To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Tuesday, July 23, 2024





I am enraged. The Republican majority in the House of Representatives passed HB 2597, the permit-less gun bill.

Here in Pauls Valley and the Garvin County area, my family’s name has been synonymous for three things: hunting, fishing and law enforcement. There are three generations of us, now, that grew up on the Washita River. To us, guns were no different than rod and reels and trotlines. In most cases we ate what we shot just like we ate what we caught.

My Dad was a police officer for years. My cousin Jimmy was the chief of police here in Pauls Valley for years. Jimmy’s Dad, Charlie, was at one time a police officer. Jimmy’s son, Jeff, was a police officer and had not I had a chance to go to college and get a teaching certificate I, too, probably would have become a police officer.

I recall four times when my Dad told me of situations where he had to draw his pistol on men. Twice he fired it and both times he deliberately missed and he was a crack shot. Why? He didn’t want it on his conscience that he either shot or killed someone.

He had a childhood friend who also went into law enforcement. His name was S.J. Orr. S.J. spent most of his adult life working as a police officer in a small town in New Mexico. S.J. was not so fortunate. Toward the end of his career he and another officer were forced to kill a man. It was a horrific and gruesome situation. S.J. retired not long after that.

Several years later he stopped by our house to visit with my Dad. He told Dad the details and then told him, “Dawson, I haven’t slept in five years.”

I didn’t get to meet S.J. I was teaching at that time. Teaching is a very confining job.

I taught for 31 years. To the best of my recollection, during those years the two most violent incidents to occur in Pauls Valley Public Schools blew up in my face. One took place while I was doing my student teaching. A student went berserk and started throwing desks at another student across the classroom from him. Several years later a student walked up to another student who was standing in front of me and stabbed him. To make a long story short I pinned the boy with the knife up against the lockers and had to talk him out of the knife to keep other students from getting hurt. Afterwards, the school board sent me a thank you letter for preventing a bad situation from getting worse. In that letter they called me a “hero.” It was kind of them, but I don’t think so.

Why do I tell you about all of this back story? Yes, I know a few things about guns and about violent situations. Enough so that I say this with conviction: You do not throw gasoline on a fire to put it out. Instead, snuff out the fuel source.

Every teacher I have visited with agrees with me on this matter. There is not place for guns in schools.

I mean, seriously, do people think that because they can carry a gun it makes them bulletproof? What if they get an eye shot out? Boy! It’s hard to draw a bead when you can’t see.

People who think that the 2ndAmendment gives them the right to bare arms need to finish reading it. They remind me of a man who said he started reading the Bible and quit when it got to the part where God told Noah, “Go forth and multiply.” That guy wound up having 15 kids.

Over the past few years we here in Pauls Valley have had to deal with a lot of totally unnecessary deaths. At least 20 helpless people died when Gov. Mary Fallin closed the State School. Then there was the lady who died the day our hospital was closed. Her daughter got her to the emergency room just after they had locked the doors. Her daughter took her to the hospital at Purcell and she died in the parking lot.

When will this insanity end?

Again, you do not throw gasoline on a fire to put it out.

Steve Jarman lives in Pauls Valley, OK