October 6, 2006

The proposal to let teachers arm themselves.

Sorry, it's not going to help you decide who to vote for in the Wisconsin governor's race. Both Doyle and Green have opposed the state legislator's idea:
Frank Lasee, R-Bellevue, says he will introduce a bill next year to allow teachers, principals, school custodians and other employees to carry concealed weapons on school premises if they complete a training course and are licensed....

Both Doyle, who opposes a broader Republican effort to legalize carrying concealed weapons, and Green, who supports that bill, said they oppose Lasee's idea....

In an interview, Green noted that schools are already gun-free zones under both state and federal law.

"I support those laws," he said. "I helped create those laws. I don't think we should have guns in the schools."
Teachers with guns? What do you think?

IN THE COMMENTS: Joan writes:
[N]o one has brought up Beslan, or the fact that busted terrorist cells were found to have the plans to NJ schools.

We have more to worry about than the random crazy adult or disaffected kid with a gun. Terrorists know that schools are soft targets and have already targetted them. What are we doing to harden the targets?

I think teachers with concealed carry permits should be allowed to bring their guns to school. This is far different from requiring teachers to get hand gun training!...

School security is a huge issue. For teachers who are comfortable with guns, having their weapons available will make their job of protecting their students easier for them.

82 comments:

John said...

Well, you'd have better classroom discipline, that's for sure.

SteveR said...

I used to teach 8th grade. Not a good idea.

ed said...

Hmmm.

I'd make the training and certification course tough, difficult and re-certification required annually. But I do approve of the overall concept of teachers being armed on school grounds. A school is generally a very lightly guarded concentrated collection of children.

There is no other structure where there are more children, less security and relatively few adults in America. They are the ultimate "soft" targets with vicious opportunity for criminal or terrorist mischief.

Maxine Weiss said...

More than anything else a Teacher is supposed to be an Authority Figure.

And, guess what?

Kids don't respect Authority Figures these days.

An Armed Teacher might make the difference.

There will always be some kids more brazen than others, whether or not the Authority Figure is armed.

However, the majority of kids might think twice before crossing someone, or acting out, or talking back when a teacher is armed.

---Just like when Security and Law Enforcement are armed.

When we take away guns from Security and Law Enforcement, you are stripping them of their Authority.

It's much the same with teachers.

BOTTOM LINE: Peace through strength----not weakness!

Peace, Maxine

OctaneBoy said...

(Mark) Green noted that schools are already gun-free zones under both state and federal law.

And how did that work out for John Klang?

No 'right' supercedes the preservation of one's own life.

John said...

I heard a discussion on the radio yesterday and someone made a great point: when there was a rash of shootings in post offices, we didn't arm all postal employees.

I am not anti-gun. In fact, I fall under the "guns don't kill people, people kill people" frame of thought, but if someone wants to kill people for personal reasons, they'll find a way.

We need to figure out the "why" and try to fix that. It seems we've made progress in the case of postal employees (as well as stronger security measures I'm sure).

Armed security guards could make sense, but at what cost?

We really need to recognize signals better and have kids understand that it's ok to tell someone if a 'friend' is doing or saying troubling things.

stephenb said...

BOTTOM LINE: Peace through strength----not weakness!

Peace Through Superior Firepower.

Arm the teachers.

Unknown Pundit said...

What ed said....

There are no quick fixes here but it seems that having a few armed school personnel could provide a deterent as well as a fighting chance (in some instances) for themselves and the students they watch over when these horrible incidents occur. Sad, but true.

Simon Kenton said...

"Schools are already gun-free zones...."

What they are is free-fire zones. The crazed, who have determined upon death for self and others, do not stop and say, "Wait. O shit. I really wanted to kill a bunch of small children today, but that would mean violating a gun-free zone. And That Would Be Wrong. I better go down to the local combat pistol match and see how many I can kill there."

These people are going to kill, then die. Perhaps it would have been better had they not been born, perhaps better had they not been raised by whom they were raised, but they are going to kill, then die. All we can do is limit how many they take with them. You can have a slow, cautious response, as at Columbine: they kill many. You can have an abrupt, precise response by someone on scene: they kill fewer.

I've taught a number of teachers in concealed carry classes. They are calm, responsible students. When they actually get their permits, they will have passed classroom instruction, live-fire instruction, a state background check, and a federal background check. The local sheriff can deny them for cause. They've been through more than most army recruits and some law enforcement trainees. They are preparing to take on what I, at least, think of as an heroic social responsibility - to try, at the risk of their lives, and the certainty of losing their jobs if they are caught, to safeguard their students.

Doyle's response seems to be essentially precatory: if we just act like there's no problem, the problem won't be. It's a widespread societal response to a lot of threats now facing us as a culture. "The schools are already gun-free zones...." Boy, we've taken care of that one; let's move on. Nothing to see here.

MadisonMan said...

Wouldn't an incoming gunman then just automatically shoot the teacher when he got into a school? And would this be a liability issue for a School District if a student gets the Gun that the teacher has, and then uses it?

I'm not sure I like the idea -- I'd be more impressed with the Legislator if he'd submitted the bill before the recent shootings. As it is, I just see some politician doing any old thing so he can tell his constituents: See? I'm trying to make your children SAFE!

Michael said...

Dave Kopel at Volokh tried to answer all of the naysayers in one post. I'm not entirely convinced, but I think he does a good job at hitting all the issues.

http://volokh.com/archives/archive_2006_10_01-2006_10_07.shtml#1160116581

Ann Althouse said...

"We didn't arm all postal employees"??? The postal employees were the ones going postal! Has there been one instance where a teacher was the one who freaked out and started shooting kids?

John said...

(Mark) Green noted that schools are already gun-free zones under both state and federal law.

This is typical politician-ese. By definition, criminals break/ignore laws.

Let's all get past this utopian belief that if we just pass another law and put up a sign that says "No [fill in the blank]", we'll all be safe and everyone will get along. There are very few universal laws [best represented, but not limited to, by the 10 Commandments]. Writing new ones makes people feel good and might get you elected/re-elected. But that's it.

John said...

Has there been one instance where a teacher was the one who freaked out and started shooting kids?

Nope. I guess you're right. Teachers are a special breed that are above the despicable acts of mere mortals.

quietnorth said...

Being a teacher, I just tried to imagine the situation in which having a gun would be helpful. How about shooting cell phones out of student's hands?

Seriously, I can't imagine very many situations in which it would be helpful. Students generally do respect teachers, and those who don't, won't respect teachers any more if they have guns. Can anyone seriously imagine what would happen if a teacher brandished a gun on a disrespectful student?

On the other hand, ed is right about one thing. Our whole school system is dependent on the good will of everyone. It only takes one person of bad will to cause immense damage. I would prefer to see armed security than armed teachers.

Matt said...

I think it would present a problem for the police. Presently, if a shooting occurs, I imagine they can identify the shooter by the fact that he's the only armed, ununiformed person present. Put other armed civilians on the scene and it gets a bit more complicated.

BJK said...

I have serious concerns that arming teachers will lead to students having increased access to firearms in-school. Maybe I just don't trust high-school teachers enough to secure a firearm when outnumbered by 20-30:1 by their students.

Right now, only the crazy kids with access to firearms can shoot up a school; this bill would increase the number of potential access points tenfold. (Imagine the outrage if a student kills another student with a teacher's gun.)

If you want to give the teachers stun guns, pepper spray, etc. -- that I could get behind. The potential for permanent damage with those types of weapons is far different from traditional firearms.

stephenb said...

Seriously, I can't imagine very many situations in which it would be helpful. Students generally do respect teachers...

It's not the "very many" situations or the students who "generally do respect teachers" that we're worried about. I can't imagine very many situations in which it would be helpful to put armed officials on aircraft. Airline passengers generally don't cause trouble. We don't take enforcement/precautionary measures only in instances when there is apt to be mass violation of the law.

Mark in Texas said...

If you don't trust teachers with guns, why do you trust them with your children?

Simon Kenton said...

Quietnorth wrote:

"Can anyone seriously imagine what would happen if a teacher brandished a gun on a disrespectful student?"

The teacher would go to jail. ADW. And should.

Quietnorth, the point of arming teachers is not to frighten snotty kids, and your levity is a disservice to the discussion. If you have a concealed carry permit, the gun is to be concealed. That gun is to come out only under the gravest of conditions, when you are willing to risk taking a life in order to save lives. It has nothing to do with classroom discipline. If you don't have the self-control to keep quiet about possessing the pistol, if you have to show it off or strut with it to maintain order, if you need to have some freudian accident so the kids and your fellow teachers can find out you are carrying, then you ought not to have applied for the permit, your instructors should have bounced you if they found you out, your job should be terminated. The pistol is to be there only when you have an overwhelming need to stop someone from doing what they are doing or threatening to do, a need so overwhelming that if a death results from it, you are willing to have been the cause.

stephenb said...

Simon: Nicely put.

Matt said...

I would apply Simon's comments to maxine's post upthread as well.

Sigivald said...

John said: We need to figure out the "why" and try to fix that.

Well, that's a good idea. How about we get right on that?

Since he later mocks (rightfully, mind you) the idea that teachers are somehow immune "human weakness" and randomly killing people, it seems odd, no?

If it's innate to the human condition that some people will sometimes go off and want to kill lots of others, how is it that we can find the "cause" and "fix" it?

I don't think we can, because the cause is us, to mangle Walt Kelly.

(How about schools at least having armed security guards?

And note that the proposal is not to arm all the teachers - but to let those that are sufficiently trained, certified, and desire to, be armed if they wish.

Just like, in most states, any adult can be, on the street, in a store, watching a movie, etc.

Since reality has established that a "gun free zone" doesn't stop the murderous from bringing guns to a school, the presence of such zones is... at best ineffective.)

Ron said...

Telling commenters to 'reread the post!' would take on even more authority if you were packin', Ann!

Goesh said...

-we better do some careful thinking on this one. What popped into my mind right off was my old second grade teacher whom we called Turkey Johnson because she did look like a turkey and in retrospect, she would verbally peck us quite often. Anyway, Turkey Johnson was getting up in years, was somewhat stooped and weighed in at maybe 95 lbs at best and was probably 5' tall. I just can't see Turkey Johnson or many teachers for that matter sporting pistols in school. They would have to be under lock and key and there would have to be all kinds of barriers and codes and secret grips to get at the darn things and by then, the kids would be dead and the perp. on the run.

Henry said...

Has there been one instance where a teacher was the one who freaked out and started shooting kids?

Not yet.

To split the difference, I don't see any reason why teachers with concealed carry permits can't pack some heat. On the other hand, every school shooting is a huge statistical abberation. For every kid shot in school there's a bunch killed by bee stings and struck by lightning. If there's an active program to arm teachers, sooner or later one of those guns will be misued (you think the cops have such a great record?), and then what?

Bleepless said...

Arming teachers now would be a little late, but it would be better than nothing.

Tibore said...

I'm fairly libertarian in my opinion of gun ownership, but oddly enough, I'm not wild about letting teachers arm themselves. Why? For the same reason I'm not enthusiastic about pilots, flight attendants, doctors and nurses, or EMT's doing so:

1. They're no longer simply self-protecting, but assuming responsibility for protecting others. Due to that, a higher level of skill and knowledge is required. Defending many people is much more complex than defending your individual self.

2. Gun use would most likely not be an area of knowledge given priority in those professions. Regardless of how much training a gun user would receive, regardless of how earnest and well done that training would be, those people's primary mindset would be on their day-to-day responsibilities: Doctors, nurses, EMTs would be on practicing medicine and emergency aid, pilots and flight attendants on other duties necessary to the flight, and teachers on teaching and controlling their classrooms. It would be hard enough on them to change their mindset to individual self defense, much less the defense of the group they're responsible for.

3. Given point 2, once confronted with a situation requiring gun use, that class of user would be forced in an instant to go from being a pilot, doctor, teacher, whatever to being an armed protector. And that is such a big change of mindset in such a tiny period of time that it invites trouble, such as hesitation, improper analysis of the direction and magnitude of the threat, lack of time to consider the immediate background (if you shoot and miss the intended target, what do you end up hitting?), possible conflicting responsibilities (Does the doctor shoot, or continue to work on a patient? Does the teacher shoot, or move the children to safety?), etc.

Given that we're primarily talking about teachers in schools, and I'm expanding the examples to airplanes, hospitals, and ambulances, I think the more appropriate defensive measure in these cases is to have armed guards or police officers involved. Such people would only be concentrating on dangers, and proper application of force. Plus, schools and hospitals are fixed locations, so it's less of a problem to guard than individuals who'll be moving about. Also, ambulances will usually be involved in situations where a police presence is required anyway, and other situations likely don't involve the sorts of dangers where gun use is required. And pilots and flight attendants on airplanes? Air Marshall's already exist, so that situation is already covered.

Should those classes of user be forbidden from arming themselves? I'm not sure; the above is only my initial feelings, but I'm not sure those arguments add up to a total ban on firearms for those folks. I just feel those points should be addressed in the debate. So no, I'm not wild about the idea of armed teachers, but I'm not adopting a stance 100% against that either. I just feel that it may not be a good thing to do, and that people should consider the details that would arise if they were allowed.

Fenrisulven said...

Mark in Texas:If you don't trust teachers with guns, why do you trust them with your children?

BAM! We have a winner. Nicely put.

Dave said...

I'm not necessarily opposed to this idea.

But the argument "if you don't trust teachers with guns why would you trust them with your kids" is a straw man. One thing has nothing to do with another. It is rather akin to saying "if you don't trust the doctor to do your taxes, why would you trust him to treat your kids?" Entirely different skill sets.

John said...

John said: We need to figure out the "why" and try to fix that.

Well, that's a good idea. How about we get right on that?


Hey sigivald, let me clarify what I mean by the "why".

I don't limit this to a psychological understanding of the mmind of the perpetrator - I include the overall environment we have created where we are afraid to call "bad people" bad and where we are paralyzed by political correctness and potential lawsuits.

This environment has produced the "soft targets" that schools have become because they are so-called "Gun Free" - not to mention "Drug Free", "Smoke Free", "Soda Free", "Thought Free" (oops, not yet!). No need to worry about anyone stopping you at a school since it's a "Gun Free" zone!

I am not convinced that the best response is to arm teachers however. As I said, I am not anti-gun and infact, support concealed carry.

How about we get right on that?
How about we start by not pretending that signs at the door will stop this and if someone tells you they want to kill someone else, don't ignore it because they're your 'friend' or believe that you can help them work through it. Tell someone, preferrably the police!

amzbd said...

Is the assumption that these guns would be loaded and ready-to-go at an instant? Or are we to assume a teacher should take the time to load the gun? From what I've read of the past week's incidents, the immediate reactions of the teachers/principals was to either disarm the gunman (or gunchild in Wisconsin) or to get the other students to safety. As a parent, I would prefer the teacher's first reaction to be to get my child to safety and/or out of the building before returning fire. Dodging bullets that come from one direction must certainly be easier than dodging bullets in a gunfight.

To Maxine: Respect does not equal fear. If a teacher isn't respected it isn't going to change just b/c s/he's packing heat.

Not to mention...if we have a teacher shortage now, how the heck are we going to recruit more if they are expected to go into battle?

Fenrisulven said...

Dave: But the argument "if you don't trust teachers with guns why would you trust them with your kids" is a straw man. One thing has nothing to do with another. It is rather akin to saying "if you don't trust the doctor to do your taxes, why would you trust him to treat your kids?" Entirely different skill sets.

I think you overstate the point. Becoming proficient and safe with handguns is no more instensive than learning CPR.

So if it bothers you, try:

if you don't trust teachers with guns why would you trust them to administer first aid?

Do teachers even get CPR training? If not, why not?

John said...

They're no longer simply self-protecting, but assuming responsibility for protecting others. Due to that, a higher level of skill and knowledge is required. Defending many people is much more complex than defending your individual self.

Tibore nails it!

In the Weston shooting in WI, a custodian was able to take the shot gun away from the student (a very courageous act!) but, for some reason, didn't use the gun to subdue him. There were a number of ideas why, by others, but some of the most believable were that: 1- most people are not comfortable pointing a loaded weapon at another human being; 2- to continue that theme, hunters are taught that you don't point a loaded weapon at humans; 3- if you do point a weapon at another human, you must be prepared to fire; and 4- you shouldn't trust a weapon you did not load or verify that it works.

Not everyone has the personality to become a police officer or soldier (which is why we should respect and thank those that do) because it does mean defending someone else besides yourself. Let teachers teach, and others defend.

Coco said...

What are we trying to accomplish? The death-spree shootings in which freaked out kids/adults come to school with the intent to shoot specific intended victims and then take their own lives? Or the death-spree shootings in which freaked out kids/adults just come to school to randomly shoot people and then take their own lives. Seems to me that the freaked out kids/adults intent on a death-spree (including their own) are not going to be deterred by the possibility that they may get shot.

But perhaps no one thinks this is based on actual deterrence, just amelioration of harm - i.e., a teacher who is armed might be able to shoot the psycho before he injures anyone or before he injures more people - a la Simon Kenton's point. This is true theoretically, but it seems equally as likely that the opposite could occur: if the perpetrator has every reason to think that ANY adult might be carrying a concealed weapon, he is likely to shoot any adult he sees and be better prepared to implement his plan (if he is the type that has a specific victim list and thus mission in mind before he takes his own life) and thus potentially increase the death toll. If he is a student, he may even be urged on by the prospect of actually getting into a gunfight with former teachers.

Also, to the extent that the policy is based on the concept of schools presenting particularly easy targets because they are gun-free zones or at least places where very few people if any are likely to be armed, this would apply to all sorts of places, like churches. Should pastors and nuns pack heat?

Danny said...

We should install landmines in elementary school entrances that only explode when stepped on by a full-grown adult. Not only will we end school violence, but we'll also discourage childhood obesity!

Coco said...

Let teachers teach, and others defend.

I think that's right. If its a funding issue, the people will pay if they think its important enough. Armed and trained guards would be a much better solution.

The Drill SGT said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Revenant said...

Arming teachers doesn't make much sense. Schools are controlled environments, unlike society as a whole. It would be better simply to expel problem children from the school environment altogether.

That said, I don't think there'd be any harm in letting teachers carry concealed weapons, if they wanted to.

The Drill SGT said...

The Drill SGT said...
I'm not certain how I feel on this proposal.

1. On one hand, unfortunately, schools have moved rapidly from sacrosanct islands of innocence to the preferred location for any crazy who wants to make the news to commit mayhem. There is no going back. More sick people are going to commit more violence in schools because it works to fulfill their needs.

2. There are two levels of potential in arming teachers. I think that schools should be
"gun free zones" for the purposes of punishing students and outsiders who enter the area with an "unauthorized gun". However, I think that the possibility that a teacher or guard or principal is armed on the property is a good thing. So I would make it very hard to carry a concealed weapon in schools. Maybe so hard that few if any schools had armed faculty, but I would like the possibility to exist.

MadisonMan said...

Do teachers even get CPR training? If not, why not?

I would say it's up to the teacher.

I'd prefer my kids' teachers to receive extra training in things like math, or teaching theory, or english instruction -- things they'll use every day. Spending time learning CPR, or weapons handling? If they want to, that's fine, but it seems like you expend a lot of resources to address the possibility of something that is exceedingly rare. Allowing it -- I'm still not sure.

Matt said...

fen:

I think you overstate the point. Becoming proficient and safe with handguns is no more instensive than learning CPR.

You're joking, I hope.

I'd venture that it's quite a bit more difficult to become proficient enough w/ a handgun to weild it effectively in the insanity of a shooting spree at a school.

Which is why I think the whole notion is pointless--the number of teachers who would be so capable is likely to be small, and the odds that they will be present and able to do something in the already unlikely event of a shooting are pretty slim.

Matt said...

To expand on my previous post...

As someone mentioned upthread, the fact of armed teachers may not be an effective deterrent against the sort of attack schools are likely to face--that is, from essentially suicidal gunmen. I find that to be a reasonable assumption. So the benefit to arming teachers would lie entirely in their ability to stop such an attack before the responding law enforcement personel could. That means a firefight, potentially against multiple, better-armed shooters, w/ hundreds of screaming and crazed children around--and that's the scenario the training and certification would need to be based around. Personally, I don't think many teachers would pass, certainly not enough to impact the probable state-wide death toll of such attacks.

J said...

First, I don't see any problem letting teachers carry a concealed handgun. Somebody compared them to pilots carrying guns; a lot of pilots do carry guns now, and the training/legal regime governing that program would actually be a pretty good template for teachers with some exceptions. In the FFDO program, pilots are trained to a very high degree of proficiency, and given rigid guidelines on when they are allowed to use their gun. The idea that this creates a distraction or preoccupation for them is ridiculous.

Also that program is voluntary and is operated by the TSA - airline managers do not know who is permitted to carry or actually is carrying a weapon, and if such a program was extended to teachers I'm reasonably sure every teacher wouldn't want to participate. Thus it wouldn't be clear to assailants, even if they were students or school employees, who might be armed, and an attack on an unarmed teacher might well result in response from one who is.

The argument that armed personnel create confusion for law enforcement is somewhat valid, but it's been my observation that law enforcement tends to show up way too late to do much good anyway.

George said...

Many schools in my district have hired police officers not only to direct traffic but also to teach courses.

There's another reason for a trained adult to be armed on school premises (Isn't that a sad thing to have to write...)...al-Qaeda...Beslan...

The unimaginable is all too imaginable.

Here is the US Dept. of Education suggested plan for schools....

http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/secletter/041006.html

Alpha Liberal said...

It's a really dumb idea and reeks of political opportunism.

1) Teaching is not improved by packing heat. Threatening children doesn't elevate intellect.

2) It's dangerous. Having a bunch of guns around a bunch of rambunctious, maladjusted, hormonal, judgment-challenged kids is very very dumb. It would lead to MORE student shootings.

3) Really, Ann, is this something even worthy of debate? Are you really trying to grapple with whether this is a good idea or not?

Ernst Blofeld said...

First gay marriage, now guns. I suspect Ann is trolling fo hits.

Training someone to use a handgun is actually fairly simple. It's the original point and shoot interface, and most likely opponents aren't Spesnatz. Of course, getting them up to IDPA standards would take more time, but those are in the top percentile of all shooters, even among police and military. And police pistol proficiency is often abysmal.

I'd be generally opposed to teachers with guns. The prevalance of school shootings is low, and weapons retention while among students would be a problem. Think of how many teacher cell phones are stolen in a year. Airline pilots are almost all ex-military and don't usually mix with the passengers much, so they're cool with guns as far as I'm concerned.

Joan said...

43 comments and no one has brought up Beslan, or the fact that busted terrorist cells were found to have the plans to NJ schools.

We have more to worry about than the random crazy adult or disaffected kid with a gun. Terrorists know that schools are soft targets and have already targetted them. What are we doing to harden the targets?

I think teachers with concealed carry permits should be allowed to bring their guns to school. This is far different from requiring teachers to get hand gun training!

In the case of a school emergency, teachers are already charged with protecting their students. My kids' elementary school has lockdown drills every year: the teacher locks the classroom door, turns out the lights, and has the kids hide under their tables or desks and remain quiet. The kids giggle through the whole thing but at the same time they've all heard stories about "bad people" out there.

School security is a huge issue. For teachers who are comfortable with guns, having their weapons available will make their job of protecting their students easier for them.

Ernst Blofeld said...

BTW, in Israel teachers are very often armed. It works well for them, but they're also in a higher threat environment. I suspect weapons retention would cause more problems than school shootings prevented.

Revenant said...

That means a firefight, potentially against multiple, better-armed shooters, w/ hundreds of screaming and crazed children around

I believe the record number of school shooters working together is two. There are dozens of teachers at a typical high school, plus police, plus administration.

Furthermore, unless the shooter opens up at a school pep rally there aren't going to be "hundreds of screaming and crazed children around". There are going to be isolated pockets of thirty or so children shut up in classrooms. An armed teacher can protect the students in his or her classroom without risking the lives of the rest of the students in the school, simply because the door into the classroom represents a locked barrier -- and it is a safe bet that anyone who blasts their way through that door is safe to shoot.

But in any case, the implication of your argument is that it is safer to just wait for the shooter to run out of ammo or kill himself, which is just silly. Even IF the shooter was in a crowded room full of screaming children, it would still be better to risk shooting him.

Ann Althouse said...

Ernst Blofeld: "First gay marriage, now guns. I suspect Ann is trolling fo hits."

You are so out of it, Ernst. Everyone knows I used vagina to get my Instapundit link today.

The Drill SGT said...

Taking off on what revenant just said as well as a previous poster.

I think that the major advantage of allowing the "possibility" of weapons in schools by teachers/principals is not that every incident will be ended in a blazing shoot-out with a teacher.

1. reality, shooting will continue to occur where the target is soft, dense, and gets lots of media frenzy. hardening schools with the possibilty that a teacher has a gun, will send one or more crazies somewhere else to commit mayhem (and I'm in favor of them moving on), in the same fashion that burglar alarm signs don't stop burglaries, just sift them to some other house.

2. Yes, an armed intruder who enters a school is more likely to shoot the first asst principal in the hall that he sees, cuz the principal may be armed. EXACTLY!! I would much rather the shooter take a shot out in the hall, rather than entering a classroom first. Think about it. shot goes off in the hall. what do all those teachers do in their classrooms? Lock the door, move desks to the door, call 911, go out the windows. all good things that deny a shooter what he wants, which is 30 hostages in a room with 1 door. You want a potential shooter to be engaged early and far away from a desne mass of students trapped in a closed area.

Maxine Weiss said...

Simon and Matt: it's not about brandishing anything.

Does every Police Officer "brandish" his weapon upon interacting with a snotty citizen?

Why are Churches and Synagogues arming themselves?

Are you all up in arms over that?

Peace, Maxine

AJ Lynch said...

When I was in grade schools, the teachers (mainly the nuns) were armed with rulers, etc and I wonder if their reputations would make today's mass murderers think twice?

AJ Lynch said...

And btw, where do our so-called lawmakers come up with these crazy ideas?

The number of school incidents does however point out the potential usefulness of a volunteer citizen posse that would take turns checking in and around schools, bridges, and other public places which terrorists and mass murderers target.

Maxine Weiss said...

amzbd: Actually, fear can breed respect, according to Machievelli.

This is really about empowerment.

How do you empower teachers?

11 years after Columbine.....nothing's worked so far, meanwhile more and more kids are being shot in the public schools....

Peace, Maxine

Mickey said...

Teachers with guns? What do you think?

Why not, the kids are packin.

The Future is Prison

knoxgirl said...

It would be better simply to expel problem children from the school environment altogether.

I know a woman who just retired after teaching high school English for almost 40 years in a public school. According to her, it has become almost impossible to punish "problem children" in the current P.C./litigious climate. In fact, problem children are more likely to be rewarded--they get away with bad behavior; are often given extra leniency on grades; and can't be expelled from the classroom, not to mention the whole school system. She says that if a student behaves badly and is punished, all a parent has to do is complain or state that the child has ADD or some sort of learning disability and it's hands off. And this happens fairly often, according to her.

Anyway, teachers should be allowed to carry if they have the permit, etc. and the wish to do so. I do believe that some of the chickenshits that go in schools to do their killing would in fact be deterred. (Great Britain is a good example of how taking guns away from responsible, law-abiding people increases violent crime.)

There's also that infamous incident at the college where it was one or two students who got their guns from their cars and stopped a shooter... I can't find it googling, maybe someone else remembers the incident?

Revenant said...

Threatening children doesn't elevate intellect

If children feel "threatened" by peaceful, law-abiding people being armed then I would suggest the children just need better gun-related education. It should make them feel safer.

Matt said...

Rev: If children feel "threatened" by peaceful, law-abiding people being armed then I would suggest the children just need better gun-related education. It should make them feel safer.

I don't disagree, however, I will point out that there have been a number of posts here suggesting that teachers should be armed specifically so they can, in a normal classroom setting, threaten and scare students.

Danny said...

This is a plea to the Republican Party to publicly support this measure and make it a part of your 2006 national security platform.

George said...

Joan--

You missed me by three minutes....

Great minds alike think.

George

michael a litscher said...

Matt: As someone mentioned upthread, the fact of armed teachers may not be an effective deterrent against the sort of attack schools are likely to face--that is, from essentially suicidal gunmen. I find that to be a reasonable assumption.

How many of these suicidal gunmen do you recall walking into a police precinct, or a gun store, or a pistol/rifle range?

They choose soft targets over hard targets for a reason. As long as schools are mandated by law to remain soft targets, you'll get more of the same.

reader_iam said...

I don't see the following have been brought up yet:

Would teachers arming themselves pose unforeseen liability/insurance/legal issues? What happens if a kid happens to get at one of the guns, in whatever fashion? What if a teacher misreads a situation and actually shoots someone who is not an attacker? What if he or she, even attempting to get/stop an attacker accidentally shoots another kid, or even another staff member? Does the teacher have immunity from prosecution/civil suit? Do the schools/school districts? Who and/or what bears ultimate responsibility?

And again, what about issues of insurance. Are there any? What are they?

These are areas in which I don't have specific expertise, and perhaps they aren't even worth addressing.

But I'll bet there are people here who might know whether they are, and if so, be able to speak to the issues.

Revenant said...

knoxgirl,

There have been multiple incidents like the one you describe, but I think you mean this law-school shooting. Unsurprisingly the press downplayed the fact that it was private citizens with privately-owned firearms who stopped the killer.

Similar events happened in Pearl, Mississippi and Edinboro, Pennsylvania.

monkeyboy said...

I will point out that there have been a number of posts here suggesting that teachers should be armed specifically so they can, in a normal classroom setting, threaten and scare students.

And I will point out that those comments have been dismissed as unserious.

Having had a concealed carry permit in the past and some experience with police and military training procedures, I would say that the average citizen is as good a shot, and since they are there at the start of the crime and not at the end, statistically less likely to shhot the wrong person that the police are. Valid concealed permits should be allowed in school. Nowhere has allowing citizens their rights to self-defense caused the streets to run with blood.

Tibore said...

Everyone,

Again, I lean libertarian where gun ownership and carrying is concerned. I do agree that ownership of such is a deterrent for violent crime.

But, everyone here saying that a teacher will be able to protect students if they're armed are missing the point I raised: A teacher will not be concentrating on protection most of the time. Forget liability for a minute, consider effectiveness. If protecting students is our goal here, then have armed guards present. An armed guard's only task would be to pay attention to dangerous situations, and they can even act before a threat manifests if they judge one might happen. That's not something a teacher can do each and every time. Do we really think a teacher busy with students will be able to notice such dangerous situations in time, every time? Sure, occasionally... but it's not their primary concern, so it's not a stretch to imagine them missing some, or not reacting quickly enough. But an armed guard would not be "distracted" by other primary duties. A guard's only duty would be protection.

Believe it or not, this still doesn't preclude teachers arming themselves. But with armed guards taking the primary duty of protecting the students and staff, the teachers can be given time to switch their attentions and mindsets to that of protection, and they can be the last line of defense if it's obvious that they need to act as such.

I'm concerned that people see nothing wrong with burdening an already busy professional with the enormous responsibility of protecting children from lethal situations and not caring about the fact that they might be too occupied at the onset of violence to respond properly. That is setting them up to fail! Again, protection will not be a primary concern for most teachers day to day, minute to minute. The everyday tasks and responsibilities will be. Violence can break out in a second, and requiring teachers to be vigilant and protect against that is placing too large a burden on them. Let someone who's job it is to be vigilant shoulder that responsibility. Let's consider effective solutions to the issue being raised.

Look, folks, I'm not one of those guys thinking the NRA is the root of all evil, and thinking "the fewer guns around, the better". I do not agree with the sentiment that people shouldn't have guns because they should depend on the police to protect them, and as I said in my previous post, I do not agree with much of the ridiculously draconian laws passed or proposed. If we want to allow teachers to carry guns, fine! No more objections from me. BUT... again, let's talk effectiveness! Just saying "carry a gun" does not adequately address the problem of people showing up to schools to kill people. The user must be put into a situation where, if danger arises, they'll have every opportunity to properly and correctly use the weapon to defend the students. Just letting teachers have guns in the abscence of any other warning or support system is not doing that!

Armed guards. Practical defense plans. Locked exterior doors. Proper challenge of individuals with no business on school grounds. And only then should we talk about arming teachers, only after a structure is in place for them to succeed in defending students. Just telling them they can go armed is to prove that you're not taking school security seriously because you're not putting into place the structure for teachers to succeed in defending students. Sure, let the teachers carry in school if you want them too. But for God's sake, don't just leave it at that!!

Revenant said...

But, everyone here saying that a teacher will be able to protect students if they're armed are missing the point I raised: A teacher will not be concentrating on protection most of the time. Forget liability for a minute, consider effectiveness.

Why does any given armed teacher have to be concentrating on protection all of the time in order for his or her presence to add protective value?

Obviously dedicated armed guards would offer even more protection. But simply *because* all they do is protect, hiring them is likely to be a waste of money unless you have legitimate reason to think violence is especially likely. Teachers armed with guns they bought themselves, on the other hand, cost nothing (again, ignoring liability issues) and still increase security somewhat.

TW Andrews said...

Having taught English in a school in France (the neighborhood's currently a warzone, I believe), I can tell you that if I were currently teaching, I'd want the opportunity to be armed.

As one of the earlier posters suggested, the certification should be stringent, and regular recertification required. I'd also require that all of the guns carried in schools be "smart guns".

Synova said...

Effectiveness doesn't matter.

Seriously.

If I have a weapon for self-defense, if I take the classes and get the permit and carry the weapon, the absolute best I can hope for is *maybe* if I get attacked I'll be able to fight back, but there is no guarentee that I'll ever have a chance to use the weapon. *Maybe* if my children are attacked I'll be able to stop the attacker.

And maybe not.

We're not talking about arming untrained teachers who are uncomfortable carrying a gun. And even trained teachers who are comfortable carrying are unlikely to be in a possition to do anything if, against all odds, someone comes to their school and starts shooting people. They aren't going to be running toward gunfire. They *are* going to be focused on protecting the students in their care. They aren't going to be acting like police.

But at least, if they have the opportunity or necessity, they would have the means as well. If they find themselves in the middle of it they *might* be able to do something.

If they can't do anything they are no worse off than if they were unarmed and if, by chance, they *can* stop a killer and limit the number of students killed, well that's fantastic.

And it *does* make a difference if a gunman doesn't know who might have a weapon. It's got to. As it is, a gunman going into a school knows that no one is armed.

And it *does* make a difference when people have an attitude that takes responsibility for their own self-defense because even *without* being armed they're still more likely to fight back.

We teach passivity. This is not a good thing.

Synova said...

And just as a random tangent...

I think that schools should teach gun classes to students who are interested. At least then when the little thugs manage to get their hands on a gun they'll be less likely to emulate movies and television and do something stupid by accident.

Kirk Parker said...

Synova,

"I think that schools should teach gun classes to students who are interested."

It would be a good idea if they taught gun safety to everyone. This doesn't involve actually shooting a firearm. Leaving the actual gun-handling and marksmanship to those who are interested is fine, but basic safety orientation should be universal.

Mark in Texas said...

Dave

But the argument "if you don't trust teachers with guns why would you trust them with your kids" is a straw man. One thing has nothing to do with another. It is rather akin to saying "if you don't trust the doctor to do your taxes, why would you trust him to treat your kids?" Entirely different skill sets.

The skills involved in learning when deadly force can be used and being able to hit a man sized target at the distance found in a classroom are not all that complex. It's more along the lines of "if your doctor can't pass the tests to get a driver's license why would you trust him to treat your kids?"

But I was not referring to skills in any case. It was more a matter of judgement, maturity and sanity. If you think that a teacher is crazy or irresponsible enough to threaten death to a student who gives him lip, why would you think that he is sane or responsible enough to be teaching in a classroom at all?

Daryl Herbert said...

There's a reason prison guards don't carry guns while walking amongst the inmates.

I'm not suggesting students are dangerous like prisoners, but if teachers walked around with guns, students would be around those guns a great deal. And that could lead to something bad happening.

If the guns were securely locked away, a few people (security guards, teachers, administrators, other staff) who volunteered for the duty and received training in weapons use, would then be able to take action in an emergency situation.

Certainly it would not be as rapid a response as if the guns were holstered, but I think we can make some sane trade-offs.

The fact is, an armed, trained adult on the scene can react to a school shooting much faster than the police could hope to, and possibly prevent a lot of deaths. If the guns are properly locked up, we don't run the same risks as if they're carried around all day.

bill said...

The terrorists are watching and learning. I vote for armed teachers, who have to pass basic police training.

Having gun free schools is proving to be a really bad idea, the place to stop the perp is before they take the hostages and get settled in. By then it's too late, as the Amish situation served, even swat can't save them all from a suicide shooter.

Now that 40+ states allow citizens to carry guns, the myth that citizens won't act responsibly is dead and buried.

Cedarford said...

Tibore unfortunately echoes and repeats the same mistakes of the debate on arming pilots. A mistaken impression that every second of a pilot's attention is needed to prevent a plane from crashing in mid-flight so it is "dangerous" to arm them and "distract them" from flying even in a situation of trying to fight off a Jihadi squad trying to get into the cockpit and kill them and then all the passengers. Such people, ignorant of piloting, believe it is imperative that both pilots look straight ahead, hands on controls, ignoring "all distractions" - until their throats are slashed. The argument applied to teachers, doctors by Tibore is the same - that only police and private security have this mystical mindset to effectively fight back:

Teachers should not be distracted from their job. I think the more appropriate defensive measure in these cases is to have armed guards or police officers involved. Such people would only be concentrating on dangers

Unfortunately, most Jihadis are used to scouting and attacking an armed foe, so a plan to take kill infidel kids of course would factor in ID'ing and neutralizing identifiable armed agents. And even with civilian criminals the "security guard" is no magic shield. At Columbine, the armed guard ran..and was not reprimanded based on his saying he tactically retreated and called cops rather than confront and try and stop Kliebold and Harris.

It is stupid to ascribe the ability to defend oneself and others as a sort of lifetime caste thing, an ability only agonizingly arrived at through years of dedicated training that only certified "law enforcement professionals" are capable of.

To say only cops are able to use judgment properly, in the use of weapons, is the condescending cluelessness of anti-gun people. Or the dumb charge that only a cop or rent-a-cop can mount the technological complexity of weapon usage? It is especially insulting to pilots who mostly come from a military background where they learn to fly, display the judgement to fly, the technical knowledge that would knock a cop on her butt, AND use mind-bogglingly lethal weapons. And insulting to any doctor, teacher or better educated person that has both judgement and the mental ability to learn another skill.

And pilots and flight attendants on airplanes? Air Marshall's already exist, so that situation is already covered.

Hardly. Air Marshalls are on only about 2% of flights or flights that are deemed high risk routes (coming from Londonistan). Why the pilots program proceeded was NOT to arm all pilots, but add another security barrier, another uncertainty. The cockpit door added some security, but Jihadis were already at work to adapt measures to defeat it (liquid explosives, tools found on two Jihadi "testing mission operatives" that were later figured out to enable removal of handicapped rails in the bathrooms and converting them to crowbars. The door is thought to last a half hour against trained Jihadis. Not good if you are Mid-Pacific...

The same is true with someone in a school having a concealed carry permit and permission from the principal or school board to be armed. Though anyone can come up with a scenario where some psycho group could overwhelm an armed employee, or show that no such employee could be around a one-room Amish schoolhouse - ergo, it's not a perfect defense and should be rejected - But if you believe in multiple layers of security, all that armed citizen is is one more possible layer of defense, and the more the better.

Let us not forget a psycho started shooting up a college in W Virginia and was stopped by two students who went to their cars, unlocked their trunks, retrieved firearms, and shot the bastard dead.

(I see Revenent's 6:31 PM post mentioned this. The Lefty press HATES when private citizens "usurp" the "heroes of armed government employees" jobs...naturally, because they believe only agents of government should have a "right" to arms.)

Dave - But the argument "if you don't trust teachers with guns why would you trust them with your kids" is a straw man. One thing has nothing to do with another. It is rather akin to saying "if you don't trust the doctor to do your taxes, why would you trust him to treat your kids?" Entirely different skill sets.

No, it is not a straw man. What matters is most is judgement. And the right personality to engage rather than melt in fear, situational awareness, average mental capacity, ability to be trained and follow rules. You repeat the same mistake as Tibore in defining people by career slot, rather than ability to acquire other skill sets. It's like saying:

a teachers life and skill set is limited to teaching. They cannot use a gun anymore than they can learn to be a skilled mountain climber or write a book. They are teachers!

Tibore also has this concept that a cop must be able to put aside all other police work (99.99%) of the job and remain ready for the Mega-gunfight in order to be "effective". That is, if his fear that a teacher would botch teaching Algebra II simply because his concealed 9mm caused him to watch for the fight to the death, instead of teaching.

Moving aside from private citizens with guns being allowed to defend themselves or others, I agree it is silly to talk of "arming all teachers". The media loves school killings - err, loves them like plane crashed because they are rare enough to be national news events - but that fouls up many American's judgement on perception of risk. Which truth is, of all activities a child does, school is the least risk per unit time. Safer than even being home. So don't overreact.

There are other measures that are cost effective and help that "multiple barrier concept".

1. Police should train and keep confidential as much as possible what tactics they would use - so the bad guys don't know what's coming. Negotiation or no warning sniper shots.

2. Schools should have "duress alarms" and a 9/11 protocal worked out with local police and dispatchers so principals or teachers know exactly what to say that the police need to know about the incident - without extra minutes passing of superfluous Q&A from dragging on by dumb dispatchers asking the address of the only junior high in town or indulging overwrought teachers extranious emotionalisms, or having to prompt school officials that should be trained in giving the details short and sweet.

3. The media has a very unfortunate role because in the process of "giving the public the news they demand" they serve to immortalize the evil bastards that did it. And fame creates copycats. If the name of a rape victim is with held for the public good, why not consign a killer to the oblivion of anonymity, even if they are tried later? Freedom of the press, people's right to know? My tushy!

4. With enemies of America, we have traditionally deterred by reciprocity, from our earliest days to the notion that if the Soviet Union nuked several cities full of our innocent civilians, we wouldn't hesitate to nuke theirs, right up to MAD. And not "proportionately", that beloved word of Euroweenies..Not that it was "right and moral", but deterrence is unavoidable as a defense, and the Soviets testified after the Cold War that it really worked on curbing many of their deadlier ambitions. In today's world of Beslans, Jihadis think our innocent civilians are fair game that can be deliberately killed because we accidentally kill some of theirs - but they and their Lefty supporters warn that reciprocity, us deliberately hitting Muslim civilians is "unacceptable". I say fine. Up to a certain point. One more Beslan. Then we revert to old style Western warriors.

5. For local psychos, communities, schools, and students need to be informed and very wary of not just the Harris's and Kliebolds, but outside adults acting suspiciously - who appear to be casing the school - or asking questions that indicate they are up to no good. And the legal community has to support this by not rushing to the defense of a possible kid killer from very extensive police inquiries and necessary discouragement - even if the guy is just another chickenhawk.

Tibore said...

"A mistaken impression that every second of a pilot's attention is needed to prevent a plane from crashing in mid-flight so it is "dangerous" to arm them and "distract them" from flying even in a situation of trying to fight off a Jihadi squad trying to get into the cockpit and kill them and then all the passengers."

Straw man argument. I fully realize that someone "slitting their throat" is the ultimate distraction. I'm also aware that if we saddle them with the responsibility of responding to passenger threats, but distract them from that with the duties of piloting, they'll be unable to identify those threats until those guys are either already killing passengers or at the cockpit with their knives slitting the pilots throats. But an armed guard would have the ability to concentrate on threats to the exclusion of all else, and could prevent hijackers from even reaching the cockpit.

"The argument applied to teachers, doctors by Tibore is the same - that only police and private security have this mystical mindset to effectively fight back:"

What about the fact that they need time to respond do you not understand? What about the fact that it's not a special skill or talent, but the fact that police and private security will be able to devote full attention to defense do you not understand? I'm not saying police and security guards have a "mystical mindset" that uniquely suits them to armed defense or combat that doctors, pilots, or teachers lack. I'm saying that they're actually able to concentrate on that task because they're not preoccupied.

”Teachers should not be distracted from their job. I think the more appropriate defensive measure in these cases is to have armed guards or police officers involved. Such people would only be concentrating on dangers”

The second sentence is an accurate quote of me. The first is completely made up. I never said that; why’d you put it there as if it were a quote? I never said that teachers should not be distracted from their job; that’s as silly as saying I’m for pilots flying until their throats are cut. I’m saying that, while in the day-to-day mode of teaching and performing their other routine tasks, they won’t be able to concentrate on defense, but a guard or police officer can because it’s their primary task.

"To say only cops are able to use judgment properly, in the use of weapons, is the condescending cluelessness of anti-gun people. Or the dumb charge that only a cop or rent-a-cop can mount the technological complexity of weapon usage? It is especially insulting to pilots who mostly come from a military background where they learn to fly, display the judgment to fly, the technical knowledge that would knock a cop on her butt, AND use mind-bogglingly lethal weapons. And insulting to any doctor, teacher or better educated person that has both judgment and thee mental ability to learn another skill."

That's a straw man, Cedar. I'm not talking about those classes of folks not having the ability to learn, I'm talking about those people having other responsibilities and not being able to concentrate on defense. I know damn well that guns aren't complex, and I know damn well that the professionals I single out are quite capable of discriminating thought and correct judgment. I also know that they're not going to be concentrating on defense until the threat is right in front of them, and in many cases, that's too late. But a guard won't be in that situation; a guard can be proactive in defense.

And by the way, don't stick me in with the clueless anti-gun idiots. I lean far more Tom Selleck than Rosie O'Donnell. Advocating for gun owners rights also involves insisting on proper, responsible use, and just slapping a gun in someone's hands without the requisite training and repeated exercises to condition you to react properly to dangerous situations is simply irresponsible.

"Unfortunately, most Jihadis are used to scouting and attacking an armed foe, so a plan to take kill infidel kids of course would factor in ID'ing and neutralizing identifiable armed agents. "

That's only an argument to disguise the guards, nothing more.

"And even with civilian criminals the "security guard" is no magic shield. At Columbine, the armed guard ran..and was not reprimanded based on his saying he tactically retreated and called cops rather than confront and try and stop Kliebold and Harris."

Yes, the security guard failed. That needs to be corrected; a guard must be given the resources to properly address threats like that without retreating, resources such as other guards as backup.

However, the fact it failed does not invalidate my previous points. The teacher is still not concentrating on defense. The fact that the guard retreated shows that the threat was identified before or as it entered the schools; now the proper improvement is to give the guard resources to stop the threat before it gets as far as it did in Columbine.

"It is stupid to ascribe the ability to defend oneself and others as a sort of lifetime caste thing, an ability only agonizingly arrived at through years of dedicated training that only certified "law enforcement professionals" are capable of."

When in God's name did I say that? Again, for the nth time, I said that guards and police officers have the luxury to actively concentrate on identifying and reacting to threats because that would be their primary duty.

Also: Yes, it's stupid to say that only certain people are capable of self defense. It is also equally stupid to assume that there is no difference in reaction between someone who's trained and also not occupied with other duties and someone whose only duty is protection. Again, this is an issue of effectiveness. If a killer gets to the cockpit, classroom, examination room or whatever with a weapon, that killer's gotten too far. But that's exactly where a pilot, teacher, or doctor would encounter them. But a guard could challenge and stop a killer well before they get that far.

"Hardly. Air Marshalls are on only about 2% of flights or flights that are deemed high risk routes (coming from Londonistan)."

That's an argument to increase the numbers of Air Marshalls.

"But if you believe in multiple layers of security, all that armed citizen is is one more possible layer of defense, and the more the better."

Finally! An argument I can agree with! Yes, if you're going to talk about allowing all those folks to carry weapons, you cannot just leave it at that! As I said in my second post, they must be put in a situation where if they need their weapons, they'll succeed at using them. Posting guards, enforcing guest escort rules, making entry difficult for those who're not supposed to be in certain areas, and when a dangerous situation arises, then the professionals I mention will not only have enough time to react, they won't be confronted with difficult shoot/don't shoot situations in instances where they haven't any context or precious little information to act on. They'll be able to use their weapons effectively, and they'll know they must use them because the primary defenses have already been overcome.

But, no guards, no other defenses... a person won't know they're supposed to shoot until the very last minute, and under stress, is there any guarantee they'll be able to hit the threat? It's nerve racking enough to have even just seconds of warning someone'll need to shoot someone; how much more when a threat suddenly materializes without warning? As would happen when a pilot is flying a plane, or a teacher is concentrating on the class, or a doctor is performing an examination?

Stop or slow the threat before it gets that far.

"Let us not forget a psycho started shooting up a college in W Virginia and was stopped by two students who went to their cars, unlocked their trunks, retrieved firearms, and shot the bastard dead."

Yes, and believe it or not, that supports my arguments. An armed guard could also have stopped that psycho too, and possibly well before he got to a classroom. And don't tell me the students were busy teaching the class or otherwise occupied within the target area; they were able to go get their guns, so they obviously also had the time to analyze the situation and react effectively. Being able to run to a car and arm oneself is not being in the same situation as being surprised at a gunman walking into a classroom, and provides more time to react more effectively, and possibly in a better area than the classroom.

I've never, ever, ever been against someone arming themselves for self defense. The question raised here was originally about teachers arming themselves in order to defend their class, and as I said, that opens the door on a whole range of issues that must be considered, not the least of which being that the details of defending a group instead of oneself are far more complicated. And just letting teachers carry guns in and of itself is the farthest thing from a complete solution because, as I said, their concentration will be elsewhere 90% of the time.

"What matters is most is judgment. And the right personality to engage rather than melt in fear, situational awareness, average mental capacity, ability to be trained and follow rules. You repeat the same mistake as Tibore in defining people by career slot, rather than ability to acquire other skill sets. It's like saying:

a teachers life and skill set is limited to teaching. They cannot use a gun anymore than they can learn to be a skilled mountain climber or write a book. They are teachers!"


I know that judgment matters. So does reaction time, and concentration on one task. I never, ever said that teachers, pilots, etc. are incapable of such judgment; you're jumping to a conclusion. My whole argument was about distraction, not inherent skill or career slot.

"Tibore also has this concept that a cop must be able to put aside all other police work (99.99%) of the job and remain ready for the Mega-gunfight in order to be "effective". That is, if his fear that a teacher would botch teaching Algebra II simply because his concealed 9mm caused him to watch for the fight to the death, instead of teaching."

Another straw man, combined with a complete inversion of my argument. First of all, there is no separation between "all other police work" and the concentration on defense; it's all the same job and frame of mind. Secondly, I never ever said that I fear that a teacher would botch teaching Algebra II; where the hell did you get that idea? I said that teaching does not allow for a person to be on the lookout for threats, and therefore would give said teacher precious little reaction time if a dangerous situation arose.

I'm not saying that teachers, doctors, etc. cannot be effective gun users. I'm saying that in the context of being at and concentrating on work does not allow for easy transition to defense! I have never, ever, EVER been against a person arming themselves for defense with a gun. But we are not talking only about personal defense here. We're talking about defending fixed places (schools, hospitals) and groups against gunmen, so 1. The situation is made more complex, given that the gun-carrying individual is assuming responsibility for more than him/herself, and 2. solutions that are not open or practical for individual defense - armed guards, locked doors, location based procedures - are open in these cases, and they must be considered.

My argument was never about saying that teachers, pilots, doctors, etc. don't have inherent ability, or are by reason of profession unworthy of using guns. It's a complete twisting of my posts to say that.

Revenant said...

There's a reason prison guards don't carry guns while walking amongst the inmates.

Yes, its that the inmates are all criminals. Their victims are on the *outside* of the jail.

In a school setting, however, almost everyone in the school is on the "victim" list, should killers come calling.

monkeyboy said...

Any of life's problems can be summed up by a quote from "Roadhouse".

"You will be nice, until it is time not to be nice."
"When will we know?"
"You won't, I will tell you when."

I don't think allowing teachers to be armed is a distraction or will require a change of mindset. Teachers will still teach, until it is time not to teach. The teachers won't be on aconstant lookout for the strange guys in the trenchcoats (well, any more than they are now I hope) and acting like security guards constantly. They are there as the last line when the man walks in the classroom and orders all the boys out.

Mark in Texas said...

Tibore

I am glad that you are not opposed to permitting licensed teachers to carry concealed handguns at school.

However, since school shootings are so unusual, most schools are not going to have armed guards and those that do are probably not going to be recently retired SEAL team ultra warriors. The tendency is to staff jobs that don't usually require people to actually do anything with people who can't find other jobs.

Perhaps you think that we should put supremely competent and skilled armed guards in every school and on every plane flight in order to deal with situations that happen only extremely rarely. How much should we spend for this? Is 1% of our GDP enough? How about 3%? Should we take the safety of our children and air passengers seriously and spend 30% of our GDP on armed guards?

Don't make the perfect the enemy of the good or even the mediocre but better than what we have now.

Cedarford said...

Tibore - You generally wrote of the unsuitablity of non-law enforcement professionals to protect anything I'm not wild about letting teachers arm themselves. Why? For the same reason I'm not enthusiastic about pilots, flight attendants, doctors and nurses, or EMT's doing so; The attack on the idea that pilots have no business defending themselves because staying focused on flying is too critical to be distracted from was the argument of others ignorant of flying duties was made by others, not you. And the same argument has been made about other professions with claims that "only law enforcement personnel can be trusted to know how to use a gun - civilians should just do their normal jobs and let the "heroes in uniform" only, handle threats.

But to support your own veiws, you gave reasons:

1. Civilians have the wrong "mindset" to defend themselves or others as well as a hero government employee.

2. They are too "distracted" by other job duties, something law enforcement professionals somehow overcome with all their other job duties because you believe they are totally focused on defense..always looking for the approaching madman or Jihadi (my detective cousin would reply...I am??)

3. They are unable to "snap out of their civilian jobs" mindset in a timely manner to be effective in a shootout.

4. Because a highly trained armed government agent assigned no other duties than protecting each school, plane, ambulance, hospital is much more effective, the solution is to only have those professionals do it - so pilots, nurses, teachers can do their job.

Now it appears as a solution...just hire 3-4 million armed and highly trained people dedicated to nothing but protecting people, to watch and defend each soft target in America, but as Revenent said, you and others who want the cops that grow on trees, imagined free for the taking, neglect a little matter of cost:

Obviously dedicated armed guards would offer even more protection. But simply *because* all they do is protect, hiring them is likely to be a waste of money unless you have legitimate reason to think violence is especially likely. Teachers armed with guns they bought themselves, on the other hand, cost nothing (again, ignoring liability issues) and still increase security somewhat.

We have much of America having to cut municipal budgets to the bone, airlines are encountering price resistance to extravagent and wasteful PC security measures adding significant costs on. The "free security stuff" Bush packed into the Federal budget in 5 years of deficits to avoid any immediate pain must also be paid for down the road, and future expenses for packs of government "hero protectors" funded as we go.

It is simply not practical for addressing the situation to say "armed cops are best for the job, so lets add millions more". Then claiming that people will gladly pay an extra 300-400 in local taxes for groups of cops or rent-a-cops sitting around in each school waiting for the one in a million odds of attack happening. No, they won't.
And in inner cities where the unfortunately needed school security due to gang activity exists, the costs badly damage the city's other needed services and infrastructure maintenance, that are cut back. Even the teaching force suffers when security is placed 1st.

Or claiming that people stuck with an extra 100 bucks for every plane ticket to pay for 2 armed LEOs to be on each flight and TSA folks strip searching granny will be grateful to pay it - when they become aware that the cabin door is secured and no evident Muslims are on the flight..

My 11:45 post noted there is still low risk of child injury or death per hour of attendence at school. It is still the safest place they will ever be. But my posts mentions there are 5 cost effective measures we can take besides armed teachers to establish multiple layers of defense - rather than go the Millions of extra cops with no job duties except wait for an unlikely event at each school, train ride, plane ride. Or the presumption the taxpayers will fund, it, "no sweat".

In the 5 low-cost security enhancing proposals, there was the controversial deterrence proposal. Which is essentially a "you kill ours, we'll kill yours" deterrence by reciprocity. Just like the good old ground rules about nukes..no such things as "your innocent civilians immune from reprisals" if ours are taken out. That is for Jihadis, one of ours goes, 10 of your madrassahs in any country are obliterated....Madmen are a different story, but one of my 5 proposals is getting most of the student and outside threats by better community vigilance.

Theo Boehm said...

Aux armes instituteurs
Formez vos bataillons