Arming our nation’s teachers to defend against mass shootings is not a solution because teachers, Mr. President, are not soldiers.
Arming a teacher with a weapon does not instantly turn that teacher into someone who is capable of taking a human life, no matter how proficient a marksman he or she is. They lack the intense psychological training and preparation soldiers receive that is necessary in order to take a life. Teachers are not soldiers and targets are not people.
Armed guards at schools is not a solution either. Anyone who has never taken a human life who says they can do so without hesitation is not someone you want armed anywhere near a child or a school. They will either become the kind of guard who stands frozen in a parking lot while children die inside, or they become a wannabe hero who takes a life because the opportunity to call it vigilantism presents itself. (*cough* George Zimmerman *cough*).
I have worked most of my adult life in the educational system and have only witnessed one instance where a decorated soldier successfully transitioned into teaching and believe me, the world would be a much better place if that man were in charge. But sadly, he is an anomaly. I believe that most teachers would not be able to pull the trigger on an armed child standing in front of them, especially if he or she knew the child. I know I wouldn’t be able to.
My vote, Mr. President, is not to react with defense, but with offense. Offense wins Super Bowls, right? So why not use offense to tackle this problem? Let’s put our tax dollars BACK into schools. Let’s hire more teachers so they are able to offer more one-on-one attention to students. Let’s serve healthy breakfasts and lunches because trying to do anything on an empty stomach is a waste of time. Support after school activities and pay the people who run these programs a reasonable wage to do so.
Maybe most importantly, let’s hire more counselors who can identify problem students early and then give them resources to help that child grow into someone who doesn’t become so disenfranchised that he or she shoots up their own school.
Did you notice, Mr. President, that when kids shoot up a school, they shoot up THEIR school? And why not? School is the entire world to a child, and if that child feels as though that world doesn’t want them, the rejection becomes too much to bear. And let’s not forget that the majority of people who murder children at school are children themselves. More guns are not the answer to that problem. Early intervention is.
Mr. President, we don’t need another mouthpiece for the NRA. We need you to make a pledge to invest as much time, effort and money into the safety of our children as you do anything else that crosses your desk.