Thursday, August 23, 2012

on extreme violence.

as part of my new job as a full-time professor, i have been required to attend a spattering of meetings and seminars this week.  this has led to a lot of boredom but also a fair amount of excitement--excitement that was entirely unexpected.

it all began with boa constrictors and miniature horses.  did you know that the US government has redefined what a disability is and what constitutes a service animal?  yeah, me neither.  anyway, apparently people can have miniature horses as service animals and just about anything--snakes included--as therapy animals. 

just try to imagine this is you will.  you are sitting in a classroom, taking notes, trying to concentrate, but the horse standing next to you keeps whinnying(sp?) in your ear.  or the girl in the corner keeps stroking the snake she carries in her bag.  weird.  just plain weird.

after the tons of excitement that was the ADA meeting came my favorite experience on a college campus thus far:  crisis management.

with the rash of random mass shootings lately, the state of texas has revamped its active shooter protocol and we, the educators of the state, have to relearn everything as well.  it basically went like this:

police officer:  you know how before you were just kind of supposed to lock the door, turn out the lights, hunker down and pray?

us:  yeah.

officer:  yeah, change of plans.  you'll still want to lock the door, turn out the lights and pray, but the hunkering down, not so much.  instead, you need to fight. if a shooter comes into your classroom, use extreme violence to take him down.

that's right, folks.  we get to beat the shit out of someone with anything we can find to prevent them from killing people.  we were also informed that if someone happened to accidentally, oh i don't know, maim or kill the shooter in the process, that no one would really care.

chairs, backpacks, desks, computer monitors, tv cabinets, you name it--they are all weapons.  we also learned how to appropriately hit and kick people to inflict the most damage once they are on the ground.  don't screw with me, peeps.  just saying.

after this very informative meeting, we were placed in a simulation to try out our new combat skills.

it went a little something like this:

officer:  i'm going to need a volunteer to act as our pack leader.  remember, this is a fight for your lives!

my good friend and colleague:
  i volunteer as tribute!

(laughter erupts, fifteen minutes go by, we manage to subdue our giggles and get our heads back in the game)

officer:  okay folks, you'll notice there are rolls of toilet paper on your desks that have been labeled with a variety of items you might find in a classroom.  let's have a real quick safety briefing here.  the toilet paper is standing in for the actual object.  if the roll says "chair," pretend it's a chair.  it's not a command telling you to throw an actual chair.

us:  wait...what happened during yesterday's session?  did someone actually throw a chair?!

officer:  i can neither confirm nor deny that.  are y'all ready?  GO!

gun shots are heard and we rush into action, having armed ourselves with our toilet paper weapons.  the room we were in didn't have locking doors, so we turned out the lights and split up, half of us on one side, half on the other, waiting for the attacker to enter.

gun shots rang out (like a bell); yelling and screaming ensued.  we waited, crouched like lions waiting for a nice, juicy gazelle.

finally the attacker came in.  we pounced into action, bombarding him (another police officer in an extremely padded suit) with our toilet paper weapons.  someone grabbed his leg, knocking him off balance, and another person grabbed his arm.  he released the gun and we kicked it away, maintaining a hold on him.

i guess feeling that the situation wasn't quite under control, someone then proceeded to pick up the room's trash can and repeatedly bash the attacker over the head with it.  she hit him at least ten times.  it. was. awesome.

finally someone called out OK!  THAT's GOOD!  and we all stopped attacking, laughter replacing violence. 

the chief of police walked up to the poor "attacker" and asked if he was ok.  it took him a second, but he finally got to his feet, smiled, waved, and left, complaining of dizziness.

we milled around a few more minutes, laughing, smiling, trying to slow down our furiously beating hearts.  eventually we looked to our police officer instructor.

officer:  wow you guys.  i should have stopped that three minutes earlier, but i was having too much fun watching. 

with that he released us, and we left, filled with adrenaline and just a bit in shock.

i learned about miniature horses, snakes and participated in a small-scale version of the hunger games by helping beat the crap out a police officer; what did you do at work yesterday?

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