The idea on the table is nothing like what its haters are mocking

Unraveling the dishonesty of those who oppose 'arming teachers'

By —— Bio and Archives--March 8, 2018

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Unraveling the dishonesty of those who oppose 'arming teachers'
One of the ways you know an idea is powerful is when you see its opponents twisting and completely misrepresenting it. A classic example is when Democrats label every Republican tax proposal as a “tax cut for the rich.” It doesn’t matter if that’s an accurate description of the idea (it almost never is). The point is to label the idea in such a way that it sounds too ridiculous to even discuss.

That’s because, if the idea gets a serious airing, people will like it.


So what about the idea of having teachers carry firearms in schools? You’ve probably heard a lot of talk about this, and much of it comes from people who are mocking the whole idea, as if the proposal was to hand firearms to terrified teachers as they walk in the door in the morning and tell them, “Here, you’d better use this!”

You’re being regaled with stories of geeky math teachers trying to figure out which end is the barrel as some maniac with an “assault rifle” barges into the room. Sounds pretty absurd, doesn’t it?

But do you know what’s actually being proposed? Here’s a pretty good summation of the version that just passed the Florida legislature:

It would also create a so-called guardian program that would let school employees and many teachers carry handguns if they go through law enforcement training and if the school district decides to participate in the program.

That’s a really simple, to-the-point explanation, but it gives us a lot to go on. Lets’ break it down:

First, it would let teachers carry handguns. It wouldn’t make them. It’s basically a long-overdue abandonment of the idiotic idea of the “gun-free zone,” which gives school shooters a crucial advantage by ensuring that when they show up at a school building, there is no chance there’s anyone else there with a gun. This would allow a trained, licensed CCW holder to carry as he or she could carry anywhere else.

Second, those who want to carry would have to get training conducted by law enforcement. One of the things you hear from scoffers is that teachers would surely wilt under the pressure they would face from a school shooter, because they have no idea what to do. Now first, that applies an awfully broad assumption to every teacher. Some would be terrified, of course, and they are probably not the ones who would volunteer for this. Others have nerves of steel and understand that in a situation like this, when everyone’s lives are at risk, it’s better to have some means by which to fight back.

We heard many stories from Stoneman Douglas of teachers using their own bodies to shield students and protect their lives. Why do you think a teacher brave enough to do that couldn’t also handle himself or herself with a firearm? If you can get in front of a student when a shooter is about to open fire, why can’t you shoot back?

Third, individual school districts would have to decide to participate in the program. Now I think that’s a mistake. I think states should eliminate gun-free zones entirely, and any teacher who wants to carry and is willing to go through the training should be allowed to do so. But the point is that we’re not just handing guns to people and wishing them good luck. This is a very structured idea with a lot of safeguards, and a lot of people have to understand the stakes and sign off before the biology teacher is showing up armed for class.

Fourth, no one is arguing the teachers would become some sort of alternate police force. If there’s a school shooter, the idea is not to send armed teachers after the kid instead of calling the police, which will come as news to the people who insist you have to “let the police handle it.” Of course you call in the police to handle it. No one is suggesting otherwise. But having trained, licensed individuals carrying firearms could make a crucial difference during those first few minutes when the assault has begun and the police have yet to arrive on the scene. That’s when the shooter has the greatest opportunity to kill the most people. If there’s at least a chance one of the classrooms he or she enters has a person in it with the capacity to shoot back, it could save God-knows-how-many lives.

I realize there is the potential for a lay person to make a mistake in judgment and fire a weapon when there is actually no threat, but that risk also applies when a lay person is carrying a weapon anywhere else. One of the reasons for the training is to help people understand when they should consider using a firearm and when they should not. There could still be errors, but your average public school has become too dangerous a place to ask people to spend their days there without any ability to protect themselves.

The way this idea is being portrayed by its critics is dishonest in the extreme. There is very little downside to it, and it has the potential to help prevent the next massacre. It’s insane that this isn’t already the policy of every school in America.


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Dan Calabrese -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Dan Calabrese’s column is distributed by HermanCain.com, which can be found at HermanCain

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