Pistol Packin’ Mama

Greg Gnall
2 min readApr 25, 2024

There are two ways to deal with a mass shooting: follow the lead of Maine, a state with a passionate hunting tradition and an ardent devotion to gun ownership, and enact tough new legislation that includes broader background checks, establishing waiting periods for gun purchases and criminalizing sales of weapons to certain categories of prohibited purchasers. All in the wake of last October’s killing of 18 persons and the injuring of 13 others in Lewiston, the state’s second largest city and the site of the worst mass shooting in the state’s history. Action on a red flag law that would replace the state’s ineffectual “yellow flag” law was deferred.

Then there is Tennessee, where its legislature responded to a shooting of schoolchildren and teachers last year at a Christian school in Nashville by enabling teachers and other school administrators to carry concealed weapons in the classroom. Yes, once again the answer is “more guns.” The legislators acted despite a strong parental movement that pleaded for more sensible gun restrictions and some who carried banners that read: “Have you lost your minds?” And, in a twist in an era where parental rights movements that galvanize book banning and control over what children can hear about sex in the classroom abound, the bill prevents informing parents that their children’s teacher is armed.

Now, I don’t know about you, but the thought of relying on poor old Mrs. Grundy, 40 year veteran third- grade teacher, to form the last line of defense for my child against a crazed would-be shooter is more than a little disturbing to me, no matter how much training she is given. The legislature seems to believe that there is a ready supply of “Kindergarten Cops” in the mold of Arnold Scwarzenegger ready to stand for our children’s defense.

When I think way, way back to my own grammar school days, somehow I have a hard time imagining my eighth teacher, Sister Gregory, needing to resort to a weapon to protect her 50 rambunctious 14 year old boys against an attack. She was mean and ornery and had an imposing physical presence that is hard to reconcile with the image of Christian virtue that was supposed to emanate from nuns in those days. She could cut through you with an icy stare and her weapons of choice were a pointer and a ruler. More than enough to handle the likes of Vitale and LeMaire. I doubt that an outside aggressor would be much of a challenge to her.

But I guess these days are different, and once again the easy answer is to give guns to “Make My Day” Grundy and the school janitor. It is not hard to picture the likely consequences. I think I would still take my chances with Sister Gregory.