An Incomplete List of the Dumbest Ways to Stop a School Shooting

A mannequin is seen with a President Donald Trump mask and a sign that reads “NRA Puppet” as people gather, as close as they can to where President Donald Trump is staying at his Mar-a-Lago club, for a March for Our Lives event calling for gun control March 24, 2018, in West Palm Beach, Fla.
A mannequin is seen with a President Donald Trump mask and a sign that reads “NRA Puppet” as people gather, as close as they can to where President Donald Trump is staying at his Mar-a-Lago club, for a March for Our Lives event calling for gun control March 24, 2018, in West Palm Beach, Fla.
Photo: Joe Raedle (Getty Images)

The school shooting in Parkland, Fla., that left some 17 students and faculty dead has sparked a student revolution. The Parkland survivors, after learning the most important civic lesson—that most politicians are controlled by money—have begun challenging the status quo. Like many who have been affected by gun violence, their asks aren’t inconceivable. They aren’t even impossible.


The students simply want safe schools and to keep guns out of the hands of minors and those with a penchant for violence. They are essentially demanding what all of us who aren’t beholden to the National Rifle Association or want to have sex with the Second Amendment of the Constitution want: their lives.

Below is a list of dumbass ideas that lawmakers have come up with to avoid upsetting the NRA.

Learn CPR

Before we get started on former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), I’m going to need someone to prove to me that Rick Santorum isn’t an idiot. Please feel free to email me a position, point, sentiment or anything that proves that Rick Santorum isn’t just a stark raving idiot.

Seriously. Does anyone have video of Rick Santorum doing two things simultaneously? It can be any two things: washing a car and chewing gum; eating a steak and having a casual conversation; holding a cap while brushing his hair. I’m setting the bar really low here. I mean, we are talking ant-limbo levels low because—at this point—if Rick Santorum were facing off against a naked Gap mannequin on Jeopardy and the lives of a boxful of adorable kittens depended on the outcome, I’m betting on the mannequin!

On Sunday, dumbass Rick Santorum boasted that instead of leading one of the biggest marches in all the land to call for an end to gun violence, high-school-age children should be doing more proactive work like learning CPR.


“How about kids instead of looking to someone else to solve their problem, do something about maybe taking CPR classes or trying to deal with situations that, when there is a violent shooter, that you can actually respond to that,” Santorum said on CNN’s State of the Union.

In addition to this statement being profoundly stupid and completely inconsiderate, it’s just fucked up. First, the kids were fighting to petition Congress to stand up to the NRA, which we all know certain members of Congress won’t do because doing so would mean a tremendous dip in their campaign donations. Second, as several folks pointed out on Twitter, learning CPR to help bullet wounds is like ... learning CPR to help bullet wounds. It’s so idiotic, there isn’t even an apt analogy!


Third, Santorum’s flippant answer to preventing gun violence isn’t an answer at all—it’s a concession that violence will persist and that children could be more effective by learning lifesaving techniques as opposed to, oh, I don’t know, taking the guns out of people’s hands.

I’m still waiting for proof that Rick Santorum is smarter than a fire-department-issued boot.


Thoughts and Prayers

First off, and I don’t mean this in any offensive way, but fuck your thoughts and prayers. Wait, let me take that back. I don’t mean literally fuck all thoughts and prayers, but it’s become too commonplace for politicians to merely tweet out “Thoughts and prayers are with the victims of (fill in the school of most recent tragic shooting).” At best, it is a hollow gesture following a serious tragedy. At worst, it is a formulaic, canned response to a serious problem.


But one Florida state senator took the whole “thoughts and prayers” bit a step further. After voting down a bill to ban assault weapons just a month after the Parkland school shooting, Republican state Sen. Kelli Stargel claimed that “thoughts and prayers” were the only real solution to stopping mass shootings.

“When we say ‘thoughts and prayers,’ it’s frowned upon,” Stargel said, according to Newsweek. “And I take real offense at that because thoughts and prayers are really the only thing that’s gonna stop the evil from within the individual who is taking up their arms to do this kind of a massacre.


“It’s not the weapon, it’s the evil from within,” Stargel continued. “If I thought for one moment that if we banned assault weapons, then all of these tragedies would end, you would have me; I would be with you.”

At least Florida lawmakers offered a moment of “silence and reflection” for the victims of the Parkland shooting before voting 20-17 against the amendment to the bill that would have banned assault weapons.


Arming Teachers 

Teachers are easily the most underpaid and overworked people to ever aspire to have a job in which they aren’t greatly appreciated. And their take-home pay is a reflection of this. Yet for some reason, they show up every day to work. Now the president of the United States, who is currently fending off charges that he had unprotected sex with a porn actress, wants to arm teachers.


I really wish I could say that this was the dumbest idea, but I’ve saved that one for last. The idea of giving teachers guns to take down the bad guy storming the school is insane. Countless pieces have been written about how insane this idea is, and you can read them here, here, here and here. Oh, and here. No one except the dummies in Congress whose pockets are stuffed with NRA money and people who want to be spanked on the backside with a preserved original copy of the Constitution turned so that the Second Amendment hits softly against their buttocks thinks this is a wise idea.


This is the pièce de résistance of stupidity.

David Helsel, the superintendent of a school district in northeast Pennsylvania, explained his plan to a legislative education committee.


“Every classroom has been equipped with a 5-gallon bucket of river stone,” Helsel explained concerning his Blue Mountain School District in Schuylkill County, northeast of Harrisburg, in a video broadcast by ABC affiliate WNEP 16. “If an armed intruder attempts to gain entrance into any of our classrooms, they will face a classroom full of students armed with rocks, and they will be stoned.”


This idea is so stupid, I actually had to think back to what age I would’ve been when I might have thought that this was a good idea. I finally settled on 8 years old. When I was 8 years old, the Karate Kid debuted in movie theaters, and the timing couldn’t have been better. I was being harassed by a kid who apparently was in elementary school majoring in bullying. Having never told my family about the bullying, I just endured it. But when I saw Daniel’s crane kick, I knew my problem had been solved.

I couldn’t wait to get home and practice this move. I ran to the basement to be alone and practice my crane technique. My dad happened to see me one day looking like I took martial arts from one of the Rockettes when he asked me what was going on. I told him, and he gave me my first lesson in fighting.


“Keep your feet on the ground,” he told me, and then he showed me how to punch. My dad knew what all dads know when they watch these movies: The crane kick makes for a good cinematic narrative, but anyone who believes it is either stupid or not old enough to separate fact from fiction.

There’s only one thing dumber than believing in kung fu lessons from the guy from Happy Days who wasn’t even tough enough to tell the Fonz to stop banging on the jukebox for free songs: Rocks. That’s right. There are living, breathing adults who think that throwing rocks can stop someone who’s shooting actual bullets.


Helsel said that his school has been using the “go buckets” for five years. He added that the rocks would be, of course, a last-ditch effort.

“At one time, I just had the idea of river stone,” Helsel said. “They’re the right size for hands, you can throw them very hard, and they will create or cause pain, which can distract.”


I mean this in all earnestness when I say that if you are in the Pennsylvania area and your child is under the command of David Helsel, please take your child out of this school ASAP.

If you need more convincing, Helsel continued: “Obviously a rock against a gun isn’t a fair fight, but it’s better than nothing. I’m not sure why some people feel that it’s more appropriate to be a stationary target under a desk in a classroom rather than be empowered to defend yourself and provide a response to deter the entry of an armed intruder into their classroom.”


Maybe Helsel could interrupt a playground game of “rock-prayer-scissors” to show each child how to clean the blackboards using an up-and-down cleaning technique, and then show them all how to sweep the classroom using a side-to-side motion, and then, when they question how any of this is going to help them take down an armed intruder, he can show them how it won’t. Then he can point to some really clean blackboards and floors.

Now that I think about it, Helsel might simply be a victim of school violence himself. It’s possible that—as a child—Helsel was crane-kicked in the head by someone who attended the Ralph Macchio School of Karate. That is the only explanation for why he wants kids to bring rocks to a gunfight. Or perhaps he simply wanted to impart a bit of biblical wisdom to his students:

“If there are any among you who wants to be shot, let him cast the first stone.”

—Helsel 3:16


Thoughts and prayers.

Senior Editor @ The Root, boxes outside my weight class, when they go low, you go lower.


Not Enough Day Drinking

The CPR one is really the dumbest. Not just because it’s saying that kids should just put with getting shot in school, but because the advice ass backwards.

CPR is an attempt to restart someone’s heart and get blood flowing again. If someone’s heart has stopped because they bled too much, no amount of CPR will revive them. If you perform CPR on someone who is bleeding to death you will kill them faster because it will force the blood out of their arteries.

If he had said tourniquets or wound compression he still would’ve sounded like an asshole, but less like an idiot.