0314_School Shootings: Isn’t It Time to Arm Teachers? – February 2018 — letter from a friend

Donna Jack
March 17, 2017

A friend of mine sent this to me several days ago.  It is well thought out.

It has been ludicrous [stupid or unreasonable and deserving to be laughed at] to make schools gun free zones (the federal law put into place in 1990).  This irrational law has only guaranteed that all our public school children and teachers are sitting ducks — inviting evil people to shoot at the innocent ones in schools.
A letter written by a friend:

It seems that every time there is a highly publicized mass shooting in America these days, instead of grieving the loss of life and blaming the actual perpetrator, we are treated to an immediate knee-jerk attack by the media and politicians on law abiding gun owners, gun organizations, and even the 2nd Amendment itself.

However, rather than be distracted by the politics of gun ownership in America, we need to have a frank discussion about what we can do right now to make our children more safe.

Should we increase surveillance and reporting?  This may help with deterrence.  Yet the Parkland school had monitored security cameras, and there were multiple contacts with the shooter over the years by school administrators and law enforcement (including tips called in to the FBI).  These measures did not stop the killer.

Perhaps we should install metal detectors and have security personnel pat down students and visitors, like we do at stadiums and airports?  This too may help, although it tends to result in crowds forming at choke points (creating an easy target for a truck, bomb, or shooter).  It also doesn’t prevent the killer from pulling the fire alarm to bring everyone outside.

What about “better” background checks?  Unfortunately, this will not stop someone with murder in their heart.  Even if a person has been banned from owning a firearm due to their age, criminal record, or mental health history, it’s not difficult to acquire a gun through an illegal “straw purchase” (having someone else buy it for you).  Firearms can also be readily obtained on the black market.

Some propose banning the sale of certain types of firearms (or even banning them  [firearms] altogether).  However, we can’t make guns go away, any more than we can make knives and pressure cookers go away.  Guns have been manufactured for hundreds of years, and semi-automatic firearms have been around since the 1800’s.  The technology is fairly simple, and you can make your own semi-automatic firearm with a drill press and a file.

Ultimately, none of these proposals help to accomplish our immediate goal, which is to protect our children from bad guys.

To do that, we need to focus on doing what has worked in the past.  Over and over we hear stories of good guys with guns stopping bad guys with guns.  Most of us would agree that this is a much better strategy than just waiting for the bad guy to run out of ammunition.

For example, this last year in Sutherland Springs, a good guy (who happened to be an NRA instructor) with a gun (a semi-automatic AR-15 rifle) stopped a bad guy dead in his tracks, likely preventing more innocent people from being killed.

So should we place an armed police officer in every school?  In 2014, a School Resource Officer (SRO) at Arapahoe High School responded to shots being fired in another part of the building.  It took him 80 seconds to find and confront the shooter.  While his heroic actions may have prevented a mass-shooting, 80 seconds is still a very long time.

There are other reasons having an SRO assigned to every school may not be adequate.  The SRO at the school in Parkland “held his position” outside during the shooting.  Furthermore, it has been reported that when police from another department arrived, they found three additional armed deputies in the parking lot who had not yet gone inside.

The point is this:  when a killer decides to start shooting, immediate action is required.  If you are the one being shot at, you cannot in that moment or desperate need count on local or federal law enforcement to save your life or the lives of other teachers and your students.  That responsibility has become yours, whether you like it or not.

This is why we must consider allowing certain teachers to be armed.  Nobody is proposing the we arm all teachers; however, why wouldn’t we arm the ones who are already willing to protect, and even lay down their lives, for our children?

Consider the football coach in Parkland who placed himself between the killer and innocent students.  Would things have been different had this hero been allowed to be armed?  We will never know.  However, unlike the police outside who hesitated (perhaps because they didn’t know exactly where the shooter was), he [the football coach] did not.

Some local, state, and national governments already have recognized this need.  There are 172 school districts in Texas who thoroughly vet and train teachers who volunteer to be armed.  Utah allows teachers to carry concealed handguns on campus.  Israel has been arming their teachers and school bus drivers for decades.

It appears Parkland may have been the final straw.  Finally, common sense legislation allowing teachers to be armed so they can protect our children is being proposed in state legislatures across the United States.  Perhaps we will even see the repeal of the failed Gun Free School Zone Act (FGSZA) of 1990.

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