Canned Heat

Every couple of weeks or so I read something that puts the inconveniences of living in New York into perspective. More often than not, it has something to do with a rural backwater (usually in the South) voting to disallow the teaching of evolution; or municipalities and even entire States (usually in the South) making it all but impossible for abortion clinics to remain open; or cities (usually in the South) legalizing the carrying of concealed weapons at rock concerts.  To a large extent, I’ve become used to those stories.  But then about a week ago, I came across a small article in The Times that, in some immutable way, cemented my feelings that it’s a crazy, narrow-minded and regressive world beyond the five boroughs .  (I’ve included Staten Island here as a courtesy to the one person I know who has relatives living there.)

images-2The news item I’m referring to was about a middle school principal in a small town in Alabama who has suggested that the school’s students bring in cans of corn or peas to keep in class for use against possible intruders. The principal, Priscella Holley, wants each student to be armed with an eight-ounce canned item which might, when hurled, “stun the intruder or even knock him out until the police arrive”.  She added that having the cans of corn and peas would “give the students a sense of empowerment to protect themselves”.

I wondered if Ms. Holley was suggesting using cans of peas or corn merely as representative examples;  that the students could also bring in cans of other vegetables, maybe carrots, cranberry sauce or even baked beans. Or is there something I don’t know about peas and corn being super-effective when confronting an “intruder”.  I also wondered if she has really thought this through–that maybe cans of vegetables may not be up to the task of stopping someone with an assault rifle (this is Alabama), say.

Of course, maybe I’m being a chauvinistic jerk here and I shouldn’t be so judgmental about what might simply be a quaint effort to deal with the dangerous world we currently live in.  And maybe too, I’m being overly cynical about an “intruder” showing up armed with a gun.  But shouldn’t, at a minimum, the school consider that some bad guy may show up with a giant can of corn or peas purchased legally (no background check needed) at the local Costco?



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