Not too long ago I read an shared opinion cited on Facebook that recommended the thought of placing a fire extinguisher in each and every school classroom. The link to the short opinion is posted below. I have had a few minutes today to search around the web and find several such opinions that match those thoughts. Bare with me while I ramble for a minute...
As the news broke of the tragedy yesterday, Facebook began to be flooded with opinions about gun control...a very touchy subject. As a government that has proved to contain corruption from any political side you may stand on, Americans that are against the slippery slope of stronger gun control are certainly wary of such legislation. Americans that do not wish to carry guns and put their trust and safety in the hands of others are speaking out in favor of stronger gun legislation. There are good points on both sides. I am a gun owner. I have a license to carry a gun. I am proud of that and would have no hesitation in using a gun in a threatened situation. Today's world is crazy, and it's for protection of me and my kids. You may not agree with that stance...and that's ok. It's one of my rights, and I certainly recognize your right to be in disagreement.
As the identities of some of the victims of yesterday's shooting started showing up today, my eyes were warm fighting back tears. It's hard to even look at the faces of the victims. There has been a sick feeling in my stomach all day. I drop my kids off every day at school...trusting that they are in good hands and that they are safe...I absolutely cannot fathom getting news of a shooting at one of their schools. The pain these parents and families are facing today is unimaginable. Just picture, rushing to the school to search for the location your child may have been sent to in the aftermath of such a catastrophe, to be so ready to wrap your arms around them and thank God for their safety...only to never find them...to instead find out that they are one of the victims lying in a pool of blood in a school hallway or classroom. And for what? Such a senseless act of evil. The questions that would be going through my head would never end. Losing a child is something I'm not sure how people get through...only faith in God could sustain someone through that kind of loss. If you're a parent whose child made it out safely, how do you ever send them back to school with peace of mind? How do educators get over it? The damage something like this does is so far-reaching. We all think it's so very sad...yet deep inside there is no understanding on how it could happen in our own communities. On some level, we are in denial.
The reality is, that opinions on social media and news outlets right now are just that...OPINIONS...they aren't going to solve anything. We need some sort of action, and we need it now. That brings me back to the original piece I posted at the start of the article...a fire extinguisher in every classroom. You're asking yourself, "seriously? A fire extinguisher?" Hear me out and read an excerpt from the above article...
"What if, when a school went into lockdown, every teacher grabbed a fire extinguisher? If you're up against the wall next to the classroom's door, you should have a split second to make a first move. Pull. Aim. If he gets in, squeeze. The attacker is now engulfed in a cloud of white smoke. The white powder (potassium bicarbonate and CO2 mix) is now in his eyes, ears and lungs. He can't see, and his oxygen has just been replaced with CO2 that is so cold his throat is being freezer burned"
Now, I talked to a firefighter tonight and realize that there are several different types of fire extinguishers and the contents may not be the same, thus potentially having different effects from those listed above. However, even with different contents, the ability to hit the shooter and blind them, even if temporarily, is a real possibility. If a shooter was blinded, the extinguisher itself can be used to hit the perpetrator over the head...that teacher has just saved their students, and probably many more.
I do not have the answers, but this has been reeling in my non-stop little mind all day. Knowing that new legislation wouldn't please everyone, and knowing it wouldn't be immediate, why are we waiting? I work in Muscogee County...I live in Harris County...two communities that I care about and that I know care about their schools and the children in them. Let's encourage and build a real discussion with trained personnel and impassioned parents and educators, and if there is any, and I mean any, possibility that this could make a difference, LET'S MAKE THIS HAPPEN. Why wait? You want to wait for someone else to do it to see if it fails? NO! Be a CATALYST...we may not agree with our neighbor on gun control or armed guards in schools, but if we can prove that this could work...to save even one life...why wouldn't we be that change.
I know some will talk about the cost...I know as a parent of three kids, our family would be happy to purchase extinguishers for every classroom our children walk into on a daily basis. You want to see a successful fundraiser?...raise money to pay for something that has merit to save children from an active shooter situation. I just know in my heart, these communities care. I realize there are fire and safety measures and re-certifications/re-tagging of extinguishers that have to take place, and I get it...that takes money...I still think it can be done. I'm so sick of seeing opinions and arguments...I'm sick of seeing murdered children. Unfortunately, it's a matter of time before it happens in one of our own towns and schools. While legislators are fighting over changes that may take years, let's do this NOW.
If you think this could work, I urge you to share this around to try and reach the city officials of Muscogee and Harris Counties, fire officials, fire and safety organizations, anyone you think has good input on this. If you have a reason on why it won't work, comment and tell me something I'm not seeing. Stepping up as a community that refuses to wait on others to find a solution that may never come...that's the change we need...be the catalyst.