Wrung out.


This is not me, but it’s pretty close.

Another day, another mass shooting in the U.S.A.  I know it’s been FOUR days already, but I’m wrung out.  (I also just typed “wrong out” instead of “wrung out,” which indicates why it’s probably best that I’ve been off-blog and social media in general lately.)

I used to write about gun violence a lot (see below for links).  I guess I’m just as jaded and discouraged as everyone else, but it’s hard to gin up the outrage yet again for another classroom full of dead students and a dead teacher.  Another socially isolated and probably mentally ill young man who had a parent eager to supply him with an arsenal for mass murder.

This article by Melissa Duclos, a community college proffie in Oregon, published last Friday morning at Salon.com was the best thing I saw all weekend about last week’s murderous rampage at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, “we don’t need your prayers, we need your courage.”  After a rundown of her CC’s “emergency protocols,” she writes this:

In the next paragraph, I am told what to do if that shooter does in fact enter our classroom: “There is no one procedure that can be recommended in this situation,” the manual informs me with grim honesty, before adding, “[i]f you must fight, fight to win and survive.”

Fight to survive. I am a teacher, with a master’s degree in creative writing, and this is part of my job.

HAHAHAHAhahahahaha!!!!  Except, that’s where all of us are:  armed only with wipeboard markers and erasers, and maybe a shard of glass or plastic we could salvage from the framed American flags that adorn my classrooms at Baa Ram U. (because patriotism.  Hooray, America!)  Duclos concludes:

The next time you have an opportunity to sponsor or vote on common-sense gun legislation, instead of fearing the attack ads the gun lobby will undoubtedly launch against you, the lost campaign revenue, or the threat to your job, I hope that you think of me and my students, of the rest of the educators and students across the country, who have been asked to stand up to gunmen because you are too scared to stand up to a handful of lobbyists.

I will conclude with a request I made lo, nearly eight years ago:  where can I get a high-fashion Kevlar vest? 

Other relevant posts on gun violence, race, gender, American history, and the sickness unique to my country, the United States of Kiss My Ass.  Jesus, Mary, and Joseph:   we suck.  Can you freakin’ believe that I’ve written THIRTY FIVE of these over the past eight years?  Thirty-six with the Kevlar vest one, and this one makes thirty-seven.

  1. Death threats plus liberal gun laws = no feminist speech allowed.  October 26, 2014
  2. We U.S. Americans are now beyond parody:  guns, race, gender, and parenthood, ca. 2014.  August 29, 2014
  3. Who pays the price for a weaponized nation?  December 26, 2013
  4. Family responsibility, fantasy life, and American gun culture.  December 13, 2013
  5. Colorado Dems lead the way on gun safety legislation; who will follow?  February 18, 2013
  6. We don’t own the guns:  the guns own us.  January 19, 2013
  7. The Full Crazy.  January 8, 2013
  8.  But I thought guns made us all safer:  fear and intimidation in Westchester County.   January 7, 2013
  9. A conversation with Chauncy DeVega about guns, masculinity, and the white violent crime epidemic.  January 3, 2013
  10. I’ll say this for mass murderers:  December 18, 2012
  11. Other links, other views on the Newtown, Conn. mass murder, plus a reconsideration of parenting.  December 17, 2012
  12. Gender, family life, and gun-fueled mass-murder.  December 16, 2012
  13. Public school teachers and administrators are everything that’s wrong with education today.  December 15, 2012
  14. Of course, we can’t even talk about limiting gun ownership now. . . December 14, 2012
  15. Another day, another mass murder in the U.S.A.  August 6, 2012
  16. This state sucks.  July 24, 2012
  17. Gender, ownership, and the law.  July 22, 2012
  18. Yet another mass murder in Colorado.  July 20, 2012
  19. 4-20 and loaded .44s:  guess which one isn’t welcome on campus?  April 20, 2012
  20. The gendered expressions of mental illness and violence.  May 26, 2011
  21. More guns in the hands of college students is just the ticket!  February 7, 2011
  22. Sadly, no surprises:  young, mentally ill man murders 6 and injures 14.  January 9, 2011
  23. 20th anniversary of the massacre at L’Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal.  December 6, 2009
  24. Guns and gender:  “Many say” that “some” don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.  December 5, 2009
  25. Gun bans:  what are we really talking about here?  December 2, 2009
  26. More guns make us safer.  Not!  November 6, 2009
  27. Man shoots women:  just another dog-bites-man story.  August 8, 2009
  28. Another daughter is dead, and the story is all about the killer now.  May 9, 2009.
  29. Daddy knows best!  April 22, 2009
  30. Let’s play “what’s wrong with this headline?”  April 20, 2009
  31. Guns, threats, space, and gender.  April 18, 2009
  32. Amorphous system beats, kills women and children.  April 11, 2009
  33. Ski resort “Christian” murderer update.  January 9, 2009
  34. “Christian” imperialism.  December 31, 2009
  35. Heartbreaking.  But where is our outrage?  February 15, 2008

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go MacGuyver up a plan that will help me foil a crazed gunman on campus using just my flip phone, my checkbook, a compact mirror, and a couple of old lipsticks that are knocking around in the bottom of my backpack.  Because that’s that plan, friends, and as we all know that a plan beats the ever-loving sh!t out of no plan.

16 thoughts on “Wrung out.

  1. In theory, students in Texas will be able to carry weapons into classrooms next year. And I just read the story about the 11 year old who shot the 8 year old over a puppy (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/06/us/tennessee-boy-accused-of-killing-girl-over-puppies.html?ref=us&_r=0). There are days when I just can’t even fathom the world I live in.

    I thought the Duclos piece was excellent, and I realized I didn’t even know what I was supposed to do if we had an active shooter situation on campus. Just after I read it, a friend on fb who teaches in Philly noted that there was a non-specific threat of violence against Philly area colleges for today: what to do?

    Back in the dark ages, we did duck and cover to protect ourselves from nuclear weapons. But this threat is much more real.

    And every story I read convinces me that understanding patriarchy is central to figuring out this mess. Meanwhile, we should do a kickstarter campaign for whoever wants to start manufacturing high fashion kevlar vests, or at least ones we could wear without making it obvious to our students that we were wearing them.


    • Maybe we shouldn’t try to conceal the vests, but rather wear them like SWAT team members to make it clear what kind of environment we work in?

      What would happen if I started wearing Kevlar to my university? I’d probably get asked to remove the vest or cover it up, because it was UPSETTING to “some” to be reminded of just how unsafe we are in schools and colleges. But guns on campus? Nothing we can do about that, because #SecondAmendment.


      • There’s some pretty nice looking bullet-proof clothing out there. I’ve considered asking for some for Christmas, though the nice stuff is much to pricey for a gift. But my big worry is the head. Can I teach with a combat helmet on? And will the helmet even help?

        I’m pretty sure my uni would have no objections to kevlar.


  2. I think my university would be fine with it so long as it’s blaze orange.

    I have nothing to say about the shootings. I’m empty. And sad.


  3. Sh*t, I better start bringing my lipstick to class. Right now all I bring are my notes, keys, a pen, and a flash drive. I’m clearly a sitting duck.


  4. My university’s response is “Watch this video.” So, here it is.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be off improvising weapons and finding ways to hide myself and thirty students under a bunch of classroom chairs, or how to run from a classroom with one door and windows that don’t open.


  5. I’d been thinking about Chauncy DeVega and his concept of toxic white masculinity — that topic is possibly even more terrifying than gun control, but I think DeVega’s right that this is a major root of the problem. Of course, if the toxic white guys couldn’t get so many guns so easily, that would help. . . Sad, yes, and also furious.


  6. One of the times I’m so grateful to be raising my children in the UK. There are issues here and it isn’t perfect, but I am not worried about crazed gunmen and/or my baby being shot over a puppy. I’m writing my reps though, and helping to support those who aim to pass sensible laws. Thankfully you are a runner…you don’t have to be the fastest, just not the slowest (snark).


  7. Historiann –
    Love the very famous House of Games reference, a quip that stands out in a movie full of very fine glib one-liners. In the face of leaden acting, a too-long con, and a sterile mise-en-scene, the dialogue and gender warfare in this film simply crackle, and I still find it fascinating. What is your overall assessment?


    • Haven’t seen it since 1988 or so, but I love that “US of KMA” line! At the time, I think I found the movie just bewildering (but then I was confused a lot in college.)


  8. Pingback: What We’re Reading: Week of Oct. 5th | JHIBlog

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