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February 28, 2018

Arming Teachers Has a Lot of Merit

It should be up to the states, and training and certification should be required, but it’s a good idea.

In the wake of the mass murder at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, proposals have come in from all quarters regarding how to stop another such atrocity.

The response from the Left has been as expected — calls for banning many or all firearms in common use, stricter background checks, raising the legal age to purchase a firearm, boycotting the NRA, etc. Of course, it is hard to imagine how any of that would have stopped the perpetrator, a mentally unbalanced and homicidal young man.

After all, over the last two years, the killer had been disciplined in school 25 times, local police were summoned to his house 39 times, friends and neighbors had reported to police multiple times that he was collecting guns and had a desire to kill people, and the FBI had been warned twice about him — once after posting on social media that he wanted to become a “professional school shooter,” and once when a girl close to him warned that he was talking about killing people. In both instances the FBI failed to follow up. And that’s not to mention the failures of law enforcement at the scene.

To the shock and outrage of many on the Left, President Donald Trump proposed training and arming teachers and school staff. Their reaction was as immediate as it was predictable. Washington’s Democrat Governor Jay Inslee cried, “I have listened to the first-grade teachers that don’t want to be pistol-packing first-grade teachers. I’ve listened to law enforcement who have said they don’t want to have to train teachers. … Educators should educate and they should not be foisted upon this responsibility of packing heat in first-grade classes.”

Gun control advocates call the idea of arming teachers “crazy,” arguing, “We need fewer guns, not more guns.” A New York Times editorial pointed to an analysis of shooting accuracy by NYPD officers — which claims they put only one-third of their shots on target under stress — as to why teachers should not be armed. But if that is the argument, wonders columnist Dennis Prager, isn’t that also an argument for disarming police?

Prager also points to an LA Times editorial that asked, “If a pistol-strapping chemistry teacher had grabbed her .45 and unloaded on today’s gunman after he killed, what, one student? Three? Five? That would be good news?” But isn’t one or three or five dead better than 17 dead?

MSDHS Coach Aaron Feis died a hero, bullets ripping through his body while shielding students from the attacker. Yet many who call him a hero also do not think he should have been armed. How many fewer would have died had Feis been able to return fire?

The root question is why leftists seem intent on protecting or appeasing evil while making it more difficult for the innocent to defend themselves. Leftists rage against micro-aggressions and mis-gendering while seeking to appease murderous Islamist radicals and totalitarian dictators. They tear down statues of Robert E. Lee but wear T-shirts celebrating Che Guevara.

Despite the hand-wringing and lamentations of the anti-Second Amendment Left, President Trump has not called for arming any teacher or school employee who does not want to be armed, nor has he called for any federal mandate, instead rightly noting that it’s a state issue. He has simply suggested we effectively train teachers and employees who do wish to carry in states and districts that allow it. Texas has more than 100 school districts that have done this already.

Some still argue that this would not be a deterrent, but is that true?

Consider this: Is it coincidence, for example, that the theater chosen by the psychopath who killed 12 and wounded 58 in Aurora, Colorado, was the only one of seven theaters in a 20-minute drive from his house (and it was not the closest theater) that was a declared “gun free” zone?

No, it is no coincidence. According to the Crime Prevention Research Center, over 98% of all mass shootings since 1950 have occurred in designated “gun free” zones. That is also true even of military recruiting centers like the one attacked by a jihadi in Chattanooga in 2015.

These murderers want to kill as many people as possible before they are stopped. The disparity is so glaring that such places should instead be called “victim-rich zones.” If you have a friend who still disagrees, perhaps you could illustrate by buying them a “gun free household” sticker.

President Trump’s proposal has considerable merit, so long as the decision is left up to the states and the individual teachers who are trained and certified. For those so inclined, we should consider a salary bonus for those who are certified through a law-enforcement training course.

Even if only a few of the teachers and staff in a school signed up and qualified, it would be a deterrent. Any potential murderer with designs to kill our children would know that the response would be swift and deadly.

Armed, trained citizens protecting our innocent children. How could that possibly be a bad thing?

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