The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


The truth as I see it

Calibration test

Look at the nearest door. It’s probably the entrance to your classroom, those windows are mighty hard to see out of. OK, now get this, rap rap, the sound of knuckles on that door in front of you. Now thud, then another loud bang as the whole frame shakes. Someone’s kicking it, three, four times. Splintered wood stops vibrating for a second of silence.

The door explodes inward in a thunderstorm of splinters. Amid the wrecked frame a man stands completely naked, shoulders heaving, shaggy dreadlocks melt into an unkept beard covered in drool. His bug eyes stare from under a solid unibrow. He is holding an ax. What do you do?

This man is about to sing you an opera.

Here’s the deal with school shootings.

If you drive down to San Antonio and go to the San Antonio School of Firearms Safety to earn your concealed handgun license, what you learn about guns comes from Hoot, a police officer who loads a gun, chambers a round and drops it at your feet with the safety off.

According to Hoot, the real name of our Police Firearms Safety instructor teaching CHL courses in Bexar County, there is only one gun: loaded, cocked, with the safety off and held in a human hand. Everything else is scrap metal.

Hoot litters the ground with scrap metal, flipping it out of his hand in mad spins to clatter at your feet, probably a classroom of fat old men, some dude with a moustache and two college students still running on the momentum of turning 21 the week before.

Like I said, scrap metal tossed through the air as it fell from his hands.

In two magical days with Hoot, one can learn many important things about guns, gun safety, gun laws, gun history and gun care.

Now for the truth: simple and unbiased.

Barney has a CHL. This means Barney can take his handgun to church. Barney can take it to the pool and swim laps with a Desert Eagle tucked away, so long as nobody can reasonably discern he has it. Also, Barney can walk right up the Boulevard of SMU next Friday eating a hot dog while children play Frisbee. The beer droplets on the grass at Barney’s feet are like water after the first showers of May.

Barney can also walk into a library and sit at the computer surfing pornographic Web sites and reading about psychedelic mushrooms and heroin.

Unless Domino’s put up a sign that says, “No handguns allowed,” Barney can walk in and order a pizza.

Unless you and your dad open a yoga studio called, “No Guns Allowed” and have a giant sign saying, “Firearms Against the Law” signed by the governor, Barney has just as much a right to stretch in short shorts or just clean underwear because people assume they are just fashionable short shorts.

Barney might be banned for life, but the police won’t do a thing.

However, let’s say Pete owns an ammunition shop called “Confederate Southern Racial Violence, Inc.” that makes 51 percent of its sales with the Texas Penal Code 30.06 clearly visible at the entrance in one-inch font in both English and Spanish. If Pete invites Barney in to grab a beer and clean the gun that he probably has hidden in what might be a shoulder holster, while he rides the rollercoaster with the Highland Park wrestling team on a field trip, Barney would be in a gray area.

For those of you who don’t know, a gun is a giant metal dragon that hunts down children. The magazine is a detachable piece of hell into which bullets are loaded and thereby infused with evil. When you, in a fit of violent rage, point your “gun” at a “civilian mother of six” and yank the trigger, the firing pin of this savage beast spurs the bullet, and you may think that ignited primer burns powder to create a huge amount of pressure on the back of the lead round, but actually what happens is you turn into a pedophile.

That was good news, so we went to a target range. The detective who owned the place talked like his whole life was the first scene of Patton and explained the rules:

No talking.

Do not fire until instructed.

The instruction to fire is, “Commence firing.” Don’t shoot now though, wait.

When you hear, “Cease fire,” cease fire.

Team up, find a buddy. He is your life now.

Decide who will shoot first. Your partner will load.

Five bullets per magazine

The shooter may have only one magazine in his possession at any time.

Stand at the wooden posts, they are marked at five, 10, 20 and 30 feet.

Fire the entire magazine in two minutes at each distance.

Then he aided the woman with her husband as to where the bullets were, and then decided to be a real help and show Moustache how to load his magazine. He showed him where to stand and really just gave him the kind of help you would expect, since this tall gentleman really didn’t know a thing about guns and needed all the help he could get.

General Patton checked to make sure nobody had screwed up yet, found a good reason to correct Moustache, and then he gave the order to fire.

Everyone fired. Everyone had holes close together – even Moustache. how could you miss at five feet? “Cease fire!” Move to 10 feet.

What we learned, as the distance went from 10 to 20 feet, the target paper grew to resemble swiss cheese with the exception of one, where three holes in the bullseye grew to a single, giant wound the size of a housecat, was that someone knew something we didn’t. There was more to him than a moustache.

For the record, if you put your hands together out in front of you, so that the bumps of your thum and palm form a diamond and then move your thumb on your dominant hand over the other thumb as if it were a trying to mount the thing, and use the pad of your finger on the trigger to press it instead of push, you will be using the “thumbs forward” grip, which is the easiest way to hit only the bullseye again and again.

They teach you this somewhere in between basic training and being 50 feet down range with your buddies while the order is given to fire three rounds in five seconds from into a target at evenly timed intervals because Blackwater Private Security has hired you to work for them.

At the final “cease fire” everyone retrieved their targets and moustache got his, which had a single giant hole in the middle. The instructor made little to no eye contact with the man whose bullets defied physics.

Lunch was interesting. You may have been confused your first time in the school cafeteria, but cheeseburgers and three tables of strangers whose age stretches out six decades and your only immediate connection is a desire to fulfill the Second Amendment Obligation to our founding fathers, or just to be able to hide a gun in their jacket, makes for a tough and compelling decision.

Walking out at the end of that weekend, I realized something. There were three guys from that class that I wouldn’t trust a gun to in a trenchfight with 60 thousand screaming Germans pounding across a crater-pocked battlezone. Even the knowledge that their lack of a firearm may result in my own messy demise at the end of a sharpened shovel was not enough to convince me that they might be well suited to carry a gun.

After three days doing things fully disappointing to myself and those who care about me, I made the conclusion, driving from San Antonio back to Austin and strumming my guitar, that it is not my job to decide who is armed. By the time I reached Dallas, I came to the conclusion that it’s not really anyone’s job to make that judgement.

Even police commit anarchy. In utter chaos, control is yielded to the true instinctual nature each of us hide so carefully with designer jeans and weaved hair. Some people take up the ax, lonely Korean playwrights and Northern Illinois honor students. The police are no defense, the laws are no defense, the only protection we have is God and a thumbs- forward grip on destiny.

As it is, Logan Eastby could barge into CCJN 1308 tomorrow with a flamethrower to send great gouts of screaming hot death splashing over the students as he bounces off walls, cackling insane fury until the room goes nuclear in roaring flames, the police dispatch on speakerphone asking everyone to remain calm until the fire department shows up with marshmallow s’mores to roast over the glistening embers of yesterday’s future. . .

Questions? Comments? Austin Rucker is a senior English major and can be reached for comment at [email protected].

More to Discover