DISD Police Chief Craig Miller Says Teachers Shouldn't Carry Guns, Despite New Law

Categories: Schutze

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OK, a few days ago I used this space to say we need a few good Texas schoolhouse shootouts to settle the question of whether teachers should be armed, and maybe now I should concede that I didn't exactly make that point in the most mature way possible. Right now people at my house, if they are reading this, are muttering, "Surprise, surprise."

But since then somebody who knows what he is talking about did make the point the right way. Yesterday, reiterating a similar speech we reported last February, DISD police Chief Craig Miller told the North Texas Crime Commission -- a private club of influential law enforcement suck-ups -- he does not favor arming school teachers under the so-called "Protection of Texas Children Act," a new law signed by Governor Oops last month in a Republican attempt to suck votes from the bodies of young shooting victims.

Ummm ... are we mature yet?

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Craig Miller
Guess not.

But don't listen to me. I'm a newspaper guy. The one kind of experience I really do have in this area is based on decades of sitting around newsrooms listening to journalists debate the particulars of police-involved shootings. In other words, I know quite a bit more than the average person about what it's like when people who have absolutely no idea what they're talking about get together to talk about this stuff.

See also:
- Dallas ISD is Proposing $4.5 Million in Security Upgrades in Response to Sandy Hook
- How Will Guns in Classrooms Work? We May Need to Shoot a Few Teachers to Find Out.

Really. For example, you always have some dude who covers chess or something and spends his spare time cultivating Venus fly traps, who wants to act it out in the newsroom like it's a school play:

"All right, now I'm the cop. I'm standing over here when the drunk PCP mob closes in around me and tries to grab my gun. The half-naked tattoo lady with the umbrella is over there. So why, instead of pulling my gun, would I not grab the half-naked lady's umbrella and use it as a sword?" (Prances around newsroom doing very bad Pirates of the Caribbean 5 sword fight imitation.)

That's where these ideas come from, in fact. It's all fantasy he-man/she-man role-playing by people who have never been there and have no idea what it takes. Part of good recruitment protocol for law enforcement agencies is guarding against, vetting and rooting out just that very kind of personality so it never gets a badge and God forbid a gun. The last guy in the world you want to give a badge to is John Wayne.

I am not a reflexive cop-sniffer. I have worked on several stories in my life that turned out to be bad cop shootings by bad cops. No operation as vast as law enforcement, working in a constant fog of war, is ever going to be without serious breakdowns and failures. But generally speaking when you look at the Dallas Police Department over time, you have to conclude that we have a dedicated, highly trained, very professional force with a cadre of excellence at its core.

Craig Miller went to the school district after a long distinguished career at the Dallas Police Department. One of the first things he did when he got to the school district was propose common sense security measures like peep-holes in the doors of portable classrooms -- things he knew from long experience would do a lot more to protect children than putting a loaded Glock in the math teacher's desk drawer.

He told the crime commission yesterday -- they're a good outfit, so I apologize already for calling them whatever I called them a minute ago -- he told the crime commission that the training provided under Governor Oops' new law is inadequate to turn a teacher into a police officer. Miller has been saying from the beginning that if you need a police officer, you need a police officer. Of course, that means you have to pay a police officer.

Governor Oops' law is merely an effort on his part to posture on this issue and make himself look like John Wayne without having to pay for it. That doesn't even come close to protecting children. What it is instead is an effort to exploit school shootings like Newtown for cheap votes.

Really. Take it from me: Don't take it from me. Take it from Chief Miller. He actually does know what he's talking about.


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37 comments
klenser
klenser

If teachers were to carry guns there would be at least 10 dead kids every month. There are many bad behaving kids who provoke the teachers everyday during classes. The schools are plague with rude and disrespectful students. However, today is a good day and good things are available. http://t.co/HuMtMITQYa

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

All you heroes who want to protect the kids before the cops get there: how come not one of you has proposed paying a cop to be there full-time? You know, like put your money where your mouth is? As for you teachers here who want to close your doors and keep a Glock, how about this: teach the kids to read first, and then maybe we can talk. Otherwise, you seem a little scary.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

Cops did not stop Sandy Hook.  This is self-evident.  A couple of armed teachers would have made a huge difference.  If nothing else, they would have slowed the killer down until the cops COULD arrive.  You must agree with this assertion.

And if the punk a) did not think it was a moronic "gun-free zone", and b) thought some of the adults were trained and armed . . .

he wouldn't have picked that school in the first place.  He would have avoided Harrold High School.

the path of least resistance.  Bad guys gravitate toward it as a matter of course.

Miller and his posse are not going to prevent a Sandy Hook, and we all know it.

Obummer
Obummer

Yo eyez available fo’ some mo’ beer diplomacy.

DISDTeacher
DISDTeacher

We are sitting ducks in the schools--and especially in DISD since Mike Miles has mandated that all doors stay open all day long.  With our open doors, not only are the kids constantly disrupted and distracted academically, any shooter can now simply stroll down the hall firing into classrooms.  A shooter could also take out an entire class in the unlocked portables before anyone knew what was going on.

We have begged for permission to close our classroom doors so the kids can focus and, in light of Newtown, to give us at least a chance to scramble and hide.  We were told no.  If Miles tells you differently, it's not the truth.

Last December, a student brought a gun into WT White high school.  Because of the Newtown massacre, the WT White story didn't really get coverage, but a kid brought the gun in.  And don't let the teachers who have to sit guard-duty by the front doors on their off periods fool you--weapons and drugs stream into the buildings and go unreported unless someone calls the news.

In other words, there is NO SECURITY on DISD campuses.  The doors are open and the kids themselves can get weapons in.

There are multiple men and women on my campus I trust completely--I say arm them all.  I can shoot, too, and would not hesitate to click off that safety and defend my life and the lives of my students.

Columbine, Newtown showed us--we don't have time to wait for DISD police and DPD to fight over who's going to show up, who will have to report the murders on their stat sheet, who has authority, etc.

My husband and I do not own guns and we do not hunt and I am absolutely not a gun nut, but I am here to tell you that security is a huge problem in DISD that Miles refuses to address as he blows through millions hiring more bureaucrats instead.  

Let us close our doors, let us lock them from the inside, put cameras up to monitor what's going in the rooms, arm 6 or 7 adults and give us at least a chance.  

wilme2
wilme2

"Really. Take it from me: Don't take it from me. Take it from Chief Miller. He actually does know what he's talking about.”

When it comes to school security - with the given budget constraints and perceived threat of active shooters, I don’t think anyone knows what they are talking about, and if they did it would not make the news. Honestly I would argue an active shooter is an unlikely threat - a few incidents in a country of 300 million don’t make a threat likely anymore than 9/11 meant we should abandon all high-rise buildings.Arming teachers should be open for discussion – but again, is the effort worth the expense when at this point the threat, while an active shooter is plausible – is not as likely as hundred of other problems we aren't well prepared for.Don’t give me the “if one child” speech - there are lots of things we would have to do to assure no single child is ever killed – there is a risk calculation that has to be done.

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

" The last guy in the world you want to give a badge to is John Wayne"

He's also the last guy in the world you want to hand a gun to.

In 1969 Wayne was riding a special train from Denver to Salt Lake City for the world premiere of "True Grit." From Denver to Laramie, Wyoming, he was enthroned in the observation car, tossing down drinks, offering quotables to the press, who were admitted three at a time for bief interviews.

At Laramie, the train made a celebratory stop to give the locals a look at Wayne and to present the actor with a fancy commemorative rifle. Some publicity guy had rounded up a group of Indians in tribal dress to stand around and look Old Western for the occasion. 

Wayne was unsteady on his feet. When some dignitary handed him the rifle, he fondled it for a moment, then raised it and drew a bead on the Indians. There was some uneasy laughter, and Wayne's handlers hustled him out of the crowed.

The train pulled out of the station and resumed its journey across the desolation of southern Wyoming. The observation-car interviews had ceased and we were told Mr. Wayne was resting. Somewhere along the way, we began to notice a limousine pacing the train on the parallel highway mile after mile. 

At dusk we pulled into Ogden and to everyone's surprise rolled right past the passenger station, where we expected another ceremony of some kind, and came to a halt in the freight yards. We sat in the darkness between rows of cars full of protesting cattle while the conductor opened the door at he end of the car. Then, out of the darkness, a tall figure appeared jogging alongside the rain. He reached the open door and swung aboard. The conductor closed the trap, and the train whistled off for Salt Lake City, just a few dozen miles down the line.

There was a big reception in the depot. Wayne spoke a few words to the crowd. He seemed refreshed, relaxed, in a good mood. Of course there were no Indians on hand, and nobody handed him a rifle.  

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

1. Police do not operate in a 'constant fog of war'.  If they did, there would be a significantly higher rate of police shooting innocent bystanders and much lower public outcry about it.  To try to give law enforcement this 'out', as it were, is to diminish the much more nuanced and exacting environment they work in.  Police operate in a constant fog of bureaucratic law enforcement, meaning, if they pull the trigger, regardless of the outcome, there is going to be an investigation by some committee somewhere to determine if pulling the trigger was the best course of action and if it was done properly.  In the 'fog of war' pulling the trigger is generally followed by reloading, and that's about it.

2. "It's all fantasy he-man/she-man role-playing by people who have never been there and have no idea what it takes."  That would include the police.  If they 'had been there to know what it takes' at, for instance, Columbine or Sandy Hook, those instances would, if you and chief Miller are to be believed, not have happened at all.  That's the point, the Police can't be everywhere and in all likelihood, aren't going to be in the right place at the right time to prevent one of these shootings from happening.

Your points of debate are purely hypothetical, depending on some magical confluence of time and events that provides a law enforcement officer at the specific place they are needed, when they are needed.  Unless our police strength reaches some staggering percentage of the total population, that just isn't possible.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Why is it that National Rifle Association lets its board member Ted Nugent get away with joking about machine-gunning South Central Los Angeles residents from a helicopter, equating them with the feral hogs he likes to hunt in the same manner?

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

Falacy #1: Police shootings are relevant.

They are not.  The whole point of the law is that this is for use when the police won't be there in any amount of time to do anything but count the dead and write a report.  

Fallacy #2: The teachers won't be trained as well as a cop so they shouldn't have a gun.

They won't.  They don't need to be.  They need to be teachers.  The most likelihood is that none of these weapons will be used in our lifetimes.  That doesn't mean that we don't give willing teachers the option of doing it.

Cops need to be trained as police officers because they do policing.  They don't need to go get a teaching degree to hold a Neighborhood Watch Class.  They can handle it on the police training.  Same with teachers.  They aren't going to be ramboing through the halls taking down drug dealers like Depp in 21 Jumpstreet.  They will have a pistol (that they likely carry everywhere else but school already) on the off-chance that a maniac comes in to the school and is shooting people indiscriminately. 

On top of that, cops are generally shit as far as gun training goes.  Some are gun guys, and are as well trained as your average gun guy.  Most just carry it, and they only time they actually pull the trigger is for the 50 shots they fire to qualify with it that year.  They are terrible shots (which explains why they rarely hit anything that they are actually aiming at.)  Since this is voluntary for the teachers, they are all likely to already be gun guys, and will likely be MUCH BETTER shots that cops.  In fact, a good deal of them are likely to have actually BEEN COPS earlier in their careers, like Mike McDaniel the blogger. 


roo_ster
roo_ster

Mr. Miller has delusions of law enforcement competency, as does JS.  Having trained with police officers when I took the King's money, I would say you probably don't want the average example of such doing any shooting off the square range around people in the wild.  And any policeman stationed at a school will not have a prayer of being considered "average."

That stated, the only thing that will stop an evil person with a gun from shooting up more schoolchildren is a good person with a gun who is willing to dispute the matter.   Peepholes need not apply.  An indifferently trained & motivated DISD cop would be better than nothing, but not likely better than several indifferently trained and motivated teachers, staffers, or suchlike.

Because they are there when the shinloa hits the fan.  And, in reality, they are likely more motivated than the school cops, given they would have to go to great lengths to qualify to carry a firearm in the face of derision from the likes of JS and the Pollyanna Platoons.


holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

At the point of attack, schools are going to have to provide for their own security.  Once the shooter is amongst'em, it will be a target-rich environment and the damage is done.

To minimize the loss of life, the shooter must be engaged immediately, and will be.  Now that will either be by an unarmed teacher or one who is armed and trained.

And since it is so rare that a school is assaulted, it is not feasible to post security (private or commissioned peace officers) at every school across Texas.

"Speed Limits RADAR enforced"

maybe just put up signs - " School personnel are armed", even if they aren't.

As it is, we now have DISD officers charging school bullies with assault when corporal punishment by a Nun or the coach used to suffice.

The remedy cannot always default to a cop response time.

By then, you need a coroner and a lot of meat wagons.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Of course they shouldn't carry guns.  The damn stinking idiots that pushed that law should be run out of the state. 

DISDTeacher
DISDTeacher

@JimSX And Jim, you 70s relic, you've proved my point:  you might as well have said,  "You teachers get back in the classroom and shut the hell up."  I teach my students so well that they outscore the kids of the same age and in the same content area in HP.  How DARE you tell me to get back in the kitchen.

Yesterday, Juan Williams said on Fox News: "Have you seen these ladies' legs?" (referring to the female hosts of The Five, which airs at 4 pm).  He thought that was a compliment and he considers himself quite the progressive liberal.  For his stone-age generation, I guess.

Adios, Jim.  Peace out, Unfair Park.

I don't  need an effing Glock, but I am THE ONE between your kid and bullets.  

Seriously, how dare you.  How offensive.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@JimSX That has been proposed, by the NRA.  Before the NRA, I believe President Clinton proposed something along those lines.  Sometime after the NRA suggestion, President Obama's administration echoed the sentiment.  Opposition to the proposal comes mainly from what is considered to be the progressive left, which claims that adding more guns to the situation, even if those guns are wielded by cops or armed guards, is not the answer.


http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2013/01/17/1462781/the-dangers-of-putting-more-armed-guards-in-schools/?mobile=nc

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@Obummer "Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him." ---Martin Luther King, Jr.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@DISDTeacher But, according to Jim's assertion, YOU are not in the trenches, the DISD police are.  YOU obviously have no idea what it takes to secure a classroom and protect the kids from danger.  Nevermind the fact that you're IN the classroom, everyday, all day.  Nevermind the fact that awareness of threats is part of your everyday routine, not just from the off-chance that someone from off-campus will come in, guns blazing, but from some of the kids in the school already.  YOU are just a teacher, insignificant in Jim's eye.  If Miles has your doors propped open, it's obviously so the police can quickly poke their heads in and tally up the death toll after a tragedy, we wouldn't want them to have to look for a key now, would we?

You bring up great points DISDTeacher, unfortunately, they don't dovetail with the talking points, therefore, the same people who will rail at Gov Perry for waging a war on Women's health and will trumpet the cause of a Woman's choice, will consign you to death by depriving you of the choice of being able to protect yourself.

DanF1
DanF1

I am along time observer lurker. I agree that school shootings are few in the overall picture and that spending money for armed guards is an unnecessary expense. When the hell are we going to address the real issue mental health care. When are people going to wake up and pay attention to the people around them that need help.

DISDTeacher
DISDTeacher

@roo_ster Thank you for recognizing that TEACHERS are there when the shinola hits the fan.  At Columbine and Newtown and in the Oklahoma tornadoes, it was the teachers who were there and who protected those kids.  And the teachers in Newtown?  They were probably all in actual (gasp!) teacher unions.  But they still put their lives on the line for the students.

And how does Dallas treat its teachers?  So badly that thousands have quit since the last day of school.  We don't have unions with any power whatsoever and yet we are the ones who jump INTO the trenches of poverty with the kids instead of out of them.  But we're too dumb to be allowed to have a handful of guns on our campuses (guns that kids didn't bring in, that is).

Teachers are not the problem in this district--poverty, domestic violence, parent alcoholism, parent drug addiction, parent unemployment, gangs, teen pregnancies, rampant, unaddressed corruption and the funneling of money away from campus needs (like enough teachers) and into the pockets of 3700 crooks are the problems.

Until the real problems get addressed (without robbing most schools to prop up a few as is the newest Magic Bullet), you can forget DISD.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz YOU shouldn't carry a gun.  Most people are much more responsible.  

I sure as hell wouldn't trust my kid to a person that I wouldn't trust with a gun.

Obummer
Obummer

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz@Obummer 

Yo as William James said, “Common sense an' uh sense o' humor is da same thin`, moving at different speeds. uh sense o' humor iz just common sense, dancing.”

 

mm32
mm32

@everlastingphelps  "I wouldn't trust my kid to a person that I wouldn't trust with a gun" -- seriously?  The fact that this person has been trained for years to be a teacher, and maybe a few hours to carry a gun, doesn't enter into it for you?

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@everlastingphelps I don't own a gun and won't.  They're for pussies like you who can't find alternate ways to defend themselves.  So there!

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@mm32 @everlastingphelps I don't think the level of training has anything to do with the trust issue phelps is talking about.  He's talking about being able to charge someone with the responsibility for your child. Trusting that the firearm will remain safely and discreetly stored or worn until such time as it may be needed to stop a Newtown or a Columbine.  If you can't trust someone to do something that simple, would you trust them with your child 8 hours a day?

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@mm32 @everlastingphelps It only takes a few hours to teach the four rules of gun safety.  For that matter, it only takes one time to tell a REASONABLE PERSON, "don't take the gun out and point it at anyone that isn't currently killing people."

If you can't trust a person to keep a gun in a holster, you sure as hell can't trust them with supervising your child six hours a day 200 days a year. 

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@everlastingphelps Baffled, Phelps. This obsession with defense --I don't know where you live but have you tried pouring boiling oil over the castle walls? It works for my family.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@bmarvel @everlastingphelps I'm going to defend my wife, my parents, and my nieces and nephews.  You're not important enough to me to be part of the equasion.

Those are the "other people" I am talking about.  I guess you don't care very much about your own family.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz @everlastingphelps You really need to wake up, little kitty.  I don't doubt you could hold your own in a knock-down, drag-out street fight.  However, the type of people who will most likely accost a complete stranger on the street, are more likely to do it with a gun than they are with fists.  The criminal element escalated the conflict, not the law-abiding gun owners.  The law gives citizens the right to meet force with equal force.  To deny your neighbor the ability to wield that equal force, is to wish death upon your neighbor.

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