An employee with a holstered .45 handgun stands behind the counter Tuesday, April 6, 2010 at Caswells Shooting Range in Mesa, Ariz. On Monday, April 5, 2010, Gov. Jan Brewer has signed into law two bills supported by gun-rights activists. One of the bills signed Monday would broaden the state's current restrictions on local governments' ability to regulate or tax guns and ammunition. The other bill declares that guns manufactured entirely in Arizona are exempt from federal oversight and are not subject to federal laws restricting the sale of firearms or requiring them to be registered. (AP Photo/Matt York)
ARM SOMEONE: Either a teacher, principal or security person should be properly trained and could offer good protection as long as they are in the proximity of the entrance. It appears locked doors are not enough. Taking guns away from some will not solve the problem. The ones who should not have a gun always seem to manage getting a hold of one or more. If our country doesn't do something about the people who are mentally not capable of good reason, then problems will always continue regardless what you do with guns, or knives or hammers or crow bars.
Jean M. Haese,
RELUCTANT: It takes a certain type of individual not only to handle a weapon, but the thought of possibly taking another person's life. I am afraid would be too much for most educators. Unless, of course, they were former police officers or had served in the military. I don't believe this would be the answer. The use of a liaison person of authority might be an alternative.
BUILD PROTECTION: Certainly. We need to train them and an Arms & Ammo 101 course should do it. Crazies would take to body armour, so teachers need Teflon-tipped bullets. Hazard pay is in order because armed teachers would become the shooter's first target. Hitting the "perp" amongst all the children might be tricky, but with sharp-shooter training, it's possible. Arming aides and janitors would further increase safety, and armed crossing guards could extend the perimeter - as would a roof-mounted turret. Of course, teachers would need to be screened for emotional stability; we wouldn't want teacher/administration disputes getting out of hand or staff emotional entanglements either. Policies would need to be very clear: even 5-foot-2, 105-pound teachers could not resort to the gun to control even the biggest and surliest of students. But all these issues are addressable. I think we should definitely consider it.
REAL ISSUE: The advocacy of giving teachers guns is a rhetorical ploy, not a serious proposal. It's intended to divert discussion to heated arguments about armed teachers and away from calm consideration of what sort of practical and effective legal controls we could implement over the types of weapons that have been used in these massacres. We shouldn't be talking about school security on the assumption that the present free access to military-power firearms by virtually anyone must continue, since to reinforce that assumption is exactly why the gun lobby is making such proposals. We should not fall into that trap. Instead, first, let's pass the sort of reasonable gun control laws every other advanced nation in the world has. Then, in the context of those controls, we can go on to consider what type of security measures are necessary and appropriate for schools and other public places.
BRING IN VETERANS: I personally don't take issue with the concept, not unlike the Federal Flight Deck Officer Program (a.k.a. the "armed pilots" program). An argument could be made that a teacher securing his or her firearm might be a bit more cumbersome in a classroom of rambunctious kids, but I still think the idea has merit. A better idea may be the hiring of trained, screened veterans to serve as armed guards or hired on as school police officers. While an additional level of federal bureaucracy is not the best thing, I'd be in favor of spending tax money here versus some other questionable government programs. Our world has changed, not for the better. We need to protect our children who are for the most part innocent bystanders in this new normal.\
SECURE ENTRIES: So a nuthatch with a death wish, gun at the ready, bursts into a classroom and starts shooting. We are going to depend on the teacher to win a shootout before anyone gets hurt? That's not a good idea. The goal is not to win the shootout, but to avoid the shootout. Trying to identify the loonies is a fool's errand, and so the solution is to prevent entry to our schools. That may include armed guards, checkpoints at the entrances and fortifying the buildings, but it can be done. We need to weigh the emotional and financial costs against the risk of a massacre. Perhaps it's a sad commentary on the state of our society that we would consider this, but look at our airports.
GUNS ARE A PROBLEM: The only thing teachers should be armed with is the talent to teach children effectively. However, we have the criminal leadership of the munitions industry trying to change the gun control discussion to anything away from the real problem, which is guns. We are constantly told that guns don't kill people, people kill people. What isn't said is that people kill people with guns. How do we change things? Indict the criminal leadership of the munitions industry and incarcerate them for crimes against the American people. Next, confront the congressional "employees" of the munitions industry to enact changes or get out of congress. That would make room for new delegates who will represent the will of a majority of the American citizens and not the munitions industry.
ONE APPROACH: The media and the administration continue to fan the flames on this issue and leave you with the impression that our schools are under constant attack. I, like a lot of people, view the constant attacks more as spiritual than with guns or weapons and think arming the teachers with moral tools like the Ten Commandments might be more appropriate. Having teachers armed with guns is an approach to consider and the logistics would be complicated. I'd question if the current administrations in many schools are up to the task. These groups appear to be struggling with identifying and financially rewarding our best teachers. How will they identify willing qualified teachers and staff to have guns in our schools and give direction regarding the role they should play in a situation like Newtown? Why not ask the teachers, staff, parents and students what they think? Seems like a reasonable approach on both issues.
STICK TO TEACHING: Teachers already have one of the most important and difficult jobs - educating students. We rely on them to not only educate, but to comfort, discipline, feed, clothe, advise, the list goes on. We can't ask them to be our security guards as well. We need to deal with the issue of guns and stop pushing the problem down to the victims, asking them to defend themselves.
TOO EXPENSIVE: The whole notion of educational institutions becoming armed fortresses with the educators as foot soldiers is just plain nuts. Teachers have enough on their plates in their work to prepare sometimes reluctant students for real-life responsibility with marginal parental help. To consider adding armed security responsibility to the job strikes me as beyond the pale. The state Legislature seems determined to demonize educators as greedy. I would hate to think that the next addition to teacher contracts would be to mandate firearm possession at work and training in urban combat tactics. With many districts strapped for the resources necessary to do actual teaching, arming and training entire staffs would further compromise education by diverting huge chunks of budgets away from teaching/learning priorities and into the coffers of gun purveyors. Handguns are not a teaching tool, and paranoia is not a strategy. Surveys show that a super majority of Americans concurs.