August 26, 2014
A Minnesota dance team coach is out of a job because of a cap-gun prank gone wrong. The incident illustrates a whole lot of things that have gone wrong in American society, by no means all of them revolving around guns.
The Cannon Falls High School Bombers dance team, which last year won the state championship, was in the middle of an all-night "lock-in" at the school gymnasium when an unidentified staff member started firing cap guns to scare the girls. Team coach Madi Salisbury immediately halted the prank and turned on the lights, but some members of the team were "terrified" and later sought counseling in the wake of the gone-wrong gag.
As any regular reader of this site would expect, what happened next was perfectly predictable. The school board, citing zero-tolerance anti-weapons and anti-hazing policies, fired both the unidentified staffer and Salisbury, saying the decision was "hard, but right."
As gun guys, it's easy for us to get outraged about the school board's over-the-top response to this, but it raises a variety of questions about contemporary education, namely:
1. Our kids are already far down the road to a future of working for the Chinese: should we really speed that along by having a state championship for a skill that will at best qualify girls for a chorus line position in Donn Arden's Jubilee in Vegas?
2. As dozens and dozens of school sex scandals should long since have proven, no good comes from putting students and faculty in close proximity outside the normal school day. These girls will have plenty of time for bonding during the season: their nighttime hours should be passed in the security of their own homes.
3. Our schools seem grimly determined to raise a generation of ninnies. Any unusual incident is an occasion to bus in battalions of outside counselors to dry their tears and blow their noses. Life is tough. Kids must learn to be tougher. Kids in Israel know the sound of sirens means a Hamas rocket is on the way. They seem to be surviving and thriving. Our kids should be able to handle the sound of a cap pistol. If they had the opportunity to handle or even watch someone handle real guns, they'd know what one sounds like.
4. Zero-tolerance policies are idiotic. If there's any justice, they will wither away in time. In the meantime, only a bonehead would try to scare a bunch of sleeping teenage girls with a cap pistol. The bonehead got fired, but so did the coach, who apparently had no prior knowledge of the prank.
This sad little tale sums up a great deal of what is wrong with today's American society: its pallid feebleness, its querulous resort to unending rule-mongering, its headlong flight from any level of personal responsibility or accountability. LetÃs refresh ourselves by recalling a better, richer time when the colors were more vivid, the smells stronger and the air electric with promise:
HOG Butcher for the World,
Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler;
Stormy, husky, brawling,
City of the Big Shoulders:
They tell me you are wicked and I believe them, for I
have seen your painted women under the gas lamps
luring the farm boys.
And they tell me you are crooked and I answer: Yes, it
is true I have seen the gunman kill and go free to
And they tell me you are brutal and my reply is: On the
faces of women and children I have seen the marks
of wanton hunger.
And having answered so I turn once more to those who
sneer at this my city, and I give them back the sneer
and say to them:
Come and show me another city with lifted head singing
so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.
Flinging magnetic curses amid the toil of piling job on
job, here is a tall bold slugger set vivid against the
little soft cities;
Fierce as a dog with tongue lapping for action, cunning
as a savage pitted against the wilderness,
Building, breaking, rebuilding,
Under the smoke, dust all over his mouth, laughing with
Under the terrible burden of destiny laughing as a young
Laughing even as an ignorant fighter laughs who has
never lost a battle,
Bragging and laughing that under his wrist is the pulse.
and under his ribs the heart of the people,
Laughing the stormy, husky, brawling laughter of
Youth, half-naked, sweating, proud to be Hog
Butcher, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with
Railroads and Freight Handler to the Nation
"Chicago," Carl Sandburg