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Can a baseball bat stop a gun?
The tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida that left 17 staff and students dead has reignited the national conversation on gun control. Some survivors of the Parkland shooting are calling for gun control reform, while politicians and the National Rifle Association have been putting their power behind more unorthodox “solutions.”
1. Baseball Bats
A school district in Erie, Pa., wants their teachers to knock shooters out of the park: they’ve supplied school employees with miniature baseball bats as a “last resort” to an active shooting, reports the New York Times.
The superintendent of Millcreek Township School District said he didn’t want to “just go hide” nor did he want “to be sitting ducks.” Are bats any match for a really, really fast bullet? “I think a bat could disarm a postal with a nice swing,” said the superintendent, invoking much incredulity and mockery on social media.
The school district has ordered 600 bats costing $3 each. Beyond being very tiny, they’re also meant to be “symbolic” for fighting back against shooters.
“Part of [fighting back] is to assess your environment for anything that could be used as a potential weapon or to defend yourself,” said Hall on Wednesday.
If we’re going to turn the school classroom into a war zone, a $3 baby bat may not be enough, but then again, we’re no expert.
2. CPR Classes
Former senator Rick Santorum drew criticism last month after he responded to teens advocating for gun control reform by suggesting that they should do something useful with their time that could actually help them during a mass shooting — like learn CPR.
“How about kids, instead of looking to someone else to solve their problem, do something about maybe taking CPR classes or trying to deal with situations that when there is a violent shooter that you can actually respond to that,” Santorum said during CNN’s State of the Union. AS he decried students asking for “phony gun laws,” he dug in his heels even more: "They took action to ask someone to pass a law. They didn't take action to say, 'How do I, as an individual, deal with this problem? How am I going to do something about stopping bullying within my own community? What am I going to do to actually help respond to a shooter?'”
Scratching your head over how CPR could ever possibly help someone who’s been shot? Or why students should be expected to spend their time learning skills more suited to an army medic during times of war? You’re not the only one. Santorum was raked over the coals for his statements, and he later backpedaled on his original comments, claiming that he misspoke when he used the word “CPR,” according to CNN.
3. Guns For Teachers
Because more guns equals less violence, according to some. Sure, that’s been disproven (more guns lead to more homicide), but don’t tell that to any NRA member.
In February, President Trump proposed solving the mass shooting problem currently plaguing our country by arming “gun adept” teachers who have “military or special training experience.” His reasoning seems to be that if a possible school shooter knew that any given teacher may have secret gunslinger skills, he or she would think twice before opening fire.
“Highly trained teachers would also serve as a deterrent to the cowards that do this. Far more assets at much less cost than guards. A ‘gun free’ school is a magnet for bad people. ATTACKS WOULD END!” Trump continued on Twitter. A number of public health and gun violence experts have since called Trump’s give-em-all-guns proposal “a colossally stupid idea,” NBC reports.
Still, just imagine it: one day, being an elementary school teacher may require hours logged at the shooting range. What a time to be alive.
4. A Bucket of Rocks.
Not a fan of arming teachers with guns? Give them a bucket of rocks instead. Every classroom in in the Blue Mountain School District, located in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, has been equipped with buckets full of river stones that can be used as “tools of self-defense” if needed, Superintendent David Helsel said last month.
“Every classroom has been equipped with a five-gallon bucket of river stone. If an armed intruder attempts to gain entrance into any of our classrooms, they will face a classroom full students armed with rocks and they will be stoned,” Helsel told WNEP.
The rocks are viewed as a last resort, as staff members have already been trained on how to react to an active shooter situation. The preferred methods include barricading the doors and evacuating whenever possible. If that’s not possible? Don’t just sit there — reach for the rocks.
"At one time I just had the idea of river stone. They're the right size for hands, you can throw them very hard and they will create or cause pain, which can distract," Helsel explained. It may sound outlandish, but we should at least give the guy credit for trying.
5. Clear Backpacks.
And they say the 90s aren’t making a comeback.
On April 2, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School began passing out clear backpacks to its students, Local 10 News reports. The move was the Broward County School Board’s way of addressing safety concerns following the February 14 mass shooting that left 17 dead (this, in addition to having officers stationed around the school’s campus). School officials are also planning on other safety measures that include installing metal detectors and requiring that students, in addition to wearing their student IDs at all times, use only one entrance.
Students don’t seem to be big fans of the backpacks, however, and responded to the change by displaying memes and live fish in their bags as a means of silent protest. Students have even created an Instagram satirizing it. Still, it’s hard to be too critical of MSD’s methods.
In addition to these strange individual-level solutions, politicians are trying to dismantle a federal guideline put in place by Obama to address the discrimination students of color face in school. Senator Marco Rubio pointed to the adoption of the guidance to stop the school-to-prison pipeline as perhaps a reason shooter Nikolas Cruz was not reported earlier in a letter to Secretary of Education Betsy Devos and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. While teacher advocates have said the guidance aims to decrease discriminatory discipline that targets students of color, the Trump administration announced in March that DeVos will lead the Federal School Commission on Safety to examine the repeal of Obama’s “Rethink School Discipline” guidelines, according to The Hill.
A little strange, given that white men comprise the majority of mass shooters, according to multiple reports including Newsweek.