Thursday, May 11, 2006

Did You Know that Bruce Lee Could Dodge Bullets?

What a bizarre day today in my classroom. Every morning during 1st period homeroom, the media class puts on a school-wide broadcast that is shown on the t.v. in every classroom. Every once in a while, the broadcast teacher throws in a safety special - showing old films that tell about how to deal with bullies and what to do if someone offers you drugs. Today's special was about gun safety. What do you do if you are at a friend's house after school, the friend's parents are still at work, and your friend pulls dad's gun out of the closet for a show and tell? This subject is one that is near and dear to my heart, as it deals with the mysterious (to most people) world of firearms. I went ahead and added a little mini-lesson to my lesson plan regarding gun safety. Just consider it a supplemental to today's broadcast. What I found was some highly disturbing fallacies that my students indulged in. Essentially, they don't have a clue about firearms.

My bellwork for today required my students to answer a question about what you should do if your friend wants to show you the gun in the house. The correct answer is get out of the house as soon as possible. Do not pass go, do not collect $200; get the heck out! Someone from every period invariably made the following statement: "But, if you run, won't your friend shoot you? Running away will get you shot!" The first time a student said that, I was dumbfounded. After the fifth or sixth time a student from another period said the same thing, I was even more dumbfounded. What in sam hill are they talking about? I had to tell each class, "Look folks, this is not a liquor store robbery we are talking about here. I am talking about you being in your friend's house and he wants to show you his dad's gun. Your friend is not likely to chase you down and shoot you if you try to leave."

I then went over with the class, the three cardinal rules of gun safety. To keep from making it look like I was trying to teach them how to shoot - which I wasn't - I framed the purpose of teaching them the rules as reasons they should get out of the house, because chances are, their friend with the show-and-tell gun would be breaking one or all of the following rules. I wrote the rules on the board as such:

1. You must assume that a gun is ALWAYS loaded.
2. Do not aim a gun at anything you do not plan on shooting.
3. Keep your finger off the trigger unless you are ready to fire the gun.

Incredibly, many students had trouble with the first rule. They kept trying to rationalize and justify: "But, what if you double check the gun to make sure it is unloaded?" "But, what if you keep the safety on?" "But, what if you keep the slide jacked to the rear?" "But, what if... what if... what if?" I just kept telling them that it does not matter how sure you are that the gun is unloaded, you must always treat the gun as if it is loaded; if nothing else, so that you stay in the habit of not pointing it at anyone or putting your finger on the trigger whether it is unloaded or not. I told the students that most gun accidents happen because the person with the gun was sure that the gun was unloaded. As an example, I mentioned that dumbass DEA agent in Florida who was giving a gun safety demonstration to a classroom full of students and parents in Florida. He was handed what he assured the crowd was an "unloaded" pistol. A few seconds after admonishing the crowd that he was the only one "professional" enough to be handling this pistol, he shot himself in the foot. Hilariously enough, he attempted to continue the seminar as he limped around the classroom.

Then one of my students got even more absurd. He asked, "Can't you just dodge the bullet?" I had to request that he repeat the question, just to make sure I heard him right: "Can't you just dodge the bullet?" The first thing I asked him was, "You're joking right?" No, he wasn't joking. I told the student, "No, you cannot dodge a bullet." Incredibly, a murmur sprang from the small crowd of students who disagreed with my assertion that you cannot dodge a bullet. The student then said, "You can dodge a bullet! Bruce Lee could dodge bullets! I saw him do it in a movie once!" Now I figured he had to be pulling my leg. I said, "Yes, exactly; it was in a movie! In real life, you cannot even dream of dodging a bullet. There is a extremely small chance you might be able to anticipate when the shooter is going to pull the trigger and then jump out of the way, but I don't recommend you try it. But you can't dodge a bullet. Once that bullet has left the gun, you don't have a prayer of dodging it." But still, the student steadfastly stuck to his belief that one can dodge bullets, even after I told him that bullets are traveling at about 2000mph as they travel through the air. And honest to goodness, he wasn't joking with me; this kid was as serious as a heart attack.

OK, I hate to sound like a codger and say, "Kids these days!", but "KIDS THESE DAYS!" They live in a media-constructed dreamworld where their friends are out to kill them (OK, that might be a little true sometimes), and where you can dodge bullets, just like Bruce Lee. Remember folks, these kids are going to take care of us in our old age.

Good Day to You, Sir


Polski3 said...

I never seek to find it amazing, what they don't know. Good lesson.

Darren said...

Regarding your last sentence: remember what the janitor said to the principal on this topic in The Breakfast Club.

Chanman said...

VP Vernon: You think about this: when you get old, these kids - when *I* get old - they're going to be running the country.
Carl the Janitor: Yeah.
VP Vernon: Now this is the thought that wakes me up in the middle of the night. That when I get older, these kids are going to take care of me.
Carl the Janitor: I wouldn't count on it.

Great flick!!!