“I will refer back to Sen. Enzi and the school he was talking about in Wyoming. I think probably there, I would imagine that there is probably a gun in the school to protect from potential grizzlies."
--Besty DeVos, President-Elect Donald Trump's nominee for Secretary of Education during her confirmation hearing on 1/17/17, in response to Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut's question "You can't say definitively today that guns shouldn't be in schools?"_________________________________________________________________________________
Dear Grizzly Bear Trying to Break Into (Attend?) My Children's School,
Listen closely, my ursine friend. Here's the first thing I want you to know. I live in Alaska. My kids live in Alaska. They go to elementary school here. Almost everyone here owns guns (YAY, SECOND AMENDMENT PEOPLE!) and I'm planning to send both my kids to a firearms safety course ASAP in the hopes that they'll avoid becoming a buried-by-the-NR-Cray-public health statistic.
I know you live here too, because you maraud through my recycling every spring, you drop a giant, steaming black deuce filled with blueberry seeds and grass in my driveway right on top of your terrifying paw prints, and every time I see a dog on a trail in summer I think it's one of your wild cubs and I almost have a heart attack. You belong here, I do not, and so I defer to your mighty dominion over this vast and wild landscape.
Here's the thing though: I will shoot you in your fucking face with a Winchester M70 if you so much as pant your hot, gross, scary salmon breath within 500 yards of my kids' school. If you thought Leo DiCaprio's tune-up of that griz in The Revenant was bad, then just wait.
I never thought I'd share even one square inch of common ground with Betsy DeVos, one of Donald Trump's many nutjob cabinet nominees, but on this point Betsy and I can agree: You will not be lumbering through the halls of any building owned and operated by the Juneau School District.
Not on my watch!
If you try to enter my kids' school to play a ukulele, take a MAPS test on one of the computers, or participate in "Friday Fun Night," I will pop a cap in your hairy ass and promptly stuff and mount you in the lunch room to serve as a warning to other grizzly bears and, more commonly, black bears.
I think you'll relate to me on this point, being protective of your young yourself. That's an instinct we both share: the desire to avoid at all costs harm to our offspring, thus maximizing the chances of our genes being successfully transmitted to the next generation.
So as harsh as all of this sounds, I don't want you to interpret it as a threat, because from one Mama Griz to another, I think you can see where I'm coming from.
Anyway, my daughter tells me the pancakes served in the free breakfast program are harder than hockey pucks and can cause a concussion, so I don't recommend eating them, and moreover I do not think you qualify for the free breakfast program. Your cubs' breakfast comes from a stream and a bush, my kids' breakfast comes from Costco, and that's just the way of the world.
I know what you're going to say: "I'm a bear and I'm entitled to a decent public education just like every other apex predator." Well I call bullshit on that. You'll say, "watch me claw my way through the front door of this school without even signing in or getting a visitor's badge, and join your kids' third grade common core Reading Wonders and math lessons like a BOSS."
Well, to that I say "hold my beer while I cock this 12 gauge." Have you heard the expression "loaded for bear?" That's me looking at you trying to go to my kids' elementary school. You want to order a book from the Scholastic book fair or compete in the Scripps spelling bee?
Fine. Spell this: K-A-B-L-A-M!
Again, Betsy DeVos and I see eye to eye (or scope to scope) on this one. I will stop at nothing to keep you from playing dodge ball at recess, even it means turning every school in Alaska into a veritable arsenal of firepower that would rival the Israeli army.
Photo: Thomas Kitchin & Victoria Hurst/First Light/Corbis