I Teach Kids; Here Is A Highly Probable Scenario That Shows Why You Should Not Arm Me or My Peers
Do not arm me. Do not arm my fellow teachers. Do not spend millions if not billions of dollars building complex escape labyrinths or double layered, bullet proof doors. Do not listen to the gun profiteers. Their ideas will not keep us safe.
Take these things into consideration before I lay out a highly probable scenario that disproves the “arming teachers” idea introduced by Wayne La Pierre and the National Rifle Association, an organization so obviously protecting their financial interests, I find it insulting.
- I am trained in Active Shooter Response.
- I have conducted Lockdown Drills with my students.
- I have fired rifles before. At a range. After I was trained.
- I enjoyed firing those rifles. I did it every summer for five years.
- I have family that owns firearms. They’re in Canada though, and are some of the most responsible gun owners I know. They agree with what I am about to say.
- I have friends who have served in the military. They agree with what I am about to say.
- I have family who have served in the military and pursued law enforcement positions. That’s one of those Canadians I mentioned before, and they seem to do just fine without over-militarizing their police. They agree with what I am about to say.
- I teach Hebrew and Judaic Studies in Synagogues, so the risk level to my students is increased even more, especially in the era of Trump’s Junta. Our security team agrees with what I am about to say.
Now that that is out of the way, here’s a scenario:
(Trigger Warning: Gun Violence, Death)
Imagine a world where we arm all of our teachers and expect them to save our sons and daughters from attackers. Every student is aware of this, meaning they are expected to be war-ready, even though we are not at war. One person is particularly aware of armed teachers — the person who wants to kill. If knowing they face a glorified militia amidst their target does not dissuade them, they will have a complex plan, even if the bloodshed is indiscriminate. Just look at Columbine and Virginia Tech. It’s the Batman Paradox — the Joker and other super-villains only emerged because Batman’s vigilantism challenged them.
And so, I’d be teaching my class, both my students and I trying to ignore the fact that at any point during the day, an over-worked, underpaid teacher dealing with hundreds of unruly kids has access to a device that could take a life in a second. If you don’t consider the anxiety and paranoia likely to emerge from a childhood environment like that, it seems like a perfect plan.
The shooter, concealing his weapon, knows that in order to succeed in his twisted objective, he must kill the armed teacher first. That’s me. There goes the protector. No matter what, maybe not me or another teacher, if one teacher goes down, students will die along with them. Life is lost by default and teachers become primary targets. Psychological damage exists in all scenarios involving armed teachers.
If you are relying on someone to draw a gun faster than the shooter with mad intention, hire a Wild-West Gunslinger. No teacher will be able to react fast enough to protect their students if they have to un-holster a gun, take it off safety, and aim to take the life of ANOTHER HUMAN BEING in time to stop any bloodshed at all. Meanwhile, to ward off other teachers with firearms, a shooter can easily lock himself (could be anyone, but statistically it is likely to be a single, White male) in with the rest of the class secure behind their tax-dollar funded, bulletproof double doors. He can easily massacre them before a SWAT team comes too late or he takes his own life.
What pathetic excuses and ideas will the NRA and GOP give for protecting automatic weapons then?
If you’re like Donald Trump, you will posthumously call me a coward and blame me, the teacher, just like he has nationally shamed guard Scot Peterson. Or they will say it is because I was not “adept with military or special training,” like Trump proposes of concealed carrying teachers. A disciplinarian soldier, especially with the possibility of PTSD, is far from an ideal candidate to teach children.
The NRA will argue that maybe my gun should not be on safety even when not in use, so I can always be ready. What happens when it accidentally goes off then? Every gun owner knows to keep the safety on.
If they cross that off, the NRA will say my gun should be out on my desk at all times then. Nothing makes a school more conducive to learning than seeing loaded firearms at all times, right? For all the helicopter parents and people afraid of gangster rap, goth music, and “violent video games” I find it strange that they would be completely fine with exposing their children to actual machines of death for most of their day. Then again, they also likely voted for Mr. Trump and would not mind a military dictatorship.
When I first learned I had to be trained in Active Shooter protocol and lead Lockdown Drills, I scoffed because I don’t like to believe something so terrible and terrifying could happen to dozens of children, let alone me. I would end this with some smooth, punchy line like “ but it can,” but that’s incorrect. It happens. It’s no longer an issue of possibility.
Another shooter will emerge, spawned from the same anxiety-driving, hyper-competitive bullying culture permeating throughout our failing school systems and worsened under Betsy DeVos and the Bully-in-Chief who gave her that job as a favor. Furthermore, copycats and the psychosis of massacre inspire new violence simply by exposure through media and frequency of events. The question is, when that shooter emerges, and gets the idea to do harm, will America have taken the National Rifle Association’s bait and overspent on militarized schools that will lead to a bloodbath no matter what scenario unfolds, or will we come to our senses as a country and expand background checks and eliminate automatic weaponry for consumer purchase, stopping a maniac before his warpath even begins? Will we restore our schools to be safe havens for early development and learning instead of violence and fear?
Ask this question before you write your next Facebook post or Tweet, and let the answer guide you to contact your congressmen. Go through the scenarios in your head and realize, when you take out all the cowboys and action heroes, “good guys with guns” aren’t just illogical non-solutions — they exacerbate the problem. Run through the possibilities. You’ll see. In every single scenario, someone gets wounded, murdered, or traumatized for life. That is except for one:
The one with less guns.