Sunday, December 23, 2018

Schools: More and more guns means more and more victims

Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, made an extensive and persuasive argument against arming teachers in an interview with radio host Michael Smerconish, arguing that teachers are not and should not be trained as “sharpshooters,” and that having teachers open fire in such a situation would likely add to the chaos and bloodshed. Weingarten continued that this would create “an arms race in schools,” with the result that “more and more guns” will “create more and more victims.”
“Inside a school building, a school has to be a sanctuary. It has to be a place of learning,” Weingarten said. “What else are we going to do? Are we now going to start wearing bulletproof vests for everybody?”
Greg Sargent of the Washington Post wrote, others have pointed out other problems with the idea, such as the possibility that teachers might leave their guns in unlocked desk drawers, and that schools would have the extra burden of ensuring that teachers are safe to carry guns. Then there’s the possibility that police might show up and find an even more confused, chaotic scene. Education groups strongly oppose the idea, and according to Politico, even some school boards in places where it has been legalized have opposed it.
Republicans such as Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) also oppose it. “The notion that my kids are going to school with teachers that are armed with a weapon is not something that, quite frankly, I’m comfortable with,” he said at this week’s CNN town hall on gun violence.
None of this is going to happen. But what’s also troubling about the idea is that it appears deliberately intended to both play on people’s disillusionment with our failure to slow the violence and to further entrench that disillusionment. It’s no accident, as James Hohmann points out, that NRA leader Wayne La Pierre and Trump both used the same language after the shooting — both employed some variation of the idea that we must “harden” our schools.
This is all about manipulating people’s fear for their children’s safety — something that stirs deep terror in all of us. The idea is to basically get us to capitulate: Politicians haven’t protected our children, so forget about pressuring them to get serious about thinking about how to meaningfully regulate guns in the public interest — and instead embrace more guns as the solution. Embrace the arms race. Unfortunately, on large swaths of Americans, it may be working.
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