Friday, April 20, 2007

Old Snark's Guide to Practical Academic Barricades

NOTE:Eh, commenter Dan is correct. This trick can't possibly work with standard hinges. Now I will go mad trying to figure out what I actually did that worked. Sigh.

It occurred to me that whilst the More Gun Control!/Less Gun Control! debate rages, and the copycat campus threats proliferate, perhaps a more immediate, completely legal in all states for all ages option would be nice to improve one's chances for survival should one of the threats prove to be both words *and* action. Hacking through the media verbiage with the machete of Truth, we find that there was a much higher survival rate among the VT students that were able to successfully blockade their classroom doors while the nutcase rampaged. Thus, the ability to do the same, should the need arise, is a Good Thing.

OK, kids! All we need for this exercise is one (1) standard academic doorway, and a slender, solid object (several sheets of paper, hardbound book binding, iPod Shuffle, a few credit/library cards ... you get the idea). Now, your standard academic doorway is a) usually built to a standard suitable for bull elephant pens, since your standard academic student can cause just about as much damage over the years, and b) opens *inward*, because your standard academic student is usually so eager to escape the confines of the classroom that they tend not to check that the hallway is clear first.

Stand inside the classroom, facing the door. Have a buddy stand outside with a water pistol. (NOTE! Get permission from your parents first! ALL guns are dangerous, m'kay?) Close the door. Observe the gap between the very sturdy door (see point a. above) and the door frame (usually metal, see point a. above) along the side with the hinges. Stuff the gap as full as you can with the paper/iPod Shuffle/library cards. One location will do; you don't need to fill the entire hinge length for this to work. Now, have your buddy try and open the door and squirt you with the water pistol. Hurray! No squirting! (And it doesn't matter how much the nutcase shoots at the lock, since you didn't lock it.) Note that this technique is quite suitable for the those physically or morally incapable of moving a heavy desk, and is quick. All you need is paper and if you can't find any in a classroom, you are doing something wrong. Or attending Evergreen. (But I repeat myself ...)

Snarkatron is not responsible for any damage to iPod Shuffles.

Update: Oh look. Another gun-free zone in action.

Yet Another Update: After reading Kat's comment I tried this trick at home (remember, kids, trust but verify!) and I could not get it to work. Apparently there is enough difference in home vs. academic door design -- but this opens the possibility there is variation in academic door design that might cause acute disappointment in a crucial time. I'd check wherever possible -- and if that trick doesn't work, go for the old sneaker jammed under the door. *Somebody* in the room will be wearing shoes, and the sole will grip on slick surfaces like linoleum. Anyway, major point being you have more defensive options than you might think.


Blogger Kat said...

Now that was good. I will remember that it is also suitable for keeping out knife wielding rapists while you hide in your bathroom.

The bathroom is also fool of excellent tools and mcgyver type weapon's material

11:46 AM, April 23, 2007  
Blogger Dan said...

Are you nuts? Or an academician? But -- I repeat myself. Did you test out your wild theory, or did you just postulate the way you'd like things to be?

In my (admittedly engineering centric) world, the hinge side gap expands as the door is opened. It has to - as the hinge pivot is offset in the direction of the opening door. The inside and outside edges of the door both describe arcs away from the door frame - opening the gap. The library cards, iPods, and presigned absence excuses fall to the ground - along with the student's defenses.

Your scheme has a small chance of working if the defenders jam the door lock side of the door and frame with stuff. The wooden wedge that is used to hold the door open would probably work best as a jamb.

I think I see the humor, but the advice could get some non-science major killed. Better the students should have pocket-knives with 3 inch blades and rush the maniac.

7:43 PM, April 23, 2007  
Blogger Dan said...

Ehh... I'd like to apologize: My previous post was written with tongue firmly implanted in cheek. However, when I reread the post, the tone came across as anything but.

As my wife says; "You're the only one that thinks you're funny." 8^)

However, I'm thinking their might be a bit of merit in the 3" pocket knife comment. Here in Kalifornia, you can carry that knife practically anywhere. And in a pinch, it's a whole lot better than nothing. I'm now carrying my Gerber Ripstop everywhere.

7:47 PM, April 24, 2007  
Blogger Snake Eater said...

Finally, a practical use for an iPod.

3:52 AM, May 10, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha ha- "Attending Evergreen" , I like that.

BTW - I was there when the Tissot incident occured. Ah, for the good old days when campus shootings were personal and limited in scope...


8:25 AM, May 12, 2007  

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