Check your guns at the door - teacher's looking

ROGER SIMON d

December 02, 1991|By ROGER SIMON

Good Roger was deep in a state of depression.

"State of depression?" Bad Roger said. "Is that anywhere near the State of New Jersey?"

Good Roger is the sensitive, caring, loving side of me.

Bad Roger is a squid.

"I have never been so deeply saddened," Good Roger said.

"Wrong," said Bad Roger. "You were this sad when Princess Di married Prince Jughead."

"That was a passing infatuation," sniffed Good Roger. "I am talking about something serious. Something I read in the Howard County Sun last week."

"Howard County?" Bad Roger said. "Isn't that where the highest form of creative expression is putting a '57 Chevy up on concrete blocks in the front yard?"

"Howard County also happens to be where Columbia is located," Good Roger said.

"Columbia!" Bad Roger exclaimed. "Should archaeologists dig up Columbia a million years from now, they will be convinced that 20th-century Americans worshiped shopping centers as gods because they grouped their homes around them like Mayas grouped their huts around pyramids."

"That's a pretty long sentence for you," Good Roger said.

"I felt I was on a roll," said Bad Roger.

"Let's get serious," Good Roger said. "May I quote from the newspaper article?"

"Please do," Bad Roger said. "It fills up the column and we don't have to write as much."

"The headline says: 'High school principals may get firearms training,' " Good Roger said. "The article, by Michael James, says that principals in Howard County may soon be taught 'how to recognize whether a gun is cocked and ready to fire, and how to recognize whether the gun is on safety, or non-firing, mode.' "

"You mean they don't know that already!" Bad Roger exploded. "And they call themselves educators!"

"They are supposed to direct the learning of our young people," Good Roger said. "They are not supposed to be experts on the handling of firearms."

"Get serious," Bad Roger said. "Educators today have one goal: to get home alive. If they don't have basic training in finding, disarming and disposing of the weapons their students bring to school, they can't do their jobs."

"Maybe if we had metal detectors in the schools, the principals wouldn't have to worry about finding guns on the students," Good Roger said.

"You could strip-search the little weasels and they'd still get guns into the schools," Bad Roger said. "Don't be fooled by the dull, slack-jawed appearance of most of today's students. Behind those sloping brows often lurk cunning minds."

"We are not supposed to be frisking our kids!" Good Roger said. "We are supposed to be educating them!"

"How much education do you need to flip a hamburger?" Bad Roger said. "How much education do you need to make a sign: 'High School Graduate. Will Work For Food'?"

"That's absurd," Good Roger said. "Contrary to the ravings of naysayers like you, high school students today are smarter, more motivated and better prepared to face the future than their parents were."

"True," Bad Roger said. "Their parents had to be prepared to go out and get jobs. All these kids have to prepare for is living at home and sponging off their folks."

"We are getting off the subject," Good Roger said. "If we treat our schoolchildren like felons, they will become felons."

"Ask yourself a question," Bad Roger said. "Why did a lot of people leave the city and move to Howard County in the first place?"

"In some cases it was a misguided attempt to escape crime," Good Roger said.

"Misguided is right," Bad Roger said. "Because if parents really want to escape crime by moving to the suburbs, they should leave their kids in the city. Who do they think the criminals are today?"

"You're ridiculous," Good Roger said. "We are talking about normal American kids who are going to school to learn the Three R's."

"That's Rifle, Recoil and Reload," Bad Roger said.

"We need to place trust in our students," Good Roger said. "And we don't demonstrate that by giving our educators weapons training."

"You're right," Bad Roger said. "We should give our educators bulletproof vests instead. Save your green register tapes."

"We cannot train our teachers and principals to act like guards!" Good Roger said.

"Oh, no?" Bad Roger said. "Guess what institution I am describing: The inmates are watched constantly. The authorities ring bells when they want them to move from area to area. Head counts are taken every day. There are many rules that must be obeyed. The inmates cannot leave until they are given permission."

"You are describing a prison," Good Roger said.

"I am describing a high school," Bad Roger said. "Notice the similarities?"

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