The idea of teachers carrying firearms completely freaks out the anti-gunners. They already hate the idea of people carrying firearms and are opposed to the concept of self-defense as a general rule, but they really hate the idea of teachers carrying guns. It terrifies them, the idea that anyone other than a police officer might be carrying a firearm into a school.
As a result, they’ll try any tactic they can manufacture to make that point. Most recently, that teachers will apparently be gunning down students of color.
In response to the growing calls for action to prevent gun violence in our schools, President Trump has proposed arming teachers to keep kids safe. I’m not alone in being alarmed and terrified at that proposal. As a black mother who has had a child killed by gun violence, I know all too well how this dangerous proposal would add to the worries of other black and brown parents, and entire communities.
My son, George Jr., was shot and killed in 2013 when he was only 20 years old. Like many Texans, his life revolved around his family, football, his horse and country music. He had finished one year of college, and we had big dreams for his future. Losing George, my only son, knocked me down to the point that I thought I’d never get back up.
Like so many black victims in our country, George’s life story was completely rewritten by the defense attorneys for his murderers. They ignored the stories shared by people who knew and loved George, and instead painted my son as a “gang member”—a mischaracterization the media was all too ready to amplify.
Here, I want to interject something. Her son, George Kemp, was murdered by a 17-year-old who witnesses say Kemp had already challenged to a fight over a “personal matter.” In other words, he showed up looking for violence. While that doesn’t excuse his murder by any means, he also wasn’t some guy standing on the street corner minding his own business.
While I can’t speak on whether her son was a gang member or not, it’s worth noting that some racist white guy didn’t shoot him, but another person of color did. There was no racial motivation in the shooting, and while she may not like the characterization of her son as a “gang member,” it does sound like he was looking for trouble. Not the “good boy” she seems to want to portray him as–not on that night, at least.
Kemp continues, though.
Already, students of color are being pushed out of their classrooms and losing out on the education they need to succeed after graduation. When guns are involved, this kind of bias has life or death consequences. Like it did for Tamir Rice, who was playing with a toy gun when he was shot and killed by police at just 12 years old.
If teachers are allowed to carry handguns in classrooms, Trump’s proposal will only make black and brown children like mine less safe—facing an increased risk of gun violence in the places they go to learn and grow.
Even in the face of a school shooting, arming teachers is unlikely to keep any child safe. Armed civilians are almost never successful in active shooting situations and in many instances make it harder for law enforcement to intervene. It’s not surprising that teachers overwhelmingly oppose Trump’s plan.
First, the Tamir Rice situation was tragic. No one is going to argue that. However, let’s also keep in mind that a different kind of person is attracted to being a police officer than a teacher. Further, teachers are going to know the kids far better than a police officer who sees hundreds of faces every day. That makes them less likely to shoot.
Now, let’s talk about how “civilians are almost never successful” against active shooters. What that particular publication says is that armed citizens stop 3.1 percent of active shooters. What doesn’t get taken into account is that most active shooter situations take place in gun free zones. Schools account for almost a quarter of all locations for such shootings, with businesses–including malls, which are gun free in many states–making up more than 45 percent.
In other words, armed civilians only stop 3.1 percent of shootings because they’re not at most of the others. That’s it.
However, instead of picking apart Kemp’s flimsy supporting evidence, let’s get right to the meat of her claim that teachers will gun down students of color.
You see, we have data already. The great thing about this country is that each state can serve as a testbed of ideas, and this time it’s no different. Several states have already allowed teachers to be armed, and guess what’s happened? Not a blasted thing.
That’s because of several reasons, up to and including that teachers don’t want to harm their students, they want to protect them. No amount of Kemp’s fear-mongering will change that, either.