The Democratic Party

of Hood County, Texas

Guns and Teachers

March 8, 2018


TL/DR: The concept of teachers packing heat in classrooms is one of the worst means of protecting students that has been offered. The following is a scorecard that could be applied to the concept.

ARMAMENT—ADVANTAGE SHOOTER—Most of the mass shooters have chosen high powered semi-automatic rifles with large capacity magazines. Teachers armed with Glock’s have a pistol with only 15 rounds and significantly lower stopping power.

The teacher will lose this gunfight.

TARGETING—ADVANTAGE SHOOTER—Shooters don’t have to worry about their targets. They are shooting at anything that moves. Teachers will have to be extremely careful where they aim because the halls and classrooms would be filled with students, teachers, and law enforcement agents.

If a teacher is armed and chooses to fight the situation can get worse in the blink of an eye. The teacher moves into the hallway and sees dozens if not hundreds of students fleeing for their lives and the shooter is likely near. The teacher must be sure that no students are behind the shooter, near the shooter or between the teacher and the shooter. That moment of hesitation will be fatal.

The teacher will lose this gunfight.

TACTICS—ADVANTAGE SHOOTER—The shooter has the element of surprise. After the first shot is fired the teacher must find the key to remove the pistol from a locked drawer or gun safe and then try to locate the shooter. The shooter, in 90% of the massacres, looks like any other student. He blends in.

The teacher will lose this gunfight.

DETERRENCE—ADVANTAGE SHOOTER—The concept that armed teachers are a deterrent to heavily armed shooters is lame at best. First, the shooters don’t care if they live or die. Secondly, if the would-be shooter is worried about teachers with pistols all he has to do is wear a Kevlar vest.

The teacher will lose this gunfight.

FIRST RESPONDERS MAY SHOOT THE TEACHER—The teacher must be aware that police responders may mistake her for the shooter. Police are entering the same chaos and confusion that confronted the teacher in the first place. The police will be looking to take down anyone who is firing a weapon. That teacher could easily be mistaken for the shooter. This has already happened.

The teacher will lose this gunfight, too.

FIGHT OR FLIGHT?—The teacher will be faced with a choice of Fight or Flight. Is it better to stay and fight a losing battle or attempt to lead the students from the classroom to a place of safety? Should the teacher blockade the classroom door to prevent the shooter from getting into the classroom?

PREVENTION is the best option available and it is not perfect.

  • We must stop the manufacture and sales of high powered automatic or semi-automatic weapons for sale to the public. These weapons should be available only to the military and highly trained police officers.
  • We must enforce background checks on private sales and eliminate the “gun-show loophole”.
  • We must proactively engage to stop bullying behaviors that seem to be a trigger in so many of these massacres (estimated to be the root cause in over 70% of mass shootings).

Psychologists tell us that the most effective preventative measures should be in place without us waiting for the “red flag” danger warnings for a person. Of course, it is important to recognize such signs in individuals and to intervene where appropriate. But it is far more effective to take action before any of those signs appear, and the best way to do that is through a public health approach. Primary prevention through policies that improve social, cultural, and economic conditions, not to mention reducing access to guns, is far more effective than all the police, doctors and hospitals combined.

WHAT TO DO NOW—There are hundreds of thousands of semi-automatic, high powered, weapons that already exist. All holders of such weapons and persons who wish to purchase one MUST BE REQUIRED to undergo a comprehensive background check. No one with a criminal record, including misdemeanors involving violence, or with a military discipline history for violence, or with a history of mental illness, or with those “red flags” that indicate they are predisposed to violence, should be allowed to purchase or own this type of weapon.

Commonsense regulation of military-style (and capability) weapons will not infringe on the rights of people to keep and bear arms for self- protection or recreational purposes. Only the military needs a gun designed to maximize human slaughter.

VOTE for candidates that will promise rational gun control legislation and comprehensive reform to provide the social changes mentioned above. Europe has a mental illness rate similar to the US, but they have almost no mass murders. Why? Sure, they are way ahead in the control of military-style guns, but they are also way ahead on those elements that are the best means of prevention; universal healthcare, including mental and emotional disability support as well as the societal benefits of a more egalitarian society. Those are wrapped up in a cultural model that helps prevent their citizens’ alienation from the society. The real answer to school shootings is prevention.

CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVES and tell them, “Hell no! Enough is enough.” Contact your current Representatives (phone calls work best) by going here:

Photo Credits:

  • Sofia Sforza on Unsplash
  • Gerson Martins on Unsplash
  • Element5 Digital on Unsplash
  • Element5 Digital on Unsplash

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