Before you read what follows, you might want to read the following article:
Will Guns Make Schools Safer?
If it disappears on you (and it likely will after a few days), here’s the gist of it. Michigan State Representative David Agema (R-Grandville) introduced a bill last week that would allow teachers to have
a gun in school.
As an added bonus, it would also allow parents to carry concealed weapons while transporting their children to and from school.
Interestingly, all the school officials and school security guards interviewed are against the bill.
Agema’s reasoning (according to the Grand Rapids Press) appears to be that it will make terrorists and potential school shooters think twice before targeting Michigan schools.
In all honesty, it seems like a horrible idea to me and not just slightly horrible, but actually horrible in a way that tempts me to make hyperbolic statements about Representative Agema.
Rude hyperbolic statements.
I’m not going to do that, however, because from what I understand he’s a decent guy. In this case, however, he’s a decent guy who’s come up with a really bad idea.
If you’ll forgive me, I’ll run through the reasons I think it’s a bad idea:
Teachers are Teachers and Not SWAT Teams: Changing That Will Be Expensive
1. While the article mentions that teachers will receive special weapons training, I can’t help but be curious about the details of that. Simply knowing how to fire a weapon at a target would not be enough.
Off the top of my head, I’d want them to know the following: small unit tactics so that they can coordinate with other gun carrying teachers, enough knowledge of police techniques that they don’t interfere with police efforts, weapons knowledge (of course), and regular refresher courses so that they don’t forget what they’ve learned.
I can’t help but think that this might be expensive. If so, I wonder if the money might be better spent on educating children as opposed to, you know, shooting them.
Mind you, they might not go with anything near as extensive as the sort of training that I’d argue for. In that case, my other objections come out in full force…
Putting More Guns Into the Mix Doesn’t Automatically Improve the Situation
2. Teachers that aren’t coordinating with the police might accidentally get into firefights with the police.
3. Also teachers that aren’t coordinating with each other might get into firefights with each other.
4. Teachers that miss their intended targets might hit students that aren’t involved.
5. The parents who might be carrying concealed weapons to school aren’t required to take any additional training at all. As such, the previous points apply to them as well.
6. Instead of making it harder for students to commit crimes, it might make it easier for them to obtain guns–if they know which of their teachers are carrying them.
Can We Solve an Improbable Situation By Sprinkling Our Schools Randomly With Guns?
7. By encouraging teachers and parents to bring guns to school, it seems that we’re replacing something improbable with a more concrete problem.
Specifically what I mean by that is that terrorist attacks and school shootings (though well publicized when they happen) are uncommon.
By contrast, people do shoot themselves (or others) accidentally while cleaning a gun or even by pulling the trigger too early. During deer season, it seems that someone almost always gets shot instead of a deer.
People also sometimes misinterpret people’s intentions. To put it another way, the more nervous people you have carrying guns and looking for school shooters (or terrorists), the more likely that someone is going to mistake an innocent occurrence for something more sinister.
Police are trained in procedures to follow to determine whether it’s wise to shoot or not (and how to avoid shooting).
The general public is not.
Do you know what? The police still make mistakes despite their training. I’m not excited about finding out whether the general public will do better without it.