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practice makes GUN SAFETYperfect?

Molly* is tiny for a six year old. She has enormous blue eyes and mussed blond hair that falls just to the hood of her sweatshirt. She fidgets a little with the pocket, but when an adult whispers reminders in her ear, she nods confidently, and is ready to get to work.

Her job is to teach a still younger girl what to do when she sees a gun.

In this practice session, the teacher – little Molly

  • places a very real looking gun near some art sup-

plies, and then later asks her student to get a box of crayons. Her charge heads for that part of the room but abruptly dashes out. She is practicing the important skills of not touching a gun and running from the gun to report its presence to an adult.

The student succeeds in five of five scenarios, earning not only kind praise from the adult, in this case graduate student Candice Jostad, but also another smiley face for her worksheet. A full course of these stickers, she knows, will earn her a treat bag.

Molly is an experienced trainer. “Good job, you earned a smiley face,” she recites to her student with each successful run from the gun. Neither the teacher nor the student find it amazing – at ages that add up to only 10 – to be doing such important learning.

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