Let teachers protect their students

Published 6:00 am Monday, March 5, 2018

In our thousands of public schools there have been 11 mass shootings since 2000: elementary (three), high schools (three) and colleges (five). These follow with year and number of deaths: 2005 Red Lake Senior High School (seven), 2006 West Nickel Mines School (six), 2007 Virginia Tech (33), 2008 Northern Illinois University (six), 2012 Oikos University (seven), 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School (28), 2013 Santa Monica College (six), Marysville Pilchuck High School (five), 2015 Umpqua Community College (10), 2017 Rancho Tehama Reserve Elementary School (six), and now Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida (17), on Feb. 14, 2018.

Some mass shooter’s carried more than one gun, nine had handguns. In the deed seven preferred the handgun, one used a shotgun and three used AR-15’s. All but three shooters committed suicide when confronted with police. Teachers or staffs were victims in all but one of the eleven mass shootings.

Two things were common in all eleven mass shootings: it took too much time for police to confront shooters, and schools were targeted primarily because they were “gun free.” A third, common in ten, it took a gun to stop a gun. All three could have been resolved more promptly had teachers, and others with student responsibilities, the right to protect themselves and those under their care.

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In the Umpqua Community College massacre, “Just one gun somewhere near the premise could have been enough,” one victim told her father in the hospital. The shooter had eight minutes of unrestrained killing time before police arrived after 911 notification and before he took his life ending the massacre. If but one armed concealed weapons permit holder had been in the classrooms, or close by, he/she could have saved several minutes of indiscriminant slaughter. In the recent “Valentines Day” Massacre of 17 high school students in Parkland, Florida, the killer finished his slaughter and had enough time in addition to get half a mile off campus before being confronted by police.

This is not to suggest that every teacher must participate, only those who wish to. Hundreds of regular permit holding citizens in each city or county where the slaughters occurred already carry concealed weapons everywhere except in “gun free zones” (sometimes called “free kill zones”) many teachers among them. I was one of them.

Law enforcement normally see permit holders as an asset, the ultimate backup should they need extra help, and also because cops know they can’t be everywhere at the same time, as some Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students learned the hard way. Why not let them do so on school grounds as well, allowing them to be an asset of protection wherever they are? Teachers and staff are on the scene, care for their students, are a trusted profession in society, and, most importantly, are themselves threatened. It would cost the schools nothing. Chances are every college has several concealed weapons permit holders among its faculty and staff already.

Permit holders are among our finest citizens. Obtaining a concealed weapons permit requires a thorough investigation, a near perfect record from law enforcement, a stated need to carry, and some training. Normally they are older more mature folks and, in the case of teachers, society already trusts their young people with them several hours a day. They are already on the scene where a policeman could not possibly be. What a deterrent to a would-be killer if he knew schools are not so vulnerable.

“Gun free” zones clearly do not work as most massacres in the United States happen in them. Rather than deter, they entice killers giving them access to large groups of unprotected, good, and innocent victims—often children. Presently the only hope that a teacher, wishing to protect his/her students, has is to hide them or lock the classroom.

In my classroom of many years there was one door opening outwardly that required manually pulling a rubber block on the door from inside the classroom to lock the room. Everyone inside, including me, was set up to be a victim unless someone could get to the rubber block before a shooter entered the classroom. It remains this way. Better yet, a teacher or staff member inside with a concealed weapons permit, need only pull out a weapon from pocket or purse and fire a couple of rounds at a very surprised — then very dead — child killer.

Elected officials, please give teachers and staff a fighting chance to survive. Teachers have done nothing that should justify disarming us, or fearing us, and thus leaving us with virtually no hope of survival. You may answer, “We can’t just let anyone have a weapon of mass destruction!” You already do!! Anyone, 16 and older, can drive an automobile, which is decidedly a weapon of mass destruction — even if he might commit crimes with it.

In the case of the eleven mass school shootings in this century the killers did their deeds in locations they supposed to be “gun free” and ceased their rampage, in all but the most recent massacre, only when confronted with another gun. Next time let that person be a teacher or staff member with a concealed weapon, and a vested interest in his and the safety of those around him, whose immediate action would allow so many more students to live.

Dr. Harold Pease is a syndicated columnist and an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He taught history and political science from this perspective for over 30 years at Taft College. To read more, visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.