kids he would have killed while they waited silently, will be alive, hugging their friends, bawling their eyes out, and waiting to see their families again.

Also no, “focus on changing the laws”, “focus on gun control”, etc., is not an answer. OF COURSE that should happen. But, it isn’t. So I say, and no longer sarcastically or in a joke, arm the kids. Make every classroom a defence team. Go all “Wolverines” on every messed up person who takes a weapon into a school.

It has to be better than being helpless, waiting to be killed. And would the number dead be any greater? Is a gunman going to kill more kids or fewer if they are being ambushed by dozens of well-practiced people simultaneously? Is the survivors’ trauma going to be any worse?

Or, hey, here’s a crazy thought — maybe by helping kids work together, all of them, in every classroom, taking responsibility for themselves, and each other, being trusted by adults, training together, being a team, all of them, 100% — maybe we wouldn’t have so many bullied, ignored, rejected, isolated young people yearning to pick up a gun and exact their revenge on a shitty society that they feel treated them like they were nothing.

So yes, why is this not a good idea, relative to the current approaches, given the reality of the society we already have?


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