The Last Straw: Chapter Three

Jeremy Wiles tried to teach his tenth grade History class like it was just another day. But it was hard to see this as just another day with three SWAT team members standing outside the door. And with half the class on the verge of tears and the other half constantly pulling out their phones to try to catch something crazy they thought would happen.

“The Second Amendment,” he said, clearing his throat. “Who remembers what it says?”
“That everybody should have the right to have a gun,” Jonathan answered from the front.
“Right,” Jeremy nodded and pointed, trying not to let his finger shake too much.

The SWAT team had arrived earlier that day and taken Leslie Johnson from the class, the oldest of Nevada senator Larry Johnson’s three daughters. They hadn’t explained much. But a few hits on yahoo revealed that authorities had identified the mask the man in the video had been wearing as an imitation of Senator Johnson’s face, leading them to believe that the senator was the next target.

“Why was the Second Amendment created?” Jeremy asked, forcing his voice to be steady. Why had he come to work? Why hadn’t they shut down the school? Did they hope they could catch the shooter in the act and risk him killing the rest of them?

Paula raised her hand in the back. “Wasn’t it, like, so the pilgrims could fight the British if they ever came back?”
The class laughed and Jeremy breathed a sigh of relief. Never had he welcomed her ignorance more than now. “Colonists, Paula. Colonists. And more or less. After the Revolutionary War, the colonists wanted to make sure that the people could protect themselves from the federal government in case they tried to oppress them like the British had.”

Jamar sucked his teeth in the back corner. “Hold up. So you mean to tell me these dudes made it legal to have guns so they could fight the government?”
“Ummm…Yes. In the event that the government was hurting them, yes.”
“Then how come black people get in trouble for having guns? We the ones out here getting killed by the cops.”
Other students laughed and threw in their opinions.
“I’m not sure that’s exactly the same thing,” Jeremy responded. “But you make an interesting point.”
“So if I get arrested by a cop,” Jamar went on. “I could technically be like, ‘Nah, bruh. I’m strapped. Suck my second amendment.’”

The class laughed even harder this time.

Jeremy couldn’t help but chuckle. “Clever, but I’m sure it’s not that simple.”

“Oh my gosh,” Paula breathed in the back, staring at her phone. “Mr. Wiles, you gotta see this!” She ran up to the front of the class and showed him an article on her phone. He read the title and felt a bolt of relief and fear at the same time.


This was posted minutes ago.

“Yo, what is it?!” Jamar shouted. “What’s goin’ on, Mr. W?”

Jeremy rushed to the computer, switched off his slides, and went to the internet. The first thing trending on yahoo was another video from the shooter. He had already broadcasted. This was unreal. Jeremy clicked on the video and played it for the class.

The man was in another mask, this time a Guy Fawkes one.

“I gave you a choice,” he said. “And you chose to try to find me and try to stop me from killing Senator Johnson’s daughters. As a result, you left Senator Douglas’ children unprotected. Had you simply focused on changing the law, her son would still be alive. Senators, you have my condolences. My thoughts and prayers are with your families. But this will only end one way. Change the law. Or I will kill all your children.”

The students were dead silent behind Jeremy. The message was bad enough, but something else was bothering him. The first shooting had been in California. They had thought the next would be in Nevada, the next state over. But it turned out to be in New Jersey on the complete opposite end of the country. This shooter didn’t just show up at the high school, see the SWAT team, then fly all the way to Jersey that same day. He had planned this. He’d deliberately thrown them off with the mask.

Jeremy shook his head as he stared at the screen. Whoever this guy was, he knew exactly what he was doing. And if something wasn’t done soon, they would all be in trouble.

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