Well, lets game this out. Suggestions have been made that school teachers should be armed to prevent the killings of school children such as happened in Newtown, CT. A Republican congressman from Texas said he wished the principal of the school had an M4 Carbine, which is used by U. S. troops. How would all that work out?
Well, the killer in Newtown was also apparently dressed in combat gear, bullet proof vest and such. Would teachers, then, also need to teach in bullet proof vests. I notice recently that most police seem to wear them in their regular duty. How about helmets? It might seem to get in the way of establishing a good relationship with kids, but who am I to say. My own kindergarten teacher wore a nun's habit, which made her kind of special. Would combat armor do the same?
Oh, and training. How much time should teachers spend away from the classroom and other duties to shoot at the range or even go through combat training? Would that make them better teachers, do you think. Or should they spend the time becoming better in their subject matter and pedagogical skills? A trade-off, I guess. Maybe they could use their new skills in movie theaters and churches. And the mall, I suppose.
Ten billion dollars or so should about cover the cost of the weapons and training for over 7 million teachers. In the first year. I assume you want training. Otherwise only about three and a half billion would do. New teachers would have to be trained each year also.
And then there is the question of securing the weapons in the schools. Of course, teachers could carry pistols on their hip - a nice fashion statement. But what happens if a 180 pound 12 year old decides to wrestle with a 120 pound teacher and gets the gun away? Good things, or bad? How about a group of five sixth graders? And if the weapons are secured in drawers? Well, 9 year olds are pretty famous for getting into things they shouldn't get in to. And very fascinated with things that go bang. Sounds a bit problematical. But weapons in locked drawers and cabinets are also a bit slow to deploy when needed?
Oh, and are we assuming all teachers are completely sane and stable? Always? I've had a few that were a bit flaky, though probably not dangerously so. Probably.
The next thing to think about is what would likely happen if a principal shows up at the door of a classroom taken over by an "evil doer". The bad guy (yes, likely a guy) is surrounded by kids. Does she shoot? And what if she hits a kid. It would be a pretty big decision, and my best guess is that she would not try to "take out" the potential killer, worried about missing and killing a student. Even trained police and soldiers are pretty careful about that. And the bad guy was probably expecting her anyway if all teachers and principals are required to have guns available. It seems like not a good scenario. In New York City, where the police do have weapons training, they seem to have a pretty poor record of hitting the right people and missing the others. Can we expect more of a teacher? Just asking. How much "collateral damage" could a teacher be expected to accept?
And do we need to indemnify teachers who shoot students as we indemnify police? And expect that there won't be lawsuits? And of course, accidents with guns are so very rare that we can ignore that issue. Seven million guns. What could go wrong?
But then the police do arrive on scene. However, they know that there are 30 or so amateur shooters in the building along with an attacker or two. So what do they do? I think that standard protocol would suggest they wait until it gets very quiet before entering. And who do they consider to be the perpetrator? Anyone with a gun? Yes, most likely. And does that speed or slow aid to the wounded?
The argument is made that if we only just arm everyone then incidents like this will never occur. If there are a lot of guns the bad guys will not dare to attack. Well, we do have a lot of guns. Everywhere. And these attacks do occur and none of the attackers has ever been brought down by a civilian. In the attack on Gabby Giffords and others in Arizona, a "good guy" with a pistol very nearly killed an innocent bystander in a case of mistaken identity. At the last instant he decided not to shoot (point blank), which saved both of them.
I find it really hard to imagine arming teachers as a solution. Probably it is best to leave professionals, both teachers and police, to do the jobs they were trained to do and leave the other bits for other professionals.