There are so many catchy sayings circulating online about arming school teachers, it’s hard to know where to begin.
How about this: “We don’t have to live like this. We don’t have to die like this.”
Or, how about this: “More guns to solve gun violence? How about more alcohol to solve drunk driving, more cigarettes to combat cancer, more cheeseburgers to prevent heart disease, or more drugs to stop the opioid crisis?”
That logician closes with, “Sounds pretty stupid, huh?”
Those online comments provoked a firestorm of responses, most of them not nearly as pithy as the originals, but advancing the debate over guns in America, the 2nd Amendment, and the right of all Americans to defend themselves against whomever or whatever.
Our personal favorite drives directly to the heart of the issue:
“I make a motion to remove metal detectors from Congress and have daily active-shooter drills so our elected leaders can live like our children.”
Following that post was a list congressional members and how much the gun-rights groups contributed to their political campaigns. The list includes such political luminaries as President Trump and Sen. Rubio. It was a very long list, and most of the congressional members on the list are cleverly circumspect when questioned about any need for tougher gun laws, or arming classroom teachers.
We’ve given some thought to having teachers carry guns at work, and while there is a certain visceral appeal to having a “good guy with a gun” facing off against a “bad guy with a gun,” the outcome of such a scenario is anything but clear.
For one thing, video of recent school shootings made one thing abundantly clear — there is total, mass confusion. Law enforcement personnel are aware of that fact, which could be why several Broward County deputies were reluctant to wade into the middle of the massacre at that South Florida high school on Valentine’s Day.
We aren’t making excuses for police being reticent to do what police are paid to do, but in the midst of chaos, facing off with an armed assailant — who essentially looks like almost every other teen in the building — is a gamble that could result in even more innocent kids being shot.
True, a teacher in the midst of the chaos might have a better idea of who and where the shooter is, but that adult would have to be combat-trained to function efficiently when bullets are flying. Some teachers have, in fact, been in combat situations, but most have not.
In one sense, armed teachers might give students a sense of safety. On the other hand, we fail to see how adding more guns to the equation increases the safety factor for anyone.
There are other factors to consider. For example, who pays for the teacher’s gun? Most school districts are strapped for cash, to such an extent that classroom teachers often end up buying supplies for their students. A typical handgun of sufficient caliber and quality to be a factor in a shootout can cost more than $1,000.
Those are practical considerations that seem to have been lost in this arming-teachers debate, but we’ll venture a guess that most teachers have been thinking about it.
We’d like to hear your thoughts on having armed teachers in classrooms. The discussion needs to begin now, because the Parkland high school shooting likely is not the final act in this grim play. Communities need to decide if arming teachers is a safety issue, or if it exacerbates a problem that seems to be growing exponentially.