Monday, February 09, 2009
Death of Common Sense, Part 1
Around the time I was 16 or 17, I brought a spent M72 LAW casing to school with me and used it in a skit in, if memory serves, English class. I also played the role of Miss Piggy, but that’s probably not relevant at this point.
A LAW, for those unfamiliar with the weapon, is a disposable, single-shot anti-tank weapon. It’s one short tube inside of another short tube and to fire it, you extend the tubes, put the thing on your shoulder, site through a pop-up site, and push down on a rubber-covered trigger on the top of the weapon. It fires a dumb, 66mm anti-tank rocket towards whatever it was that you were aiming at and, hopefully, killing an armored vehicle at the wrong end of the tube.
Once fired, the LAW is a couple of empty tubes with caps on each end, a trigger mechanism, and a pop-up site--suitable for not much and too rickety to make it any good for bashing.
Well, in the middle of class, I pulled it out of the trash bag I had wrapped it in and the class gasped in a pretty fun way. There was a bit of disapproval and I’m pretty sure the teacher told me to go put the thing in my locker as soon as our presentation was done, but we got big laughs to go with the gasp of surprise and the skit was a success. The applause for Miss Piggy was especially gratifying.
If I tried that little stunt today, I would most certainly be suspended from school, my spent LAW would have been confiscated, and I would have had a serious conversation with a cop or two. It would have made the news, the school would have been evacuated, and bloggers would have been searching for scary messages on my MySpace page.
All because of a harmless, spent bit of military trivia.
My teacher showed a bit of common sense, though; while she obviously disapproved of the thing (and possibly of me in a more general sense since I wasn’t the nicest student you were likely to find at Overland High School back in ‘86 or ‘87), she also recognized that it wasn’t something that I could or would use to harm anyone in the school. She treated it more like bubblegum than a scary monster. Smart teacher.
It’s a little different now.
A little common sense and a little reasonable perspective wouldn’t hurt when dealing with things like this--unfortunately, both seem to be in short supply especially in relation to anything that even smells a bit like a firearm in a public space. Even if I were to agree that it was a mistake to bring the drill “rifles” to school, the talk of suspension and expulsion is ridiculous and says far more about the judgement of the administration than it does about the judgement of the student.
Hat tip to Jed who, in turn, pointed me to Dave Hardy.
Update: And check out what Combs has to say on the subject.
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