William The Coroner’s Forensic Files

Friday, 3, October, 2008

What Is The Sound of a Late Student Knocking?

Filed under: Teaching — williamthecoroner @ 15:28

Today was one of my first firearms/gunshot wounds lectures.  I’m particularly sensitive about it, considering how the business school got shot up several years ago.  As a forensic pathologist, or an emergency room physician, a knowledge of trauma is important.  I started target shooting several years ago, because I wanted to learn more about my work.

Now, I find it relaxing.  You have to be so mindful of safety when your shooting, it concentrates the mind wonderfully.  In the far East, some Zen practitioners use archery, I use a little Browning 22. I was also a history minor in college, and I’m interested in some of the artifacts.  When well cared for, they last.  I’m considering getting a collection of WWII battle rifles.  Camp Perry is within a reasonable distance.

The students come in, and I lock the door.  Then the stragglers start to come in.  They knock.  An student in the room lets them in.  Finally, I say enough.  The door’s locked for a reason.  I reminded people to be on time for these lectures.   But one straggler can see through the window, and keeps knocking.  I can see the present students shaking their heads, but the knocking continues for five minutes.

I get irritated enough to let the late person in.  With pointed comments about being late, and needing to have control of the room when we’re working with such a sensitive subject.  I then notice the cardboard with which I can block the window.

We still get knocks, which is now about halfway through the class.  I must say that the stragglers are nothing if not persistent.  Not punctual, but they are persistent.  I manage to go over the basics of firearms, the history of firearms, and the terminology of firearms and the very basic rudiments of safe gun handling (Cooper’s four rules).

There’s more than one hour’s worth of material there.  I’m also hoping there will be an improvement in punctuality.



  1. No wonder you have to grade on a curve.

    Comment by mhf — Friday, 3, October, 2008 @ 16:56 | Reply

  2. You need to get a Mauser. Bolt action can get addictive, just the feel and the smell of the old wood is nice.

    Comment by brigid — Friday, 3, October, 2008 @ 17:37 | Reply

  3. Should post something on the door next time telling them to not bother knocking.

    Comment by Kevin — Friday, 3, October, 2008 @ 20:05 | Reply

  4. Perhaps if you were to bring an example of a firearm (unloaded of course) to the class, you could answer the door while holding it. They might catch on after that.

    Comment by Denise — Saturday, 4, October, 2008 @ 07:27 | Reply

  5. what? You don’t podcast your lectures?

    Comment by lightsandsirens — Saturday, 4, October, 2008 @ 09:08 | Reply

  6. Lights–No, I don’t. They would offend community standards. Very few people read forensic books for fun, and I want to be educational, not a Grand Guignol.

    Denise–I DID have an unloaded pistol in my hand. That’s precisely why the door was locked with the window covered. The department knows about the material in the class, they approved the syllabus, they pay for the range time and the ammunition. Forensic material, thought, if it catches people unprepared, can make them flip out. It’s one thing to think objectively about child abuse. It’s quite another to see photos of a baby that was beaten to death. I have those photos. Think I’m gonna post them on this blog? Of course not.

    Comment by williamthecoroner — Saturday, 4, October, 2008 @ 10:40 | Reply

  7. Doctor Z, no doubt you’ve clearly communicated your expectations to the students by now. They’re well into the semester. If they are still showing up late, they’re being disrespectful of you and the other students. It also makes me think they would prove to be disrespectful of duty and human life in general. There is a winnowing process, hopefully, before they take up their professions.

    An M1 Garand or carbine would be a good start to the collection. I’d like to go to the CMP’s Port Clinton or Anniston stores sometime and pick something out in person. Either place is a long haul from Kansas.

    Comment by Somerled — Saturday, 4, October, 2008 @ 14:10 | Reply

  8. Dr. Z:

    As a former (dropped out because of the “Disciplined Minds” ideology type mindset stuff, continuing vandalism to my car, and personal safety issues) doctoral student, I was sometimes late to class.

    But hey, my former university was smack dab in the middle of Washington, DC and was frequently visited by luminaries. Even though I once left the house two hours before my regular time, I still ended up late to class because the Pope was visiting campus and I got stuck in Pope-traffic. Another time, I ended up in a lockdown IN CLASS because President Karzai was in the same building and his security people were paranoid and wouldn’t let anyone leave, and I was a half-hour late to ANOTHER class. (And was chewed out by the OTHER professor who didn’t believe me or my classmates about Karzai actually being on campus.)

    My point is… you’re in Cleveland, so it’s not like your students have any real excuse to be late.

    And for a lecture with guns? I would arrive the night before and camp out–no way on EARTH would I miss that lecture!

    Comment by Kathy — Saturday, 4, October, 2008 @ 20:19 | Reply

  9. When my students are late, their grade suffers considerably. Then again, they are high school students.

    My night school class… if they are more than 30 minutes late I bounce them from the course. They won’t make the hour requirements to become certified.
    THAT makes them howl…. but it’s on page two of the book they have to study.

    Comment by Carteach0 — Sunday, 5, October, 2008 @ 17:27 | Reply

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