Sunday, December 16, 2012

Teachers and Guns - One Parent's Thoughts

In the wake of the horrible massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, I've read articles and have seen comments stating that if the teachers at the school had been armed, or had the ability to be so armed, then 20 children would not have been killed. This post is not meant to be a debate about gun control or the right to bear arms, it is just a few of my "what if" thoughts on those teachers or administrators being armed.
In a perfect world, we wouldn't have to worry about someone being able to go into a school, shopping mall, movie theater, or church and shooting people at random, injuring and killing innocent sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, mothers and fathers. But, sadly, this is our reality.
What if the teachers or administrators at Sandy Hook had guns? Would that have saved the lives of the 20 children killed? What about the 6 adults killed? In the first place, if we allow teachers to be armed in class we would have to assume that those firearms would have to be locked up at all times. As a parent, I would not feel comfortable if I knew my child's teacher had an unattended gun in the classroom that any child could access, and possibly accidentally fire. Remember, we hear about accidental shootings quite often - kids who get ahold of their parent's guns that were not locked up, or were easy to get to. Kids are curious. They don't mean harm when the see and play with a real gun. They just don't always know better.
So, if we assume that our teachers have guns in the classroom, and that they are locked up so kids can't reach them, then we also have to assume that they will be up on a shelf, in a locked file cabinet, in a closet, or in a locked desk drawer. The keys to these locks are most likely on a keyring that is in the teacher's pocket, purse, or desk.
When a tragedy such as this unfolds, our minds are not always in the "moment" so to speak. The first thought is not always about taking the time to find a key, unlocking a cabinet, unlocking a gun safe, and pulling out a gun to protect ourselves or those around us. Chaos in our environment creates chaos in our minds. Those teachers at Sandy Hook wanted their children to be safe. They did what they could to make sure they were. They hid them in closets and bathrooms, they huddled them in corners, they gathered them under and behind desks. And in at least one case, they put themselves in harms way to ensure the safety of their children. These are their children as much as they are ours. During school hours, they are entrusted to not only teach our children, but to protect our children. And that is what they did.
Do I think the teachers having guns would have saved any lives? No, I don't. When someone is set on causing as much death and destruction as possible, it's going to happen quickly and swiftly. Multiple teachers and administrators taking the time to access their own weapons probably would have not made it in time to save lives. You also run the risk of more lives being cut short if a potential gun fight amongst the villian and heroes were to break out.
I don't know what the answer to these awful events are. I don't know what kind of gun control or gun accessibility rules or laws need to be in place. But I do know that something needs to be done. I do know that I will mourn for the innocent babies who will not grow up to learn, love, and laugh. And I do know that every time a senseless act of violence like this happens, arguments will pop up and rage throughout political parties, religious groups, and personal opinons. Until something is done, this vicious cycle and war of words will continue to rage - and in this parent's opinion, the war needs to end NOW. Not later. NOW - for the sake of our families, friends, and futures.
Thank you.

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