By Sam Hoober, Alien Gear Holsters
One of the solutions bandied about for school shootings is arming teachers, and posting more armed guards in and around schools. The problem with “gun free zones” of course is that people in them don’t have guns and if someone who does have one enters with hostile intentions – as they have done – a massacre ensues.
By arming the teachers, the idea goes, someone with a carry gun in a concealed carry holster will be there to save the day and put paid a crazed gunman’s ambitions on mass slaughter. Gun control isn’t the answer either, of course; reviving the assault weapon ban would accomplish very little outside of infringing on the rights of law-abiding citizens.
In theory, it’s a great idea. There are even real-world examples where something like that worked, such as the case of Joel Myrick, the assistant principal that stopped the 1997 Pearl High School shooting by retrieving a handgun from his car and holding the gunman until police arrived. Had he been able to carry inside the school, Myrick arguably could have responded even quicker.
Incidentally, Myrick is actually against the idea of arming teachers, according to the New York Times. He contends educators should be worried about educating, favoring armed guards as a better solution.
Then again, armed guards don’t always do the trick either, as we learned in Parkland.
This is usually the point where someone brings up the Israeli model, which they arm the teachers and so on but that isn’t actually the whole picture. The number of armed teachers in Israel is small and basically confined to the West Bank, according to Israel Today. Armed guards are present in schools, but schools also have just a single unlocked entrance and authorities are never more than a few minutes away.
Also, according to the Times Of Israel, school shootings in that country are vastly different than those in this country and extremely rare. Only a handful have taken place in recent memory and they are almost exclusively politically motivated.
What could be learned from their example, then, is to control ingress into schools and that armed guards can be a deterrent. Obviously it won’t deter everyone bent on wanton violence but it could deter a few people.
Arming teachers, ultimately, is just something that could help in some cases, much like most “solutions” that have been discussed regarding mass shootings. It should also be pointed out that armed educators are really an insurance policy for when a school shooting has already begun.
How do we keep them from happening in the first place?
Thing about school shootings is that they are a complex phenomenon, with a long chain of events culminating in the shooting itself. What can be done prior to the shooting itself?
That’s a tougher nut to crack. Mandatory reporting at the state and federal level of any disqualifying information to the NCIC, for starters, as that’s where the NICS gets its data. That would have prevented the Sunderland Springs church shooting last year and the Virginia Tech shootings of 2007, among others.
A number of school shootings were made possible by children accessing their parent’s firearms. That is preventable by parents, not necessarily by being impelled by legislation, but can be accomplished by putting your guns in a safe and making sure your children can’t get the keys or the code. That would have prevented Adam Lanza from committing the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings as well as a number of other incidents.
Social isolation or alienation is one of the attributes school shooters/mass shooters seem to have in common. It’s also the hardest to do something about.
The classic sociologists, such as Weber and Durkheim, would theorize the collapse of collective organizations such as labor unions, churches and other associations, along with the almost nihilistic materialism of modern life have inculcated a culture rife with anomie, which is the weakening or lack of bonds and values between individuals and society as a whole.
School shooters are, seemingly, so cut off emotionally and psychologically that they have to do something horrible in retaliation. How can we make everyone feel acknowledged or valued? How can legislation compel us to do so?
In summation, arming teachers – if or when any are willing to take the necessary training and carry concealed – is not going to be a panacea. Neither are armed guards, nor is any one thing when it comes to this problem. It can work, to some degree, but it’s not even a half-measure when the issue is considered as a whole.
Sam Hoober is Contributing Editor for AlienGearHolsters.com, a subsidiary of Hayden, ID, based Tedder Industries, where he writes about gun accessories, gun safety, open and concealed carry tips. Click here to visit aliengearholsters.com.