By Noah Stern:
Gabriel came to school in a three-piece suit every day. He had strong political opinions. He often interrupted lessons to argue on behalf of long-dead Communist leaders. In short, no one liked Gabriel.
One day in Gabriel’s civics class, the students were supposed to watch a movie, but he demanded that he instead be allowed to give a presentation on the Constitution. Seeing as it was no extra work for her either way, Ms. Arnette allowed Gabriel to speak to the class.
Despite the grumblings of his classmates, Gabriel walked to the front of the room and queued up his powerpoint, titled ‘Why We Should Abolish Every Amendment: an Anarcho-Communistic Look at the Law.’ This elicited a strong reaction from Kyle Chapman in the front row who shouted, “Bro we could’ve been watching Hotel Rwanda right now! I heard Don Cheadle’s performance was stellar.”
Gabriel did not acknowledge Kyle’s comment and went on to his first slide, the First Amendment. “The First Amendment is stupid,” he proclaimed.
From the middle of the class, Kaya Tucker spoke up and said “That’s not true, it’s important that everyone should be able to speak their mind!”
Gabriel retorted, “Oh yeah? What if I said the n-word right now? Watch me. I’ll say it.” Kaya was startled, and, frankly, unwilling to push Gabriel on this. Gabriel took this as a win and continued undeterred. “The Second Amendment sucks,” he said. He was not met with much resistance from his largely liberal classmates. No resistance, that is, until he continued with, “Firearms are such uncivilized weapons. I long for the days when two men would settle their disputes using only their skill with a broadsword.” Gabriel switched to the next slide which included a paused video of him in his backyard holding a sword.
Before he could do anything else, Ms. Arnette interrupted and said “Gabriel, I highly recommend that you do not hit the play button on that video.”
Kyle took advantage of this pause in Gabriel’s momentum to exclaim “Cheadle was nominated for best actor, and yet we’re here on a Tuesday afternoon watching Gabriel’s fencing highlights. I hate this school.”
Despite the opposition, Gabriel continued his lecture. He skipped past the video and continued on to the next slide. “The Third Amendment,” he eloquently claimed, “is really bad.” The class sat in silence, half completely uninterested and half unsure as to what the third amendment was. Gabriel continued, “Say there is an American soldier returning home from war. He is hobbling through the streets, as he was just involved in some sort of explosion. He crawls to your door, begging desperately for you to let him in. ‘Unfortunately,’ you tell the soldier, ‘the Third Amendment states that I am not able to let you into my house.’ The soldier dies shortly after.” Gabriel looked expectantly at the class; surely his heart-wrenching hypothetical had struck a chord with his peers.
But, to Gabriel’s amazement, his oration had the opposite effect. From the corner of the class, Paul Sherman yelled “Do you really think that’s how the Third Amendment works? That’s, like, incredibly stupid.” The rest of the class murmured in agreement.
Disheartened by Paul’s words, Gabriel decided to wrap up his presentation. Straightening his tie, he exited out of the powerpoint and took his seat next to Kyle. The class began to cheer and chant “Paul! Paul! Paul!”
Ms. Arnette walked to the front of the room and announced to the class that tomorrow they would finally watch Hotel Rwanda. As the bell rang, Kyle stood up and shot double middle fingers at Gabriel, maintaining eye contact while walking backwards out of the room.