Monday, December 17, 2012

Teachers as militia? No thanks.

Back in July, after James Holmes shot up a movie theater in Colorado, I wrote a post about guns.

On Friday, when I learned of the shooting in a Connecticut elementary school, my first reaction was, "Oh, no.  Not again."  I checked in throughout the day as the story unfolded and watched with horror as the death toll mounted - most of them small kids.  I remembered the public's reaction to the Colorado shooting and the number of pro-gun folks who said, "if only there had been someone in that theater with a gun..." and thought, "I wonder if anyone will dare suggest that there should have been an armed person inside the school to save lives."  I doubted it.  I mean, who would even suggest such a thing?  It's an elementary school!

Sho'nuff, it didn't take long.

"They needed an armed, trained teacher in that school to take this guy down."

Hmm.  Okay.  Let's take a look at this argument.  Armed, trained teacher.  We're going to assume that this "armed, trained" teacher isn't Mrs. Rumpl, my 80 year old kindergarten teacher who wore coke-bottle glasses and saddle shoes.  Let's assume this "armed, trained" teacher is more like my 6th-grade teacher, Mr. O'Shei.  He was young, strapping, and physically fit.   

So.  "Armed, trained" teacher is teaching geography at the north end of the school.  He's engaging a classroom of young minds and showing the location of the Dead Sea on a map.  Suddenly the intercom crackles with the sound of chaos, and gunshots ring out from the south end of the school.  "Armed, trained" teacher first has to make a quick decision about the 25 young lives sitting in front of him.  He tells them to get under their desks as he sprints from the classroom, running toward the sound of the commotion.  His weapon is drawn, and he's running, full-speed, past terrified teachers and students.  He gets to the south end of the school and finds 27 bodies, including that of the gunman.  Oops.  Too late.

Scenario #2: The gunman forces his way into the school and enters the "armed, trained" teacher's classroom.  Assuming the gun is locked safely away, the teacher now has a split second to divert his attention from teaching, access the gun, and take the bad guy down, all while the gunman is aiming a Bushmaster at his head.   Perhaps, however, the gun is in "armed, trained" teacher's holster.  He is pointing out the Tropic of Capricorn when he hears a noise, looks up, sees a semiautomatic barrel in his face.  He reaches for his gun, but this crazed massacrer is quicker.  Boom.  Teacher's dead.  Let the bloodbath begin.  

Scenario #3: While those who are defending this line of action insist that this could never happen, the possibility does exist that a student could get hold of the teacher's gun and accidentally or purposely shoot himself or someone else.  And just imagine the backlash from that.  

There are too many variables and potential negative outcomes and moot points to justify this idea as a good one.  Guns are dangerous and do not belong in schools. Teachers are not paid to be militia.  Teachers are paid - and not that well to begin with - to teach.   I don't have kids, but that shouldn't affect how much weight my argument carries.  I have nieces - one of whom is 6 years old, like most of the Sandy Hook victims.  I have a nephew.  Many of my cousins have children or even grandchildren.  I am an "honorary aunt" to a number of my friends' kids.  I wouldn't want any of these children to be anywhere near a gun, regardless of how "well trained" the person is who's carrying it.  

There are a lot of "what ifs" in this situation, but what it comes down to is my previous argument that more guns are not the answer.  We tried that once, remember?  It was called the Wild West.  Surely we've evolved since then, no?

Prepare for the onslaught

I have a LOT to say in the wake of recent events.  Meanwhile, project deadlines loom (or pass), the mess in my house continues to pile up around me, my pets look at me with bewildered eyes wondering what's got me prone to spontaneous sobbing outbursts,  and all I want to do is write it out.  If I don't, I'm liable to nap my emotions away (one of my coping mechanisms involves what my ex called "fetaling"  - the act of curling up in a fetal position and falling asleep). And so I must write.

Three days ago, a 20-year-old mentally ill Connecticut man - boy, really -  killed his mother with her own gun.  He then drove her car to nearby Sandy Hook elementary school and shot his way in before gunning down the principal, a school psychologist, four teachers, and 20 children between the ages of 5 and 7.   We've all been bombarded with the details of the story, the names and faces of the victims, and a barrage of commentary in response.

I have so much to say that I cannot possibly say it all in one post without risking the loss of my readers' attention.  I have to break it up into segments, and so my next few entries will deal with my response to the tragedy, from the media attention to gun control to mental illness to the unbelievable reactions I'm seeing from people.

Stay tuned.  The Fat Prattler has something to say about all of that.