In honor of those–like libertarian law professors, the last defenders of the faith–who have attempted to point out the silliness of keeping faculty unarmed in our school’s classrooms, I offer these recollections of a day in the life:
The alarm went off at 6. I sat up, swung my legs off the bed, and reached for the Glock 30 SF. There it lay, cold, implacable, loaded, right next to the stack of unread New York and London Reviews of Books. I tucked the cold steel into my pajama pocket and rose. It was time to get cracking. Brooklyn lay outside. And a full day of walking on its mean streets, lecturing in its even meaner lecture halls, and worst of all, meetings with fractious faculty, awaited.
After I had showered and shaved, the Glock visible and within reach at all times (getting jumped while I was all soaped up and vulnerable in the shower had never appealed to me), I changed into my work clothes. As always, my holster went on quickly, and I packed two spare clips of ammunition into my jacket’s roomy pockets. (I had these enlarged for easy access to the clips in case of an extended gun battle.)
Emerging from my building, I quickly checked the streets, scanning left and right, looking for concealed shooters, ready to roll to the curb and squeeze off a quick covering volley of fire if needed. All was quiet. A few schoolkids walked past and I kept them visible in case any of them reached into their backpacks. Crossing Coney Island Avenue required similar caution; the Pakistani bodega owners could never be trusted not to reach for the AK-47s that are so common back in their land.
I arrived at the campus in time for my class. The students filed in, shuffling past me with that usual mix of insolence and boredom manifest, as I kept a wary eye on them. As always, I had the clear angles of fire for the lecture hall worked out. Contingency plans at the back of my mind, I began the class. As I paced up and down, I kept one hand on the Glock, feeling its heft even as I evaluated argument after argument. It was oddly reassuring, letting me know that not even a fallacy or two could diminish its ability to bust a cap in some philosophy major’s ass. (Only in self-defense.)
The afternoon faculty meeting went off without incident. I kept the Glock on the table in front of me in case any of the usual objections over curricular changes needed speedy resolution. I kept my chair pushed back just a little, so that I could spring to my feet, squeeze off a round or two before executing the classic ‘roll-and-rock-upright’ move into a more favorable shooting position. Thankfully, the votes went off without incident, though I had my eyes on the beady-eyed Continental type in the back. I got your Nietzsche right here, pal. This one will kill ya; it won’t make you stronger.
As evening fell, the winds sharpened, and darkness closed in, I packed up, locked the office, and headed out for the walk back home. Every day called for the same challenge: negotiating dozens of traffic crossings on the walk back home, as cars loaded with potential shooters pulled up next to me, and hooded teenagers strolled past, their baggy pants bulging suspiciously.
And then, I was home. I sprinted up the stairs, avoiding the confinement of the elevator (those kinds of enclosed spaces aren’t conducive to the quick draw), and moved into the apartment. After checking all the rooms, it was time for dinner. I ate, as I always did: the Glock next to the salad, my chair well away and out of line with the windows.
And then, time for bed, and the necessary letting down of the guard for some shut-eye. I checked to make sure the Glock was in its place, and went through my usual bedtime ritual: the quick roll-out of bed, the taking of cover next to the dehumidifier, the clip reload with the lights off.
Finally, lights out. I drifted off, as the glowing green light of the clock-radio threw into sharp relief the metallic outlines of the SF, my companion and keeper, my torch, my flame, my lodestar.