If you think arming teachers is a good way to stop school shootings, you’re an idiot.
Wednesday, 17 high school students were gunned down by a white man who had reportedly trained with a white nationalist militia [Update: At this point it appears that the white nationalist militia leader may have lied about the shooter being associated with the militia]. The gunman hasn’t been identified as a terrorist because he’s white, and the militia hasn’t been called a terrorist organization because its members are also white. This. Is. Bullshit. But it’s not what I really want to talk about.
I want to talk about how some folks are calling for more guns in schools, not less. Allowing teachers to concealed-carry, for example.
If you’re one of these people, if you honestly think it’s a good idea to have more armed guards and armed teachers in a school, you’re an idiot. Here’s why.
Try to remember back to your school years. Remember the teachers in your classrooms. The women teachers often kept their purses in their desks, men and women alike draped their jackets on the back of their chairs or hung them on coat racks. They wrote on chaulkboards or whiteboards, or stood at an overhead projector or operated a laptop from a podium.
How often did a teacher turn his or her back to the classroom to write something on the board? Or leave the room to do crowd control on the kids in the halls during passing period? Or lean over (or crouch down) to help a student working at a desk or table?
Concealed-carry holsters tend to be located in the armpit, along the waist, on the leg, or in a handbag of some kind. Given the usual activities of a teacher, how long do you think it would take to notice a shoulder holster? A waistband holster? Even a leg holster? I’d guess it would take less than a week for a shoulder and waistband holster, and only a little longer for a leg holster. And it would take days for that information to circulate around the entire student body.
And a handbag holster? It’s probably not easily noticeable, but it would be in the teacher’s desk when he or she went out of the classroom, leaving an uncontrolled handgun in a room with students.
Do you see why you’re an idiot yet? If not, let me make it abundantly clear.
How hard would it be for a student to stun a teacher and take his or her handgun? Or even just to reach around the teacher and pull the gun out of a shoulder holster? Once you know who’s carrying, that person becomes a target, not a deterrent.
And if the teacher loses control of his or her handgun, the best case scenario is a hostage situation where the student holding the gun is at risk of being killed by police. Worst case is a room filled with dead bodies, murdered by a student using the teacher’s own handgun.
Arming teachers is about the dumbest idea for stopping school shootings that there is. It turns schools into one-stop shopping for would-be school shooters, and without the need to buy or steal a gun first.
And if you still think arming teachers is a good plan, you’re not only an idiot, but a dangerous idiot at that.
Update 8/14/2019: in the 18 months since I originally published this, I’ve talked with former law enforcement and former military turned teachers, spouses of teachers who are strong Second Amendment supporters, teachers who own guns and teachers who don’t (my wife is a teacher, so lots of mutual acquaintances are also teachers) and not a one of them – not one – thinks arming teachers is a good idea. And this is in the Denver metropolitan area, not far from Columbine High School, where the modern school shooting originated.
And in those 18 months, there have been dozens of teachers who took guns to school only to have them discharge accidentally, stolen, misplaced and discovered by a child, and even had a school resource officer’s AR15 and bulletproof vest stolen from his office.
I’ll debate the right way to protect your home, the right weapon to hunt 30-50 feral hogs, the best way to keep guns out of the hands of criminals while interfering as little as possible with legal owners’ rights, the Constitutionality of red flag laws, bans on military weapons, and pretty much every other idea about guns there is. But I won’t debate this.
Arming teachers is a dumb idea, and if you think it’s a good idea, you’re wrong. And if you don’t see why after reading the original post, you’re an idiot who shouldn’t be trusted with a spoon, never mind a firearm.