My directive was simple: Develop a class for over 2,500 fifth-graders about firearms for a two-day Public Safety event at the Atlanta Police Department's Zone 6 Precinct.
My lesson plan was more controversial: demonstrate with actual firearms for visual learners and discussing consequences of unsafe firearm practices. Classes were chaperoned by Atlanta Public School administrators, teachers, and parents.
I held up a hand-operated vegetable chopper and asked, “Is this good or evil?” All the kids (and some of the teachers/parents) shouted, “good.” Likewise, I held up a pistol and asked, “Is this good or evil?” I got a combination of “boos” and “evil.”
Then I asked for volunteers and it turned into a track meet with kids racing to the front. Selecting a girl and boy, I instructed them to place their hands on top of a cutting block I had just used for chopping vegetables a minute before, and they complied.
I raised the vegetable chopper above their little hands, and with an over-exaggerated windup for a snappy chop of their fingers, they jerked their hands back and into their pant pockets for safety as I queried, “Now… is the vegetable chopper good or evil?” EVIL! EVIL! EVIL!
What changed? Both were mechanical devices engineered to do one thing proficiently. Yet, are they innately good or evil, or is it more about the operator of the device?
I couldn't wait to play the Eddie Eagle Gun Safe Program. A short 7-minute animated sing-along catered directly for young school-age children. The question Eddie always asks is, “What do you do when you find a gun?”
Sing along, y'all… “STOP, DON'T TOUCH. RUN AWAY. TELL A GROWN UP.” Even the sceptical administrators standing cross-armed in the back of the room got into the groove.
Before the credits for the animated film were revealed, I stopped the tape and asked, “Who was responsible for the production of this film?”
Shouts from the adults in the room were random, “Obama, the Department of Education, the Atlanta School Board, Disney, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (well, Eddie was an Eagle).” No, No, No (now I started to laugh).
"You have all been caught up in your own prejudice,” I blurted out. I swung around and pointed my remote control towards the TV just in time for the production credits: "This program was brought to you by the National Rifle Association.” I couldn't help but tell these gun-hating parental units that the NRA has been around since 1871, has over 125,000 certified instructors, and trains over 1,000,000 annually on firearm safety. Boo-yah!
And what gripes me to no end are companies like Delta Air Lines who all of a sudden want to bolster their nebulous neutrality, group-think, "Me Too" movement-like hysteria since the Parkland, Florida massacre.
The NRA, gun manufacturers, gun dealers, and gun owners are not the boogieman. Fraidy-cat Broward County Sheriff officials failed to follow their mass shooter training of entering immediately, put a cross-hairs in the shooters' orbital cavity and double-tap that crazy mass-murdering malcontent.
The Georgia Legislature rightfully put the kibosh on a generous $38 million fuel break for Delta. Now Delta can experience what "no discount" feels like and pay full price right along with their own customers that also appreciated a discount, too.
Be smart. All groups are political. Discriminate against one (NRA) and you've created a political alliance with the rest. Neutrality, in the case of Delta, is continuing a prudent business model disregarding the political winds that constantly blow through social media.
Anti-NRA, based in a pro-gun state? Priceless!
The Precinct Press is authored by W.J. Butcher, a retired 26-year veteran of the Atlanta Police Department. Send comments, kudos, and criticism to: firstname.lastname@example.org