At first blush, the idea of arming teachers seems like a good one.
Cornered in a classroom with a shooter roaming the halls looking for victims, I suspect many educators feel totally helpless and would long for a weapon to defend themselves and the students huddling around them in fear.
Unfortunately, the scenario has happened repeatedly in the United States, the most recent incidence occurring last week at a high school in Florida.
In the wake of the senseless tragedy, the debate over gun control has erupted again with many Americans demanding stricter restrictions on weapon ownership. Others renewed the call to allow teachers and administrators to carry guns to school as a first line of defense against future maniacs intent on killing innocent people.
Horry County Councilman Johnny Vaught put it this way:
“They are going somewhere they can find a flock of sheep, not a herd of bulls,” Vaught said. “They are going in there knowing no one is shooting back.”
Frank DeAngelis, retired principal of Columbine High School, site of a shooting rampage that left 12 students and a teacher dead, disagrees.
I understand Vaught’s position, but I agree with DeAngelis that arming teachers could present far more problems than it solves. In fact, all kinds of things could go terribly wrong.
For example, I can foresee situations where students could actually overcome a teacher during a confrontation, take the gun, and turn it on the teacher.
What would happen to a teacher who mistakes someone for being an actual threat and shoots? Keep in mind this happens occasionally to law enforcement officers and several have faced murder charges.
During a tense standoff with a school shooter, a teacher with a gun could shoot, miss the suspect, and kill the hostage.
These are just a few of the scenarios that could happen if society decides to allow teachers and administrators to carry guns into schools.
Furthermore, I’m not convinced even such an extreme precaution would prevent future school shootings.
The erosion of this nation’s value system over the past few decades, the prevalence of violence in movies, television shows and video games, and the removal of God from schools has created an environment condusive to random, senseless acts of violence.
The best we can do at this point is try to make public schools as safe as possible by restricting access and being more alert to potentially dangerous situations.
Arming teachers, as appealing as it may be to some people, is not a good idea.