Latest shooting a reminder that it’s time to arm teachers
by Roger Hines
Columnist
December 30, 2012 12:00 AM | 1135 views | 10 10 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Today, air travelers, sports stadium goers, politicians assembled in legislative halls and presidents are all provided more protection than our school children. To address this fact, I wrote a column in July that provoked more ire than accolades.

The column, which appeared on the heels of the Aurora, Colo., movie theater shooting, suggested that it’s time to arm public school teachers, as well as college professors. Although I qualified the suggestion, adding that school and college gun carriers should be volunteers who had received expert psychiatric vetting and extensive training, it still was not well received.

Now that we have had another school shooting, bringing unimaginable sorrow, I am elevating my suggestion to a plea. I am begging the powers that be to reject the romanticism held by the media elites, city-boy politicians and many others who apparently know nothing about the so-called “gun culture” which they so religiously oppose.

There are two images which U.S. Sen. Diane Feinstein and others are confusing. There is the image of Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mel Gibson spraying bullets everywhere on movie screens, and there is the image of long lines at gun shows around the country, guns laid everywhere. Feinstein, along with her supporters and a few conservatives who are caving, thinks the gun show lines are a big part of the problem. I’ve never known her to comment on the movie screen blood and bullets that our teenagers flock to see.

The so-called “gun culture” argument shows just how far the entertainment arts, especially movies and television, have pulled us into unreality. Aristotle once wrote, sensibly, that art is the imitation of life. A play, a movie, a novel, your favorite television drama, a painting or even a photograph holds a mirror up to life; then, we look at the mirror. All art, therefore, is at least once removed from reality.

Today, though, we have a problem. Life is imitating art. Loners, sick teenagers and disturbed people of all ages see vicarious violence around them and are acting it out.

Do Feinstein and company really believe that the disturbed people who shot up the Colorado theater and the Connecticut elementary school went to a gun show, or saw a neighbor’s gun collection, or went hunting with a friend and then became violent because of it? If they do, they really need to be challenged in their party’s next primary.

I am not inclined to hide for hours in a green tent with holes in it, or sit in a cramped, glorified tree house waiting for a deer to pass by, but I doubt very seriously that men who do find pleasure there have influenced anyone to open fire on school children. Silly men, including two of my sons and one son-in-law, who walk through the woods with their guns and dirty caps on, are not responsible for the sorrowful, recent events involving guns. Their freedom should not be infringed.

As for the gun shows, please attend one. You’ll find a neighbor there who you didn’t even know had a lifelong interest in the history of weaponry. But I warn you. You might be bored as you observe quiet, law-abiding men and quite a few women as they walk up and down the aisles of tables, examine the guns, chat with each other, and turn to an older teenager to whom they seem to be giving instructions about something. These guys and ladies don’t anchor the Sunday morning news talk shows. They are not elites or constant commentators on the ignorance of America’s middle class preferences and practices. They are wonderfully “regular” people who never cause a peep of trouble, but who, even so, are the target of Feinsteinian worked-up rage.

Feinstein’s problem is that gun show lovers are mechanics, carpenters, masons, and electricians, and we know how prone to violence they are.

Quite a few avid gun owners are not even middle class at all, unless you call rich doctors and lawyers middle class just because they hunt and like to attend gun shows. Whatever their social or economic status, if they happen to watch New York Mayor Bloomberg talking about guns on early morning television, they probably shake their heads and go on out the door to their work.

It is disturbed people, not my sons and son-in-law, who are killing others with guns. Schools already have plenty of qualified personnel who could be armed. The coaches I have worked with, the retired military people who went into teaching, teachers who are gun enthusiasts, and many a female teacher who is strong, brave, and wise — all of these are at our finger tips. We best start using them and quit thinking that nobody at the schoolhouse is capable of self-defense.

Roger Hines of Kennesaw is a retired high school teacher and former state legislator.

Comments
(10)
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Kevin Foley
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January 01, 2013
@ Roger Hines - We had disturbed kids that teachers had to watch when I was in grade school, Roger. Nothing new. We also had violent entertainment, although not as graphic as what we have today.

Charles Whitman killed 16 and wounded 32 other in 1966. Was his "inspiration" the TV show "Combat" or the movie "Psycho"? Or did he have easy access to a weapon?

Anyway, see my Friday column. Perhaps the scales will fall from your eyes ;-) .
CobbCoGuy
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December 31, 2012
A couple excerpts from a September 8, 2004, Press Release from Senator Schumer (D-NY):

"US Senator Charles Schumer, author of the 1994 Crime Bill, today announced that several New York school districts will receive $125,000 federal grants under the bill’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program. The money will be used to hire one community police officer to be placed within the city’s school system."

"Schumer said community police officers within schools provide a variety of function other than acting as a security presence and link to local law enforcement."

This was a Department of Justice program initiated by Clinton in 1998.

My progressive friends, help me reconcile this with the recent brow beating received by NRA Executive Wayne LaPierre when he proposed placing police officers in schools across the country.
Too funny
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December 30, 2012
Of all firearm related homicides among the 5-18 age group, less than 1% occur in schools. So while the Sandy Hook massacre was a horrific and sickening tragedy, pouring more guns in to our society is most certainly not the answer.
Kevin Foley
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December 30, 2012
Interesting Roger. You suggest here so-called "elites" paint all gun owners as psychopaths even as you use your broad brush to portray all "elites" as know-nothings out to disarm every gun owner.

Nobody is suggesting responsible gun owners be disarmed. Sporting arms in the hands of hunters like your sons is fine. If you have guns at home to protect yourself or for target practice, no problem.

Since you bring up Mayor Bloomberg, New York City, with its strict gun safety laws, just reported a record low number of homicides in 2012, 414. Of these, 237 were with firearms, a remarkably low number in a city of more than 8 million. Guess what? There are no armed teachers in New York City public schools.

You and the other pro-gun folks would like to see Cobb County become Dodge City, a ludicris and extremely dangerous proposition. If an armed teacher enountered a maniac gunman armed with an assault rifle in a crowded classroom, the most likely outcome would be more corpses, not fewer.

And why is it you need a powerful semi-automatic assault weapon designed for the military with high capacity magazines, the only purpose for which is to slaughter human beings en masse? Please don't tell us "freedom."

I also note you parrot the NRA in saying entertainment violence is to blame for the massacres in Aurora and Newtown (there are no studies to support this claim). But, as reported last week, what the NRA didn't tell you is that gun manufacturers have cooperated with game makers to have their weapons featured in those same video games.
anonymous
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December 31, 2012
Kevin,

Since you like Bloomberg and New York so much, how about you take the first plane out - making sure to get a good dose of your TSA on the way - and just be as safe as your little liberal heart can handle. And...if you are going to reference the Sandy Hook tragedy, try using actual facts - the killer did not use his "powerful semi-automatic assault weapon" - he used hand guns, while the AR remained in the trunk of his car. Wouldn't want facts to get in the way of your rant.
Roger Hines
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January 01, 2013
Here's my "study," Kevin, good buddy. Advertisers spend millions for thirty seconds of television time during the Super Bowl. Why? Because what we see and hear influences us. So what we see and hear on the movie screen or even read in books DOESN'T influence us???? It may not influence you and me (it really does), but it certainly influences the loners, the disturbed ones. Ask teachers if schools have not always been dangerous places even long before these shootings started. Teachers have always had to be on the look out for certain students that we knew were potential trouble. We need your help. We are not crazy and we can defend ourselves and our students if you will let us.
CobbCoGuy
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December 30, 2012
When folks discuss arming school teachers and administrators, it is generally assumed a firefight will ensue and all sorts of horrid scenarios are conjured up whereby other casualties result from the armed good guy. I agree, bad things could happen.

What is missing in these discussions, however, is the value of DETERRENCE.

Crooks and losers don't want to work; that's why they are crooks and losers. Get a dog, put a security sticker on your front door, or install outdoor floods with motion sensors, and breaking into your house becomes work. The would-be burglar moves to an easy target.

Same logic applies to the cowardly mass shooters who do their deeds in gun-free zones and, when confronted, generally take their own lives.

If the Newtown shooter had encountered a sign at the front door of Sandy Hook Elementary that stated, "Warning! Certain undisclosed teachers and administrators are armed", would he have done his deed?

Let's say he ignored the sign and, as it happened, blown his way into the school, but within seconds, the principal confronted him with a loaded revolver. What would the next move have been?

What say y'all?
CobbCoGuy
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December 30, 2012
Google is your friend. Search "larry correia gun control" for more common sense.

Grab a cup o' joe; it's a long, but worthwhile, read.
anonymous
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December 31, 2012
Excellent read - thanks for the link.
Pat H
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December 30, 2012
I have 5 grandchildren in school and unprotected. There are many vets returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who are unemployed and trained with weapons. All it would take is one to be in a car outside the entrance, all other entrances locked with security cameras, surveillance cameras in the car, armed and ready, who can call police if someone suspicious appears.

The PTA's can fund this tomorrow with their fundraisers until the schools can add to their budget. This is a much better use of school funds instead of an auditorium and stage.
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