Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tennessee legislature considering arming teachers

I'm not surprised in the least that someone from our crazy legislature is considering this:

School resource officers are paid jointly by the local sheriff’s department and the school district. Niceley’s bill would allow schools to pay for background checks and firearms training for teachers that woud allow them to be armed as well. Asked if the guns for the trained teachers would also be part of the taxpayer expense, Niceley laughed.

“Well, that’s a minor detail in Tennessee,” he said. “We hoped the teachers would have them already.”

The teachers that would be trained would be volunteers, he said, and would likely carry their own firearms to school.

This is a ridiculous overreaction to recent events. I understand wanting to keep kids safe. But all this really does is introduce more risk into the classroom. While terrible, events like Newton and Columbine are very rare. So what this policy would really do is subject people to an increased likelihood of an accident from teacher's gun rather than some potential murderer.

But putting aside that point, this just doesn't seem like a plausible way to avoid this sort of thing. The logic (I guess, who the hell knows with these people) is that having someone with a gun will either deter anything from happening in the first place or prevent/mitigate it if someone does attempt something.

The first assumption is ridiculous. The guy in Newton knew his own mother had guns and it didn't prevent anything. Every potential murderer with a gun knows other people might have guns. That's why they wear body armor. But even if it was assumed everyone everywhere had a gun there would still be motivation on the part of murderers. You can't change that aside from possibly going the mental health route, which this legislator doesn't seem to care about, or at least not as much as arming everyone first.

The second assumption is mistaken as well. Why would one plain clothed person make a difference? Schools are generally fairly large areas consisting of multiple buildings or areas within a large building. Presumably, you would need to have someone with a gun in every area of the facility in order to be fully protected. Having just one or even a few people armed would still leave most of the school very vulnerable, especially if the shooter has a high capacity gun/ammunition (but hey, let's not discuss this TN legislature and Governor Haslam). So even if we assume arming someone other than a trained police officer in a school is a good idea and could be effective, I don't see how you can't then say a significant amount of the faculty should be armed?

But I doubt even this legislator would go that far. Because even for people like him, that's a step too far. That's because at that point you no longer live in a civilized democracy. You live in a war zone, one in which violence rules over law and basic social contract. And as bad as that situation is for adults, it's insane to subject children to that type of environment. I don't doubt this legislator's desire to protect kids. But he is too wrapped up in the disastrous culture of guns we live in to look to any other alternative.

As I said, school shootings are so rare that I don't think this is a good idea even if it might work in practice, which I highly doubt it would. The better way to try and ensure safety is to look at the root causes of why these school shootings and homicides/suicides in general (this is the much more important aspect of gun violence) occur and try to solve the problem before these people get their hands on guns. The other way is to make it as difficult as possible for people to get guns in the first place. That's not something this legislator and probably many in TN's crazy legislature want to even contemplate. But that doesn't mean we have to go in the opposite direction and start arming everyone. Once you do that you basically give up and declare war on everyone.

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