Societal rot and government incompetence will incentivize teachers to carry illegally

(Richard Alan Hannon/The Advocate via AP)

In a previous article here at Bearing Arms, I wrote about why schools ought to move from their current “Sitting Ducks” model to a “Sheepdog Teacher” model. Our children are far too precious to be left wholly undefended or defended by an armed guard who may act as a Single Point of Failure in a system of defense. I believe that teachers ought to have the CHOICE to be armed, and legislators and school boards should end the legally mandated disarming for teachers, and allow for training, screening, and arming them in a way that will satisfy parents and school communities. 

Throwing money at the problem in the name of hardening schools may or may not help; whatever is done must happen judiciously, thoughtfully, and efficiently, and with the consent of the concerned taxpayers. 

However, in the absence of a legal framework, I see an inevitability so obvious that it cannot be called a prediction: I believe that teachers will start breaking the law and carry guns illegally to school in defense of themselves and their students.

The predicament we find ourselves in is a consequence of societal rot on the one hand and governmental incompetence on the other. The American family has slowly and steadily disintegrated and the bonds of community have frayed over time. Religion, which forms the very foundation of society, has weakened. The absence of fathers in the lives of children has increased. It is no surprise that many mass shooters come from broken families and have uninvolved fathers who might as well have been anonymous sperm donors. Culturally, a toxic brew of the copycat phenomenon, media sensationalism, and its derivative infamy have made violently lashing out more common over the years. Every mass attack reinforces what seems like a feedback loop as future criminals yearn to imitate the latest criminal.

Government at all levels has been ineffective at preventing people with evil intentions from getting their hands on weapons. The list of failures is very long. Government schools, compounding family failure, don’t instill discipline and shape well-informed future citizens. Despite the numerous laws on the books, enforcement of those laws has enough holes that bad actors slip through the cracks. And those governmental agencies tasked with armed response have also failed in some very notable cases.

In this backdrop of violence and governmental measures that amount to nothing more than false guarantees of safety, what would an observant teacher do? 

Look to Uber and Lyft drivers for what may happen. Contractually, rideshare drivers are not allowed to be armed. If they are ever found out, they lose their jobs immediately. That has not prevented many drivers from arming themselves to defend their own lives. Dozens of them have shot back at criminals and saved themselves and others, and in one case, even stopped a mass shooting. After all, your life is more important than your job. You can lose your job and find another one, but you can’t lose your life and find another one.

Teachers are finding themselves in a similar predicament. Let’s say you’re a teacher and you know there’s a problem student in your school. He’s violent, keeps threatening other students, writes violent fantasies, etc. but he keeps getting away with progressive “restorative justice” and nothingburger punishments. His family life is volatile, and cops have been called to his home several times. Yet, he’s not received the help he needs, his crimes have not been prosecuted and mental health episodes have not been recorded. His behavior keeps getting worse. What does the teacher do in this case? Leave it to chance, government, or Providence? Or get a gun and quietly carry it like a rideshare driver?

Legally disarming teachers, who are also potential victims, is immoral. One of the teachers at Parkland shielded two students with his body while the on-site armed School Resource Officer Scot Peterson hid outside. Would the teacher have liked to have a chance to fight back instead of using his own body as a lifeless sandbag? Would the teacher have been able to lower the death toll if he had a chance to stop the assailant in the middle of his rampage?

The law will only command respect if it’s reasonable. Teachers will break the law if it wants them dead by mandating disarmament and skewing their (and their students’) odds of survival, while not ensuring that a potential assailant is dealt with properly. It’s an act of furtive civil disobedience with very serious professional and personal ramifications, and it’s going to happen.

The law can punish teachers in response or play catch-up and allow what they’re going to do (and probably are already doing). I hope it’s the latter.