In February, in the aftermath of the Stoneman Douglas, I posted my opinion about the idea of arming educators. (Arming Educators: A Bad, Smelly Idea That Won’t Go Away) Now, even with two month’s perspective and email exchanges and personal discussions with both proponents and opponents, it still smells as bad as it did then. Turning our schools into armed camps just isn’t the answer. Yet, one of our very own North Carolina legislators is still sounding the call for gun-toting educators roaming the halls of our buildings. What’s worse, he’s saying that if they (the legislators) don’t arm our teachers, administrators, and others within our schools, then “their blood will be on the hands” of the state legislators (see “NC Legislator Says Children’s Blood ‘Will Be On Our Hands’ If State Doesn’t Allow for Armed Teachers”).
I can think of several things that could happen if guns were suddenly a prominent appliance within the school buildings, and none of them are good. One of these possible scenarios seems even more probably after a Stoneman Douglas teacher was arrested for leaving a loaded gun in a public restroom (see “Stoneman Douglas Teacher Arrested After Leaving Gun in Public Restroom”). I can only imagine an absent-minded and distracted teacher doing the same within a school by leaving a loaded gun on their desk or in a restroom. Or, a student wrestling away a gun from a teacher in anger, then unloading it on that teacher and anyone else standing by. The bottom line is that the potential for harm is greater than any possible deterrent value that gun might have.
But I honestly didn’t mean for this post to get back into the argument about arming teachers; what I really wanted to point out that this NC legislator’s argument and call to arm teachers points actually to the cause of all this violence in the first place.
It may be rather simple: We Americans put all our faith in the ability of firearms to solve all or most of our problems. After all, when our forefathers settled the score with the British, and when developing our Constitution, they made sure that if a pesky tyrannical government every arises again, “We’ll be ready for’em.” Our guns, with this way of thinking, are a necessary deterrent for anything seen as our enemy. That’s often the spoken and unspoken rationale for the 2nd Amendment too. But perhaps at heart, we as Americans have settled so many of our differences with guns, and naturally, like Mr. Pittman, our North Carolina legislator, arming more and more of our populace is the answer. This kind of thinking may also provide some explanation for why we like words and phrases such as “Shoot first and ask questions later,” or “Go ahead, make my day.” We simply have an infallible faith in the power of Smith and Wesson as the means to solving our societal problems. That thinking will probably be the end of us though.
But getting back to Mr. Pittman’s call for arming educators. It is still a “trainwreck” of an solution. It is also amazing how he can try to make a “moral” argument for carrying a weapon, but then again, that seems to be how we solve our problems.
The bottom line is that until we begin to see that our real enemy is ourselves, none of this gets resolved. Having a bunch of gun-toting teachers and administrators isn’t the answer, unless, of course, your want to turn out schools into battlefields.