Friday, September 12, 2014

Teachers & Guns at School

It's one of the grand myths about guns, public safety, and school shootings - that arming teachers would deter school shootings and keep kids safe. There is little in terms of policy discussions that would generate more vigorous response than the idea of arming school personnel. And, I, for one, am wholeheartedly opposed to any non-police personnel carrying firearms at school. And now, in the matter of a week, we have two vivid examples for why my opposition to guns in school is well founded.

This week, an elementary teacher in Utah "accidentally shot herself in the leg" when her "weapon accidentally discharged" while the teacher was in the restroom. Seriously. There is little room for error with firearms, and the thought of an accidental shooting by a teacher at a school is truly disturbing. Fortunately, no students were in school at the time. The same is not true for a university in Idaho. There, a professor "shot himself in the foot" in class when students were present after his gun accidentally "went off" while in his pocket. No students were hurt in the incident. But that's really not the point, is it.

Gun safety and the ability to proficiently handle a firearm is tenuous at best. And gun proponents are fooling themselves whenever they envision themselves or others heroically saving the day during a crisis by taking out a gun and taking down an intruder. More than likely the inevitable panic of the situation will lead to accidents and far more collateral damage. Trained police officers who practice shooting regularly don't even hit their targets with reliability during a crisis. Civilians can't begin to hope for reliability in the crisis. If schools and communities seek guns on campus to confront threats, the only answer is to hire School Resource Officers.

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