In my brain has been pages and pages -- a dissertations worth at least -- of response and continuation of replies about the latest shooting and all of the subsequent nonsense about who to arm and who ought to have guns and who shouldn't, and well...I just couldn't. Christmas was happening and I had things to bake and decorate and presents to make and buy and order from Amazon and a holiday newsletter* to write. And there was just too much to say. Too many statistics to gather to prove my points, analogies to craft and detailed sentences to craft. So I let it go. For now. It will go on my big list of things to eventually blog about.
I've maintained for awhile now that gun control isn't one of the hills I'm willing to die upon anyways, and still wasn't until people started saying that we should have to have them in my workplace. At that point, the shit got real and personal and was being said by people who have no idea what it's like to work in a school. With actual children.
I have friends and relatives who own and love their guns and not a one of them is an idiot, so please don't think that I hate all gun owners and/or think they are necessarily stupid. In fact, I know that stupid and smart have very, very little to do with gun safety. I think it has a lot more to do with personality type.
You see, I recently had my students take the Myers-Briggs Personality Inventory and asked many of my friends to take it, too, so we could do some comparisons. Turns out, the vast majority of my friends are the opposite of me in most regards. I was quite surprised since I've always sort of assumed that most people, especially my friends, think like I do. They don't. In fact, most people don't. They perceive the world differently, organize their thinking differently and react differently to the world. And yet, I still have a tendency to think that other people are going to see the world the way I do. And, given my dealings with lots and lots of humans on a regular basis -- other people do this, too.
All the devoted gun-owners out there who are extraordinarily careful with their loaded weapons quite possibly assume that everyone else has this natural or learned tendency to be highly organized and capable of keeping track of all the important things. So maybe the thinking goes like this: Teachers are smart people. They can be diligent and organized just like me, it's easy and natural! No problem. And if they can't be like me, then clearly, they're too dumb to be teaching!
The problem with this kind of thinking is that organization and attention to detail have little to do with smart and stupid. We all know the (probably somewhat apocryphal) story of Einstein having to have his door painted red so he could remember which house was his. Einstein wasn't an idiot. Neither am I.** But I do sometimes do things like leave very large, sharp cake-cutting knives lying on the table which is surrounded by hopped-up four-year-olds while I run off to find birthday candles which I'd forgotten to get.
Yes, I could probably get better at paying attention to such things and not getting distracted like a dog in a squirrel cage, but I'm not going to. It is one of my weaknesses that is amply made up for by other strengths, and I do my best to surround myself with people who are more observant than I am.
However, it is unavoidably clear that I should not, ever, regularly carry a loaded weapon. Ever. And neither should teachers. Not because I think they are all like me (they aren't) but because of the sheer magnitude of details to which teachers must pay attention, and because of the catastrophic nature of the event even a moment's failure of attention would cause. We are people surrounded by children, and it's best if the consequences of a mistake are more along the lines of "Oh, I need to change your grade" and not "Oh, I'm sorry, your child got my gun and shot another student."
Think about it.
*Yes, it's a holiday newsletter. It is not a Christmas newsletter. Not because of some trumped up war or Christmas or any other political agenda but because I never get the damn thing sent out until after Christmas. Sometimes not till after New Year. I think one year the holiday in question was more like President's Day.
**I'm not Einstein, either. (And while I'm not going to trot out the evidence to prove it, nor am I stupid.)