The “do something” brigade gets very loud at times like these. They latch onto the latest tragedy and argue that we need to “do something” right away. Of course, doing something almost always entails their very favorite gun control efforts. Any alternatives suggested apparently don’t count.
President Trump, who is under a great deal of pressure to “do something,” didn’t seem to get this memo and made his own suggestion in the aftermath of Parkland.
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that arming teachers could help prevent massacres like last week’s mass shooting at a Florida high school, voicing support for an idea backed by the National Rifle Association gun rights group.
Trump made the comment during an emotional hour-long White House meeting with students who survived the Florida shooting and a parent whose child did not. Hundreds of students joined scattered protests across the country on Wednesday, including in Washington, Chicago and Pittsburgh.
The Republican president, who has championed gun rights and was endorsed by the NRA during the 2016 campaign, said he would move quickly to tighten background checks for gun buyers and would consider raising the age for buying certain types of guns.
He spoke at length about how armed teachers and security guards could frighten off potential school shooters and prevent student deaths.
“If you had a teacher … who was adept at firearms, it could very well end the attack very quickly,” said Trump.
Not everyone thinks this is a good idea, though.
At least one father of a child slain at Sandy Hook, whose wife is a teacher, took issue with the President’s suggestion.
Mark Barden, whose son was killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut, said his wife, Jackie, a teacher, ”will tell you that school teachers have more than enough responsibilities right now than to have to have the awesome responsibility of lethal force to take a life.
“Nobody wants to see a shootout in a school,” Barden said.
Of course not. No one in their right mind wants a shootout anywhere. But they happen.
It’s important to remember that no one is asking armed teachers to die for their students. Not really. While I suspect most teachers would, that’s not what we’re talking about.
We’re talking about them being able to defend their own lives. In the process, they’ll also defend the lives of the students they are charged with educating.
Furthermore, no one has ever uttered the word “mandatory.” No one would. If Jackie Barden doesn’t want to carry a gun, so be it. No private citizen should be required to do a damn thing they don’t want to do, especially when it comes to firearms.
But Barden forgets that teachers are a diverse group with a wide variety of experiences. While his wife may not want to carry a gun, others are more than willing to take on that “awesome responsibility of lethal force” to protect their students.
The thing is, we don’t need every teacher to be armed. We just need enough to be armed to give maniacs like the Parkland shooter a reason to think twice.
UPDATE: President Trump clarified his position earlier today.