Saturday, December 18, 2010

A rerun from March

From the Associated Press, via Salon:

Superintendent accidentally fires gun during class

Montana school official says he "can't explain" why gun was loaded

The superintendent of a rural Montana school district says he was showing students his black powder muzzleloader when he accidentally fired the weapon into a classroom wall during a history lesson.
Dwain Haggard, who used to be a Civil War re-enactor, was showing the gun to five students in Reed Point High School's American history class Friday when it fired.
No one was injured, and Haggard says he can't explain how the weapon was loaded.
He says he usually fires a cap during the demonstration, but this time there was a loud bang and the room filled with smoke.
The ball shot through the "o" in the word "North" on a wall map.
Haggard says none of the students' parents was upset with him. He described the incident as "bitter irony" because he has tried to increase safety in the school district west of Billings.

Speaking of smoky things, you really get a lot to like with this story, just like the old Marlboro jingle. First of all, let's hear it for Dwain Haggard, former Civil War re-enactor and current superintendent of a rural school district in Montana. I'll bet that in your American History class, the teacher was never so cool as to bring in a black powder muzzleloader and SHOOT IT AT YOU!

Before you grab your keyboard and commence to writing back to me, let me say that I fully understand that this is Baltimore, gun-ridden though it be, and that is Montana, rural, Big Sky country. Surely Dwain is aware that Montana wasn't a state until 1889, nor was it even a territory until 1864. It did serve as a hideout for lots of Confederate deserters and drifters during the war, and still does.

Even here in Maryland, where the blood of Union and Confederate soldiers was spilled in the Civil War, there are people who enjoy dressing up in authentic garb and pretending to be Johnny Reb or Amos Burnside or whomever else. I don't know why.

I do know that when young Mr Haggard was born, his parents, desiring to name him as they did, had a choice between the two standard forms of his name: Dwayne, and Duane. So, they went with Dwain. All I know about that is, for all of his life he has had to tell people, "No, it's D - W - A - I - N...with no E. Uh huh, that's right. D W A I N." Of course, he could always fire off a memo to those who spell it wrong.

I also like the sentence that says he can't explain how the weapon was loaded. This is the sort of utterance we hear from people who have had their judgment impaired by drink, drugs or some combination thereof just before hoisting a firearm and blasting a big ole' hole in sumthin'. Would you like to think that your high school students are in better hands in the classroom than to be fired upon by a man who can't remember to check and make sure that his muzzleloader is not loaded?

The irony of the muzzle ball piercing the "o" in "North" on the classroom map was, no doubt, lost on Dwain, as it accurately reflects the amount of intelligence he brought to the classroom that day. And then he tells us that he has tried to increase safety in his school district! Imagine if he were not so safety conscious. He might even wear a tie to work!

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