Yesterday afternoon I turned to one of my co-workers and asked, “Has there been a school shooting every day this week?”
“I think so,” she said, in the same distant voice she might have used in answering a question about if it was going to snow this weekend.
At that moment I was looking at a web-site news story that read, “Police say two students have been shot at a Philadelphia high school.”
So I did a quick search for this week’s stories on guns in schools:
On Wednesday, “Authorities say quick actions by a teacher averted a potential shooting at a northern New York high school where a 15-year-old student had a rifle concealed in a case wrapped in a blanket.”
After a kid walking into his school on Tuesday with a shotgun and starting blasting away, “Gov. Susana Martinez says the boy who was shot in the face and neck at a New Mexico middle school is on a breathing machine and is heavily sedated, but his doctors are optimistic.”
Also on Tuesday, “Connecticut police say they arrested a 21-year-old man for bringing a gun to his former high school.” In Connecticut of all places, where you’ll find Sandy Hook Elementary.
And there was general outrage this week when the web site of the Albuquerque Journal ran a story on the New Mexico school shooting alongside a gun shop’s ad offering sales and discounts on guns, ammunition and training classes.
How deep does the fear run? Another news story from this week: “An NBC News affiliate in St. Louis, Mo., caused a high school lockdown Thursday while going undercover to report on school safety, resulting in major outcry from parents and staff against the network.”
Some of the country’s gun folk are pushing an idea called “Open Carry,” where shoot-’em-up enthusiasts walk around public places and public events displaying their weapons. Their intent is to make the idea of guns in public seem as natural as walking down the street with a Starbucks coffee mug or a cell phone in your hand.
It’s a casual attitude about guns that’s common in America. Lauren Tannehill, the wife of Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill, returned a rental SUV earlier this month in South Florida. Another woman rented the car that night and later called EZ Rental to report that she’d found a semi-automatic rifle in a bag in the cargo area. Mrs. Tannehill had forgotten that she’d left her LMT AR-15, the civilian’s version of the military M-16, in the car.
It’s a strange world where a petite blonde model and quarterback trophy feels the urge to own a gun capable of wiping out a classroom full of kids.
If you have a cup of coffee in your hand, it’s because you crave a shot of caffeine. If you have a cell phone in your hand, you’re expecting a call from your mom. If you’re packing heat, you’re looking to shoot someone. Is there another reason for it? Compensation for a small penis? Mrs, Tannehill excluded, of course.
There is normal about walking around with a gun.
And yes, it’s snowing here this morning.