Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Problem Solved? Arm All the Teachers?

I GUESS I’M FINALLY CONVINCED. Those who cherish Second Amendment rights and guard against all limitations have shown me I’m wrong. I’ve been trying to argue that we can limit gun sales and ban military-style assault rifles and high capacity of ammunition clips. Now I understand. Tyranny is just one unsold pistol or rifle or shotgun away.  

I didn’t realize until now that we needed more guns. (We also need to turn our schools into forts, it would seem.) 

Here, I thought, we were talking about children like Madeline Hsu, Charlotte Bacon and Olivia Engel, all 6, who died Friday after being hit in a spray of gunfire. Now I know. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. This is an absolute truth, is it not? Or, as one no-limits-on-guns thinker sagely noted, we might as well ban forks and spoons as ban guns. People in America are fat and obesity kills. 

True. SO true. If we start banning guns, what comes next? I think that’s what he was trying to say. Are we ready to ban donuts? 

I’m not being sarcastic at all. I’m not saying this kind of thinking is for idiots. I’m saying these absolutists are right. There’s no other way to address the incredible carnage.

Except to get our hands on more guns. 

Madeliene F. Hsu,
one of twenty children cut down at Sandy Hook

You want to protect first graders in schools? You can’t do it by limiting guns. How could you think that? Now our greatest leaders are stepping forward to offer solutions. A member of Congress has already expressed sorrow to learn that Dawn Hochsprung, the principal at Sandy Hook Elementary School, was unarmed at the time of attack. If only Hochsprung had had an assault rifle hanging on the wall in her office! (I’m not joking. That’s what he said.) Then she might have engaged the shooter and possibly won. 

I’m embarrassed to say I’m a retired teacher—and all those years I spent in a classroom I never saw the logic of this kind of position. I had a student who brought a gun to school to shoot me and at least one of his classmates back in 1985. Now I see. The gun that troubled young man picked up so easily at home, that wasn’t the problem. No, I needed my own gun for protection. He had a loaded pistol in his book bag. I should have had one holstered on my hip. It would have been hard to teach without turning my back to the class; but, hey, if it means protecting the Second Amendment, I could have adjusted. 

NO WAY CAN WE LIMIT GUNS. We don’t limit freedoms in America. No sir. The Founding Fathers knew their freedom shit. (Okay, true, maybe some did own slaves.) Ignore that. We are talking here about teachers fighting back. 

Fight fire with return fire, you might say. 

Yes, it’s the deepest kind of human tragedy that Noah Pozner, 6, had to die, hit by gunfire unleashed by a disturbed individual with a military-style assault rifle. According to his mother, Noah hoped to grow up to become a doctor or maybe own a taco factory. He loved tacos, that wonderful little boy, and that way he could have tacos whenever he wanted. 

He’d be alive today, according to gun-rights absolutists, if only his teacher, Lauren Rousseau, 30, had been armed. 

Why didn’t we see this before it was too late? You can’t arm just one teacher in every building. What if that teacher is out sick? What if the shooter enters from a different direction? If we want children to be safe we have to arm every educator in the land. We do it for the kids, or the gun companies, at least. Until recently, Ms. Rousseau had been a substitute teacher and before Friday she had to feel fortunate to land a regular job. What if the school had provided her gun training? Sure. We train every teacher in America in the handling of heavy weapons. Because, let’s face it, we all have Second Amendment rights and they cannot be infringed. Read your Second Amendment. Don’t make me quote it, now that I’ve seen the light: 

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

We can’t infringe on freedom. Not a spec. If we do we’re open to invasion by Iranians or North Koreans or maybe Redcoats. I know some no-limits Americans worry about invasion by U. N. inspectors coming to take their weapons away; or agents in black helicopters sent by Mr. Obama. What if they’re right! We can’t limit guns. In one fell swoop, U. N. inspectors could grab them all, all 300 million currently in private hands. We can’t do psychological profiling, either, before we put assault rifles in private hands. 

That would be crazy, right? 

It may seem incomprehensible to most of us to think that Allison Wyatt, age 6, died with most of her friends in a room blown to bits like a set in a Rambo movie. But guns don’t kill people. Don't you see? Lack of guns kills people. Her teacher, Ms. Rousseau, would be alive today if she’d been armed and ready. In fact, I apologize to NRA leaders who love America and freedom ten times more than I do. I see now that they don’t have foul blood dripping from their hands. A first grade classroom in an elementary school in a peaceful town in Connecticut was turned into a slaughterhouse.  

Well, it was my fault.  

It was yours, if you think there’s a way to limit guns.  

One of the first responders on the scene was a veteran of two combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq; and he told friends what he saw in that room, with the torn bodies of twenty little children strewn about, was worse than anything he could have imagined in wartime. And look, we have to have guns to stop guns.

ROUSSEAU SHOULD HAVE HAD AN ASSAULT RIFLE lying atop her desk, loaded and ready. She’d never hit any pupils. She’d be trained, don’t you see? Now that you think about it, she should have been wearing body armor. It’s perfectly clear. In the future all teachers shall be issued body armor. This is America and we believe in freedom without limits. I am not being sarcastic. We can only expect safety in theaters and malls and on college campuses if every citizen has weapons within immediate reach. 

We’re Americans. We don’t joke about freedom. If we ban clips that hold twenty or thirty or a hundred bullets, only criminals will have clips that hold enough bullets to take out an entire first grade classroom; and then our teachers will have no chance to fend off attacks by maniacal intruders (or Redcoats). 

The logic is clear. Cannon don’t kill people, people kill people. If there had been a cannon in the hallway, trained on the front door of Sandy Hook Elementary School, the principal could have stopped that killer cold. James Mattioli, age 6, and Chase Kowalski, age 7, would still be alive today and excited about the presents wrapped and already under the family trees. Victoria Soto, 27, who dived in front of students to shield them, allowing some to escape, might be looking forward to the holidays to rest up and recharge—since working with first graders requires limitless energy. Too bad she didn’t have a rifle. 

Or a cannon. 

I’m not angry, except with myself. Those poor children, each hit at least three times, some as many as eleven, they’d be alive if we all had more guns. 

What can we do, then, to insure that these kinds of tragedies don't happen again? Let’s follow the lead of the strident no-limits NRA types. There are six shopping days left until Christmas. Go out and get your child’s favorite teacher an assault rifle. After all, you’re either part of the solution, or you’re part of the problem. 


(I just had to write a similar column about the slaughter in Las Vegas; only the pools of blood seem to change.)

P. S. If anyone thinks that I’m being serious read this post again. Arming teachers is a ludicrous idea; I thought that was crystal clear.

Cut off guns before they reach the schools.


  1. Thank you for your thoughts. Lauren Rousseau was my daughter's best friend.
    I'm sure all schools have the funding to provide the intensive training that Lauren so desperately needed, so that she could have protected her students.

    1. Norma, the entire nation weeps with you, and the families and your town.

      We must do more to keep these kinds of guns out of so many hands. I don't know how; but we must. We absolutely must.

      We can't leave it up to teachers. As a society, we have to wake up.

      We could get rid of 1/2 the guns tomorrow and still be a heavily-armed nation. We owe it to Ms. Rousseau and all the others to act.

    2. Many schools don't have enough funding to even provide supplies and books and teachers are poorly paid. To suggest that Lauren Rousseau desperately needed to be trained in using firearms to protect her students is ludicrous and shortsighted. Denial is a form of mental illness too, so this is going to be one scary war we're forced into now.

    3. Deborah, I hope you understood this post was mocking the very idea of having guns in our schools. It is an absolutely stupid, stupid idea that we would arm teachers.

    4. Probably not, and over the last few years the federal government in all their wisdom let federal funding for school security programs a and program that gave money to schools to prepare for mass tragedies lapse in the name of budget savings.


  2. Thank you so much for putting into words the frustrations one goes through when talking to extreme gun enthusiasts about how more guns are not the solution, but the problem. It's devastating to think that anyone would blame any one of those victims for what happened to them, instead of the monster of a man who killed them.

  3. Obviously this guy doesn't know some to the people who are teachers at some of the schools that I have taught at. I barely trusted them to operate a ball point pen without hurting themselves. HE wants them to carry a deadly weapon??? If it weren't so damn scary it would be hilarious!

    1. Ed, this is a parody. He is making fun of (in disbelief) of the current backtalk to protect gun-nuts. Get a grip.

    2. Holy crap, Ed. You missed the sarcasm? I'm the author. I'm a former teacher who had a gun show up in his class. Arming teachers is a HORRIBLE idea. We need to cut off guns at the source.

      Hope that's clear.

    3. Just to be sure, Ed. I'm not really in favor of cannon in the halls, either.

      Say a prayer for the victims.

  4. Bravo. Some people don't get sarcasm, parody or irony, but if they did, this would definitely hit home for them. If I weren't so against guns, I'd start a wingless group of women gun toters - to protect themselves and their children from gun toting machomen. Somehow, I don't have the heart for it, or the energy for it, or the madness . . . yet.