Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Arm the Teachers?

     Remember about a week or so ago when Donnie Dumbo got the brilliant idea (an NRA trope) to arm the nation's school teachers? Yeah, well, uh...
     That idea only works for 90's action film fans looking for semi-plausible scenarios of teachers and principals who go to school packing. And some teacher in Dalton High School just northeast of  Atlanta got it into his head today to whip out a gun and fire at least one shot, making his students take to the hallways in a blind panic. I'm sure Donnie Rambo will go rushing into Dalton High as soon as someone tells him it's safe and that he owns a golf course nearby.
     There are many reasons why arming teachers is a horrible idea. And as for the reasons to do so? Honestly, I can't think of one.
     What happened today in Dalton High is one reason. You can't just give carte blanche to all teachers to carry because, obviously, some of them aren't all there.
     Plus, having teachers packing, with their guns in plain sight, will be a distraction for the students. Imagine what would go through their minds, worrying if they'll get shot for giving the wrong answer or making a sudden move or being caught passing notes. Schools are supposed to be Switzerland, neutral safe zones for kids trying to get an education that will prepare them for college. They do not need to live and learn in fear of fellow students, random gunmen or their own instructors.
     If there is a shooting (and if this time the police actually have the balls to enter an active shooter situation), how will they be able to tell who are the good guys with guns and who are the bad guys with guns? (Especially if the bad guy, as in today's case, turns out to be a teacher?) Well, then you could easily be talking about what soldiers and cops heartlessly refer to as "collateral damage."
     Teachers aren't trained for tactical engagement and giving them a free gun lesson, as they're doing in Ohio, or handing out concealed carry permits to teachers in Pike County, KY is not going to make them eligible for Seal Team Six any time soon. Innocent kids could get shot not just by the actual perpetrator but even their own teachers. How we think we'll react to a tactical situation and how we do are two entirely different things even if we have experience in firearms usage.
     One of my Facebook friends wrote a lengthy post recently about her experience at Quantico. She's a crime novelist like me and she took advantage of what's known as F.A.T.S.- Firearms Training Simulator. It's open to civilians, obviously, and even those with experience and training in firearms generally embarrass themselves.
     Out of all the people at the simulator that day, my FB friend was the only one who scored 100%. The simulator is computer-generated, a more high tech version of the dueling range in Hogan's Alley at the FBI Training Academy at Quantico. The instructors can change the simulation on a dime, adding or subtracting virtual people at will. They give you a realistic-looking weapon that fires infrared beams, sort of like Lazer Tag.
     After running through her simulation, my friend overheard the instructors talking to some of the "firearms experts" after their own runs. She heard things such as:
     "You think you fired only six shots, sir? You fired 23."
     "Congratulations. You just killed one of our undercover agents and seven innocent civilians."
     And, in one horrifying exchange, she heard an instructor tell a woman that not only did she not hit anything she fired at, she aimed at and missed a building.
     These were self-described gun experts.
     Places like Butler County, Ohio and Pike County, Kentucky have long since fallen in with the NRA's ridiculous mantra of "More guns!" Such thinking is like claiming if you pour enough gallons of gasoline on a gas fire, eventually the liquid will extinguish the flames. Of course, the NRA will say anything to that effect as long as it leads to more guns being sold to the real people they represent: The gun and ammo manufacturers.
     Because passing out guns and bullets like Halloween candy is going to make law enforcement's job that much harder as they enter a highly emotional and chaotic active shooter scenario and may not be able to distinguish the good guys from the bad ones.


At February 28, 2018 at 10:37 PM, Blogger Harry Hamid said...

God bless teachers, but people who are a) educated, b) making less than what educated people generally earn, and c) in an often thankless job in which they get insulted regularly, seem to me to be prime candidates for going postal, so maybe teachers aren't a good group to keep armed in a stressful workplace.

Even worse, I was flipping staitons this morning and found TWO radio hosts simultaneously (on different stations!) talking about letting parents carry guns when they're in schools to take on potential bad situaitons.

My mom worked in a school for years, and they had to have parents removed by police more than once. Parents who are hearing bad things about their Perfect Little Johnny are even a worse crowd than teachers to have armed under stress.

These are really bad ideas but I guess they're going for ANYTHING other than looking at the guns being used in the shootings.


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