I love living and going to high school in a beautiful California town by the sea where my favorite teacher is Mr. Smith. He’s also got eleven years of experience as a reserve police officer and really knows a lot about guns. This morning, in his administration of justice class, he’s showing us how to use guns safely.
“Always assume a gun is loaded and then make sure that it isn’t,” he says.
Mr. Smith points his gun at the ceiling. I’m enjoying this lesson very much until we hear, “Bang,” and I almost jump out of my desk and consider diving under it. Other students look as scared as I feel.
“Oh, sorry about that,” says Mr. Smith.
I assume Mr. Smith’s going to call one of his buddies at the police station or at least let the principal know, but he keeps teaching us about gun safety, and I sure hope there aren’t any more bullets in his gun.
I notice one of the students has blood on his shirt, and watch as he rubs a wound on his neck. “Mr. Smith, I think I just pulled a bullet fragment from my neck.”
“I’m very sorry, Johnny.”
Mr. Smith continues the lesson and we pay attention because we all respect him.
We finish class and have lunch, and about three hours after the gun safety lesson the police arrive and talk to Mr. Smith and us. As far as I know, no nurse or doctor has been called for Johnny. He goes home where his shocked parents take him to the emergency center. Fortunately, he’s okay. So are a couple of other students hit by falling debris.
Like many students I probably didn’t know all the school district’s rules about guns, but right away I make sure to learn. The policy is that “only active law enforcement employed as armed security at schools can carry guns.” I guess that means even a reserve cop and firearms expert like Mr. Smith shouldn’t have had a gun, loaded or not, in the classroom.
By coincidence that’s very appropriate, the next day many high school students around the nation, as well as at our school, walk out of class to protest gun violence on campuses. Quite a few students are also telling administrators and police what a fine man Mr. Smith is. He sure is, but he should obey the rules and be more careful.