I am not done talking about guns! Yay! To start with some humor, the best part of the gun control debate are all of the people I know who are talking about what responsible gun owners they are. Having known them for my entire life, I heartily disagree with several of them (also, if we start denying guns to assholes, then they are out of a hobby). One in particular was passionately writing about how her entire family are responsible law-abiding citizens who don’t deserve to have their guns “taken away because of other idiots.” I swear to God, her son not only accidentally shot a hole in the floorboard of his truck, but he did so THROUGH HIS OWN FOOT. There’s your idiot.
I’ve also been disappointed by the number of people who I like and respect who have blamed this on the “pussification of a generation” and “weakness.” I don’t know what planet they live on, but calling people weak or “pussies” is exactly they kind of behavior that keeps people from asking for all that mental health help that will solve everything. And, it contributes to the toxic masculinity that drives these shooters. Sarah Palin’s own son has this problem.
On to the main point of today which is talking about Trumps’s comments about arming teachers in the classroom. To anyone who agrees with this, have you actually lost your minds? Teachers already work in a largely underappreciated and underpaid profession, so if they wanted to add a gun to that job, then they would have just signed up to be police officers. Arming teaching is honest to God one of the stupidest ideas coming out of this entire debate, but let’s talk it out.
First, teachers are already spending hundreds of dollars on basic school supplies, so who do you think is going to pay for the training and buying of an actual firearm? Hmmm? If a teacher brings their personal firearm, are there rules around what they can have? Who is responsible for that gun when it is fired? What happens if a student steals it or it is damaged? What kind of firearm do they get? Do they get to pick? Is it a shotgun or Glock or AR-15? Who buys it? Is it school issued? Who maintains the safety and function of the firearm? Is the district going to pay for training? Will there be a shooting range on campus so that teachers can spend their free period (which many don’t even have anymore) practicing shooting instead of grading or providing support to students? Or do teachers have to pay to go to a gun range on their own?
Storage. Where is the gun stored? Is it in the desk? Do teachers get new desks that students can’t easily break into (have you seen how janky most teacher’s desks are???)? Does the teacher carry it on his or her person? Are you going to have a gun safe? Who is paying for the gun safe? Who is maintaining the gun safe? Is the campus going to hire a master-at-arms? Who has access to the safe? How much time will it take to open when there is a shooter charging down the hall? Is the gun in there unloaded or is it loaded? How much time will it take to load? Who will ensure there are enough bullets? Are you ready to pay more taxes to fund this?
If the teacher has to leave the classroom with the gun to get to the school shooting range or off-campus to practice, then how do they get the gun safety from storage to the range? Who ensures the safety of the students and the teachers when the gun is out of storage? Is someone going to check that gun in and out each time? Who is going to make sure the gun is in the safe every day and that it hasn’t been stolen by a rogue teacher or student? Do substitute teachers get access to the safe and have to demonstrate gun proficiency before they can cover a class?
What if a teacher doesn’t want to have a gun in the classroom? Do they have a right to opt out? What if they have religious objections? What if parents don’t want their students in a classroom with a firearm? What if a teacher fires on a student who they *think* has a gun? Do teachers get immunity for shooting students who aren’t armed? Who is going to pay their legal fees and keep them out of prison? I have issues with police shootings that involve them *thinking* that a person might have a gun, and they are actually trained and prepared for that kind of situation. Are you okay with that being your kid who gets shot because someone thinks he has a gun? And how many stories do we see of kids who bring a gun or something that looks like a gun to school? Do they deserve to die for making a bad decision even though they didn’t fired it?
What happens when a kid gets that gun or overpowers the teacher? I’ve seen fifth graders who are taller than me. Also, knowing the nature of most people who work in education, I can’t even fathom putting my teacher friends in a position where they even have to think about shooting and possibly killing a student. In my experience in education, the majority of people will go to the ends of the earth to help a student get the support and resources they need to be healthy and successful. Maybe I’m just a big ol’ pussy, but I cannot even fathom shooting at a student under any circumstances.
So, once teachers take that shot, what are chances that they are actually hitting the intended target and not your kid who is desperately running down the hall away from the shooter? The NYPD has “some of the most comprehensive and sophisticated firearms training of any police force in the country,” yet they still only hit their targets an estimated 30% of the time. Is this because they are just a shitty shot? No, it’s because firing “accurately in a stressful situation is extremely hard.”
As I said before, I have a lot of other thoughts about police shootings, but I have no doubt that it is an extremely stressful situation. So, if police officers who are rigorously trained to use a firearm miss their targets 70% of the time, then what does that mean for a teacher? What happens to the teacher who accidentally shoots innocent bystanders? Also, millions of people in this country live with mental illness. Some of those people are educators. Are teachers who are good enough to teach your kids not good enough to have access to a firearm to protect them? Do people stop hiring teachers with mental health issues because they can no longer access a firearm? How are you going to work that out?
What are you going to do when we lose thousands of outstanding educators because they refuse to work if they or their peers are armed? We already have a teacher shortage!!!!! The last thing we need are less teachers. It’s already hard enough to convince people to do that job and then to keep doing it.
Until we are wiling to stop creepy, angry, narcissistic men from accessing firearms, then I’m still going with “No one becomes a mass shooter without a mass-shooting gun.” And, if you’re a Texan of a certain age, then you’re going to come back with “BUT LUBY’S.” Yes, George Hennard (who did NOT have mental illness, but hated women, was racist, and was known for his explosive temper) killed 23 people at a Luby’s in 1991 with a Glock 17 and a Ruger P89. Yes, those are both pistols and not assault rifles. You know what else he had though? High capacity magazines. But can you imagine how much more horrible it could have been if he had an AR-15 and hundreds of bullets that could be shot in minutes? The Texas Legislature was scheduled to vote the next day on an anti-crime bill that would have banned some weapons and magazines that were similar to the ones he used. GUESS WHAT? It did not pass.
Suzanna Hupp, who was at the massacre and watched both of her parents be murdered by Hennard, lobbied that she would have been able to stop him had she had her gun on her. Then Governor Ann Richards was against concealed carry, but when George W. Bush took office in 1995, he signed concealed carry into law. Instead of limiting access to especially dangerous guns, Texas opened the gates.