Saturday, April 25, 2015
This is a story that would be funny if it wasn’t so incredibly serious. It occurred in Halfway, Oregon in April of 2013.
Halfway is a small town in eastern Oregon, population approximately 300. Said sleepy little town, situated halfway between Pine and Cornucopia in Baker County, occasionally breaks into the news.
For example did you know that a prominent Halfway resident is Babette March (born in 1941), now known as Babette Beatty. If you’re a sports’ fan, an older one, you might recall that Babette was the first Sports Illustrated, swimsuit issue, cover model. Look her up. She was a real ‘hotty.’ And, I’m sure a lovely woman to this day.
Or you might recall that in 1999, Halfway, Oregon changed their town name to Half.Com. The name change was reportedly, semi-official, but only lasted a year. This was during the ‘dot com’ boom of the late ‘90s. It did help the town garner a little publicity, and some free computers for the local school.
But, in April of 2013, the school board and a complicit Baker County Sheriff’s Office pulled-off a stunt that was beyond stupid. And, as a result, Linda Mallery McLean, a former school teacher, is now suing the Pine Eagle School District #61.
What happened? Well, the ‘authorities’ (and I use that term loosely) decided to simulate a mass murder, school shooting. They conducted this operation on a day when the children were not in school, but the teachers had a workday. Apparently, two men, armed with guns loaded with blanks and dressed in the perceived fashion of a typical mass murderer (although I’m not sure what a typical MM looks like in Halfway), burst into the school scaring the holy bejesus out of the unsuspecting teaching staff.
According to McLean, one the ‘terrorists’ stormed into her classroom, pointed a gun at her, pulled the trigger; and then informed the traumatized Ms. McLean, “You’re dead!”
Now, the school authorities didn’t do this half-assed, or maybe they did. But they did inform the Sheriff’s Office ahead of time, just in case one of the teachers called 911. Furthermore, the Sheriff’s Office did conduct background checks on the teaching staff to make sure none of them held a Concealed Weapon Permit – which they didn’t. Too bad, because the resulting shoot-out could have brought a lot of publicity to Halfway; and moreover taught the local school board, and the Sheriff’s Office, the true meaning of the word ‘stupid.’
Some of the teachers were hurt during the ‘attack,’ running and attempting to fight back. Since then, Ms. McLean, who had taught at the school for more than 30 years, was unable to return to work – Post Traumatic Stress is her claim.
Good luck, Ms. McLean.