Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said yesterday that having public schoolteachers armed with firearms is worth discussing, in the wake of the massacre in Newton, Conn. Texas Gov. Rick Perry has more or less said the same thing. Del. Bob Marshall, R-Manassas, has put in a bill mandating teachers-with-guns. Others in the pro-gun crowd are chiming in, so there seems to be some support coalescing around the idea that more guns are a solution to massacre tragedies like Newton and others.
They aren’t though. They’re an illogical band-aid, one that no doubt warms of the hearts of NRA nuts like Wayne LaPierre, who will say and do anything to goose gun sales in America.
The idea is criminally dumb. It ought to disqualify any politician who raises it from ever holding any office ever again. I can use the pro-gunners own “logic” to demonstrate why.
• Not every teacher is going to carry a gun, but the ones that do will have it in their purse or in a secure holster, or locked in a desk drawer where the kiddies can’t get it. They are not going to walk around each day expecting a massacre during classes, or walk around with a 9 mm pistol in their hands. Thus, it will be easy for a suicidal maniac armed with an AR-15 to get the drop on them.
• It is not at all unheard of for police officers to get killed with their own guns, after a recalcitrant suspect takes it away from the cop. Why should we expect this to be any different with teachers? Just one day last week there were something like 9 fights in one day at Patrick Henry High School, according to my son who is a student there. Do we need to teach school staff karate and jujitsu (in addition to gun safety) just so they can prevent some angry school bully from disarming them and capturing their guns?
• Even if armed teachers does deter school massacres — something that’s eminently debatable — it won’t necessarily deter any massacres in other places. It will merely push the problem to other so-called “gun-free zones” such as churches, temples, malls, movie theaters, high school (or college, or pro) football games, hospitals or anyplace else large numbers of people gather and are not exactly expecting a massacre-like attack.
So the next time some lunatic with a semiautomatic rifle shoots up a movie theater, will Govs. Bob McDonnell and Rick Perry called suggest armed ticket-takers, ushers, and popcorn-sellers? And the next time it happens in a Sikh temple, will they suggest armed clergy? And the next time it happens in a Safeway parking lot, with they suggest armed supermarket bagboys?
More guns is THEIR logic, in a society where there are more people on psychiatric meds than ever before.
It is not the answer though. There has to be a better one than always, more guns.