Jason Villalba Wants to Clear Some Things Up About His Plan to Arm Texas' Teachers

Categories: Politics

WFAAJasonVillalba.jpg
WFAA
Villalba, explaining his bill on WFAA Tuesday night.
Freshman state Rep. Jason Villalba has spent much of the past couple days scrambling to respond to the sudden media attention sparked by his announcement that he would file a bill for the coming legislative session allowing teachers to carry guns. He talked to the Morning News yesterday, and yesterday I heard him on KERA, on whatever radio station they were playing in the dentist's office and the Christmas station my wife insists we listen to in the car.

We got our chance to chat with Villalba yesterday afternoon. He began by stressing that the bill has been misconstrued to a certain degree by the media. "Now I've become the face of teacher-carry," he said, which isn't the case.

The confusion stems at least in part from the fact that there isn't actually a bill yet. What he's actually calling for, Villalba said, is more of a sky-marshal program for schools. School districts that opt in could select teachers or school administrators who, after undergoing an extensive background check, a thorough mental health evaluation, and an intensive weapons training program (the details are being worked out, but Villalba suggests it be two weeks and include state and local law enforcement officers), would be designated as marshals.

Marshals who spend the bulk of their day with children (e.g. teachers) would be required to lock their weapon in a secure location. Administrators and other school employees without classroom duties could be allowed to carry the weapon on their person.

"I think the benefit is, we reduce response times from minutes to seconds," Villalba said. By the time law enforcement arrives to a mass shooting, the damage has typically already occurred. "If we have someone on the campus to reduce the response time to less than 120 seconds, I think we have the possibility of saving life."

He cites the principal of Sandy Hook Elementary, who reportedly rushed at Adam Lanza, unarmed, in an attempt to stop him early in his rampage. Had she had access to a firearm, things might have turned out much differently, Villalba said.

Unlike their airborne counterparts, school marshals wouldn't actually be law enforcement officers, more like auxiliary police. He uses emergency medical care as a metaphor. Villalba, an attorney, can't walk into an emergency room and zap a patient with a defibrillator, but he is trained and certified to use one in other emergency situations. It's a life-saving device that, under ideal circumstances, is operated by a professional. But when there's no professional around, a highly trained volunteer can do the job.

There are of course limits to Villalba's metaphor. Arming school employees to do battle with a maniac on a rampage is different thing from providing medical treatment to someone suffering a heart attack. Heart attacks are common, for one, while gun rampages remain rare. And only one of those things involves deadly weapons. There's also the question, being debated frantically these days, of whether the presence of guns would actually make schools more dangerous rather than safer.

Villalba thinks not. He has a kindergartener in public school and would do nothing to jeopardize the child's safety, he said. Putting a gun in the hand of a "good guy," he said, is a reasonable step to take to protect children from the bad ones.

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14 comments
sussmanbern
sussmanbern

Presumably if the teachers are supposed to be quick draws their holsters will necessarily be visible to the students at least part of the time.  Not every teacher is cut out to be a gunslinger; some might have religious scruples or other objections, especially if they are also expected to take the gun home with them.  On the other hand, teachers with guns will probably lead to more productive bargaining sessions over teacher pay.

The NRA's "meaningful contribution" is that every school hire armed guards, presumably one for each entrance (although I think Lanza came in through a window).  Sort of a Full-Employment for NRA Members policy.  A lot of school systems have enough trouble paying for teachers and books; paying for armed guards will probably mean putting even more sawdust in the cafeteria meatloaf.  Some big cities already have armed guards in place, at least in high schools; they're not cheap and some of them have created new problems.

What we have is a real puzzler.  Adam Lanza killed his mother and used her guns.  Mary Lanza was a respectable and responsible citizen, and she bought her  guns legally.  Crazy people and ex-cons are not supposed to have guns, but there aren't any rules about respectable people who have crazy or criminal relatives, friends or neighbors, nor what to do if someone who's unstable enters their life after they've already bought the guns.

One suggestion not made by the NRA is stopping the sale of large magazines and ammo clips.  It shouldn't take more than a dozen bullets to bring down a jackrabbit, and if Adam Lanza had to stop and reload after the first ten kids a few more might be alive today.


oakclifftownie
oakclifftownie

He began by stressing that the bill has been misconstrued to a certain degree by the media.

By by misconstrued I guess he means the media  just happened to ask,  So How ...EXACTLY.....is this plan of yours going to work ?

This fellow  reminds me of the guy in the staff meeting who comes up with an easy solution to a situation  that is complicated by simply  neglecting the complex parts of what needs to be done

 The confusion stems at least in part from the fact that there isn't actually a bill yet.

Kind of proves the point .



sussmanbern
sussmanbern

It makes sense that the only way the teachers can be sufficiently armed for such emergencies is if they are actually carrying the gun on their person, in a quick-draw holster - either shoulder or belt.

This also requires that each teacher be capable of drawing fast, shooting straight, and being willing to take a life -- not every teacher will be that capable. And, frankly, there are some teachers who perhaps shouldn't have deadly weapons close at hand.

There's also the risk (especially with older students) of one of the kids grabbing the teacher's gun.

But, perhaps most important, it means that every child, from the age of 6 onward, would grow up seeing whoever is the teacher wearing a holster and gun, every day, as if this were normal and acceptable behavior.  It means acclimating the kids to thinking that carrying a gun all day every day is perfectly all right.

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

Why don't they just put guns in those little glass cases like the fire extinguishers?

oakclifftownie
oakclifftownie

"Marshals who spend the bulk of their day with children (e.g. teachers) would be required to lock their weapon in a secure location.."

A weapon on the other side of a locked door isn't going to be at the ready when some armed intruder  walks in side and starts shooting folks so whats the point of having it there ?

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

The national news outlets are having a field day with these Texasses wanting to arm teachers, and the Texass Rangers forcibly sticking their fingers into peoples' vaginas and rectums.

cyncialoldbastard
cyncialoldbastard

If the state of Texas cannot afford to pay teachers where are the funds coming from to fund a marshal program?

GuitarPlayer
GuitarPlayer

Any person who is going to carry a gun around my kids in school should go through the same training as the police.  

fistofsouth
fistofsouth

@sussmanbern If the weapon is concealed as it should be there is no danger of kid nabbing what they don't know about.  Sort of like how they leave their teachers weed alone right now.

GuitarPlayer
GuitarPlayer

@sussmanbern What the fuck?! Dude you make way to much sense for this place. Go post at the Atlantic site.

fistofsouth
fistofsouth

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz Right, because an absolute bad ass with a PHD has nothing better to do than rape women by the roadside.  Learn the difference between a distinguished organization and your typical power-hungry DPS punk before you post.

cheeseburger
cheeseburger

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz Are you that fucking stupid that you don't know what a Texas Ranger is?  Hint: they don't do fucking traffic stops.

Chuck_Schick
Chuck_Schick

@GuitarPlayer And many school districts (including DISD, where Villalba's kids attend) have their own police. Seems like the state should be funding more police at schools, not air marshals.

Joejoethedogfaceboy
Joejoethedogfaceboy

@Chuck_Schick @GuitarPlayer Agreed.  I think the *visual* of a police officer on campus provides a deterrent before anything bad happens.  We should be doing everything we can to prevent a "bad guy" even making it into the building.  Arming teachers is being reactive, not proactive.

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