Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Self Protection

Shirley Katz, a teacher in Oregon, is suing the school board for the right to carry a concealed handgun in the classroom. As you might guess, I am on her side.

Although she seems primarily to be making a point about the second amendment, there are some legitimate concerns with being unarmed:
"Our safety plan at our school now is that if somebody threatening comes in, you try to avoid eye contact, and do whatever they say, and that is not acceptable anymore," [Katz] said. Shootings at Virginia Tech University and the one-room Amish school in Pennsylvania, "reinforced my belief we have to take action, we can't just acquiesce as we have been taught to do."
Ms. Katz has a concealed weapons permit, which requires a certified gun safety course, and she practices regularly. The school board is, naturally, against this (why am I reminded of Dolores Umbridge?). According to a CNN broadcast, the Superintendent noted that guns are banned in "courthouses, private work places, airplanes, and sports arenas, so why should schools have a lower standard of safety?"

The argument is asinine, not least of all because two of those areas are readily distinguishable. First, private citizens may not be allowed to bring guns into courthouses, but courthouses are crawling with police officers or U.S. Marshals who have very visible guns. Second, firing a gun in a pressurized cabin poses risks far beyond just being caught in the line of fire (although following Sept 11 and even today I think that pilots should be trained in firearm safety and be allowed to carry a gun).

As for the rest of the Superintendent's argument: allowing teachers (properly permitted) to carry handguns in school will make students safer! Gang members and psychos don't heed the prohibition against guns, and that just leaves the law abiding population unprotected. It is more than reckless to put our heads in the sand against the dangers posed to children rather than trying to protect them. Why aren't we affording a higher level of safety to our children than we do to sports fans or private office workers?


Lawyer Boyfriend said...

You fail to recognize the possibility of a vigilante teacher, in a stressful situations/environment, with an easy to obtain deadly weapon. What shall happen when the first teacher-student shooting is because an apparently "threatening" student pulls out a wallet and the teacher shoots him?

There are better, less dangerous alternatives than "fighting fire with fire." Nothing good can come from having MORE GUNS -- only more death and injury.

Tim in Italy said...

I think this is a great idea, because it demonstrates to the rest of the world why they shouldn't have guns. My friends in Italy, Germany and France are all anti-gun, because they see the destruction gun ownership has wreaked across the US. It's not an accident that Germans label the infrequent shooters in their country as having "American Disease".

dana_hun said...

I am a great friend of firearms and never been to the US.I believe, without having any statistic at hand, that more crimes ( and suicides, which are oviously the cause of depression, stress)are committed by adults then under-aged.so I think this teacher should not have a gun.Maybe the police should pass by more often, I don't know how it looks like now.But one teacher can not defend the school and all teachers are a too big risk.

javajones said...

I'm on your side. I think it is an excellent idea for this teacher, who is trained in gun safely and has a concealed carry permit, to carry a gun at school. I'd feel better if my kids were in a school where a responsible adult was packin'! As the old saying goes, "If guns are outlawed, only the outlaws will have guns."