Our children should be safe from gun violence at school

Second Amendment

Tourniquets. The latest idea to come out of the Texas Legislature is to teach children in 4th grade how to put a tourniquet on a bleeding classmate during a school shooting incident.

I wonder how many adults would have the presence of mind to do that. And how much guilt will that 4th-grader feel the rest of his or her life if their classmate dies because they couldn’t tie the tourniquet off with their shaking fingers?

So, we are teaching kids how to duck for cover, lock doors, hide in closets and either stop a classmate from bleeding to death or watch that classmate die. All this to avoid keeping weapons of war out of the hands of civilians who have no need for them. I have yet to see one use of an assault rifle in this country that has been justified in any way.

Some of us are old enough to remember when going to school wasn’t a life-or-death choice. Some of us are old enough to remember learning math and English, not how to apply tourniquets while watching mom wash your classmate’s blood out of your clothes.

I must confess that I simply do not understand the mental processes of those who feel that the only way to protect the Second Amendment is to make sure every nut case in the country has the ability to buy a weapon that allows them to kill multiple people with one spray of the gun. Does anyone really think this is what our Founding Fathers had in mind when they created the Second Amendment? Because I honestly believe if they came back to America today and saw the massacres occurring in a country they tried to safeguard, they’d be horrified.


I’m not a lawyer, but I don’t understand why you’d have to be to understand the language in the Second Amendment where it discusses “a well-regulated militia.” The Proud Boys and Oath Keepers are not a well-regulated militia. Yet they have enough weapons to declare war on America. And yes, on Jan. 6, 2021, that’s exactly what they did. Does anyone think that if George Washington or Thomas Jefferson had seen that scene, they would be supportive of the way the Second Amendment has been interpreted?

What has happened to this country that we’ve decided that everyone needs to be armed? Or that every confrontation needs to be handled with a weapon? We have no expectation of common sense in adults while putting all the expectations on the ability of a 10-year old to stay calm enough to put a tourniquet on a dying classmate while bullets rain down on them. Seriously, who the hell does that make any sense to?

I wish we could go back to the days when the worse that could happen to your fourth grader was a wedgie. Or swirly. Whichever, the bottom line is that they came home – and not in a wooden box for burial.

So is this what our great experiment in democracy and rule of the people, by the people and for the people has become – an armed camp where we all look at our neighbors with suspicion. We fear that if asked to move their car from our driveway, they’ll respond by spraying our house with gunfire. Don’t think that can happen? Check with that family in Texas who were slaughtered for asking their neighbor to stop shooting his gun at midnight because their baby was sleeping.

When will we stand up to the NRA and the politicians who blindly support it in the hope of getting an even larger donation to their campaign next time? When will we decide that the most important thing is the safety of our children in school and the safety of our neighbors and family when they are at the mall looking for a bargain? Neither of those things can be achieved by making schools and malls armed encampments themselves. That’s just a fast way to destroy the American dream. Sensible gun laws take assault rifles out of the hands of civilians and put them where they belong, in locked storage facilities accessible only by soldiers in time of war.

If we as Americans cannot come together to make that happen for our children, then we should be ashamed of ourselves. Completely and totally ashamed of ourselves.

Elise Patkotak is an Alaska columnist and author. Her book “Coming Into the City” is available at AlaskaBooksandCalendars.com and at local bookstores.

The views expressed here are the writer’s and are not necessarily endorsed by the Anchorage Daily News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, email commentary(at)adn.com. Send submissions shorter than 200 words to letters@adn.com or click here to submit via any web browser. Read our full guidelines for letters and commentaries here.

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