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In defense of the guy who was practicing to be a Ninja Turtle at an Enid elementary school

7:00 AM EDT on August 24, 2011

In a little, tiny town just north of Enid, Gavin Stiffler had a dream of becoming a ninja turtle. So he did what anyone would do and began by acquiring full ninja attire and training on the playground basketball court of a Christian school. For this, he was arrested.

From the Enid News and Eagle:

Garfield County Sheriff’s Office is applauding the actions of a county school that reported a man with weapons on its playground early Thursday morning.

Hillsdale Christian School contacted the sheriff’s office about 7:45 a.m. reporting a man on their playground with ninja-style weapons. Lt. Shon Jackson said he was told the man was wearing “ninja attire” or a “karate outfit.”

When he arrived five minutes after the call, he found the man on the school’s playground.

“When I pulled up on the scene he was in swan pose,” Jackson said. “He cooperated. I engaged the subject and got him into custody.”

On a bench less than 10 yards away was a 4-foot long samurai sword and a pair of sias, or three-pronged metal weapons.

The arresting officer says Stiffler was "in the swan pose" when he arrived on the scene (which means Garfield County Sheriffs are well versed in their karate training), that there was a four-foot samurai sword (Leonardo's weapon of choice) propped against a nearby bench, two sais (Raphael's weapon of choice) on the bench, and that Stiffler was very coherent. In that coherence, he claimed to always do his training at the school and expressed a belief that the school was not going to meet this year.

Obviously it was an honest mistake that led to a school lockdown on the first day of class. His problems, as I see it, were twofold:

1. He was carrying around the wrong kind of weapon

The second amendment gives him the right to bear arms, but only if the weapon is easily concealed and deadly from long-range. If Ninja Stiffmeister had mistakenly brought a firearm, the NRA and ACLU would be fighting for the honor of protecting this guy's civil rights. Instead, he carried around a weapon that was easily seen from long distance and could only be dangerous if someone was within six feet of him.

2. He was homeschooled

Nothing good comes from homeschooling. (Exhibit 1) I cannot understand why anyone thinks it is in their kid's best interest to keep them secluded at home. Granted, even if you believe public schools are failing, the kids are still being taught math by teachers who have a good understanding of math, english by people who have training to teach english, and science by people who believe science is not voodoo. Keeping them cooped up with their mother assures that the kid will never learn more than their mother knows...and let's be honest, home schooling mothers usually aren't members of MENSA.

That's before even considering how much it stunts a child socially. You know, making it difficult for a kid to understand why people might be wary of a person doing karate, dressed as a ninja, on their school playground.

According to Gavin's facebook page, his "high school" was homeschool. That means, unless his teacher/mom used the Virginia Tech rampage as a segway into the story of Samson slaying a thousand Philistines with a donkey's jawbone, Stiffler probably never heard about it.

Anyway, keeping those things in mind, we should probably cut the kid some slack.

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