This blog features observations from Randy Turner, a former teacher, newspaper reporter and editor. Send news items or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
The last thing schools need is to have teachers with guns.Surely this would help with the discipline problems the school district has been having that you've told us about?Seriously, your commentary is ... lacking. Some of the costs of unarmed schools, massacres like Sandy Hook, are obvious. Weighing the various costs of arming teachers, and/or administrators, ought to go into any calculation of whether this is a good idea or beyond the pale as you believe.I'm very pro-Right to Keep and Bear Arms (RKBA), but I'm willing to entertain that at net, it's not a good idea. But I don't think the calculation is obvious, or that we have enough data to make it.
Caveat: I am married to a teacher. Something we all get fouled up by is the salient nature of events like Sandy Hook vs. the sheer amount of days that go by without incident. Does risk change based upon very unlikely and horrific events, or does it remain relatively static based upon actual likelihood? I could wear a bullet-resistant vest everyday as a contingency against ballistic threats, but my current risk profile doesn't justify the cost and discomfort of this countermeasure. If I was to become a uniformed law enforcement officer, then I might have a risk profile that fits wearing a bullet-resistant vest. We are collectively very bad at risk management, and tend to focus on "feel good" fixes like armed teachers. Consider the Joplin middle school incident. Had there been an armed teacher, we would have had a dead (or possibly several dead, depending on accuracy and situational factors) student(s). But, instead, we had a teacher (or principal or whoever it was) that, at his own mortal risk, decided to intervene. Perhaps a better question is 'how willing are you (as a teacher) to risk your life for your students?'. What are their lives worth to you, really? Would you do the same as the local middle school situation? Or would you rather terminate a threat with lethal force, even though it may be a child that gets killed? Could you live with that? Are these fair questions to even ask of our teachers? After all, we trust our children to these teachers for a bulk of our children's waking hours. Maybe instead of giving them guns, we should invest in our teachers and show them what the work they do everyday is actually worth to us. Pay them commensurate with actual responsibilities and risk. Let us not be distracted by outliers, and instead focus on the actual risk profiles in our communities. Instead of underpaid, overworked babysitters or standards-guided drones, I would rather have teachers that feel appreciated, valued and of intrinsic worth. I trust that those teachers will know what to do when bad things happen. I doubt it will include reaching for the nearest gun.
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