Reading, ‘Riting and Rifles

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
night.

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.

Exhibit A:

77084_3543077714092_1365140178_n

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
horrible.

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”
program.)

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
should be.

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
recover?

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
event.

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 .

11 thoughts on “Reading, ‘Riting and Rifles

  1. Maplestreet says:

    I just read a news story on the NRA idea.
    Perhaps the most telling part was that they had security agents there limiting access and making sure none of the press was packing heat.
    They actually call for both armed cops as well as armed volunteers. I don’t mean to try this, but somehow I would guess that if I showed up at the local school tomorrow carrying a gun, I would quickly be transferred to the local jail.
    And as you point out, I quickly pictured a cop carrying the standard pistol and facing someone with assault weapons. Even taking assault weapons out of the picture, I know from my childhood when I won some awards for marksmanship – I am a lot more accurate at a longer distance with a rifle than with a pistol.

  2. Dbp says:

    I saw someone make the argument “You trust children with teachers all the time. You trust them to teach your children and to look after their well-being, suddenly they become incompetent when they have a gun. Why don’t you trust teachers as much as you trust the police”
    *facepalm*
    Also, what happens when a teacher mistakes a student for a threat and fires? How much of a threat will warrant gunfire? Who makes that determination? Who reviews that incident?
    What happens if a teacher is mistaken and just PULLS the gun on a student? Do they get punished then?
    Plus, schools are literally in some instances crammed full of people. The risk of over-penetration is ridiculous. Plus, you give people guns and they look for excuses to use them. They end up on fucking edge all the time.

  3. iceblue2 says:

    All these assholes think that killing another human being is easy and there is no after effect, because of course, they’ve never done it except in their fantasies. It’s one thing to be armed. It’s quite another to turn from your desk and see someone pointing an assault weapon at you. You aren’t going to have time to get your weapon and try to shoot them. Cops, military, not only are trained properly, but if they are carrying , they are often aware of a shooter situation and have the weapon at the ready. This whole idea is ridiculous. Oh, and stupid

  4. Athenae says:

    It never even occurred to me to worry about students stealing the teacher’s gun but OF COURSE. That’s totally something the little delinquents would do, even as a joke, and then somebody winds up badly hurt.
    A.

  5. darrelplant says:

    Students can have my teacher gun when they pry it from my cold, dead hands.

  6. MapleStreet says:

    @darrelplant reminds me.
    From memory, there was a case within the last year where NY cops saw a person who had a weapon (and I believe had fired it at somone) – so they had cause to open fire.
    Only problem was that while the bystanders dove for cover, several bystanders were also hit by law enforcement bullets.
    Likewise, have these military wannabes ever heard of friendly fire? Or the military big wig who said a few years ago that he hated the term friendly fire as when the round left the barrel it wasn’t friendly to anyone.

  7. Brooklyn Girl says:

    Every kid gets assigned a personal police officer at birth, who accompanies the kid everywhere until it is 18. Problem solved

  8. Brooklyn Girl says:

    Seriously, if Adam Lanza, an obviously unstable kid, didn’t have access to the semi-automatic weapons his mother legally owned and taught him how to shoot, this might not have happened. And she might still be alive, too.

  9. BlackSheep0ne says:

    Let me point out a case that defies the conventional wisdom on this notion.
    In Wilbarger County of Texas, since 2008, the teachers have carried weapons every day at school. Not every teacher and not the same teachers every day.
    http://www.officer.com/news/10844887/texas-town-allows-teachers-to-carry-guns
    It seems to work for us in Texas.
    This school is 20 minutes to a half-hour from the nearest police (county sheriff’s office). That’s far too long to let somebody like Adam Lanza go unopposed among children.
    and then there’s what happened that same Friday as Adam Lanza’s rampage on the far side of the world:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/24/world/asia/details-of-stabbings-revive-chinese-school-security-questions.html?ref=global-home&_r=0
    “But now the Chinese video, circulating here on television and the Internet, has refocused attention on the Chenpeng attack, especially on security measures at the school and on local officials’ efforts to squelch coverage. Fury has been building because such rampages have recurred over the last three years, with intruders slashing at schoolchildren with knives and axes, including one who attacked with a hammer and then set himself on fire. Each case set off fear among parents across the country as well as criticism of government officials for not doing enough to protect children; each time, officials guaranteed schools would be secure. The video made blatant the gap between the official promises and reality.”
    From that same article, this sounds chillingly familiar:
    ” Other critics blame the lack of proper mental health care in China; at least one man who carried out fatal attacks on schoolchildren in 2010 had exhibited clear signs of schizophrenia, but had not been given proper treatment.
    On Friday, the English edition of Global Times, a populist newspaper, published an op-ed by a Chinese writer based in New York that looked at some of the same issues in the context of the Newtown massacre. The writer, Rong Xiaoqing, said the mental health system in the United States also had its shortcomings when dealing with potential killers, since they cannot easily be distinguished from other members of society.
    “In the U.S., psychologists and psychiatrists have long followed specific criteria to screen for mental illness,” she wrote. “But the mercurial and mysterious human mind isn’t always that easy to categorize.” ”
    It’s well worth noting that in China the December 14 attack was but the latest in a long string. Parents are marching round their schools with broomsticks in some instances.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/13/world/asia/13china.html
    Here is the link to the video of that awful morning in China:
    http://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/1108889/release-henan-knife-attack-video-stirs-controversy

  10. Maplestreet says:

    @BlacksheepOne,
    I agree fully that trying to keep people with “mental illness” from guns is problematic as there are so many variations on mental illness – and the folks with mental illnesss that are dangerous to others are an extremely small percentage of those with mental illness.
    About the school in Texas – You have to divide that school (numerator = 1) by the number of schools that on the same day also didn’t have someone march in and start shooting (denominator = I assume somewhere in the millions).

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