Thursday, October 19, 2006

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A candidate for state superintendent of schools yesterday said he wants thick, used textbooks placed under every student’s desk so they can use them for self-defense during school shootings.

“People might think it’s kind of weird, crazy,” said Republican Bill Crozier of Union City, a teacher and former Air Force security officer. “It is a practical thing; it’s something you can do. It might be a way to deflect those bullets until police go there.”

Mr. Crozier and a group of aides produced a 10-minute video Tuesday in which they shoot math, language and telephone books with a variety of weapons, including an AK-47 assault rifle and a 9 mm pistol. The rifle bullet penetrated two books, including a calculus textbook, but the pistol bullet was stopped by a single book.

Mr. Crozier said the demonstration shows that a student could effectively use a textbook as protection in a school shooting.

An Oklahoma Highway Patrol spokesman was skeptical.

“He probably needs to take a look at some ballistics tests,” Lt. Pete Norwood said. “There are some rifles not even Webster’s Dictionary will stop.”

Mr. Crozier said he got the idea after the April 1999 shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo. The idea gained momentum after a December 1999 school shooting in Fort Gibson, Okla., when a 13-year-old boy wounded five fellow students. Mr. Crozier noted that a bullet lodged in books in one student’s backpack.

“You don’t know where they’re going to happen. You don’t know when they’re going to happen. There ought to be some kind of plan to react to it,” he said.

Six girls and a principal were killed in a recent string of shootings in Colorado, Wisconsin and at an Amish schoolhouse in Pennsylvania.

Mr. Crozier faces incumbent Democrat Sandy Garrett in the Nov. 7 general election. A spokeswoman for the Garrett campaign, Kimberly Hawkins Sanders, said her boss had no comment on Mr. Crozier’s idea.

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