The school board in this impoverished rural hamlet in North Texas has drawn national attention with its decision to let some teachers carry concealed weapons, a track no other school in the country has followed. The idea is to ward off a massacre along the lines of what happened at Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999.
Even in Texas, with its tradition of lenient gun laws and frontier justice, the idea of teachers’ taking guns to class has rattled some people and sparked a fiery debate.“I’m not exactly paranoid,” Mr. Thweatt said. “I like to consider myself prepared.”
Some residents and parents, however, think Mr. Thweatt may be overstating the threat. Many say they rarely lock their doors, much less worry about random drifters with pistols running amok at the school. Longtime residents were hard-pressed to recall a single violent incident there.
The title of this post is slightly facetious. "Arming the teachers" is not what the school board is doing. (Thanks Nomen for pointing that out.) What they're doing is giving teachers who are already licensed to carry weapons permission to do so. There are even additional requirements placed upon them, special anti-ricocheting ammunition, special training by a private security company.
The point is that permitting the teachers to be armed, regardless of the probability of an attack, is sending the wrong message. It may work in the short run, but long term it will move us backwards to a time in our history when violence and lawlessness was the order of the day. It brings to mind visions of the old West in cowboy movies we all grew up with. Wasn't the answer to that chaotic period to introduce laws and law enforcement? Wasn't it to encourage education and cooperation? Wasn't it to move away from this very thing, everybody being armed and at the ready for a gunfight? Why would we want to move backwards towards the type of society we struggled to outgrow 150 years ago?
I'm wondering if it really is a macho thing. Anyone who's ever handled a gun, and liked it, can understand that there's a tremendously exhilarating sense of power involved. I say it's wrong to play with that power, to bring it into our daily lives. That's what we have law enforcement people for. We should keep the guns for hunting and target shooting and collecting, if that's what you like. But, bringing them into our everyday lives is only going to exacerbate the crime problem in the long run.
What do you think?