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There's A Storm Coming

"There's a Storm coming, m'am"

"I know" replies Sarah Conner.

I think about the end of the first Terminator Movie a lot, as I look at the news. The Aurora Shooting was bad enough. This insanity in midtown Manhattan this week was - while not as many dead - still and all, disheartening.

The worst thing - they are only the proverbial tip of the iceberg. The Mainstream media does not even bother to cover many of the incidences of shootings, unless there is something unusual to make it newsworthy.

An upscale suburb and a high body count - like Aurora, or as in the case of Manhattan, literally on the News Producer's doorsteps.

What the H#LL is going on?

I spent 28 year in the military - and I went straight from the military into Teaching. I have taught high School Science for Nine Years. For several reason, I have been teaching in Inner City schools for all of those nine years. I have seen things that, when I relate them to my suburban friends and family, they tell me that I am "making that up"

But - I am not. It is the honest truth. In truth, school shootings are on the decline, not the rise. From a high of 20 per 100,000 students in the decade 1980-1990, they have dropped to 2 per 100,000 in 2000-2010.

Yes, even counting Columbine, they number of school shootings decreased. The Eighties were a lot more violent than today.

But - I still feel uneasy.

I walk around my school, and I see signs of trouble brewing. As an Officer, I was trained to look for signs of PTSD. We have 738 students at my school - we buried five last year. To put that in perspective, that is about the number of soldiers in an Infantry Battalion - an most Infantry Battalions in Afghanistan don't lose that many in a year. That is correct - my students would be safer, as soldiers in Afghanistan, than they are here at home. How messed up is THAT?

And I can SEE it. I see the tremors, the drawn eyes, the children that fall asleep in school, the thumb-shucking, the trouble speaking. Yes, some of it is drug use - and some of the drug use is also a symptom, a desperate effort to "self-medicate" against the problems they cannot deal with in another way.

I read a lot of Sociologists and Psychologists opining about violence and how it happens. Too often, I read these learned opinions, and I walk away with thise feeling of - "this guy does not know what the f__k he is talking about"

The a friend recommended that I read "On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society" , a book by Lt.Col. Dave Grossman

Lt Col Grossman makes the observation that "a book on violence, by a sociologist from a non-violent background, is like a Sex Manual written by an Opinionated Virgin".

That observation puts it in a nutshell for me. I will warn you, before you read this book, Lt Col Grossman was a Sergeant before he was an Officer, and Lt Col before he was a Professor.

So this book goes into some dark and ugly realms of the human psyche, and it is often Sergeant Grossman who is guiding you there, not Professor Grossman...and if that sentence makes no sense to you, you might not want to read this book.

For me, it opened up some old memories and nightmares - but it also opened up clarity of thought. Which is important to actually making clear and reasoned decisions.

But - there is no simple and easy fix to the storm that I see coming. The easy fix - the one the Brady Campaign and their Ilk loves is "Disarm the Proles!" - "take the guns away from all the common rabble and we'll have no more massacres"

Which is what both Hitler and Stalin did, before they set up their government sponsored massacres.

Sorry, what's that you say, I'm paranoid? We have nothing to fear from the US Government? They would never round up American Citizens and kill us?

OK, google "Nisei Internment Camps" or "Branch Davidian" or "Ruby Ridge" - oh, there was a justification that served in the media of the times, but - yeah.

And maybe not even a fear of the government - remember - "When Seconds count, the Police are only Minutes Away."

And I am not blaming the Police that we have - they do a great job, but we have a big country. 20 minute response time is not unusual. You need to be able to hold out for 20 minutes at least.

I had an interesting talk with a woman - last summer - about preparedness. Her neice died at Virginia Tech. She was upset when I spoke disparagingly of the people killed at Tech, but, after I apologized, I showed her what I meant.

I carry my computer laptop in a ballistic nylon bag. The carry strap is held on with 5000 lb test aircraft control cable. My laptop computer is an HP with a titanium cover. Fun fact for you - it will stop a 9mm bullet. Won't be usable after that, as a computer, but face it, I put my computer bag in front of my chest, and I have a field expedient "chicken plate" - or, the mother of all saps, if I choose to swing it. I can always buy a new laptop, but new internal organs are a bit tougher.

The top of the standard school desk - those beige composite things you see just about everywhere in America? - will deflect a 9mm bullet. (grin) My father was a school custodian, and he heard than from somebody, so we fished one out of the dumpster, took it out to the range, and tried it. Worked nicely. At Under 5 feet, it will crack as deflect the bullet, but at ten feet or further, all you get is lead spall.

Now, faced with a shooting situation, I don't plan on facing down a gunman - I've been there twice as a teacher, and my immediate reaction was to put an impenetrable barrier between me, my students, and the gunman, and let the Police take care of the shooter.

I've talked it over with each class of students, and evacuating the classroom and designating a "rally point", out of range of the school is something we all know and discuss as part of classroom emergency procedures.

There's a storm coming. I keep having that ugly feeling.

"By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes."

I try to keep prepared, in mind and body. Food and munitions are set in and packed if I need to relocate in a hurry. I try to keep my students thinking - without sounding like a hopeless paranoid.

Although - many of them agree with me about the uneasiness. When we discuss Disaster Preparedness, they tell me, "You the Realest Teacher I know."

Which is not going to win any points for grammar, but the sentiment is from the heart.
angusmcfarland angusmcfarland 51-55, M Aug 25, 2012

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