Archive for Monday, February 26, 2018

Editorial: Arming teachers not the answer

February 26, 2018

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There are a number of steps that can and should be taken to make schools safer from mass shootings. Arming teachers is not one of them.

President Donald Trump should be commended for arranging and hosting the White House listening session last week in the wake of the fatal school shooting on Feb. 14 in Parkland, Fla. Trump asked the meeting participants to offer suggestions to prevent future school shootings. He listened intently and indicated support for several of the suggestions, including some that required him to buck National Rifle Association positions. Smart, logical stances and solutions for which Trump indicated support included:

• Fixing the National Instant Background Check System to include more data from more agencies, more states and more information on mental health.

• Raising the legal age to purchase an assault rifle to 21.

• Banning bump stocks that modify guns to allow increased rapid fire.

• Enhancing security at schools, including metal detectors, security officers and more secure building construction.

These are pragmatic, common-sense solutions that polling shows a majority of Americans support.

But Trump also spent significant time on Wednesday and in the days following touting an idea that is more divisive among Americans: Arming teachers with concealed weapons and paying them bonuses to serve as both a deterrent and first response to school shooters.

Trump theorized that if a teacher who also was an adept marksman was armed when the shooter appeared on the Stoneman Douglas High School campus, “the teacher would have shot the hell out of him before anything would have happened.”

Trump indicated that he would support arming 10 to 40 percent of teachers with concealed weapons, especially those with prior military or law enforcement experience. The teachers would have to go through annual training and would be paid bonuses to carry the weapons.

He also would get rid of the gun-free zones used by many school districts, saying such zones make schools targets of criminals. “We have to harden our schools, not soften them up,” Trump said.

But is putting more guns on campuses really the best way to make schools safer? It would seem that asking teachers to, as a secondary responsibility to their primary role as educators, make a decision on when to pull out weapons and shoot would increase the probability of more gun violence on school campuses.

There is hope that Congress will act soon on several of the solutions the president supports, perhaps as early as this week on fixing background checks and banning bump stocks. That would be refreshingly welcome.

Trump clarified late last week that although he supports arming teachers, the decision to take such a step should be left to states and local school districts. Here’s hoping Kansas doesn’t take the arm-the-teachers approach seriously.

Comments

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Having an SRO in each school, that has the gonads to do their job, is a good start. If this can't be afforded then look to retired peace officers, and vets. I do not think teachers want to assume this added responsibility, but then I am not a teacher. I am a retired peace officer, and many of my friends work part time in state buildings, and security jobs. More may wish to work in schools a few days a week.

Brock Masters 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Charles it can be afforded, we just need to make it a priority.

Arming teachers is not a good idea. Teachers should focus on teaching. Let them conceal carry if they are permitted and take training but hire professionals whose only job is to be armed and ready to defend the children.

Aaron McGrogor 1 month, 2 weeks ago

This is hilarious. Armed pilots are why we haven't had problems. Not, you know, the added security checks and TSA personnel.

Gary Stussie 1 month, 3 weeks ago

"Raising the legal age to purchase an assault rifle to 21"

I am 70 and I can not buy an Assault Rife!

Reminds me of Hollywood celebrities commenting on politics or economics ... they typically don't know what they are talking about!

AR-15 is not an "Assault Rifle" ... it is a semi-automatic rife. This means it fires one round each time the trigger is pulled. This is a VERY important part of the "ban guns" argument ... because most of the handguns sold today are also semi-automatic.

A skilled shooter can change the magazine in a semi-automatic pistol in about 1.5 seconds! A pistol is easier to conceal then a rifle. These wack-jobs use the AR-15 because it makes them feel like Rambo!

Banning AR-15-like weapons is a "feel good" measure. If we move forward with a ban on semi-automatic rifes, it will not stop the carnage. It will, however, pave the way for banning all semi-automatic weapons.

"But they are just a killing weapon" ... the experts suggest that a shotgun in close battle environment is most lethal, since every shell can spray a half-dozen or more pellets, each capable of killing or maiming a person. Twelve-gauge shotguns often fire five shells, and sometimes more, before needing to be reloaded.

“Shotguns are a very good antipersonnel weapon at close range,” said John C. Cerar, the former commander of the firearms and tactics section for the New York Police Department.

It is horrible to think that we, in the United States, have to have armed guards in our schools. Unfortunately, it is a sign of the times and, in my opinion, is the only way to counter the school shooting threat.

Dale Miller 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Gary, why can't you legally get ahold of an AR-15 rifle?

Aaron McGrogor 1 month, 2 weeks ago

What a horribly designed website. Seems more like a powerpoint.

One "slide" asks what makes one semi-automatic rifle a ranch gun, and(next "slide") the AR-15 an assault weapon. One glaring difference is the amount of ammo you can load into a ranch gun vs an AR-15.

I would also like to point out that arguing that a word is made up is rather pointless. All words were made up at some points. Civilizations make new words all the time.

All this being said, I generally think that abortion of a site had some good info.

Dale Miller 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Gary you said.....

I am 70 and I can not buy an Assault Rife!

I asked you why you can't get ahold of an AR15 legally and you send me to a place explaining what an AR15 is and isn't. I know what an AR15 is......I was looking for an explanation why you can't get ahold of one legally...

Aaron McGrogor 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Because he didn't say he couldn't get a hold of an AR-15, he said he couldn't buy an assault rifle. Then he posted the website to show the difference.

Richard Aronoff 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Regarding shotguns, Vice President Biden said the same thing.

Taurus and Smith & Wesson both make a revolver that is capable of firing a .45 caliber round or a .410 shotgun round. Some people refer to them as snake slayers because with a number six .410 shell it will kill a snake every time if the snake is actually a threat. It's a perfect home-defense choice since beyond 15 yards it is unlikely you will hit what you're aiming at. It's really only effective in an up close situation.

Jim Phillips 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Everytime there is a massacre/mass murder, the same arguments keep popping up over and over. In the mean time, nothing gets done to address the problem. Argue the fine points all you want, but keep this in mind as you scream and holler and point fingers. The clock is ticking. Eventually, it will happen again and the cycle will start all over.

So here is my suggestion. Debate, legislate, argue, scream, stomp your feet and cry all you want. I don't really care. In the mean time, let's put protections in place to stop the evil when it comes in to create as much carnage as possible as quickly as possible. Recent history has proven that Gun Free Zone signs protect no one.

A few years ago, the Kansas City area was beseiged by a rash of armed robberies in convenience stores. Once KCMO PD began hiding armed officers in the stores, which resulted in the justified shooting deaths of several perpetrators, the robberies ceased.

Bottom line, when the bad guys were afraid of dying, they quit robbing. Will it be traumatic to the kids if trained, armed security officers eliminate an active shooter before he gets started? Maybe, but which is more traumatic; knowing that a killer was stopped by trained security personnel or watching their friends and teachers murdered and maybe being killed or injured themselves?

So, make all the fuss and noise you want about guns or mental health or the NRA or the court system. It really doesn't matter because, due to our collective lack of doing anything substantial and meaningful, we will soon be burying more kids.

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