Growing up in the northern Atlanta exurbs when I did, we would play a game called “Smear the Queer” – an admittedly very un-PC name now, and not that great even back then, but it was what it was – fairly often, particularly when we had nothing better to do. (And 500 got dicey if you were playing it with a baseball in a neighborhood. Just sayin’.)
Basically, you get a group of kids, a football (or any other ball, really, but mostly played with a football in my own experience), and a willingness to beat the hell out of each other (and be beat the hell out of). The person with the ball tries to run around and avoid everyone. Everyone else tries to get to the kid with the ball and tackle him as hard as possible, then everyone else piles on and kicks/ stomps/ flattens/ etc. The game keeps going with no real score or endgame or anything until eventually everyone decides they actually *do* have better things to do.
Over the years, it seems this game has fallen out of favor – and given the name, I get at least calling it something else. (Other names I’ve seen are Odd Man Out – apparently from a British rugby warm up, Kill the Carrier, or Tackle the Jackal.) Admittedly I’m a bit surprised that it apparently hasn’t survived as a football drill – after all, what is an all out blitz but zooming in on the ball and trying to both tackle the person with it and strip it from them?
But what is even more interesting to me is that in this era, there weren’t so many school shootings (of course, this was also before SSRIs became so widely available and popular, but that is another discussion entirely).
While correlation doesn’t equal causation, I can actually make somewhat of a link here.
Because this game *will* defeat literally any gun, any time, anywhere.
Guns – even the Paris Gun – fire in exactly one direction at any given time. Even an emplaced fully automatic machine gun sweeping a battlefield only fires in one direction at any given moment. Granted, such a gun does this very rapidly and can change directions (within certain parameters) very quickly… but it is still firing exactly one direction at any given moment, and even then there is only so much material that *any* given bullet – even the “anti-kaiju” .950 JDJ – can punch through.
Thus, they *all* have a critical design flaw that can be exploited in “active shooter” situations – including, in particular, school shootings. And that design flaw merges nicely with the concept of “smear the queer”.
Here, instead of a football, the object of the “game” – of stopping the shooter – would be to both tackle the shooter and to separate the weapon from the shooter. Stomp on his gun arm/ wrist/ hand in particular until he releases the weapon, then separate the weapon and the shooter as far as possible – and pile on the shooter to ensure that he is immobile until police can actually get on scene to arrest him.
Perhaps if we taught “smear the queer” (perhaps under one of its more PC friendly alternate names) as a play game in early childhood/ elementary school PE, then taught how its tactics can be used to defend yourself and others at a more appropriate age (such as even early middle school), we could successfully implement this as a reaction to school shootings rather than lockdown drills which have proven ineffective and even, in the case of Uvalde, TX earlier this year, horrifically tragic.
Can you imagine if the 360 cops that stood around and did *nothing* in Uvalde as so many people died had instead simply ran a “smear the queer” drill?
Yes, some of them would have gotten hurt. Maybe even killed. But the event would have been stopped *far* sooner, and I daresay with a much lower loss of life.
When you learn about fighting with a blade, any competent instructor is going to tell you that when you’re in a knife fight, you are *going* to get cut. Expect it. Learn to minimize it.
This is no different.
When a gunman decides to open fire, more than likely *someone* is *going* to get hurt and possibly die. Our response *must* be about mitigating how many people this is allowed to happen to.
And with “smear the queer” – rather than lockdowns or running away – this number can be the absolute minimum possible.
As the 9/11 passengers aboard the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania said when they used “smear the queer” to potentially save the White House that day…