Saturday, April 14, 2018

Miniature Bats Against School Shootings

As many or most people know, a baseball bat, a real one, can be a formidable weapon. An aluminum bat is much more dangerous than a wooden bat, because it's virtually unbreakable. A wooden bat can break the first time it hits something, and as soon as it has so much as a crack in it, it becomes much less leathal. But if someone advances on you brandishing a baseball bat, wood or aluminum, with the intent of hitting you with it, the most sensible course of action would be for you to run away. Screaming for help and covering your head might be good too.

A really stupid thing to do, if attacked by someone with a real baseball bat, would be to stand your ground and defend yourself with a miniature baseball bat, the kind which are sold at ball parks as souvenirs. To win in a fight with a miniature bat against someone using a real bat, you would just about have to be so sort of Jedi knight.

And chances are, despite your daydreams, that you're not some sort of Jedi knight.

The widely-reported story of a school district in Pennsylvania arming its teachers with miniature baseball bats and telling them to use the bats to fight back in case of a shooting reminded me that I have just such a miniature bat. It commemorates the Seattle Mariners winning their Division Series in 2001. I got it at a garage or lawn sale in Anchorage, Alaska in 2003 or 2004, for around 50 cents. I wrapped the thick end in scotch tape because it had a crack in it.

It's hard to imagine something which would be more useless in a fight, against someone with a firearm, or against anyone or anything else, than such a miniature bat. It is simply not designed for combat. The thin end, the handle, is so thin that the bat would snap in two the first time it was used to hit something heavier than a small rabbit. And maybe it would snap if you hit a small rabbit, too, if the rabbit was close to the ground at the time. If you missed the rabbit and hit the ground, it's hard to imagine you could use the bat again, unless you recovered one piece of it and swung with that, which would be much sillier still than swinging the entire miniature bat. Whether you were fighting a mouse or a squirrel or a rabbit or a human being armed with an AR-15 style rifle equipped with large magazines and a bump stock, I think you would be better off with nothing in your hands, just your fists, than with a miniature souvenir baseball bat.

The school district which distributed the miniature bats to be used in case of school shootings, and the school district which has given its students buckets of rocks for the same purpose, and those whose advocate arming teachers with guns and have mostly failed to do so, because in most cases the teachers had sense enough to tell them to forget it -- all of these people are emphasizing fighting back. And they are all fighting back, desperately. Against the very notion of stricter gun control in the US.

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