When I was about 7 or 8 years old, a good friend of the
family had her home robbed in the middle of the night. While she and her
husband lay in bed, feigning sleep, two or more men rifled through their
closets, drawers and jewelry.
Unbeknownst to these thieves, they had entered a home with
multiple guns. The husband was an avid hunter and fisherman and had several
rifles throughout the home and a shotgun placed right under the bed.
The only problem? For some reason, the gun was on the wrong
side of the bed, resting under her side, not his. Neither of them decided that
a daring attempt to protect their home was worth it. In the end, the thieves
left with clothing, jewelry, electronics and cash. They were never caught.
The husband died a number of years ago, and I was too young
to ask any questions about that night before he did. Still, I found myself
wondering what would have happened if the gun had been in the right spot that
Would he have reached for it?
Would he have confronted the men?
Would he have been forced to kill them?
Perhaps even more importantly, had all of those things
happened, how would that have impacted him?
I thought about this today as memorials to the victims of
Sandy Hook took place throughout the country and gun nuts started worming out
of their STFU bunkers.
The NRA folks managed to hold their tongues for almost a
whole week before Wayne LaPierre took to the stage today and told the world he
wanted armed police in every school. It is a miracle, but LaPierre’s take on
this wasn’t the stupidest thing I heard this week.
That honor goes to the brain trust suggesting that TEACHERS
be armed at the schools.
If the people supporting this position could say
anything more idiotic, it would have to be in “Nell” style grunts, because this
is the dumbest thing the English language will allow.
In each of the last several major public shootings, the
shooters involved were carrying assault weapons.Adam Lanza had a Bushmaster
.223, a civilian model of a military-grade assault weapon.James Holmes used a
similar weapon (a .223 Smith and Wesson M&P 15) while also carrying a
shotgun and two semi-automatic handguns.Klebold and Harris multiple shotguns
and assault rifles in Columbine and the two kids who enacted the Jonesboro
massacre had 10 guns, three of which were automatic weapons.
In addition, Lanza and Holmes were wearing full body armor.
What, exactly, are we going to be arming our teachers with?
A cannon? The Iron Man suit?
Even more, possessing a gun is far more likely to get you
killed than NOT possessing a gun.A study at the University of Pennsylvania
found that on average, guns did not protect people who possessed them from
being shot in an assault. Even more, the study found people WITH guns were 4.5
times MORE LIKELY to be shot than those NOT possessing guns.
(The cynic in me believes that maybe the “arm our teachers”
folks know this and figure if the shooter is trying to take out the teacher
with the gun, the kids can run for cover.)
This doesn’t even account for people who own guns and have
them turned against them. The idea of someone without a gun overpowering
someone with a gun and then using that gun against them is not that farfetched.
My mother and many of the women she teaches with are about
5-foot-3 and weigh about a buck 20. Some of the eighth grade GIRLS are almost a
foot taller and outweigh those teachers by 70 pounds, to say nothing of the
boys. A teacher’s gun being taken away and used for less-protective means isn’t
a pipe dream. I’m interested to see what
happens when a student absconds with a teacher’s gun and does something
And then there is the most counterintuitive portion of this:
The idea of parents being OK with armed teachers in the school. These are the
same parents who piss and moan about teachers who a) overstep their boundaries
in pushing an “agenda” with their kids, b) don’t see how brilliant their kids
are and fail to give them all A’s for simply breathing, c) should be brought up
on charges for “assault” for breathing near their kids in an aggressive manner
and d) are completely worthy of scrutiny for EVERY, SINGLE DECISION they make.
Talk to an elementary school teacher or a high school
teacher and that educator can regale you with tale after tale after tale of how
parents were on them for any perceived slight levied upon their kid. The
teachers I know can tell me hours of stories in which parents questioned pretty
much every aspect of their competence.
I can’t imagine that these would be the same parents who
would say, “Y’know, I’m fine Mrs. Smith locking and loading in the classroom.
I’m sure NOTHING bad will happen and she has my complete faith and confidence!”
(And of course, there’s the fear that one of the kids in the
classroom decides to pull a gun or a knife and force a teacher to make a lethal
decision. Let’s see how much support we get for the “Tech-9’s for Teachers”
Finally and perhaps most importantly, there’s this: If a
teacher was presented with a gun, trained in its use, given the green light to
“castle doctrine” anyone with a weapon and then presented with a rampaging
Lenza-style asshole, then what?
When the time came and the chips were down, could that
teacher pull the trigger on a person and take the life of another human being?
This part of the equation is never discussed. It really
So should the concept of “OK, then what?”
Police officers go to work each day, knowing it is likely
that a “kill or be killed” scenario will take place. They train for it. They
ready themselves for it. They fear it.
When the time comes and they do fire that fatal shot, it
often takes months or years for an officer involved in a “righteous shoot” to
pull it back together.
Some never do.
What happens when a teacher has to do it? Do they ever
When it happens for a teacher, how will the kids react? Will
they ever look at that teacher the same way?
It may be true that we never see a school shooting like
Sandy Hook coming until it’s too late. In many cases, it’s a one-in-a-million
But if we start placing guns in the schools like this, we
will be living under the constant specter of death and mayhem.
At that point, we risk everything .