Maniacs kill people. Maniacs with guns kill more people.
Since the Sandy Hook massacre, I have been preoccupied with the issues surrounding gun control. I have watched NRA president Wayne LaPierre try to deflect attention away from a discussion of assault weapons and whether they should be available to the general public. He mentioned violent video games and better mental health services, among other things. His idea is to put armed guards in every school and possibly arm teachers. This idea is insane and ludicrous. Columbine High School had an armed police officer. But high schools are big places and his presence didn’t help in that massacre.
And arm teachers! Yeah, right – as if a teacher with 3 hours of training on how to use a Glock is going to be effective against a crazy person with an assault rifle who can pump 10 bullets into each little 6-year-old body, and have the ammo to kill just about everyone in the school, as it appears that was Adam Lanza’s original intention.
School districts are laying off teachers for lack of money. Teachers are underpaid and overworked. In a lot of schools there are no art or music classes. In some schools, students have to share outdated textbooks that are falling apart because the district can’t afford to buy new ones for every child. So where are the millions of dollars for this militarization of our schools going to come from?? I believe that no matter what the NRA says, teachers in general are going to protest these measures. We didn’t get teaching degrees to learn how to shoot a gun and potentially kill someone. We are in classrooms to teach, without having to be reminded every minute about our students’ safety. We are willing to practice lockdown drills to prepare for an emergency situation, but we always hope it will never have to be necessary to do it for real.
We can debate the meaning of the Second Amendment and the right to own any type of gun without restrictions or thorough background checks! But what about the rights of children? School children have the right to be educated and to feel safe in their school. (God knows many don’t feel that safety at home). They have the right to expect to go to school to learn each day and to return home to their families each night. They have the right to celebrate Christmas with their families.
Teachers have the right to do the job for which they were trained, which is to teach. We have the right to say NO to learning how to shoot a gun or even hold one in our hand. Yes, we are prepared to protect our students from harm. But keeping a loaded gun in a classroom closet isn’t going to make us or the students feel any safer.