How Will Guns in Classrooms Work? We May Need to Shoot a Few Teachers to Find Out.

Categories: Schutze

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I guess we just need some big Texas schoolhouse shootouts before we'll know whether it's crazy to put guns on the hips of teachers. A story in The New York Times today reports that insurance companies are refusing to offer coverage to school districts in some states where teachers pack heat.

Texas so far is an exception. The same story quotes the superintendent of the Harrold Independent School District, 30 miles northwest of Wichita Falls, saying his teachers have been allowed to bring guns to class for five years without any accidents. David Thweatt told the Times the only time an employee of his has fired a gun on school property was to kill a pig.

Apparently the companies and cooperatives that provide us with school insurance in Texas aren't worried about increased liability. But, wait. It's worth drilling down just a little bit to see why.

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Before his career in Hollywood, Sam taught civics at the Harrold Independent School District in Texas.
What would that liability be? A teacher shoots a kid by accident? Maybe. But that's not the particular kind of risk the experts have pointed to and talked about in Texas. What they're worried about is teachers getting shot by cops.

Pete Blair, associate professor of criminal justice at Texas State University in the schools' Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training program told a state Senate hearing last January that a teacher with a gun in a crisis situation is in tangible danger of getting shot by the police: "They are at high risk of being shot," he said. "That's the reality of the scenario and the danger police officers are in."

Blair got some serious backup from Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, who told the same hearings that police officers are trained to "neutralize the threat."

He said: "Anytime you arrive on the scene, you as a police officer ... are taught and trained to look for anybody with a weapon."

Get it? You're a teacher. The school district encouraged you to bring a gun to class to protect your students. You did. The worst happened. You didn't know what you were doing; you were crazy with fear and adrenaline; they told you on the bullhorn to drop the weapon and instead you held it up and pointed to your chest to show you were a teacher; they shot you in the chest. So if you lived but were all crippled up for life, why wouldn't the insurance company for your district be worried you might sue the district for making you a cripple?

Because you're in Texas. You can't sue anybody, sucker. The main reason cited in the Times story today to explain the relaxed attitude of insurance companies in Texas is so-called "tort reform" -- the series of laws pushed through in recent years by the insurance industry and big companies making Texas one of the worst places in the nation for private citizens, even cripples, to sue anybody.

The school district encourages you to pack heat. You do. The cops shoot you. No sweat for the school district or its insurance company: You can't sue anybody anyway.

The real debate about guns, schools and protecting kids has never been about whether or not kids need better protection. Of course they do. And it really hasn't been about whether guns should be part of that equation. All things being equal, of course guns are part of it. As long as we're going to allow a lone whacko to suit up in Kevlar and bring a duffel bag full of automatic weapons to his killing field, then obviously we are going to need some way to meet his firepower with even greater firepower. Don't ask me why we allow it. Let's deal with current realities.

The real question has always been who's got the firepower? Even the National Rifle Association has tilted toward putting the firepower in the hands of the uniformed professionals. The NRA has called for more cops in schools, not more teachers packing heat. Ah, but guess what that costs: money. And guess what kind of money? Taxes. So any politician who would join the call for more cops in schools would have to hike up his or her drawers and also call for more taxes to pay for it. That's about when most of them dive under their desks and decide to let the tots and teachers fend for themselves.

It seems to me there's another factor. People look at stories like Newtown, and they get a huge itch, which I understand. They want to shoot that guy themselves. Also in today's Times is a very painful photo of a young man who had his legs blown off by those bastards at the Boston Marathon. Who among us wouldn't have loved to stop that from happening with one well-placed bullet?

The trouble with that emotional response, when you try to put it into practice in the real world, is that it's crazy and stupid. It's like saying your sister can't afford the brain surgery she needs so you're just going to boil some knives and do it yourself.

Two points. First, only very well-trained and experienced law enforcement professionals really know how to handle these things. Second, you cannot ask those professionals to run toward danger, to hurl themselves into battle and then also tell them, "You need to stand around for a while and kind of scope out anybody you see with a weapon in his hand to make sure it's the killer and not a teacher. Then you can shoot."

If you really support the police, then you support the police going home in one piece to their significant others every single night they can after doing their duty. And that means if somebody holds on to a gun one second too long in their presence, they shoot him. Or her. And we back them up on it.

This idea that ordinary citizens are qualified to wade into a shootout is basically a bunch of emotional fantasy-driven bullshit. But maybe we need to get a few teachers shot first so we can figure it out here in the Lone Star State.

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37 comments
desperado
desperado

This is senseless - Now you want cops to shoot teachers to find out if arming schools works.  That's ignorance!  Of course it works - as a deterrent and as protection if it does happen.  The staff carrying guns have to go through training - not just once either.  And cops are better trained than to shoot anyone merely holding a firearm - plus they know what schools are armed.  Geez!  Get a grip!

roo_ster
roo_ster

JS:

LEOs arrive after the killing is done in these "gun free zone" shootings.  Sometimes they bag the killer, sometimes he bags himself.  Mostly, they just make sure the location doesn't get trampled by gawkers.  When seconds count, the police are minutes away.

And, yes, LEOs are supposed to determine if someone is an actual threat before going all Officer Tackleberry.  Just like non-LEO folk who carry firearms.  Plainclothes policemen count on this every day of the week.  Plainclothes policemen are not doubt at greater risk than their uniformed cow-orkers, but we have yet to see a River of Blood from unis shooting plainclothes across the country.


Oh, and the elevated rates / un-insurability are cultural & marketing artifact.  Does the company think they can get away with charging more in a particular market?  If so, it will do so.  Is they company run by hoplophobes? No insurance for YOU!

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

The good Jim writing today.

Obummer
Obummer

Yo crib schooling of’ da chil'ns be uh partial answer.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

Jim, there are any number of civilians better trained and far more experienced in the use of firearms to 'neutralize the threat' than law enforcement.  They're ex-military and they need jobs too.  LEO's don't literally neutralize the threat, their mantra is shoot to wound, to immobilize.  Neutralizing an armed threat means eliminating that threat, it cannot come back to be a threat again.  That is military doctrine, if you shoot, shoot to kill, not wound.

How many lives have been saved through law enforcement response to any of the school shootings you like to toss out there? Newtown? 0, Colorado Theater? 0, Columbine? 0, Virginia Tech? 0, need I go on?  Law enforcement doesn't protect you from the gunman, law enforcement merely provides the spectacle, after the fact, that the gunman desires; suicide by cop.

leftocenter
leftocenter

When civilians -- and who doesn't want to be the hero -- are running around with guns thinking they should hunt down the bad guy it's a recipe for tragedy. 

Trayvon Martin?  Zimmerman in a big mess?  Sound familiar? 

TyreByter
TyreByter

LEO'S SHOULD NOT FIRE UNLESS FIRED UPON. LIBERAL SCHOOL BOARDS AND POLITICIANS HAVE TURNED SCHOOLS INTO KILLING FIELDS FOR ANYONE WITH A GRUDGE KNOWING THEY HAVE AT MINIMUM TWENTY MINUTES TO SHOOT HELPLESS KIDS AND TEACHERS.  THE IDEA BEHIND ARMING TEACHERS IS TURN THE TABLES ON THESE SCUMBAGS SO THE RESPONSE IS SECONDS WITH THE CHANCE OF BEING KILLED BEFORE THEY GET OFF THE FIRST SHOT.  TEACHERS KNOW THIS INSTINCTIVELY THAT IS WHY SO MANY TOOK ADVANTAGE OF FREE FIREARMS TRAINING DURING THE CHRISTMAS BREAK. 

doclawson
doclawson

You actually raise a good point. Your argument that people shouldn't have guns because cops might shoot them is a very strong argument for disarming the cops.

The number of people killed by cops each year is about an order of magnitude greater than cops killed by people.

doclawson
doclawson

This is the most shockingly ignorant thing you've ever written: "First, only very well-trained and experienced law enforcement professionals really know how to handle these things. Second, you cannot ask those professionals to run toward danger, to hurl themselves into battle and then also tell them, "You need to stand around for a while and kind of scope out anybody you see with a weapon in his hand to make sure it's the killer and not a teacher. Then you can shoot."

First, tell that to the dozens of innocent people, to say nothing of dogs, cops kill every year--mostly with impunity. Second, if they're so damned well-trained as you think, then yes we can ask them to figure out out who the bad guys are before they shoot them.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

I guess we just need some big Texas schoolhouse shootouts before we'll know whether it's crazy to put guns on the hips of teachers.

This is the same bullshit we heard in 1995.  "Oh, we'll just have to see how many road rage shootings we have."  Short answer?  No more than before.

There's no chance of the cops shooting a teacher, for two reasons.  One, cops aren't supposed to be yahoos who shoot at anyone with a gun.  They are supposed to identify the person and give them a chance to surrender (even if they are the mass murderer.)  

Two, the cops rarely go in until they've had a good couple of hours to set up anyways, so the shooting will be long over and the teacher will either be dead with the others or he'll have holstered his weapon.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

In the U.S. so far this year, 40 children have shot themselves accidentally.  The NRA must be mad with delight.

NewsDog
NewsDog

@RTGolden1  Sorry RT most real LEOs (not your favorite Hollywood/TV actors who don't know how to use a real gun) are trained to shoot 'three shots center mass'  which is generally critical/fatal and most times kill/severely disable, not to wound.  

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@leftocenterJoel Myrick?  Sound familiar?

Oh, that's right, he doesn't, because he stopped the school shooting, so it didn't get wall to wall coverage.  With the gun he was illegally carrying in his car.  And he was the assistant principal of the school.

MattL11
MattL11

@TyreByter Your "caps lock" key is engaged. It's between the "tab" and "shift" keys on the left side of your keyboard. Unless you have a Mac. In that case, I have no fucking clue where it is. 

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

@robert.a.lawson 

I value your contribution here. It's important that people see the close moral and psychological linkage between gun nuts and common criminals.

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

@robert.a.lawson 

If you hate the cops so much, why not have the teachers protect themselves by shooting the cops when they show up? You think like a thug.

russp
russp

@everlastingphelps 

Yeah, every time guns are allowed somewhere new; "there will be mass slaughter in the streets". Yet it never happens.

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

@everlastingphelps 

Phelps, you really have no idea what you're talking about. Cops shoot people -- and they shoot the wrong people -- all the time -- Grandpappy Amos coming out the house in  his bathrobe with his shotgun gets plugged because he pointed a gun at a cop. Sometimes there's time for a nice  "drop the weapon" protocol. Sometimes not -- fog of war, guy whirls around with something in his hand. Up until now, there was no good reason for anybody in a school to have a gun in his hand except the shooter. Let me ask you something, Phelps: do you really believe you know more about this than the director of the Texas DPS? All you are showing is that you have never been there, have never been near it and have no idea what it's like, which makes you exactly like all the other people who think arming school teachers is a great idea.

Sharon_Moreanus
Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

If they only had 9 lives like ur pussys.

Of course Including the 2 illegals.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz  

And in the meantime, GM, Ford, Chrysler, Audi, Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi and the others are just besides themselves over the 35,900 fatalities in 2009 as a direct  result of automobile accidents ...

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@NewsDog @RTGolden1 I can only go by what the LEO's I know have told me is their 'official' policy.  Reinforcing what you said, however, most of them tell me they will shoot center mass, the higher percentage shot.

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@MattL11 Matt -- Same place on the Mac. You really do need to get out more.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@JimSX @doclawson Just like the close moral and psychological linkage between reporters and their insatiable thirst for more victims?

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@JimSX @everlastingphelps Holding a shotgun (poorly) for a photo op doesn't make you an expert, and neither does being a political appointee to Texas DPS.  Steve McGraw?  Are you fucking shitting me?  That narc from the 70s?

Cops fuck up.  Fine.  They also fuck up and shoot people holding books, too.  Let's ban those from teachers.  If they are just shooting people who make them twitchy, then it doesn't matter.  If they are doing their jobs competently, it doesn't matter.  Let me add that up, doesn't matter plus doesn't matter, carry the doesn't matter, gee, I think that adds up to doesn't matter.

Teachers and adminstrators with guns have stopped more school active shooters than cops.

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@MattL11 My understanding is that keyboards are pretty much standard, brand to brand. Coding may vary.

MattL11
MattL11

@bmarvel I really do need to get out more, but I'm not sure how that'll help me learn Mac keyboards. Maybe if I get out to the Apple Store...

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul Strange. We'e had no problem getting them to our house the few times we've needed them right away. (They got a burglar just as he went over our back fence.) Of course if it's just to take a report, they're not going to make an emergency run out of it. 

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

Two things: first, we need to define "victim". I think good people will shoot bad men more than bad men shoot good people.

Two, Jim is the one arguing that cops are yahoos that shoot anyone who looks at them sideways. I'm the one arguing that cops mostly only kill people who are trying to kill them first.

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@everlastingphelps I have an idea, Phelps. Lets go a month or two without cops. Seriously. No cops anywhere. Call them, nobody comes.Then let's count up the shooting victims. (Stabbing, mugging, robbery victims don't count.)

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