Arm the Teachers
By John D. Turner
18 Dec 2012

My daughter-in-law posted the following on her Facebook page on Friday:

“I just heard about the elementary school attack that happened yesterday, and I can't help but think that if teachers were allowed to carry guns, fewer children (and adults) would have died.”

Within a half an hour (third response), came the following: “seriously?? 1. It happened today. 2. Now is not the time to soapbox.

Soapbox? Really? Once upon a time, it would have been considered “expressing your opinion,” a time honored tradition in America. Now it is “soapboxing?” One wonders, if her response had been “I just heard about the elementary school attack that happened yesterday, and I can’t help but think that if guns were banned, this would never have happened,” if the response by this individual would have been more along the lines of “right on!” instead of “soapboxing.”

OK, she got the day wrong. We all make mistakes. But her sentiment? I agree with it completely. I do not consider it “soapboxing” to note that when we hang up a “shoot me” sign, that we should not be surprised when the crazies show up for target practice.

Why on earth people think that posting a sign or passing a law declaring a location a “gun free zone” would ever work in deterring someone whose express purpose was to kill as many people as they can get away with is beyond me. All it does is ensure that the shooter will get in some “quality time” in a target-rich environment before anyone shows up that can possibly stop him.

I don’t recall what the “proper” amount of time is that a person on the right should keep their opinions to themselves before airing them after a tragedy such as occurred last Friday. We didn’t cover that particular protocol back when I was in school. Of course, back when I was in school, we weren’t having mass shootings either. Certainly those on the left don’t seem to think that there should be any appropriate amount of time allotted before they give their opinion on any issue.

So what does the left have to say on the subject? Well, in the spirit of “never let a good crisis (or opportunity to advance the agenda) go to waste,” several Democratic lawmakers have called for, predictably, a new push for U.S. gun restrictions. Senator Feinstein said she would introduce legislation this week.

CNN’s Don Lemon weighed in on Monday morning, calling for an “assault weapons ban.” “We need to get guns and bullets and automatic weapons off the streets,” opined Lemon, who went on to say that “they should only be available to police officers and to hunt al-Qaeda and the Taliban and not hunt elementary school children.”

Hmmm. But, Mr. Lemon, assuming we were able to do as you think best, and were able to get all the guns in America “off the streets,” then why would police officers need automatic weapons? To hunt al-Quaeda and the Taliban? Here in America? One would certainly hope not! And in any event, where would they get their automatic weapons?

Of course, the outrage perpetrated at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday was not committed with automatic weapons. Indeed, prevalence of automatic weapons on our streets is a problem that doesn’t even appear on the radar screen here in America, right up there with the 200 or so citizens who somehow manage to smother to death on their pillow each year in their sleep. But like most on the left, Mr. Lemon is probably not well acquainted with the difference between semi-automatic and fully automatic weapons, nor is he in the least bit interested.

Mr. Lemon grudgingly admits that, yes, we do need to address mental health issues, but he believes that these are secondary to the primary problem which is, of course, guns, guns, guns. “If someone who has a mental issue did not have access to guns that should only be available in war zones, we would not be dealing with this,” he stated. Of course this completely ignores the fact that the gun used would likely not be in a war zone, being semi-automatic, not fully automatic. It’s still a gun, looks “nasty,” and therefore, evil in nature.

Far from being a secondary issue, mental health is the primary issue here. The perp on Friday didn’t need a gun to accomplish his purpose. He could have killed those kids with a machete if he had wanted to; there was no one there to stop him, and a machete doesn’t need to be reloaded.

It’s good that Mr. Lemon has feelings. We all have feelings. Most of us who are not completely demented feel terrible about what happened. I have children. To lose a child – I not only cannot imagine what that must be like, I have no desire to learn. However, feelings and knee-jerk reactions should not take the place of rational thought. Mr. Lemon seems to believe that what we can possess should be based on “need,” i.e., do we need to have that particular thing. And if he thinks we have no need then we should not have that particular thing.

I can think of many things that we probably don’t “need;” does that mean we should not be allowed to have them?

The fastest speed limit in the country, to my knowledge, is 85 mph. Do we need to have cars that do 140? My house is 3400 square feet. Do I need that much room? Should I not be allowed to have a house that big? I also own a Suburban. Do I need to have one? Who should be empowered to make that decision for me? The government? And if the government decides that I shouldn’t be allowed to own one, should they be able to ex post facto, force me to dump it?

Notice I said “dump” and not “sell.” If the government is in the business of telling me what I may and may not own, who would buy it from me? And since I would have to get rid of it, who would pay me anything close to market value? And since I am obviously “evil” for owning something the government says I should not have, who would even care? I have no doubt that should the government decide that Suburban’s are evil and no one should have one, that the media would do a thorough job of demonizing Suburban owners to the point that no one would shed a tear over the fact that you are forced to dump a car that cost you over $30K in the first place without any recompense whatsoever. “It’s what you get for buying one in the first place.”

So, I am sure, the government/media info war surrounding so-called “assault weapons” will play out as well. And if you think that confiscation is not in the game plan, think again. Those on the left have no compunctions about taking anything that they “feel” you should not have; and feel themselves quite smug and self-righteous about it to boot.

MSNBC’s Ed Schultz, for one, sees no problem in taking your guns, or at least, any gun that he, in his learned opinion, believes you should not own. In a Twitter exchange Saturday, Schultz echoed Lemon, asking “Why should anyone own an assault rifle?” He followed that up with “it’s the confiscation of these types of weapons that counts and will have an impact.” According to Mr. Schultz, “a Glock pistol qualifies as an assault weapon.”

This is the first time I have heard a pistol described as an assault weapon, but I guess if Mr. Schultz says it is, then it must be so. He is after all an authority on such things – in his own mind at least.

Perhaps Mr. Schultz should move to a country where what you can own is dictated to you by some sort of supreme leader, who of course only has your best interests at heart. Maybe he will feel more comfortable in a place like, say, North Korea, where weapons are kept out of the hands of private citizens and only in the possession of the government’s designated minions.

For people who think this way, I guess America, where people are permitted (pretty much) to own what they like as long as they can afford it, can be an uncomfortable place to live. Think of all those ill-educated peons in flyover country who own stuff that they probably aren’t smart enough to have! What an outrage! What a waste! Of course, this is great if you are the one dictating what one can and cannot have. It is not so great when someone is dictating that to you.

There was a discussion I heard on the radio Saturday, probably just one of thousands that have been had on air since Friday’s shootings. The local talk show host was making the argument that teachers with concealed carry permits should be allowed to carry in school. The guest, or perhaps it was another radio personality, I wasn’t sure, had the opposite opinion. “School is no place for guns” was his bottom line.

“I don’t want just any yahoo being able to carry a gun,” he said. Only “licensed professionals” should be allowed to pack; like police officers. A 10 hour course on the weekend, along with firing 50 rounds on the range is insufficient “qualification” to ensure that the person with the permit is competent to handle a firearm. What if they hit a kid by mistake? No reason for teachers to carry just against the off-chance it might happen at your school. What are the odds, anyway?

Well, for the parents whose kids were killed Friday, the odds were 100%.

The guy in Connecticut hit quite a few kids. On purpose. Perhaps if someone had been armed, he would have hit far fewer. That was the other host’s argument.

I thought about this a bit. I saw similar arguments on Facebook. They usually met with similar responses: “To have a teacher possess a gun is then asking for a 5 year old to hold a classroom hostage unknowingly after being nosey in a teacher’s purse or desk.” (Because a teacher, I suppose, is incapable of securing their weapon, or stupid enough to just leave it lying around where a kid could get to it.) Or, “give everyone a gun, because everyone obviously is mentally stable and rational enough to handle having a gun.” (attempt at sarcasm). Or, “mental illness + guns = disaster, more guns are not the answer.” (nice rhyming slogan, but disconnected logic chain). Or, “I’ll be damned if my child goes to a school where a teacher went off the top because he wasn’t treated for a mental illness but some jackass gave him a gun! Giving weapons to the teacher now opens higher risk!” (Not sure I want my child going to the school his kids go to if they have mentally unstable teachers teaching there, guns or no guns.)

The guy on the radio said that he wanted someone who knew what they were doing to be the ones who had the guns, not teachers. Why can’t we have both?

No one is saying that “all teachers should be issued a gun.” Knowing the preponderance of lefties (and I am not talking about handedness) in the public school system I am sure there are quite a few that would recoil in horror at the very thought of touching a weapon. There are those who, for moral, political, religious, or other reasons, are not temperamentally suited to carry. And I am sure that there are those who shouldn’t carry based on medications, or physical limitations. Certainly, no one should be forced to carry.

However, for years we have been encouraging those who leave military service to seek jobs teaching our youth. Many have accepted the challenge. Most schools have at least some teachers with military and/or police training. Some are former military. Some are retired military. Some may be in the guard or reserve or have other applicable weapons training. I see no reason why they couldn’t be licensed for concealed carry, and carry while performing their teaching duties. Of all people who might carry in a school, surely prior police and/or military members should have the necessary “credentials.”

The school could require such persons to frequent the range on a regular basis to maintain proficiency. They could require them to requalify on a regular basis. Failure to qualify would not allow the school to pull their concealed carry permit, but it would enable them to pull whatever permit the school issues that allows them to carry on campus.

The most useless thing in the world is a “Gun Free School Zone” sign. This was proven yet again in Connecticut Friday. “Violators will face severe Federal, State, and Local Criminal Penalties,” the sign says. Right. The only “violators” that typically have a problem with this are people who accidently bring their weapon into the zone or people who carry anyway, in violation of the ordinance to protect themselves and the students against some crazy out to make a name for themselves. The real perpetrators, the ones the “Gun Free School Zone” is supposed to be there to protect the students from are never prosecuted simply because they never survive to be prosecuted. Most either kill themselves or select “death by cop.”

We can’t stop every bad thing that happens. Even if we arm teachers, it is still possible that kids might die in incidents like the one that just happened. But by having someone on the scene who can respond much faster than can the police, perhaps we can keep such deaths to a minimum. Those on the left like to make the “it’s worth it if it saves just one life” argument. Ok, back at you! Isn’t this worth doing if it “saves just one life?” How great the joy to the parents involved if just one more child had survived the shooting on Friday.

And just perhaps, the knowledge that there are armed people at the school might deter such folks and send them somewhere else to look for an easier target. Yes, people might die instead at a theater, or in a parking lot or at the local mall; but hopefully not at our nation’s schools; not again.

And perhaps, with luck, there will be someone with a CHL at those other venues too, who might be able to stop the carnage from becoming even worse. Like this individual, whose actions at a shopping mall in Clackamas, Oregon, also last week, probably saved the lives of others. In the wake of the events at Sandy Hook Elementary, this event went largely unreported.

One thing is certain. A disarmed citizenry is completely at the mercy of those who are armed.