She: Here’s a word I didn’t think would be on Koss’ vocabulary test this year: lockdown.

Z: When you go to school in the hardscrabble neighborhood on the outskirts of Hope Ranch, pretty much anything can happen.

She: I still can’t believe some moron was walking on the street with a shotgun.

Z: It’s OK. I hear he was going to an Obama health-care rally.

She: When I pulled up to school, there were a handful of parents and the crossing guard directing people back home.

Z: Sounds like an elaborate hoax by some kid trying to get out of a test. Koss didn’t have a test that day, did he?

She: It completely freaked me out. There were also police cars all over the place, a helicopter and a news crew.

Z: Definitely a different vibe from the usual PTA mom selling raffle tickets.

She: She went home and locked her kids in their rooms, just to be safe.

Z: And you?

She: We went home and drew pictures. And then I locked the door, just in case.

Z: The good thing is that at least it was just a guy carrying his shotgun from his car to his house. The bad thing is that the guy is clearly a moron. He had a big gun on a suburban street next to a school, and failed to put it in a case.

She: In Santa Barbara.

Z: Context is everything. If this were Texas, then a guy on the street with a shotgun would just be called Wednesday morning.

She: Or Tennessee. I remember going to Tucker’s wedding, where a friend of his directed us to her truck as the only one in the parking lot without the gun racks.

Z: So do you think there was police overreaction?

She: No. There’s a guy on the street with a shotgun near a school in Santa Barbara. If I drove past that, I’d call the cops, too.

Z: You wouldn’t wait to see what he was doing?

She: Yeah. That’s me. I’m going to hang out to see what the guy with the shotgun on the street near a school in Santa Barbara is doing. Because I can use my karate to take care of that situation, or perhaps my magic wand.

Z: Really, you’re making the argument that you would have been safe if only you had a gun, too.

She: Ha! Can you imagine me with a gun? I’d maybe have four toes left at this point. Then again, it might be fun to Bedazzle a .45.

Z: Don’t forget that what he did was perfectly legal.

She: That doesn’t make it any less stupid. Especially not the same week that a house filled with illegal arms gets raided across the street from another local elementary school.

Z: I remember when the only “guns” in town were surfboards and my biceps.

She: Have you been using my magic wand?

Z: Only to curl with. I didn’t want to start at too big of a weight.

She: Anyway, at least we know our school has good safety procedures. I don’t think the kids had any idea how panicked their parents were. I was very happy with the way the school handled everything.

Z: Koss said he was bummed he missed the games in his class that morning.

She: Little did he know we were playing our own game of “try to act like it’s a normal thing to be sent home while your school is in lockdown mode.”

Z: Ah, suburbia.

She: Yes, dear.

— When She and Z aren’t reflecting on the rash of almost-crime in their neighborhood, they can be reached at