Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Should Teachers Be Allowed To Carry Guns?

Should Teachers Be Allowed To Carry Guns?, Tiny Texas District OKs It; Could It Prevent Columbines?; Issue Debated, On The Early Show - CBS News

This is news, but it isn't exactly "new news".

Yesterday, a school district in Texas announced that they were seriously considering allowing their teachers to carry guns.

Why? Because they are a very SMALL school district, and they are a half-hour away from any reasonable response time in case of an emergency. Having watched the news on television, the district Board of Education were aware that schools were typically considered a "Gun Free Zone", and that is interpreted by predatory types as meaning "a safe-to-shoot, target rich environment zone". (cf: Columbine)

(See link to CBS video here.)

Knowing that they couldn't count on 911 to save their students the BOE elected to adopt a down-home security solution. They can't afford the ability to lock down their school, and aren't certain it will provide reliable defensive capability, so they'll allow their faculty (and staff) to act as impromptu security guards.

Harold, Texas,School Board Superintendent David Thweat:
"The people who are going into these situations are evil ... I'm not going to be Politically Correct on this ... I don't care what their problems are, they've gone in and killed children. And if they come into our school, they are going to meet resistance. And I think if they did, these crack-pots would stop going into them."

Oh, there were some restrictions. The teachers (assumedly, also staff including administrators such as the school principal) must complete training to qualify, and must hold Concealed Weapons permits issued by the county sheriff after all requirements had been met. But Texas is a "Shall Issue state", and that mean exactly what it says. If the applicant meets the requirements, the sheriff shall issue the permit.

Also, of course, the teachers were required to keep the firearm completely concealed so that nobody knew who was and who wasn't packing. And one assumes that the individual was responsible for securing the firearms at all times. Also, they teachers who volunteered for this must be approved by the School Board.

Let's recap:
  • Applicants work at schools in the district -- check.
  • Applicants receive appropriate training -- check.
  • Applicants apply for, and receive, carry license from sheriff's office -- check.
  • Applicants are all volunteers -- check.
  • Applicants are pre-approved by the School Board -- check.
  • Applicants are responsible -- check.
So we have a bunch of certifiably responsible citizens with guns, who are voluntarily willing to put their lives on the line to defend their students. Where's the down side?

Oh my, let me count the ways.

No, that's not necessary. According to the CBS news story, which has so far received 381 comments on the original short article, there are at least three typical responses by the reading public:

One: "I think this is a wrong!"
Example from Isobel36:
To arm teachers is wrong! Their main duty is to educate not to think about a resonse to a dangerous student. There has to be a better way. If not, take your child out of the public schools!
Well, that was enlightening. But typical.

Two: "I think this a wonderful idea."
Example from behappy2-2:
I think it is a wonderful idea. Who would be in a better position to defend the kids from an armed intruder than the adult responsible for them while they are in school? The teachers (at least most of them) care about the children as if they were their own. That is why they teach, it surely isn''t for the money. Remember: when SECONDS count, the police are only MINUTES away!
This at least relates to reality.

Three: "I don't know if it's a good idea or not, but it's a sad commentary on our current society!"
Example from Gaye5:
If it has got to the stage where teachers have to wear guns to protect themselves and other students that is pathetic. It is about time that our authorities and families start to wonder why this is happening and when society started to get so bad.. I know why and many of you out there do also.
I am old enough now to remember when a child was well disciplined and sat in school and learnt, they grew up to be health, hard working well disciplined adults who brought up children the same.

Actually, there's a fourth category of responses: "I don't really like it, but I can't think of a better idea, either."
Example from patriot12436:
I have mixed feelings about this. I see the need for protection because of the violence from students against teachers and bus drivers, but i would want very strict training required before they start carrying in schools. Having lived in Texas i understand where they are coming from and the point that the nearest police station is 30 minutes from the school is also a factor.
Apparently, the middle-of-the-road veers toward the right.

Oh, I almost forgot the sneering, dismissive, ad hominem attacking group.
Example from Joe Transit:
Of course teachers should carry guns, students should wear full body armor, the principals office a gun turret. The school bus replaced with a tank. The caulk board should have little ducks moving back and forth. Any student making less then a B, shot in the head right between the eyes. No more Ritalin. That way if Bush needs to look for WMD''s he can find it in his Texas backyard.
(Actually, I agree with the "no more Ritalin" part.)

and ...
Example from cbs3200:
The American Idiots Association (AKA the NRA) fully supports guns in the classroom.

There's always the greviously misinformed:
Example from IDDNSG:
Gun owners KILL THEMSELVES with their guns MORE OFTEN than they kill anybody else. I supose [sic] that''s a good thing!
... continued with another post from the same source:
"Guns dont kill people,it takes someone to aim and pull the trigger."

And EVERY SINGLE TIME, that "someone" is a GUN OWNER!

Conclusion: Guns don''t kill people. Gun Owners Kill People! Obviously, we should OUTLAW Gun Owners!

They''re all a bunch of re.tards anyway! Case in point: they all think that a gun can PROTECT them, when a gun, by design, can only KILL. Killing someone is NOT the same thing as protecting yourself.

Besides, if a Gun Nut can have a gun, so can EVERYBODY else. Whoever shoots first wins (''cause the other person is DEAD!). Everybody shoots everybody. Everybody dies. That''s NOT safety! It''s INS.AN.ITY! The END of civilization.

Gun Nutz are anarchists!
Well, geez, it's really hard to shoot a gun if you don't have one.

What do _I_ think?

Frankly, I think it's worth trying. No other security measure which has been attempted in this country has so far stopped the crazies from killing innocents in Gun Free Zones (eg: schools, churches, shopping malls, restaurants, etc.)

On the other hand there have been instances when in these SAME "Gun Free Zones", one or two armed responders have been seen to stop, or significantly reduce the number of casualties, in the same venues.

But there have been very few times when Schools have been willing to have armed citizens on-site.

Isn't it about time to try it? If nothing else, the publicity might be sufficient to warn predators that they won't have a free shot at their victims.

Surely someone will, eventually, suggest that this policy, the arming of people in a usually Gun Free Zone, will attract a predator. Just to try their luck, and thumb their nose at the audacity of peaceful honest citizens to protect themselves.

I think that if the predators are so sick that they consider this a "challenge", they are already predisposed to shoot up their local school. At least this way, there's a chance that they may be thwarted.

I repeat: Where's the down-side?

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