The topic of casual conversation in my classes today has been why thirty people in a classroom would line up against the wall and wait to be shot. News of the Virginia Tech shootings has had its usual effect on me, which is cold terror at the knowledge that I can not protect my children when they are out in the world, and that we still must send our kids out there knowing that anything could happen. I can only imagine what the family and friends of the victims are feeling right now, and they have my deepest sympathies.
I have to say, though, that the general feeling around here is that if someone is going to shoot me, it's going to have to be in the back because I will be running. At least two of my classes have come up with a plan in which we will bumrush our would-be shooter, using desks as shields, knocking him down with the outwardly-turned legs of the desks and then beating the shit out of him. Meanwhile, other students will be throwing our eleven-pound Literature books (literally, they weigh that much) at his head, while still others attempt to break the double-paned, non-opening windows with more desks. In another scenario, should we hear shooting in another part of the building, we will pile all the desks in front of the locked door, then stand against the cinderblock wall in which said door is situated, out of the line of sight or fire, and someone will hold a computer monitor ready to drop on his head should he get through our other defenses. While someone tries to break the double-paned, non-opening windows with a desk. Those windows are a big source of anxiety for my students. Alternatively, someone will lie on the floor in front of the door so that "when dude walks in, he'll trip over me and fall, and then ya'll can spring on him."
These speculations and plans are obviously just a way to make ourselves feel less vulnerable, but they do help. I plan to die at 100, in a hammock on the beach, and anyone who tries to take me sooner is going to get my knife in his eye, or an ink pen in the soft part of the throat, or at least a desk in the face.