|Source: Somewhere on Google Plus
Taking some time to catch up on my G+ feed, and I found this cartoon that in one fell swoop highlights the tragedy earlier this month and, pardon the pun, blasts a hole in the argument for guns in schools .
Aside: Before I go any further, allow me to share how horrified I was to hear the news about the mass killing of children, teachers, and principal. It’s unimaginable the grief parents, relatives and community are having to work through.
Before I start down this road, I have to ask myself, What do I think about weapons, firearms, etc.? Let me inventory my biases, put them on the table, so to speak:
- My father was an Army NCO and a Canal Zone police officer. I grew up knowing his .357 Magnum pistol was sitting in a small leather bag next to his bed, wrapped in a soft white t-shirt. How did I know? My dad showed me where it was, explained why I shouldn’t touch it, and pointed out that it was always loaded. My reaction? I treated it like a snake…it wasn’t mine, it could kill me unexpectedly, and, my Dad had asked me not to mess with his weapon. What more encouragement does a 7 year old need?
- I grew up reading Louis L’Amour…let’s see…
I don’t think guns are in themselves evil; they are simply technologies we’ve developed to kill more effectively. I’m sure someone carrying a club or a flint knife would see a distance weapon like a spear and spear thrower, a sling, or, bow and arrow as potentially evil killing technologies. For me, the question is, should we allow everyone to have effective killing technologies when, given a certain population, some of the everyone will be emotionally compromised, deranged or worse?
When my wife and I first married, we purchased a .38 revolver with those show-stopper bullets (you know, the ones that explode when they hit you and put down an intruder awfully quick). It’s hard to describe the feeling we experienced while that weapon was in our apartment/house. Allow me to use the snake comparison again…it was like having a coiled, poisonous snake in the house. You always knew where it was because NOT knowing would have been more than wrong…not knowing would have been dangerous. I remember buying a safe to lock the pistol in when we weren’t around (no concealed handgun license) then. When we drove cross-Texas, we kept the pistol in the trunk of the car (in the safe), and my Dad suggested I carry paper targets in case police happened to find it. “Yes, officer, we’re on our way to a shooting range in East Texas.” Eventually, we sold the pistol and breathed a collective sigh of relief.
When you pull out a firearm, you’ve decided to kill someone and anything short of that means you didn’t think it through.
The gun lobby (e.g. NRA) is interested more in making money for the companies that make weapons rather than self-defense, etc. Setting up one president (e.g. Obama) or whomever as someone who will take away their guns is a straw man argument, a fool’s choice. And, that’s scary simply because it establishes that we have a lot of fools with firearms.
I’ve been to several gun shows (I never buy). The last one, about 3 years ago, turned both my children–who had gone with me out of curiosity–into advocates of gun control. I confess that the people selling guns at the shows scared them, even if they were amiable and friendly folk. I had a feeling they reminded my kids of Jeff Foxworthy in a way that wasn’t all that funny.
- “Out here you better have a gun, and a gun in the wagon ain’t good for nothin’. I believe what the old Quaker said, ‘Trust in the Lord, but keep your powder dry.”
- Any man can shoot a gun, and with practice he can draw fast and shoot accurately, but that makes no difference. What counts is how you stand up when somebody is shooting back at you.
- “violence is an evil thing, but when the guns are all in the hands of the men without respect for human rights, then men are really in trouble.”
So, those are my biases. I’d never written them down before. Maybe they are wrong. My opinion is that teachers should NOT carry a concealed handgun to school but that’s because America has come a lot further than the time Louis L’Amour wrote about in the old West, hasn’t it?
Guns demand attention, command it in fact…I’d rather teachers were more focused on facilitating teaching, learning and leading rather than wondering, “Did I secure my weapon some place my students can’t get to it, but that I can in case a shooter walks through the door?”
As I sit here staring at long-held beliefs, the following story comes to mind…I looked it up because I hadn’t read this book in a long time. If you’ve read Louis L’Amour’s Bendigo Shafter, you’ll recognize this short excerpt about Drake Morrell, the gambler gunfighter drafted as a teacher and the failed attempt on his life:
“Did you kill Drake Morrell?”He chuckled again. “Decided agin it.” He sipped his coffee. “You know somethin’? After he started that there schoolteachin’ I figured I had him dead to rights. I laid out for him, waitin’ until he was out of school, and when he come out the door, I shaped up with my old Betsy girl here” — he slapped his rifle — “right on his belly. I had him where he couldn’t move. There was youngsters all around him, and he stood there lookin’ at me and never turned a hair. He had sand, that Morrell.”“Had?”“Has. He’s still around. You want to know what happened? I nigh got myself kilt. Five or six of them youngsters, weren’t but two of them upwards of twelve or thirteen, they outs with their six-shooters and had me covered. “They told me he was their teacher and he was a mighty good one and if I shot him they’d fill my hide.”He chuckled again. “an’ you know somethin’? They’d of done it, too.”“What happened?”“Nothin’. I pulled down my flag. Pulled her down right quick. I never seen so many youngsters with six-shooters.”“That’s wild country. Some of them ride to school. A boy in that country needs a gun.”
“He’s teaching school.”“Drake Morrell? Teaching school?”“Yes, and very well, too.” It was a good story, and I told it, right down to the day his students gathered around him with their pistols. “They actually carry weapons into the schoolroom?” “You have to remember, Mrs. Beaussaint, that our town is apt to be attacked at any moment, and then some of the students ride over from ranches or other settlements nearby.“There’s small chance of trouble, but when trouble does occur, it is rather decisive. One had better be prepared for it…“I can’t imagine it.”“Of course not. It is very easy for people living in warm, comfortable homes miles from the frontier to tell people on the frontier how they should live, but quite another thing for the settler to return home to find his wife and children murdered … for no particular reason.”
Louis L’Amour was chock-full of advice, wasn’t he? Someone came to kill the teacher, and the students whipped out their pistols and covered him. I suppose, that only happens in the fictional “Old West.” The story comes to mind as I inventory my biases, reflecting on the push to see teachers armed, on the cartoon that shows children carrying weapons.
If you put aside the opinion that we should be a lot further down the road than frontier America where people carried handguns for defense and to shoot their horse or a cow that might have gone loco, I can’t help but wonder how we expect poorly-paid teachers are going to pay for weapons that cost $300+. Educators are already under-paid and having to buy their own technology…now we expect them to buy a handgun and pay for concealed handgun training/license fees? Wait a sec…you want teachers who are so over-burdened that they can’t learn how to use modern technology to pay for, and take a 10-hour course to use a technology that can take a life?
Adding the role of armed security officer to educators’ already heavy workloads puts unfair pressure on teachers who aren’t trained to manage violent crises, Rock Hill schools Superintendent Lynn Moody said.“Our teachers are highly qualified educators,” she said. “They’re not highly qualified in being a police officer.” (Source: Charlotte Observer)
Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/12/22/3743631/should-sc-let-teachers-have-guns.html#storylink=cpy
There’s some irony. What if we made 10 hour concealed BYOD training that would engage and inspire people to be more alive?
Fear over the Newtown school shooting prompted a Minnesota teacher to bring a loaded gun to school last week, forcing a school lockdown. The unnamed teacher, a female in her 50s, has been placed on administrative leave from Seward Montessori School in Minneapolis.”This is the first case like this I’ve ever heard of,” Minneapolis police Sgt. Bill Palmer told KMSP. “In this day in age in this week, handguns in schools are of great concern to everyone.” Source: Huffington Post
Do we really expect teachers to spend hard-earned cash–starting teacher in Texas makes about $37K per year, which is barely enough to do anything–to buy a weapon to use in defense of their class, much the same way they invest in school supplies and anti-bacterial bottles? And, will the Government–or gun advocates–be willing to subsidize purchase of weapons by teachers, as well as professional development for teachers? Why won’t they subsidize technology for educators, too?
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TheVerge.com took a moment to share some of weapons my fellow Americans were unwrapping under the Christmas Tree….
Should we allow teachers to carry weapons to work, which happens to be a school? Think on this:
…according to Jean Bernard Lasnaud, a French-born arms dealer living in Florida, between $1 million and $2.5 million (U.S.) in merchandise will be unloaded in an average year. Another arms dealer, Viktor Bout, is estimated to have made $50 million in profit by selling arms to the Taliban in the late ’90s. Arms dealers can make additional money by offering their services to American arms manufacturers.
Read more: http://www.askmen.com/entertainment/special_feature_100/109b_special_feature.html#ixzz2G8hJddHX
Maybe We the People could require the gun lobby, including the NRA and everyone with their top rating, arms dealers who make LOTS of money (they should be taxed since being an arms dealer isn’t illegal, right?) to foot the bill for more security in schools.
Would you feel better if your kids were protected by a few guys/gals dressed in black body armor–featuring a school visitor tag–and carrying tactical shotguns, laser-guided assault rifles, and sporting automatic handguns?
Or maybe, every teacher could get one of these with a holster, 100 rounds and mandatory concealed handgun license training with expedited processing?
If I had the answer, I’d be a lot smarter person. In re-reading my post, I suppose my response is simply, “If we live in an America that is like the frontier, then we should have mass weapons training for all. If having a weapon is required for educators so they can protect their children, then the government should subsidize that.
And, if educators begin to use weapons at work–not unlike the military checking out weapons to soldiers when they go on duty–parents should have the right to put their children in high security locations (e.g. their home, a private/charter school) to safeguard them in ways public schools cannot be.
Simply, public schools have become the reviled places learning seldom happens in spite of high stakes testing, children’s safety is threatened. Is this the America we wanted? Or is this the America the terrorists wanted us to have?
Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure