I’ve read the news accounts of Stacy Campfield’s latest proposal regarding school discussions on homosexuality and transgender. Ol’ Stacy sounds once again like a guy trying to grab a headline. I also listened to Campfield spew his venomous ideas on WIVK’s “Sound Off.” Before long, the talk on the radio show turned toward weapons on school campuses, and again, this legislator stirred the waters with his bill that would allow school employees to carry weapons.

This gun-carrying bill is moronic. Sure, let’s arm teachers and principals with weapons. I know plenty of teachers who aren’t capable of carrying a weapon. I’m one of them. We are scared of guns. I don’t need a gun. Other teachers aren’t on an even enough keel to carry a weapon. Some would lose their tempers when they are confronted by hostile students. They’d start shooting out of fear. Before any of us could blink our eyes, wounded and dying children would lie in a heap on classroom floors. That would be okay to Campfield because the schools would be protected. Right! A roomful of teens who watch as a teacher guns down a whacked out kid aren’t going to produce any kind of physical injury, but what about psychological harm? Or does this legislator assume that kids would straighten up after a couple of classmates are stone-cold dead?

Another reason Campfield’s proposal is nothing more than the raving of a buffoon is that society isn’t about to allow teachers to escape legal battles after they pull the trigger on students. In the present climate, many parents are just waiting to sue a teacher over the smallest things. Teachers no longer can administer corporal punishment; lawyers are attacking when they bruise students’ egos. Millions of dollars have been awarded in “Iffy” cases of negligence against professionals in education. Without a doubt, teachers are going to be in legal swamp water up to their eyeballs if they shoot, injure, or kill a student.

Okay, let’s play out the armed teacher scenario. A couple of questions come to mind. First, will teachers be able to use Better Education Plan (BEP) money to purchase handguns? Will limits be imposed on the caliber of the gun? Next, can a teacher carry a shotgun or rifle instead of a handgun? If a teacher guns down more than one student, will he/she be penalized or required to have a mentor to better handle situations? You get the idea.

We need to take this idea of arming faculties a bit farther. Why don’t we do what folks do when they shoot a crow? Let’s hang bodies on the fences around the schools so that would-be attackers will know what happens to those who dare cross us. Maybe teachers could be assigned an extra duty during planning periods. Let’s station them on rooftops of buildings where they can patrol the campus. Any suspicious character who comes on the grounds can be dropped by these snipers.

Stacy Campfield’s proposals are always designed for nothing more than drawing attention to himself. Sure, he puts forth these proposals, but he surely knows they have no chance of passing. Campfield brings up these things because he knows they’ll make the newspapers, radio stations, and television newscasts. Then he is contacted to discuss his proposals in public forums or on the airways, thereby increasing his name recognition. What’s the man’s long-term plan? I wouldn’t think he could ever win an election for a more serious political office, but then again, I never thought he could win the position that he now holds. It goes to show that we voters get what we deserve when we either fail to vote or fail to inform ourselves about candidates for office. Knox County already has one commissioner who loves the sound of his own voice and who takes every chance to roil the waters. Another one isn’t needed.

The situations in schools are scary. However, arming teachers isn’t the answer. A better approach might have school boards with enough fortitude to expel problem students and to develop discipline plans with decisive and severe consequences for misbehavior. If these things take place, Stacy Campfield and his gun-toting ideas can both disappear in a world where logic rules. I know I’ll feel safer when one individual no longer can rattle his saber.


I’ve watched several debates between both Republican and Democratic hopefuls. Now, both sides have whittled down their lists to two candidates each: McCain and Romney for the Republican side and Clinton and Obama for the Democrats. Super Tuesday could decide the issue for both parties, and then it’s on to the general election. I remember some earlier election times in my home when I was a child. Things were just a bit tense.

My dad was a Republican. I never figured out why he chose that party because it seems as if the Democrats have always offered the working class of this country more hope and help. Daddy was one of those hard-working men, and for years he toiled at a job that would later contribute to the lung cancer that killed him. Our lives back then were lived paycheck to paycheck. My dad spent countless hours seated at the kitchen table. Armed with a cup of coffee so strong it could eat the enamel off of a person’s teeth and a pack of Winston cigarettes that filled the room with a cloud of smoke, he “figured” in a little pocket notebook that he kept with him. He could stretch a dollar farther than anyone else I’ve ever known, and it was a good thing for his family that he did.

At any rate, when election time came, whether the candidates were running for local, state, or national seats. Daddy was ready. We boys knew little about politics, but we always knew when elections were on the horizon. It was then that the male head of our household retrieved his election ashtray. It was small, and on one side an elephant stood. The ashtray was made of brass and had a piece of felt attached to the bottom to prevent scratches to furniture. Daddy would empty that ashtray and then carefully wash it so as to not wet the bottom. Then he grabbed a rag and began to polish that elephant. He’d rub until the animal and the rest of the ashtray gleamed. I always felt that Daddy polished that ashtray more to aggravate Mother than to express his undying loyalty to the Republican Party and its candidates.

On the other hand, Mother was more inclined to vote for Democrats, at least in national elections. She did, however, cross over and vote for Republican candidates in local elections. She was loyal to individuals whom she perceived to be willing to help others. The truth is that Mother probably could be labeled more of an independent when it came to electing local officials.

In national elections, it was a different story. Maybe it was because she’d witnessed the things Roosevelt accomplished to help people during the Great Depression. Maybe it was because she was a teacher who saw the many needs of the schools and the children. Maybe it was because she was a liberal on social issues. Whatever the case, Mother supported Democrats in presidential elections. At least that’s what we believed. The woman didn’t have a donkey to polish; she didn’t place campaign signs in the yard, and she never came out and declared her preference. Still, we were certain her convictions were left of center.

The maddest Mother ever got about an election was when she and Daddy went to the polls. They were waiting their turns, and at some point he turned to her and said, “We might as well not even vote. All that happens is one vote cancels the other.” Mother turned furious, and my poor dad was chastised for having made such a comment in public. I don’t believe they ever went to another election together.

I love politics. It’s one area where a rousing debate can always begin and last for hours. The process of choosing a candidate and following that person through the bitter end in some way creates a bond that turns the politician into someone on the same level as a family member. Over the years I’ve become an independent like my mother. I don’t buy the belief “my party, right or wrong.” I vote for the person whom I think can best do the job. Daddy’s ashtray was taken to Nashville by my older brother. He was a liberal-minded person, so I know the only shining that elephant got was to keep away the tarnish. Before long, this year’s final candidates will be selected, and then the time to choose a side will come. I hope plenty of Americans will join in that decision. Voting is what we’re all about.