MT. VERNON, INDIANA — Over in the Hoosier State, quite a rivalry is heating up between two schools in two neighboring towns.
Not wanting to be upstaged by a nearby Monticello elementary school, Samuel Colt Elementary School in Mt. Vernon conducted an active shooter drill using live ammunition. This came after news reports of Medowland Elementary teachers being shot at close range, execution style, with airsoft guns, as they received specialized training for handling active shooter incidents. Mass shootings have become all but a way of life in American schools, where lockdown drills are held at regular intervals like earthquake and fire drills had been historically done.
While officials have said that this is not usually part of the training, Colt Elementary’s principal decided his school should “take it up a notch.”
“It’s one thing for teachers to feel a little sting from a plastic ball shot at their backs,” Thomas Jinkelson, Colt’s principal, told us. “It’s another entirely to feel what it’s like to be shot by a real gun using real bullets. No one can convince me that there’s a more authentic experience to be had in that regard.”
Since 1999, when two teenagers entered Columbine High School in Aurora, Colorado and opened fire, killing several classmates and teachers, the subject of school shootings has been hotly debated by lawmakers, but on a national level very little has been done. Even after 20 first graders were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012, simple universal background checks failed in Congress under NRA pressure. Jinkelson says that he’d much prefer legislators find ways to “keep guns out of the hands of people who pose a threat to society,” until that happens, he has a duty to be as creative as he can be in his school’s active shooting drills.
“It stands to reason, the way I see it anyway, that if they’ve already been shot once before, they’ll move that much more quickly if they’re shot at again,” JInkelson posits. “I don’t know a single person that’s been shot and wanted to be shot a second time, know what I mean?”
Going back to 1970, when the data started to be collected, 2018 was the worst year on record for school shootings. They were more frequent, and cost more lives than in previous years. Jinkelson told us he hopes that one day statistics like that will matter, but he’s “not holding [his] breath” over that.
“You would think that at some point enough kids would have been murdered for Americans to demand that even the most basic and common sense reforms be put in place,”Jinkelson said, “but then again, this isn’t New Zealand. We don’t have politicians who act bravely despite political pressure from gun manufacturing lobbyists. We have, um, the opposite of that here in America.”
Jinkelson hasn’t ruled out upping the ante in his school’s active shooter drills, either.
“I think we might put a couple pipe bombs in the cafeteria, or rig a small amount of C-4 to blow up in the gym,” Jinkselson told us. “If we’re going to treat our schools like we live in a war zone, and not a free society, we should cover all possible scenarios, shouldn’t we?”
Last week’s active shooter drill sent six teachers to the emergency room. The teachers are in stable, but critical condition. The NRA has sent them a lovely bouquet of semiautomatic hand guns and Outback Steakhouse gift cards.
Writer/comedian James Schlarmann is the founder of The Political Garbage Chute and his work has been featured on The Huffington Post. You can follow James on Facebook and Instagram, but not Twitter because he has a potty mouth.