Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room! From a news report headline, Gunman opens fire at school board meeting.

A gunman held the Bay District School Board hostage Tuesday in a videotaped drama, ultimately opening fire on them before being shot and disabled by Mike Jones, the district’s chief of safety, security and police. After being shot several times, Clay Duke, 56, turned his pistol on himself in front of the stunned group, ending his life with a shot to the head, Panama City Police officials said.

The chilling video, if you desire to watch, was aired on CNN.

How could this have happened? After all, the school board meeting was being held in a GUN-FREE SCHOOL ZONE. Per David Codrea,

In accordance with the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990, employees of the District, parents of students, and visitors (with the exception of law enforcement officers) shall not possess, discharge or attempt to discharge a weapon as described in School Board Policy 7.203 on any facilities or real or personal property owned by the School Board.

Unfortunately, a “gun-free zone” mentality usually equates with a “reality-denying” state of mind.


You just point, and shoot… right? If you watch the video referenced above, you may be asking yourself, “How could he miss at such a close range?”.

That’s a good question.

Let’s discount the fact that there is a possibility that the gunman intentionally missed (it doesn’t, after all, seem to fit in with his other actions). To better understand how the gunman missed I think one should first understand the dynamics of what happens when shooting a handgun.

  1. Physics is involved. There is a cartridge chambered in a gun barrel and, when fired, propels a projectile (the bullet) through and out of the barrel. Obviously wherever the barrel is pointed is the direction the bullet will travel.
  2. This then brings us to the human element – that of pointing, or aiming, the weapon in the direction of the intended target. Semiautomatic handguns typically have two sights on top of the slide: a front sight, and a rear sight. To achieve proper sighting, there is a thing known as a “sight picture”, which is the lining up of the target, the front sight, the rear sight, and the shooter’s eyes. This is not an insignificant point, as even the slightest variation in alignment will result in the bullet going somewhere not intended. This problem is only exacerbated with shorter barrels, which give a shorter distance between the front and rear sights.
  3. Congruent with sight alignment is the shooter’s stance. When a handgun is fired there is a recoil from the force generated by the gases coming out of the barrel. To best control the effects of recoil on the shooter’s arms and body, the shooter should essentially stand leaning forward a bit, so as to use their weight to help absorb the recoil forces.
  4. Another aspect of shooting properly is that of the shooter’s grip on the handgun. A proper grip, with two hands, also helps control the effects of recoil, thereby allowing the shooter to reacquire the target in his sights.
  5. Lastly, shooting accuracy is also determined by the shooter’s proficiency at “trigger control“. Any errant movement on the handgun at the time the bullet is fired will affect the sight alignment, thereby sending the bullet off course. If the shooter “anticipates” the recoil of the handgun, he will inadvertently shoot high and to the right (if he’s right handed). If the shooter “yanks” the trigger, instead of gently squeezing it, he will shoot low and to the left.

In viewing the video of the school board shooting, it appears the shooter’s stance was leaning back, he had no sight alignment (the gun was not at eye level), he shot one handed, and he exaggerated the recoil effects not only on the upward swing but in returning to acquire his “sight picture”. While it seems unlikely for him to miss at such close range, in my opinion, none of his actions contributed towards him shooting his intended victims (which is very lucky for them).


Let everyone sing (except, perhaps, those feeling closed in?) For the introverts out there who may be apprehensive at this most extroverted time of the year, here are some tips to help alleviate the stress:

  • Hide in plain sight: On a group excursion to a mall or shopping district, while everyone else is distracted by shiny things, you can wander off… for some alone time.
  • Sit in a dark room: Take the kids… to a movie.
  • Make a “sacrifice”: Volunteer for supermarket duty. …you can stroll up and down the aisles, sing along with the piped-in music (Christmas carols, I presume), commune with nothing more demanding than Brussels sprouts and canned pumpkin.
  • Have a project: I’m a fan of jigsaw puzzles during long stretches of house time with others. Set it up on a table and there it sits, for days, where anyone can work it when the mood strikes.


Death and taxes, together forever When asked about the enormous estate tax, despite the deceased individual having paid taxes their entire life, the response, “You won’t be paying anything because you will be dead,” seems to me to expose the liberal mindset for what it is.

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