This happened in Hays County, Texas between Austin and San Antonio. Words mean things and if you use other words then it means something else.
They had a gun scare at a high school in Hays County, as it turns out nobody displayed a gun, and nobody talked about a gun. One student asked another student for a piece of gum which was misunderstood to be a reference to a gun. This caused an investigation where the issue was settled without having to lockdown the school.
It still resulted in a letter being sent out to all the parents which essentially said nothing happened. Woody Allen did the same scene in 1970, with much better results, I’ve got a gub. I can’t give this a nomination for a hero badge because apparently the school did this all on its own.
I can, however, relate a similar circumstance where impatience interfered with language, causing problems. In the mid 70’s there was a rich college student who lived between Kyle and San Marcos. He liked to night hunt, that is hunt from the road with a spotlight and target deer. This is something to which game wardens are opposed. Rumors started that one particular game warden and this student were running the county at night playing cat and mouse with one another.
The game warden caught up to the college student outside of a convenience store. A verbal altercation ensued. Witnesses agreed that if left to his own devices the student was in the process of calling the game warden a motherf….. He was unable to complete the statement because the game warden speared him in the throat rending speech impossible.
The game warden arrested the student for Disorderly Conduct – Abusive Language. This is a Class C misdemeanor the lowest level offense recognized by the Texas Penal Code. There are provisions in the Penal Code to charge a person with “criminal attempt” and “conspiracy”. A person so charged is criminally liable for the next lowest punishment. There is nothing lower than a Class C misdemeanor.
The college student had his day in court with the local Justice of the Peace. Testimony by the game warden, the witnesses and the defendant all agreed that the defendant had the “want to” and if he had been unaccosted for just a second more then the offense of Disorderly Conduct – Abusive language would have been complete. But it was not to be. The J.P. took into the consideration the “want to” factor and decided that was good enough and found the college student guilty of Criminal Attempt Disorderly Conduct -Abusive Language, an offense that does not exist. This may be one reason why a J.P. has never been elevated to the United States Supreme Court. The student prevailed upon appeal.
The facts are clear. Whatever happened at the high school was not a gun incident. To paraphrase Strother Martin, “What we have here is failure to enunciate.”