Thursday, August 21, 2008


I feel that I have no choice but to comment on this story about a school district in Texas which is now allowing teachers to carry concealed firearms to school.

It's hard to say what is most disturbing about this. Is it the implication that the world is fundamentally unsafe and we must be prepared to defend ourselves by force at all times? Is it the fact that this implication will hardly be lost on the children, who will come to believe that the world is a place to be approached not with curiosity and enthusiasm but with fear and trepidation? Or is it the inescapable conclusion that there are teachers out there, people whose job it is to nurture and educate the next generation, who think that this might actually be a good idea?

One friend of mine points out that the likelihood of a teacher putting the gun down - in a desk drawer, in a briefcase - and its being picked up by a child is simply too great to ignore. Another notes that teachers shooting at shooters will only increase casualties, as crazed, suicidal teenage killers are hardly likely to lay down their weapons when faced with authority. A third, somewhat more cynical friend says that as a parent she is frequently grateful that she doesn't have a gun, and that for teachers this gratitude must be multiplied by the number of children in their classes, at least.

In other words, the reasons that this is a bad idea are many and varied, but the fact is this: guns do not belong in schools. Period.

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