I’ve shared my experience as a teacher in a school where an armed hostage-taking incident occurred (thankfully no one was killed). I can’t really imagine what it would have been like if the kid with the guns had been an active shooter, but I can tell anybody that it was one of the most frightening experiences of my life as it was. When I woke up the other day and read about Uvalde, it was the usual gut punch I feel way too often seeing these unconscionably frequent atrocities.
Reading Mark Sumner’s story today and seeing video confirmation detailing how seemingly police on the scene were more interested in aggressive crowd control of panicked parents outside the school than stopping the killing inside makes the massacre even worse than it was, and it was rock bottom to start. The photos of the preening Uvalde “Swat Team” posted in comments (cited from Clarkson’s comment in Sumner’s story), if genuine (no reason to think not), makes it even more ridiculous to claim that there were no officers considered competent to follow current law enforcement doctrine based on our incessant horrible experiences (links from WI Lurker’s comment) by entering the school and engaging the shooter even as automatic gunfire was being heard.
Now, I do not dismiss the fear factor, and I know it’s a lot to ask a person to charge into a situation where bullets are flying in order to protect the life of another. We’ll hear defenses of their actions based on the idea that police are underpaid, have to consider their own safety, etc., and those defenses have some merit, although they raise the question of why police need badass military gear and weapons to do a job when it doesn’t seem to involve using that gear except against unarmed protesters of the non-MAGA variety.
But for God’s sake then what makes the Republicans who have produced this situation think it is reasonable to expect a teacher to engage in a gunfight with the same murderer that the police are afraid of confronting ? The usual idiotic calls to arm teachers rather than disarm criminals are making the rounds. Talk about underpaid, having their own safety to consider, and so on. The pay scale for the Uvalde School District starts at $47,000 and tops out at $63,000 after 25 years of experience. That’s supposed to be for educating children, not laying down one’s life in a hail of gunfire to try to protect them. Two teachers already laid down their lives in Uvalde alongside their students. It’s despicable to expect more to do so just so Joe MAGA can keep buying as many guns as he can fit into his trailer.
There are so many reasons why arming teachers is a criminally stupid idea. At the core, the calculation is simple: more bullets flying in a school is going to equal more dead bodies. Thinking that students won’t be able to find and steal teacher guns, leading to more tragic headlines, is a fool’s game. Training teachers to properly maintain and use firearms, particularly in a firefight situation, will cost millions and as we saw in Uvalde, even the people who are supposed to be trained in those skills will often be completely useless in the crunch.
But the bottom line is that teachers do not sign up for working in a combat zone, and expecting them to be foot soldiers for the Cult of the Second Amendment is despicable. It’s tempting to suggest that every idiot who says teachers should be armed should be helicoptered to the next school shooting armed with the kind of cheap .38 they would surely issue teachers, and told to go in and fight it out, but that would be much worse than arming teachers because such people clearly have no regard for anyone’s life but their own. If they’re so intent on having others sacrifice their lives to preserve their right to own and caress 20 AR-15’s, they need to step up and do so themselves.
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