Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Arming the Teachers, That's the Answer

The question is, according to Harrold Texas School Superintendent David Thweatt, what are the best school security options. CNN reports on the situation.

...the board approved the policy in an October open meeting that had been publicized. He said the decision was made after nearly two years of researching the best school security options at the school, which is just off a busy highway and 30 minutes away from the sheriff's office.

"When you outlaw guns in a certain area, the only people who follow that are law-abiding citizens, and everybody else ignores it," Thweatt said.

I'm still not convinced by this argument. We've discussed it before. I understand the logic behind it, but somehow it doesn't quite work for me. What's worse is, in this particular statement, which probably fairly reflects the majority, Mr. Thweatt says "everybody else ignores it." Now, I can't believe that. In places where the law says "no guns" the good guys obey and ALL the bad guys don't. No, that must be an exaggeration. I would imagine in these places, schools, hospitals, businesses in Texas that post signs that guns are prohibited, some criminals comply, for one reason or another. I imagine further that more would comply if we cut accessibility to guns in half.

On the other hand, I can't help but agree with the unspoken message in that exaggerated statement by the Superintendent. When the good guys are armed and the bad guys know it, the bad guys are going to behave themselves. That makes sense to me, but do we really need to go that route, and do we really want to. I agree with this:

"As far as I'm concerned, teachers were trained to educate my children -- not carry a gun. Even police officers need years of training in hostage situations," said Traci McKay, whose three children are among the 110 students in the red-brick Harrold school.

Limiting the availability of guns is the answer for me, or at least a big part of it. I don't see why we can't all agree on that, as at least a partial solution, and work towards it, pro-gun folks and the rest of us. Working towards this goal need not diminish anyone's rights to own guns legally. I'm talking about the seemingly endless supply of guns available to criminals and psychopaths. Perhaps stricter controls at the manufacturing level are required. Perhaps stricter controls at the retail level would help. I don't know, but somehow, this is what we need to accomplish.

The other part of the answer is in the education and nurturing of our young people. They've got to get the message that violence is not the answer to every problem. Arming their teachers isn't going to help them learn that. The school in this case is "30 minutes away from the sheriff's office," just like a million other schools. Eventually should we arm all their teachers too? Wouldn't that exacerbate the problem?

Please let us hear your opinion.


  1. "Now, I can't believe that. In places where the law says "no guns" the good guys obey and ALL the bad guys don't. No, that must be an exaggeration."

    Yeah it is, I'm sure SOME bad guys follow the rule...but I wonder Why? Seriously, if owning a stolen gun is a felony, owning a gun while a felon is another felony, carrying a gun without a permit is a felony, and committing acts of violence is a felony, why would you care about one more?

    Also why is it that so many of these gun massacres happen in "Gun Free Zones"?

    Columbine, Virginia Tech, Lubby's Cafeteria, Salt Lake City Mall, Omaha Mall, Northern Illinois University, Post Offices, Court Houses, Work Places with posted rules. Hell the whole city of Chicago AND Washington DC (There are only 3 registered handguns currently in DC post Heller because of lack of gun shops)

    How many evil people does it take to shoot up a ton of unarmed people?

    Better yet, how many armed people does it take to stop them?

    The answer to both is "one"!
    You probably know the names of the shooters better, but are you familiar with the names
    Kenneth Hammond, and Jeanne Assam?

    "Limiting the availability of guns is the answer for me, or at least a big part of it."

    Ok, how? Currently guns are UNAVAILABLE to criminals, at least legally. You can't make them more do you propose taking them away from people like Mr. Hammond, and Ms. Assam, and the hundreds of thousands of other lawful people who use a gun to protect their lives every year?

    We keep coming down to this point. #1 Criminals don't NEED guns, they're just as dangerous with knives, cars, and their feet.
    #2. Lawful people are NOT dangerous with ANYTHING, as they follow the law by definition.
    #3. you talk about making guns less available, but you fail to claim how that might work.

    I rebut that it won't work, and another solution needs to be proposed.

  2. if a bad guy is willing to follow the rules, how do we know he's a bad guy?

    if only some, and not ALL, the bad guys follow the rules, you still have to worry about the ones that don't.

    (where do regular cops get "years of training" in any one thing, much less hostage situations? SWAT teams or FBI specialists, maybe, but not ordinary peace officers.)

    Mike, quit talking about stricter controls without actually proposing some controls and explaining to us how those proposed controls would actually accomplish something useful. just wanting "stricter controls" is like wanting "lower taxes"; it's not helpful. explain how you want the laws changed, and why.

  3. "if a bad guy is willing to follow the rules, how do we know he's a bad guy?"

    This reminded me of another fun side of gun control. Making lawful and good people into criminals! I'll reference my home state for an example:

    We had a permitting system in place since the 70s to own guns. It was simply a personal registration and background check system (essentially it violeted privacy, taxed a right, and did no good) but it was $25 and was good for life (given it wasn't revoked for criminal acts)...Later this was changed to our current system where you needed to pay $100, and the permit was good for only 6 years, and aditional training (at aditional cost)...the people who said "Screw that, my permt says 'Good For Life' on it." Suddenly became fellons under the new system.

    Also under the new system "Ammunition componants" are regulated by permit, this means if a friend without a permit comes with me to the range and wants to bring a spent case home as a souvenier (or just gets a .22 case stuck in the tread of their shoe, or the cuff of a pant leg) they are now a fellon.

    How do either acts sound dangerous to you? Do either people strike you as particualrly criminal?

    Me neither...but that's all gun control CAN do in its current from, is make people who are causing no problems into criminals, while the REAL criminals continue with buisness as usual.

    Also I'll close by agreeing with nomen, your uses of vague ideas with no substances makes your argument that much thinner....also your desire to constantly repeat your call for "Less guns" makes you sould like you aren't listening to our statements (which I KNOW isn't true)

    So why don't we get down to brass tacks here? What would you propose be done by this?

    We've countlessly told you what we would propose (Lift restrictions on people who are causing no problems and have a clean record, and are of apropreate age, punish with great severity those who violate the NFA and GCA as well as commit violent crimes no matter the tools used, and education of gun safety and gun laws to public school students)

    What's wrong with these proposals, and how would you handle this issue yourself?

  4. Mike,

    Do you trust every law enforcement officer?

    Do you trust every criminal?

    Guess who are two of the types of people that can still carry a firearm on campus?

    Crooks and Cops; every state that laws that I've read allows an exemption for cops concerning carry laws. Cops can carry in bars, in churches, in stadiums and in school. Even if they are there for a parent conference; cops can carry.
    (Caveat, this is as far as I can tell by studying the state laws, your mileage may vary)

    I don't believe that all bad guys won't obey just like I won't believe that all good guys will. But what is the risk you are asking me to take on the gamble?

    Crooks don't obey the law, some won't carry on campus but some will. Are you willing to bet my kids lives on the mercy of a crook?

    That is what disarming schools is doing, betting on the mercy of a crook intent on murder. Sorry, it's too big of a gamble for me not to try to stack the odds on the other side.

    I want each murderer to wonder if the Spanish teacher is carrying. Maybe if a murderer looks at the janitor with suspicion, he/she will pick another place to try mass murder.

    Not all criminals are murderers, but do you really think that a sign the campus property will stop someone intent on murder?

    If not, shouldn't the people have a right to effectively fight back?

    The other part of the answer is in the education and nurturing of our young people.

    You never commented on the link Thomas provided about the Gospel Studio you think that a teachers caring and concerned nurturing would have stopped young Mr. Broadnax from committing murder that day? Perhaps there is more required then a friendly teacher...parents, neighbors that also send the message violence isn't acceptable.

    Arming their teachers isn't going to help them learn that

    If there is never a problem, the students will never know if teachers are armed or not. Do you think a teacher is going to draw down on a student for not turning in their homework?

    How does the presence of a firearm fundamentally change the personality of a teacher so they won't teach in the same manner as last year?

  5. Not to mention how large schools now usally have a few local cops on staff durring school hours for security (Honestly, it makes sence, as the population density for a school in session, coupled with the troubles students can get into that schools are taking a more and more hands-off approach, like drugs and fighting, and general discapline (back in my day all discapline was handled in-house with parental notification, now it seems that "Charges Filed" seems to pop up CONSTANTLY in school stories)

    Even the schools that don't have cops on staff, if an incident DOES happen, what do the teachers do? They call Dial-A-Gun and have the nearest cop deliver a gun to the scene.

    Still having a cop deliver a gun takes time when time is critial, also there is no requirement for a cop to be much of a good shot at all...he can't be an abysmal shot...but likely if he draws his weapon it will be the first time in months that he's done so, and very likely the first time he's done it in any stressed environment.

    If that's what you get, why not allow your teachers who want to carry demonstrait competence and carry concealed? When seconds count a gun will be seconds away AND you can STILL call the cops. Aren't the lives of our children worth it?

    And FYI the Israelies have been doing it for decades with very good results.

  6. It was required by the athletic department to bring a firearm to school to participate on the rifle team. Plenty of guns in gun racks in the pickups in the parking lot.

    In my years in high school in Texas there was one fight that became near deadly, a stabbing of one Mexican kid by another. Too long ago to remember their names. Schoolyard fisticuffs that got out of hand.

    Never a shot fired on the campus that wasn't supposed to be. ROTC kids were allowed rifles too. We also had archery with school bought bows and arrows. I can tell you from small game hunting experience, even target arrows can kill.

    I can't think of a single person I knew or knew of in high school that would have contemplated misusing a firearm or murdering people. There was one shotgun suicide by a junior in the 4 years but that happened at the fellow's home.

    The head coach kept a 1911A1 in his desk and I wouldn't be surprised if his Biology teacher wife didn't do the same.

    Interesting thing to remember on this topic from John Lott:

    Consider a fact hardly mentioned during the massive news coverage of the October 1997 shooting spree at a high school in Pearl, Miss.: An assistant principal retrieved a gun from his car and physically immobilized the gunman for a full 41/2 minutes while waiting for the police to arrive. The gunman had already fatally shot two students (after earlier stabbing his mother to death). Who knows how many lives the assistant principal saved by his prompt response?

    Appalachian School of Law shooting was stopped by two students that retrieved firearms from their vehicles and would have been stopped faster if they hadn't had to go to their vehicles to fetch them.

    At Virginia Tech, the LEOs, instead of saving anybody, seemed to be mostly hiding behind trees and unsure of what to do. The videos from various angles are easily available on the web.

    The PLO stopped attacking Israeli schools when they armed all the teachers and you might note that in the recent Palestinian lunatic bulldozer attack on cars and city buses it was an armed citizen, not a policeman, that stopped the murderer with a bullet to the brain.

    So here we are: How did we get here with a generation of deranged violent people and their copycats? They weren't around when I was a youth.

    I'm going to hazard a guess that it's not the availability of guns that provokes school shootings.

    If a person can not be trusted to act properly in a free society they should be serving a custodial sentence in the Prison or Booby Hatch of their choice, if not executed. Otherwise they will breed more scum and the problem will continue.

    When you engage in animal husbandry and an animal comes out defective you either neuter it or destroy it so as not to allow it to poison the gene pool.

  7. I admit I've been vague when speaking about the solution. That's very simply because I don't have a clear one in mind.

    Continuing in that vague way, I'm wondering if everything you guys have been saying is not part of the problem. It's hard to disagree with many of your examples, so I won't do that. But what I will repeat is that arming teachers will only perpetuate a situation that Thomas rightly pointed out did not exist when we were kids. The educating and nurturing I was talking about would have to begin at home and be continued in school. Don't laugh, but peace is what we need to teach kids, not violence.

  8. technically speaking, what's going on in Texas now is not "arming the teachers" at all.

    what's being done is allowing those teachers who have already gone through the bureaucratic process of licensing and certifying themselves to carry a concealed weapon, on their own initiative, and who have armed themselves at their own expense, to carry that weapon concealed on their jobs. well, if they agree to follow a few more rules the school further imposes (ammunition requirements, i hear).

    that's not "arming the teachers". that's "allowing the teachers to arm themselves, if they really want to put up with the nuisance the law imposes on armed people". different thing.

  9. Or better yet, Nomen, "Not Disarming Teachers" if you're armed when you shop at the store, armed at the movies, armed at a restaurant, armed at home....but lock the gun in your glove box when you go to school...a law changing that isn't "Arming" you at all!

    "Don't laugh, but peace is what we need to teach kids, not violence."

    Actully, Sorry, I did disrespect...But what you talk about is a GREAT principal...but hardly fool proof...remember peace takes TWO sides with mutual respect and agreement...war and violence only takes one agressor.

    The shooting in the Tennesiee Unitarian Church is a great thing can be said about the Unitarians, they're a peace loving lot. That didn't stop a mentally deranged man from shooting the place up. Their love of peace didn't save them....quick, selfless and, oh yes, violent, acts (without guns) DID save them that day. The gunman was well armed, but only two of his three fired shots landed on target (The third into the roof as parisheners beat the shit out of him) He was arrested with guns and ammo still on his person...he wasn't ready to stop...they MADE him stop.

    Now in no way does this mean I advocate a matter of fact I hate the stuff, and avoid it at all costs....still I'll end with a quote from my hero Lt. Col, John Dean "Jeff" Cooper:January 1975--"One bleeding-heart type asked me in a recent interview if I did not agree that 'violence begets violence.' I told him that it is my earnest endeavor to see that it does. I would like very much to ensure--and in some cases I have--that any man who offers violence to his fellow citizen begets a whole lot more in return than he can enjoy."

  10. Nomen, Good point. I was exaggerating in the title of the post and then started repeating it as if it were factual. That's exactly what I don't like done to me. Thanks for the check.