When Teachers Fail To See Beyond Their Own Anti-Gun Bias

AP Photo/ Rick Bowmer

There are professions that lend themselves toward people who are more likely to be anti-gun than not. What happens is that those who seek out those careers often do so with the intent of a degree of idealism with little regard for financial matters, which is something that, frankly, is more likely to be done by a leftist than someone on the right and leftists are also more likely to be in favor of gun control.

People on the right tend to be driven by different motivators such as providing for a family. While they may want to change the world, they tend to look at doing so from a different direction.

One of these professions is teaching. Teachers are more likely to be anti-gun than, say, bankers.

But not all of them. What I outlined above is about tendencies, not universalities.

However, some teachers fail to see beyond their own biases to face the harsh realities, particularly when it comes to armed teachers.

I am a teacher, so was not surprised to read almost immediately from various news sources comments like the following from fellow educators:

  • It’s hard to begin to count the number of ways in which this is a bad idea.
  • The day they ask me to carry a gun in the classroom is the last day I teach. Period. End of story.
  • I’m trained how to teach students how to read, how to treat each other with kindness, and how to learn—not to attack somebody with a gun.
  • And your solution is to arm teachers??? Are you fucking insane?? I’m a teacher, I teach children. I’ve been in the army, I’ve made the choice to no longer be a soldier, but a teacher!

Amen to that. On my Facebook page I simply posted the following:

I am a teacher. I know and am friends with dozens of teachers. Trust me, you do not want teachers with guns.

This brief post gathered more likes and comments—mostly from fellow teachers—than any Facebook message I had ever posted. The unanimous consensus, not surprisingly, was that the very thought of arming teachers is ludicrous and a non-starter. The same sentiment was shared by the dozen or so colleagues whom I joined for a Friday afternoon beer at our on campus watering hole a couple of days later. One colleagues reported that one of his students said that the possibility of his professor being armed would make him think twice about skipping class; we quickly lost count of all the reasons that arming teachers a bad idea.

Ah, shades of Pauline Kael and her admission that she couldn’t see how Nixon won because no one she knew voted for him.

The author is judging his circle of Facebook friends as if it’s the totality of the teaching profession. Of course, his response also makes me wonder just what he knows about teachers that people like me, a parent, should be made aware of. Is there some reason teachers can’t be trusted with firearms if they so desire?

However, the author goes on:

I am a teacher, and I understand that my thoughts on guns in the classroom are anything but objective, but I believe that classrooms, the places in which human beings teach and learn, are sacred spaces—“sacred” not in the religious sense that many believe to be the only meaning of the word, but “sacred” because the classroom is where, if anywhere, we “carry the fire” and pass it from person to person, from generation to generation. It is one of the places where everyone, for a time, gets to be “the good guys” in a world in which the number of places where goodness can happen seems to be decreasing on a daily basis.

I’m glad he looks at his classroom as sacred. I believe teachers should, to some degree.

The problem that the author fails to note, however, is that not everyone sees it the same way. So what happens when some maniac decides to slaughter teachers and students in job lots simply because they’re angry at the world? Are they going to respect your classroom’s sanctity?

Of course not.

While the author has no interest in having a firearm, there are others who would rather die fighting than being forced to cower in a corner, unable to do anything else for their students but serve as a temporary shield.

The concept of armed teachers has always been predicated on teachers voluntarily carrying a firearm. If you don’t want one, don’t carry one. It’s as simple as that.

Yet the author is letting his own biases dictate for everyone. Because his circle of Facebook friends aren’t interested in carrying a gun and don’t like the idea, that doesn’t mean it’s universal.

If he knows of a reason other than his own lack of comfort that teachers shouldn’t carry, he needs to produce it. Instead, he argues:

To argue that the challenges of gun violence are best met by introducing more guns into the equation, this time into the very environments in which we seek to fan the fire of knowledge and humanity into a brighter flame, to propose that the best solution to gun violence in schools is to arm teachers, is to say “we give up.” Or at least to say “we would rather sacrifice the sanctity of our most precious environments of goodness than seriously consider limiting our supposed freedom to do whatever the hell we want to do.”

No, arming teachers isn’t saying we give up. It’s saying that we recognize that the people we entrust our children to are also people who can be trusted to defend their own lives if necessary. It’s not giving up to recognize the sad reality that there are people who simply want to kill everyone they can.

As for the rest of that argument, just how stupid can you be and still be a teacher? I ask because believing the “sanctity of our most precious environments of goodness” is somehow relevant when a madman is trying to slaughter the innocent is nothing but the gravest stupidity imaginable.

Then again, he thinks he speaks for every teacher, so you can probably guess the answer to my question.