School shootings: Should teachers carry guns?
“It’s time to fight fire with fire,” said Kyle Lamb in TheFederalist.com. With the nation still reeling from last month’s high school massacre in Parkland, Fla., President Trump this week repeated his call for some teachers to be armed and trained to help defend their students in the event of a school shooting. The liberal media, of course, promptly mocked and distorted Trump’s proposal, suggesting he wanted every teacher to carry a gun. But to much of America the idea of some educators being armed doesn’t sound so outlandish. At least eight states—including Oklahoma, Texas, and Wyoming—already allow approved teachers to carry concealed weapons on campus; another six are considering similar laws. During the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, two heroic staff members—athletic director Chris Hixon and football coach Aaron Feis—tried to confront the deranged shooter, said Ned Ryun in TheHill.com. Both men paid with their lives. As we mourn these two heroes, along with 15 innocent students who were in their care, we can only wonder: What “if they had been armed?”
“It’s hard to catalog” all the reasons why giving teachers Glocks is a terrible idea, said Michael Cohen in BostonGlobe.com. Every gun on campus is another weapon that can be discharged by accident, seized by a student, or even fired in anger by a stressed-out teacher. As for that single-digit handful of our 3.6 million teachers who will ever face a mass shooter, even trained police turn into “lousy shots in pressure-packed situations”; New York City cops hit their targets only 13 percent of the time in shoot-outs. And yet we expect a panicking math teacher in a classroom full of screaming children to somehow neutralize a shooter without injuring or killing others? Take it from a former Marine, said author and college professor Anthony Swofford in NYTimes.com, injecting armed civilians into the chaos of a real-world mass shooting is just a recipe for more “carnage and confusion.”
Trump knows his ludicrous plan is a “non-starter,” said Eugene Robinson in The Washington Post. He and the National Rifle Association are only pushing it now because their “usual playbook” for shutting down talk of gun control after a massacre isn’t working. The passionate, unprecedented calls for action from the young Parkland survivors are resonating even with Republicans. Desperate to avoid discussion of tighter background checks or a new assault-weapons ban, the NRA is trying to lure us into a phony debate over armed teachers. My “fellow teachers and I did not enter this profession to be security guards,” said Victoria Barrett in WashingtonPost.com. If this proposal becomes a reality, we will have “an exodus of educators at a time when our country can’t afford it.”
Requiring teachers to be armed doesn’t make much sense, said Jim Geraghty in NationalReview.com. But should they be banned from arming themselves, as they still are in most states? Mass shooters are driven by a “twisted power fantasy” that envisions the godlike slaughter of defenseless innocents. The mere fact of a few experienced, concealed-carrying teachers might spoil that sick dream, deterring some shooters before they start. If we don’t arm our teachers, said Steve Cortes in CNN.com, let’s at least make sure our schools have the armed guards they need. Yes, there was a guard at Stoneman Douglas, and allegedly he underperformed. But that just proves the need for more guards and better training. If society can accept armed guards at jewelry stores and banks, isn’t it time we “value our children like the treasure they are, and guard them accordingly?” ■