Dwight and Bridget Schmidt: Arming teachers is a bad idea
Published: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 1:22 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 1:22 p.m.
As public school teachers we express our heartfelt sympathy to those who lost loved ones in the recent school shootings. It is indeed time for a national discussion on gun control when our children and the sanctity of our schools are so attacked. There are those in our country who say one solution is to begin training and arming teachers. Absolutely not!
Society today demands teachers be many things: mentors, counselors, care-givers, parents. But they are not nor ever should be police officers. How can we claim that children will feel truly safe by turning our schools into armed camps?
There are those who say gun control laws have not statistically lessened homicide rates, at least not in the U.S., and so banning assault weapons is not a solution that will save lives. A distinction however needs to be made between general acts of homicide and mass killings.
Mass killings clearly and indisputably result from the killer using rapid-fire, military-style weapons. Why wouldn't we thus pursue a ban on such weapons and the ammunition made for them?
Homicidal acts may still happen, and we should not deceive ourselves otherwise, but mass killings on the scale we have recently witnessed should consequently not.
Mental health officials point out the need to improve such services. We absolutely should. But this must be done in the context of the national debate over what our priorities should be. Social services, education, public programs have all witnessed severe reductions in funds, yet they are critical to building the kinds of bonds that establish community and might just serve to reach out and better identify marginalized individuals before they decide to follow the course of America's recent mass killers. In particular, efforts at improving counseling services to schools would be a starting place.
There are those who say, "It's the person pulling the trigger, not the gun"; likewise, there are those that say, "It's the gun." Aren't we wise enough to realize it is both, a recognition that needs to inform whatever strategies are developed?
Dwight and Bridget Schmidt,