When I moved to quiet Southern Oregon from wild and wooly Southern California, I caught bits and pieces of a local debate about allowing teachers to carry concealed weapons in schools. I believe the debate is still going on, I’ll admit I’m not completely clear about all the arguments pro and con here, but the issue made me think. What would I say if I had a child in school here? As far as school goes, my frame of reference is two fold, my own school experience as a child, and my experience on school campuses when I was a cop.
When I was a kid, yeah, here I go dating myself, school was fun. I don’t recall not liking or fearing anything unless it was math. In grade school I loved recess and running and playing, in high school where there was considerably more angst and I was never in the popular or fast crowd, I found a niche playing sports.
Fast-forward several years to being in uniform and heading to school campuses in an entirely different capacity, I didn’t particularly like it. Of course I was there investigating a crime, but the atmosphere seemed to be charged with such a disrespect for all authority, at least on high school campuses, especially police, that I really didn’t like being there. (Note: I never worked DARE, those officers might have an entirely different perspective)
I was also still in uniform when Columbine happened, and I remember the drills and the training we went through should anything like that develop in Long Beach. It was sobering to consider having to storm a school campus in search of an armed gunman, or two.
All of this went through my mind as I considered the idea of armed teachers. I’m a supporter of gun rights; I’m also a supporter of responsible gun ownership. Training I received in the police academy has never left me. You have an awesome responsibility when you carry a gun. The responsibility multiplies if for some reason you have to point that weapon at someone. We were told that we might be confronted by a situation where we had to take a life. Could we live with that?
I always believed that if I had to defend myself or someone else that I could live with the decision.
I assume that if teachers were permitted to carry guns in school they too would go through training and be asked hard questions. It’s one thing if a teacher has to confront an armed adult who obviously doesn’t belong on the campus, but suppose the teacher has to confront an armed 12-year-old? Yes, an armed 12-year old could do a lot of damage, but it boggles the mind to think of a teacher having to shoot one.
Where do I stand on armed teachers? I don’t know. I know here in Oregon, things appear to be a lot calmer, a lot safer, than Southern California, but the police presence is greater in CA and I imagine response times quicker, for the most part.
To me though, it’s such a sad world when we even have to contemplate such a thing.