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BY ALFRED WEST

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    Tuesday, October 03, 2006

    School Shootings: It's Time to Arm Our Teachers (or, more properly, allow teachers to carry)

    There have been three school shootings in the past week. One in Bailey, Colorado, one in Cazenovia, Wisconsin, and one in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (Amish country).(1) And, in what seems to have become the normal response, there is a growing sentiment that there should be tougher gun control laws. Suggestions for such infringements on the Second Amendment are already creeping into the Pennsylvania legislature. Specifically, "[o]ne proposal expected to spark heated debate would limit handgun purchases to one a month for each individual."(2) In light of the national rash of shootings, it is only a matter of time before this sort of debate wells up again in the United States Congress.

    What I want to know is why calls for gun control are the almost automatic response to any horrible crime that involves guns. Gun control laws are not going to make our schools safer. Guns are not allowed at schools. In fact, guns are not allowed to such a degree that the very idea of guns is almost prohibited.

    For example, in Lee County, Florida, a student received a three-day suspension for carrying "a cap pistol onto his bus."(3) And this was in spite of the fact that the bus driver "could tell the cap gun wasn't real."(4) In a similar incident, in Kansas City, Missouri, a child was suspended for possessing "2-inch plastic squirt gun," which the people in charge of the school district over there decided, "is a simulated weapon and a class IV, which is the most serious school offense. . . an automatic 10-day suspension."(5)

    But it is not just harmless toy weapons that fall under the zero-tolerance shroud, it is also imagined ones; expressions of the concept of a weapon. In New Jersey, a public school banned the popular (and traditional) game of 'cops and robbers' "out of a fear that even imaginary weapons pose a threat."(6) The school is so afraid of imaginary weapons that they threaten students with expulsion if they are caught playing the game.(7) The New Jersey school's zero-tolerance policy obviously extends not only to weapons, but to "anything that can be perceived as a weapon" (for example, a finger used to simulate a gun in a playground game).(7)

    As you can see, guns are banned in schools and even the idea of guns is persecuted as if it were some sort of religious heresy and the school board were a theocracy. Yet school shootings happen. Obviously, school shootings are not deterred by rules. And therein lies the crux of the problem.

    The kind of person who would aggressively harm another is not the kind of person who follows rules. Law-abiding people, by definition, do follow rules. When we make rule banning guns in all forms, even in the abstract, in school zones, all of the law-abiding people will attempt to conform to the rule. And since the gun bans apply to everyone except law enforcement officers, that means none of the teachers or administrative staff who have conceal/carry permits may bring their guns onto school property. The result of a zero-tolerance anti-gun rule is an environment in which a predatory rule-breaker with intent to harm will be the only person with a gun, should that predator decide to go on a shooting rampage. This is exactly the conclusion regarding gun-free school zones that was reached by the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms:
    All they have done [by mandating gun-free schools] is create target-rich, no-risk environments for monsters who have no fear of encountering an armed teacher or administrator, or a legally-armed private citizen who might happen to be in the building.(9)


    I think arming teachers and administrators is a good solution to the problem. Why do these types of shootings happen in schools instead of in residential neighborhoods? A plausible reason is because schools don't shoot back. In a neighborhood, there is no way to know who might be armed since there are no rules prohibiting the presence of guns (unless the neighborhood is in a high gun-control state like New York or California). Criminals don't like it when their intended victims can shoot back, so it stands to reason that they would prefer to attack a school campus where they know guns are prohibited. If we create an environment where the possibility exists for someone in the school to shoot back at a school-shooter, potential school-shooters might consider a school to be too risky a target.

    Create fear in potential predators by allowing, and even encouraging citizens to exercise their right to keep and bear arms. That seems like a sound plan. So why, every time there is s school shooting, do we have gun control advocates like the Brady Campaign(10), coming out of the woodwork demanding more laws restricting gun ownership? The only way they can believe that gun control laws will make us safer is if they believe that gun control laws deter criminals from acquiring guns. And that is simply not the case.

    Gun control laws might make it harder for criminals to find guns, but they do not keep criminals from getting them. Cocaine and heroin are completely illegal -- no one in the country can legally sell the stuff in ordinary commerce; and yet people get it. But still, groups like the Brady Campaign continue to push for laws to make it illegal for everyone but government law enforcement officers to have guns. Off hand, the only states I can think of where only the government and criminals have guns are police states. And I think that is what we will get if gun control laws become too pervasive.

    In my studies of history, I have noticed that once a government knows that its People can't shoot back at it, it tends to stop listening to them. Don't let that happen to us, and especially don't let the gun control fanatics use the deaths of children to so that to us. The interests of dead children will not be served by taking away their parents' ability to defend themselves.

    Perhaps the strangest thing of all of this is that the right of the People to keep and bear arms is codified in the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America. Laws restricting it should be unconstitutional, yet we have them.

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    "No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government"
    --Thomas Jefferson(11)

    ______________________________

    (1) Susan Jones. "Gun Control Group Urges Americans to 'Ask More Questions,'" Cybercast News Service, 2006 October 03, paras. 2-4, http://www.cnsnews.com/news/viewstory.asp?Page=/Culture/archive/200610/CUL20061003a.html.
    (2) Associated Press. "P.A. Gun Control Debate Heat Up After Shooting," CBS 3, Philadelphia, para. 5, http://cbs3.com/topstories/local_story_276120934.html.
    (3) Dave Breitenstein. "2 bring BB, cap guns on school bus" The News Press, 2006 September 30, para. 4, http://www.news-press.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060930/NEWS0104/609300498/1075
    (4) Ibid. para. 8.
    (5) "First-Grader Suspended Over Plastic Squirt Gun," KansasCityChannel.com News, KMBC-TV, 2006 September 19, paras. 3 & 5, http://www.thekansascitychannel.com/news/9887289/detail.html.
    (6) Matt Pyeatt. "Cops and Robbers? Not On This Playground" Cybercast News Service, 2002 March 20, para. 1, http://www.cnsnews.com/Culture/Archive/200203/CUL20020320b.html.
    (7) Ibid.
    (8) Ibid. para. 5.
    (9) Jones. para. 10.
    (10) Ibid. para. 1.
    (11)Thomas Jefferson, 1 Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334


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    14 Comments:
    Blogger Teeg said...

    Try this. I grew up in a place where guys would pay my family 5 thousand dollars, to go moose hunting.

    The idea is that we knew our terrain and the hunters from the states would not know what they were doing in our style of forest.

    This is about the style of forest, the configuratin of a type of ratio of rocks and trees and water and mud and the sunlight going all night long in Alaska and basically it would all make an uninformed and inexperienced guy overwhelmed.

    The guys who hunted wanted to follow their conditioning from high school, the military, and college, and industry and institutions, and go to war against the moose. and my dad would not tolerate any of that, when their tactics could get them lost or hurt in our terrain.

    This means, that I was raised as a real civilian, and the locals insisted on it.

    So the school system format actually is a weapon, the concept of forcing a 40 year old man to choose to go to war against a moose and never have any ability to just look at the forest and learn to deal with it is a way to get a lot of idiots to die.

    If you train them to believe a school teacher is worth a shit, they might actually form a dependency on those people.

    Sensory input and processing will allow a man to make the right choices to thrive and optimize anything and everything in any wilderness.

    The risk is that he will form or allow a dependency on a 'magical' invisible personnel manager, who is not available to lead or punish or rescue them.

    The school system format is a weapon.

    I was raised with a fantastic gun collection in my house, my dad started me out when I was three with rifles and guns and flying in a Super Cub, the most likely human being to need to be shot, is a school teacher.

    They are pathetic idiots who hide behind the concept of having an intellectual occupation and they are feeding on the aphrodesiac of power and an aphrodesiac is a sexual stimulant.

    Arm the teachers? and the kids will totally shred the teachers.

    I would have. I knew the terrain for two hundred miles in every direction and I was a civilian held to no containment protocol or organization.

    In my world, my true and undeniable accomplishment is in direct conflict with the fantasy the schoolteachers have that is based on stimulation.

    My acccomplishment has quantifiable value, their stimulation has no measureable value, other that keeping them out of the way of the sane people like me.

    They are addicted to sexual stimulation and they insist the entire world conforms to create a world where they can have a reliable source of their drug of choice.

    Accomplishment attracts a type of real woman who will provide the highest quality sex while also maintaining a functional home.

    The format of the school systems is militant and that is like a domestic enemy, they are at war with the concept of a civilian, and function and stability and sensory input and processing and instinct and impulse.

    This means that I am domestic. And however I feel today is just the way it is and that can not be challenged.

    Anything that challenges me or sets out to inhibit my methods of making a living is technically at war with me and first that is a crime and then it is a felony and then it is a domestic enemy.

    The "enemy" of a high school kid, is the 25 to 35 year old hard working civilian citizen.

    In real life those people are the real instructors those kids need to be in contact with every day.

    My dad put me with those instructors and paid that age group to spend hours and days with me teaching me their skills.

    That is what the money that goes into a school system needs to go to, putting the 11 to 17 year old kids with proper experts in their fields to demonstrate the proper technique , repeatedly, to show the kid how to be financially secure and confident by the time the kid is 18.

    Adult rewards for adult behavior.

    Not - interrogation, analysis, instant suspicion, and intimidation as a method to get sexual stimulation from forcing another man to do your will.

    I did three years in 10th grade, and then got my GED and everything I am writing , I knew by the time I got to ninth grade in school.

    I liked your writing on the gun toting liberal's site about the goofy Foley happenings.

    You repeated me in most ways. But that is normal for a militant person, I think for myself, and you copy me and take credit for my work.

    What I have is spirit, and most people got their spirit broken by school teachers and idiots in college, and military technical instructors.

    This country needs some spirit.

    Thanks,

    Teeg

    10/04/2006 9:46 PM  
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    Blogger The Sovereign Editor said...

    I liked your writing on the gun toting liberal's site about the goofy Foley happenings.

    You repeated me in most ways. But that is normal for a militant person, I think for myself, and you copy me and take credit for my work.


    Umm... I tend to skip your posts on GTL. Having not read what you post, it is impossible for me to "copy" you.

    Libelous statements will not be tolerated on this web site. I thought it should be obvious, but it appears that I will have to put up a notice about that as well.

    10/05/2006 12:35 AM  
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    Blogger Teeg said...

    Yes.... please don't pay any attention to the 2006 reality of the rest of the stuff I wrote, just get wimpy and post a notice, the one about "never disagreeing with you."

    Maybe my hair is too long too?

    "You tend to skip my writing," but in Alaska I would never tend to ignore your ineptitude in the woods, there is no acceptable loss rate for stupid tourists.

    Of all the stuff I wrote, that one trigger comment is the only thing you noticed.

    In the last week I have challenged and warped almost everything at the gun toting liberal to push them a little and they absorb it and handle it with tact.

    When the shadows close in and it is getting dark in the woods and you are alone, and you are not really clear on how to get home,take out your dagger and carve the words 'libelous' or 'untenable' in the bark of a tree, and see who comes running to rescue you.

    My statement is a point blank declaration that you have some room to grow and get modern and get real about what is going on, or you can quit.

    Three terms,expertly placed,libelous, untenable, and tolerated.

    These are not remotely my concern, I have 12 million acres of the wildest terrain on earth across a river a mile from my house,I have something you don't, and something nobody would allow you to have, or make a decision about.

    You get a word processor, I get a mountain range.

    Sounds wild? Its real.

    I was 14, in Washington DC when they made the place a National Park.

    My technique is to trigger you to show your true colors.

    You are obviously my inferior, masquerading as an authority, creating illusions of having access to better information than I can get.

    Maybe I am the information.

    Maybe you need to answer the rest of what I wrote before you claim anything.

    Military management in a civilian lifestyle drives citizens to psychosis.

    We can not eradicate it but we can make it less.

    And sometimes we do that by getting guys to show their true colors, I take a little hit... but it shows people what some guys are really like.

    The particular timing, placement, and wording of your post is something I would instantly consider exploring, to learn if there was a situation I needed to pay attention to, like a guy "skipping" what I write.

    Put up notices all over.. but that will not help one single senventh or eitghth grader to have protection from the teachers who punish them for making proper civilian alliances with grown ups who could show them how to make a living without being brainless wimps.... always on the level of a teenager... for the rest of their lives.

    Are you militant or not? and what are you doing yourself,that might be original or a skill? I think you are 'copying' everything on your site from somebody else who did all the work, and you are a source of...? what ? bad news?

    The solution is for a teaccher to pull a gun and blow away some eighth grader?

    You hate kids?

    You want to see some kids get blown away so they will not ever want to challenge you?

    That is why... we have the right to bear arms.

    Teeg

    10/05/2006 6:25 AM  
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    Blogger The Sovereign Editor said...

    If you want the rest of your message considered, you will do well not to lace it with libel.

    If you lie about one thing, I have no reason to assume that you will not lie about another thing. Your character is impeached by your own action and your entire testimony is suspect as a result.

    You are correct that the information on my site is largely an analysis of information available elsewhere. I try very carefully not to make an assertion of fact without documentation (I am not always successful). People cannot be expected to simply take my word.

    I do not always talk about "bad news" -- just usually. I have limited time and I am on the lookout for things that might threaten the average person.

    I do not hate kids. Like it or not, it is the duty of adults in society to protect children. Having a gun free school zone does not protecting them, it makes them into sitting ducks -- as the recent school shootings have demonstrated.

    Two generations ago, not only could teachers bring guns to school, children could as well (so long as they left it at the front office during the day). They did not have any school shootings. Something else has changed, and that something else is unrelated to the presence of guns on school property -- except that in today's environment, violent people don't have to worry that someone in the school might return fire.

    You seem to think the teachers are the enemy. I am not aware of any schools being shot up by teachers. The only danger from teachers is the transmission of ideas that prove harmful to society -- in the long run, that can be just as fatal, but it is also easier to correct than death.

    10/05/2006 12:40 PM  
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    Blogger The Sovereign Editor said...

    BTW, you shouldn't take the "skipping posts" personally. I skip more than half of the comments in any discussion thread unless I get the idea that it would be particularly interesting to read all of them.

    10/05/2006 12:48 PM  
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    Blogger BadTux said...

    Like Teeg says, arming teachers is a horrible idea because simply put, a gun is worse than useless if you don't have the right mentality to use it. My daddy taught me to never point a gun at a person unless I was ready and willing to kill that person. Otherwise the gun was useless, because unlike the movies or fiction, the bad guy will simply take it away from you and use it to kill you, he won't just put up his hands and whimper just because you pulled out a gun. What that means is that when looking at the issue of whether I should own a gun for personal protection I have looked at my readiness and willingness to kill a person, and decided that the only time that I know 100% that I could do it is to defend myself from either an armed stranger on the street or a stranger who bursts into my home through a locked door or window.

    But most of these school shootings have been done by students at the school. I know that when I was teaching, there is no way I would have been able to coldly shoot and kill one of my students, no matter how often I joked about it in the teacher's lounge when one of the kids did something stupid. Really, would you want someone teaching your kid who could just pull out a gun and kill your kid? No? Well, you're in luck -- most teachers enter the profession to help others, and simply are incapable of killing anybody outside of narrowly defined circumstances.

    Then there's the issue of how to conceal the weapon. Teachers work in close proximity to children all day long. No concealment method will work under close continuous scrutiny of this sort. You can't wear a shoulder holster under a sports jacket because those @!#$%@ radiators get too hot in the afternoon and you have to take the jacket off. The kids will swiftly figure out what's in that fanny pack on your waist. If you're a female teacher, your purse is locked in the lower drawer of your desk to keep the kids from digging into it either from curiousity or looking for things to steal (yes, the last does happen, alas). If the kid who decides to go on a shooting spree enters your classroom without signalling his intentions in any way, he'll know where your gun is, and will simply take you out first.

    So while I think concealed carry is in general a good idea, I think on the part of teachers it's a really bad idea. You simply can't conceal a handgun from children who are looking at you all day long as you move around the classroom bending over and such to help kids, and a handgun that's locked in the bottom drawer of your desk isn't going to do a whole lot of good. In short, this proposal is just political grandstanding on the part of a politician who has never taught a day in his life and has no idea about teachers and the nature of their work environment.

    - Badtux the Former Teacher Penguin

    10/05/2006 9:05 PM  
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    Blogger The Sovereign Editor said...

    Thanks for the comment, BadTux. You seem to have put a good bit of thought into this.

    I am by no means suggesting that we issue guns to teachers and require them to use them (although one could, by my title, assume that is what I meant).

    However, if a teacher is trained in firearms usage, I think they should be allowed to bring their gun onto campus. I don't envision them carrying their guns around like bodyguards, though. It is best to keep them locked in the desk. In a situation involving a shooter suddenly bursting into the classroom, the teacher wouldn't have time to draw even from a concealed holster. In most other situations, there would probably be time to unlock the drawer and retrieve the weapon.

    As to the issue of concealed weapons, I had a friend standing next to me in jeans, a t-shirt, and a concealed .45 pistol. I had no idea he was carrying. But again, I don't envision teachers walking around carrying. Who wants to do that?

    I am curious... why do you think a teacher would just pull out a gun and kill a kid? Everyone I know who has taken the time to get their weapons permit finds murder to be repugnant, and they are the last people I would expect to use their guns to prey on other human beings.

    And why would it be wrong to kill a kid who is murdering (or about to murder) people? Anyone who is old enough to decide to murder someone is old enough to suffer the consequences of that decision. Murder is not a cry for help; nor is it an adolescent foible. It is one of the most evil acts a human can commit, and youth does not lessen its severity. It is up to parents to try to instill the outlook that harming others is wrong unless it is in self-defense.

    You mention that teachers go into the profession to help others. Part of helping children is protecting them from danger. When you take charge of a group of children, you become the adult responsible for the safety of the children. Like it or not, the job of adults in a society is to protect the children, whether we consciously recognize it or not. That's why someone's life can be destroyed over the mere accusation that they've preyed upon children.

    10/06/2006 1:53 AM  
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    Blogger Urshanabi said...

    I have a question:

    Imagine that there was a weak kid, one who was picked on every day by a bully and could do nothing to stop it. And I mean nothing... he's gone to the teachers, and his parents have called the bully's parents, but nothing will stop it.

    Would it be murder if such a kid brought a gun to school and killed the bully? I don't think it would. I seem to remember that asymetrical self-defense (such as lethal force) is allowed where it is the minimum force necessary to remove a threat.

    For example, if a champion body-builder were beating up an elderly woman, she could shoot and kill him and it would not be murder because lethal force is the minimum force she could bring to bear against the threat.

    10/06/2006 2:05 PM  
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    Blogger BadTux said...

    The problem is that many of these killings have been done by students. I know that when I was a teacher, my first response if one of my students had burst into my classroom with a weapon would not have been to pull out my concealed .45 ACP and shoot him dead on the spot (assuming I had a concealed handgun on my person). My response would more likely have been something along the lines of "whoa, Harry! Let's not do something drastic here. How about you lower the weapon and let's talk a bit first?". But that would not work at all if the kid knew I was carrying, he would have simply taken me out first. And as I noted, you simply can't conceal anything from kids. They're observant little buggers who have nothing better to do than observe their teachers all day long.

    BTW, the above scenario happens more often than is acknowledged. A former principal of my acquaintance once told me that he knew it was time to retire when he talked down a kid who burst into the school with a weapon, and his hands weren't shaking when the cops showed up to haul the kid away. See, it had already happened four times in that school year, and despite the fact that the kid was hauled off by the cops and expelled at the end of each incident, they kept happening...

    In my opinion, the highest and best use of a teacher in this scenario (one of his or her students bursting into the school with a weapon) is as a negotiator, not as a participant in a gunfight. Teachers just don't have the right mentality to be a participant in a gunfight, especially if it is one of his or her students, with whom a good teacher has an emotional bond similar to that of a parent with offspring. Maybe in the hands of administrators a concealed weapon might be useful. In teachers, no -- even if it were possible to conceal a weapon in a useful way in a classroom full of children (which I doubt, but hey, what do I know, I mean, I actually taught, so that means that I know less about teachers and kids than self-proclaimed experts who have never been teachers), I can't think of any teacher who would willingly kill one of his or her students, and a gun that you're not willing to use is worse than useless.

    -BT

    10/06/2006 3:41 PM  
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    Blogger The Sovereign Editor said...

    The highest and best use of a teacher in this scenario . . . is as a negotiator, not as a participant in a gunfight.

    Now that is a reasonable position to take. I can get behind that argument. I appreciated the principal anecdote... it gives me hope for the educational establishment.

    I guess my real problem here is that there is an attitude in educational institutions that guns are evil, and if someone likes guns, or even toy guns, there must be something wrong with them. That attitude is reinforced when you have anti-gun laws on campus so strict that someone can't drive though a school zone with a gun in her car without running afoul of the law.

    I think that teachers who have a conceal carry permit should be able to bring weapons onto campus just on principle, even if they have to leave them in their cars. You are never going to convince me otherwise.

    I think you may be right about the utility of a teacher in a gunfight. Though, for the record, I never advocated (or intended to advocate) a mass issuing of weapons, or some sort of requirement for teachers to carry. Encouragements, yes (although you've convinced me that it might not be such a good idea).

    I still think there is some value to allowing teachers and administrators to carry. It gives potential school shooters something else to think about than just killing everyone.

    The goal is to achieve the image of a more dangerous target. It might not deter the student shooters, but it might make a difference to those lunatics who wander in off the street.

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    Urshanabi:

    You are correct. It would not be murder in a true spontaneous self-defense situation. However, where the shooting is premeditated, it is murder.

    10/07/2006 2:09 AM  
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    Blogger Urshanabi said...

    It doesn't matter if it's a case of clear and present danger or not. In cases of sustained abuse over time, actions that would normally be manslaughter or murder can be considered self defense. Battered person syndrome, for example, should allow the use of self defense. I think it would work in this case.

    10/10/2006 7:19 PM  
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    Blogger The Sovereign Editor said...

    The battered person doctrine has only been used, as far as I know, in domestic abuse situations. I really do not think it would apply here.

    10/11/2006 1:18 PM  
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    Blogger Urshanabi said...

    Battered Person provides a defense for a person who, because of the psychological effects of prolonged abuse, believes that they can't leave and that there's no other way short of killing the abuser to eliminate the threat.

    In the situation I described, the abused party actually can't escape the situation.

    Some of these kids get ulcers from being bullied every day of the school year. The teachers won't do anything about it and their parents can't do anything about it. They are not physically able to get the bullies to leave them alone, and you want to sit there and tell me that the battered person defense wouldn't apply? You think that it's murder?

    I think if a bully picks on another kid, he forfeits all legal rights to complain if the kid fights back. If the bully is killed, then oh well, he should've though about that before he made it his mission to regularly assault another person.

    10/15/2006 2:02 PM  
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    Blogger The Sovereign Editor said...

    I agree with your sentiment that someone assaulting another person loses the right to complain if something bad befalls them, but there are other ways short of killing a bully do defend yourself (at least these days).

    Small digital recording technology is available. If a kid will put effort into planning out how to shoot a bully, a kid can plan out how to get the bully's actions on a recording and have him arrested for assault.

    10/19/2006 3:48 PM  
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