Textbooks Will Stop Bullets? Is this Oklahoma candidate only trying to get media attention?
Sometimes you hear the strangest things from people who obviously have good intentions.
In the wake of the recent school shootings, one of the most bizarre campaign statements comes from a man running for Oklahoma's state superintendent of education. It is so hard to believe that someone would put out this kind of thought, I will quote directly and rather completely from News Net 5's Education page, for October 19, 2006:
Bill Crozier, a Union City Republican going against incumbent Democrat Sandy Garrett, said he believes old textbooks could be used to stop bullets shot from weapons wielded by school intruders. If elected, he said he would put thick used textbooks under every desk for students to use in self-defense.
He gave Eyewitness News 5 a videotape showing he and others shooting weapons, such as an AK-47 and a 9 mm pistol, at books in a field near Minco. They conducted the experiment to see how far bullets would penetrate the books.
"We are doing this as an experiment because at Fort Gibson, many young people were shot in the back," Crozier said in the videotape, referencing a December 1999 middle school shooting in eastern Oklahoma, in which a student wounded four students with a 9 mm semiautomatic handgun. Crozier's experiment began with shots fired at a calculus textbook from an AK-47 Russian-style assault rifle. The shot penetrated two textbooks at once.
"We need to look at protection of young people that sometimes people may think you are a little smarter than everybody else or a higher IQ or whatever. They need to look at what the end result would be," Crozier said.
However, when the shooters took aim at textbooks with handguns, the books stopped bullets. Crozier said he acknowledges his idea might seem a bit unusual, but he's sticking with it.
"This would be to protect the children in an immediate situation. This is something that any student, any classroom in the country could do immediately," he said.
Crozier said he believes his test was not scientific. Instead, he said, he wanted to demonstrate what might happen if a student used a textbook as protection in the event of a school shooting.
"Not everybody would be saved in that situation, of course. But many of them would, and instead of running away or being lined up ... this is a way for the children to fight back," he said.
Representatives for current Superintendent Sandy Garrett said they had no comment on Crozier's ideas.
Well, I have a comment: This is one of the least intelligent ideas I've heard coming out of the "what to do" discussion, which always occurs after school shootings. It would not work. It assumes, incorrectly, a bullet path pattern of where the school shooters will aim that is predictable. It gives students a false sense of security that they can hide under desks and live. School shootings do not so appropriately comply with Mr. Crozier's example. Shootings in hallways, cafeterias, and now via lineups at chalkboards outnumber the injuries from AK-47s aimed under desks.
My gosh. What was he thinking?