Brickbat: An Important Lesson


Alfred Purcell III, a biology teacher at Southbridge High School in Massachusetts, has been charged with two counts of the unlawful possession of ammunition, two counts of carrying ammunition on school grounds, disturbing a school assembly, disorderly conduct, and disturbing the peace. Purcell reported finding ammunition in a school stairwell, which caused the school to be placed on lockdown. But officials say Purcell was caught on video pulling the ammunition from his pocket and dropping it to the floor. Police say he told them he did it to show school officials they need to install metal detectors.

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  1. What is “unlawful possession of ammunition”? That sounds like an unconstitutional law to me.

    1. Yeah, so?
      All gun control is unconstitutional, why should this be different?
      Next thing you will be claiming asset forfeiture without charges is unconstitutional.

    2. You’re not from Massachusetts, are you?

  2. “unlawful possession of ammunition” – WTF?!


    1. The only thing I can find online is that the Florida statute banning possession of firearms by felons and other prohibited persons explicitly includes possession of ammunition.

      On the other hand, if he’s a prohibited person for firearms ownership, how did he get a job as a teacher. WTF indeed.

      1. 2A: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

        All laws prohibiting Americans, not in state custody, from keeping and bearing Arms are unconstitutional and therefore illegal.

        1. IIRC, Heller explicitly upheld prohibitions on felons possessing firearms. Even if I agreed with you, on that point, there is no chance of SCOTUS agreeing with you anytime soon.

          1. Our decision in Heller points unmistakably to the answer. Self-defense is a basic right, recognized by many legal systems from ancient times to the present day,15 and in Heller, we held that individual self-defense is “the central component” of the Second Amendment right.

            Furthermore, the 15A prohibits:
            Section 1.
            The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

            Denying the right to keep and bear Arms based on previous condition of servitude, as an ex-felon who was in prison is strictly prohibited.

            1. Oops. posted wrong argument.

              15A covers voting. That is my argument against preventing ex-felons from voting.

            2. Whether you are technically correct on 2A or not doesn’t matter. You aren’t going to win on felon in possession laws any time in the foreseeable future.

              There are much bigger 2A issues out there. This is NOT the hill to die on.

      2. He’s in Massachusetts, not FL. MA state law requires you to have a firearms permit to own ammunition or ammunition components.

    2. Massachusetts is really bad on guns. You need a gun license to buy ammo. I’ve heard stories of people getting arrested for empty brass. Not sure if those charges stuck.

      1. People need to fight those unconstitutional laws.

        1. Yes they do. How do those laws still exist after Heller and McDonald?

          1. Like these full abortion bans, the government is hoping that people cannot afford to fight it or the time it takes in the courts allows something to stick.

            Unless an appellate lawyer takes your case pro bono, appeals can get expensive and progressively more complicated from a paperwork standpoint.

          2. Quoting myself above: “You’re not from Massachusetts, are you?”.

            This state is run by the worst collection of “progressives” east of California. The state house is basically a one party system, under the thumb of a fat pig who makes FDR look like John Galt and LBJ look like George Washington. Basically, we’re screwed.

            1. I’m close enough to Massachusetts to know all that.

              But how is this not being challenged more in federal courts now that there is precedent?

              1. I fear that the population of MA has been beaten down and there are few left who haven’t been completely disheartened, regardless of what is happening in the rest of the country.

                Change may come to the Commonwealth, but it will be one of the last places reached.

  3. Here in Broward County, home of #MSDStrong, schools are becoming fortresses, and people are falling all over themselves to demand more.

    Every school is surrounded by fences, most even lock up the parking lot and the main entrance so that you have to call a security guard from the street to have them unlock a gate so that you can enter the parking lot, an then you have to go through a security vestibule… all before you can even get to the office.

    I get it… we had a high profile shooting where a bunch of kids were killed. That’s no small potatoes. But do we really need every teacher in the county carrying a walkie-talkie so that they can respond to lockdown announcements wherever they might be?

    All day long… “Squawk… Lunchroom… Lunchroom…. I need Jason Smith for dismissal…. Lunchroom?” Broadcast to every teacher in the school.
    It isn’t the be-all end-all of everything.. but the level of security has to have an effect on the kids. I definitely notice more of a sense of fear because of all of the lockdowns.

    Every police action “in the neighborhood” results in a school lockdown. So a robbery at a house 4 blocks away will get the school locked down, with a police car in front and nobody allowed to leave their classroom until the “all clear” is given. Nobody includes parent volunteers… so if you happen to be helping out at school for an hour during lunch, you can get locked in for an indefinite period. An undefined cost that nobody is ever going to mark down…. but balancing a benefit of what? How often does a threat actually materialize vs how often we go into lockdown mode?

    I’ve been locked in at least a half dozen times in the last 5 years – including during the MSD shooting. And it isn’t like I work there… I just volunteer my time or pick up kids for appointments. Multiply that times 286 schools just in Broward county…. that’s a lot of wasted time. All vs 1 event where a lockdown may not have been of much help.

    1. But they didn’t make me forget to close my italics tag. I did that all on my own. Although a preview would have been helpful.

    2. The point of terrorism is to instill enough fear into the masses such that we alter our way of life. Both Islamic terrorism and school shootings have achieved these goals.

      1. As well as the goal for our government masters to condition our children to live under a police state. For their own safety.

      2. I’ll agree that the terrorists are winning, but disagree that the goal of school shootings is the same. I think the intent of the latter is more about gaining notoriety vs inculcating fear and/or political change. However, the end result of our reactions to both are the same…we just end up breeding more of them. Every bomb that kills 1 terrorist results in several family members/friends who join the fight. Every news story about a school shooting results in a dozen more kids who want the same sort of notoriety for themselves. A vicious cycle in my opinion.

        1. I think the intent of the latter is more about gaining notoriety vs inculcating fear and/or political change.

          I don’t even think it’s that primarily. It’s people who just hate the world and want to cause a little bit of hell before they check out.

          1. Probably because they were born in hell.

            Here in the U.S. we say “the soldiers we send to the Middle East today were either not alive when 9/11 happened, or were too young to remember it.”

            Over there they say “the new soldiers that are fighting the invaders today have never lived in a peaceful country. They were born in war and will die in war.”

    3. If such persons are going to signal their virtue by designating gun free zones, turning the place into a fortress would only be rational.

      1. *prison

    4. How often does a threat actually materialize vs how often we go into lockdown mode?

      A car salesman once tried to convince me that I didn’t really need anti-lock brakes cuz you don’t really need them very often. For that matter, why do we waste time with fire drills?

      I agree that it’s a damn shame that an entire generation of kids now has grown up with lockdown as a mentality. Course it’s a bigger shame that their parents and grandparents generation is too fucking stupid to even try to figure out how to solve a recent problem.

    5. > Every school is surrounded by fences

      When I attended my high school was an open campus. No fences, no bars. Students were required to have hall passes of course, but the idea of a locked down school was something we only read about in places like New York and Los Angeles. Many students had jobs off campus that they walked to during school hours (yes, we had actual job programs). And if you had grades high enough, you didn’t even need a hall pass.

      Today it’s locked down with an eight foot steel fence. Fancy, but still steel, still a fence. And it’s NOT because of crime or violence. It’s because it has become accepted to lock down schools and treat students as potential criminals. I went back to substitute teach for a week, and it was depressing as fuck.

      1. Windows were open all spring and fall, the back doors too. Just wander in, wander out. Come, go, whatever. Miss a class, take a zero for the day. About 80% went on to college, AP classes were packed, my AP bio class of 16 had something like 12 who got 5’s, and the rest got 4’s IIRC. NY state regents exams we clobbered. We read “The Butterfly Revolution” and hung out in an Art Room that was basically a cafe without the coffee.

        And, we didn’t worry except about WWIII.

  4. Too bad for him they investing in security cameras instead of metal detectors. He’s just lucky some child didn’t come along and find that ammunition and have it explode in his or her tiny, innocent hands!

    1. “He’s just lucky some child didn’t come along and find that ammunition and have it explode in his or her tiny, innocent hands!”

      The kid would be more likely to get hit by lightning, while inside the school building.

      1. The stairwell in my high school had an asbestos ceiling. Was known for decades, but one day during the height of the absestos freakout someone discovered that fact and all the adults freaked out.

  5. This illustrates that old saying: Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!

    1. My favorite has always been the bumper sticker “I love all of God’s creatures, right next to the mashed potatoes”

  6. You have the right to bear arms, no one mentioned ammunition.

    It’s hard to tell but is the surveillance state supposed to be the hero in this tale of woe?

    1. Arms (Armaments) include and are not limited to: Rifles, pistols, tanks, ships, planes, rockets, grenades, bombs, swords, knives, clubs, and all associated ammunition.

      A musket with no ammo does an American no good.

      1. That is why they invented the bayonet.

    2. I don’t think there are any heroes in this story. They’re all idiots and villains.

  7. I’m sure this guy can claim ignorance of the law and say he was acting in good faith and the courts will set him free just like the average humble public servant who wears a gun and a badge, right?

    1. Significant exception. Procedures were not followed.
      This will be fun if the press actually follows up. Will the rabidly anti-gun teacher unions rally around their own, or throw him under the bus?

  8. I’m going to piss on his shoes to demonstrate the need for wearing hip-waders.

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