During my years of professional work as a teacher and a principal with students I have broken up numerous altercations, some involving weapons, some between students who were just showing off their hormones, and some caused by students who were seriously deranged by some internal or external stimulus. In all of these school situations, plus the numerous school evacuations for bomb threats in Chile, Peru and Venezuela, the injury of teachers by bombs and shootings in Peru and Chile and the massive street demonstrations by armed terrorists and campesinos in Peru and Ecuador respectively, I never once considered that the carrying of a weapon have helped in the solution to the problems at hand. The same situations occurred in schools in the United States where I confronted students who were threatening others with knives or physical violence. The addition of a gun would have only exacerbated the problems. Therefor I am at a complete loss as to why POTUS would be calling for a plan to arm and train teachers to shoot people.
Considering my professional life even further, my family and I lived for years in unguarded houses in developing countries. With my family, my wife and I traveling daily on public transport in Lima, Peru during the time when Sendero Luminoso was almost daily bombing and shooting up the streets. In my 19 years of professional work in Latin America our family dealt with being accosted on the streets, being shaken down by corrupt police officials talking our way out of mobs on remote back roads, and never once felt that brandishing a weapon or shooting someone would have solve the problem. In fact a weapon might very well have led to the injury or death of a member of my family or myself. Again, as I think on these situations, I see no justification for a President to recommend a solution which in most cases would only raise tensions rather than lowering them.
Given all of these experiences, plus the fact that I was trained during the Vietnam War in advanced Infantry skills, I wonder about the expertise, experience and knowledge of many of our leaders when it comes to making rather brash recommendations about how easy it is to just pull out a gun and shoot someone. Certainly the training that would be given to teachers would be nothing like the military brainwashing used to train soldiers in the art of demonizing the enemy in order to justify killing them. Teaching teachers to shoot is one thing. Teaching them to shoot a former student whom they may have worked hours with is a whole different ball of wax. We need to leave the carrying of weapons and the armed confrontation of a shooter to the professionals.
I have seen no evidence whatsoever that POTUS has studied the research on guns, or the training of humans to shoot other people with weapons, or even the massive number of responsibilities already laid upon teachers by our society. The training of teachers in the classroom, and of principals in the management of schools on a daily basis is a whole profession in itself. What we do in schools doesn’t square away very well with picking up a gun and shooting to kill another human. What does the President really know about any of this?
Our nation needs to quit blaming its schools and its teachers for the problems our society has developed. How can we expect teachers to teach and train students to not be liars and bullies when the very highest office of our land is occupied by a person who has a life long history of doing just this sort of thing? If our national leaders can’t act as good models for children, then who are they to look up to? Their teachers of course, even though we ridicule them and blame them for all of the ills within our families and communities. The problem rests not with the schools, but with our culture and society which are going to have to change before any of this really get better.
The solutions to our school shooting problems rest with our law makers, our constitutional interpreters, our big money influence on government, or individualistic society of instant gratification and in our love affair with violence and guns. I see no movement in our government towards giving greater support to the mental health facilities and personnel in all our schools. I see no meaningful set of laws being developed on a nation wide basis to get the interpretation of our constitutional right to bear arms because militias are supposed to be important for our nation’s security. I see no laws regulating militias so that they might be helpful to a real national emergency that required further assistance for the National Guard or law enforcement. I see no reason why any of this needs to impinge on the great work which we have already assigned to our teachers in their many roles related to schools.
What is it that would give POTUS even the faintest idea that arming teachers would in any way help solve a country’s sick infatuation with rifles, guns and pistols? What CDC research on public health and other scientific information has he read and discussed with mental health experts to show that giving one more weapon to one more person will do anything about an active shooter,. All the evidence and research on weapons points to the fact that having a weapon only endangers the life of the person who owns it and the people they love who are around them. Does POTUS understand the mental state of mass shooters? Does he understand that America’s love for guns has itself become an cancer within our society and that automatic or automatic-like rifles and pistols should really be labelled WMD “weapons of mass destruction”?
The speech by POTUS that led to a response from Samuel L. Jackson is worth watching. Here is a link, followed by further commentary and another link.
After watching the link above, I can only say”Hurray for Samuel L. Jackson!” His noting the lack of the emperor’s new clothing is evident. He states it like it is, the President’s solution is nothing but a bunch of Hogwash.
I think there are quite a number of us in the teaching field overseas who have looked into the barrels of guns or been knocked down by exploding bombs and heard the bullets and shooting going on at night with our families. We know that teachers in their training become experts in talking down tense situations. We know they don’t need to pull a gun to tamp things down. We know that by the time they did pull a gun on an active shooter they would very likely already have become a target themselves. this is contrary to what they should really be doing, which is to do everything in their power to get their students to safety. We don’t need to put more pressure on the very people who we already know will generally give up their lives to make sure their students are out of harms way. We already ask them to be prepared daily in the classroom to manage, feed, teach, educate, discipline and sometimes parent our children. We don’t want them to trade this love of career and students for the mental mind set needed to pull a weapon of their own and try to engage someone who is probably better armed and already in a killing mood. That needs to be left to the professionals, our police, our SWAT teams and our military.
Historically if we look at teachers and students in our society, the teachers managed the students until it became impossible and then turned the students over to the parents who managed their children until it was impossible and then those persons went out on their own. If they were mentally ill they were put away so they wouldn’t harm others. The lack of adequate mental health, and nursing professionals in our schools is an abomination for such a rich nation. We can pay for and should pay for and provide these professionals to all our schools. They are a portion of our true internal National Defense System and need to be funded.
While we are addressing mental health of students in schools, we must also address the cancer of gun infatuation that is continuing to grow throughout our country. Our founding fathers and ancestors spent over 100 years figuring out how dangerous guns were in crowds, in bars, in towns and in the hands of drunks, crazies, and angry or suicidal people. They made a lot of rules about guns being carried or not in various places to ensure public safety. Our “me-me-me” culture has now spent the past 50 years persuading our legislators and courts to undo all of the common sense rules about weapons that our gun-toting ancestors learned the hard way. We are now learning the hard way once more, but with weapons that are immensely more powerful and accurate for killing than any ever dreamed of by our ancestors. Weapons that can kill other people are not for the local bar, they are not for the school, they are not for any place where you might want sane and considered argumentation. The list of where not to have weapons is enormous but we have let our politicians be persuaded by moneyed bribes to take away common sense restrictions because of a 200 year old phrase in a Constitution that no longer means what our ancestors were really thinking. Our forefathers would stand aghast at our simple mindedness in looking after the common good of our people when it comes to weapons, their ownership, their use as toys, and our infatuation with them.
We veteran teachers of students in war torn, terrorist ridden, mob controlled, and dictator run countries have run some of the best international institutions called schools all over this world. We didn’t need and we still don’t need guns in the classrooms to ensure that good education happens. Neither do the teachers in our continental US schools.
We veterans of the military have also learned how much in depth training is needed for humans to maintain, handle and effectively shoot automatic weapons in a responsible manner. It is unfortunate that the majority of the loud mouth “arm the teacher movement” including our own POTUS are persons who have never served in a police or military organization. They know nothing of the realities of which they talk and are simply shooting off at the mouths at the expense of the lives of our children.
There are solutions. Here are some suggestions:
1. We must learn to control the lawless members of our society by properly funding our police forces even if that means having rotating officers on duty at schools. Not that these officers will prevent a sick person from starting a shooting spree, but they may be able to better curtail that person’s endeavors.
2. We must also learn to recognize and help those persons who are mentally ill in our schools and society again by fully funding our mental health agencies and having professionals in all schools who work constantly with the students to maintain a culture of sanity. We must take the easily purchased automatic weapons and the tools to convert semi-automatic weapons into automatics off the market for the ordinary public which has no need for them. We must correct the ability of big money to game our constitution and we must clearly define a militia, how militias are controlled, and how members of a militia will be armed.
3. We must demand that our legislators do numbers 1 and 2 and that these be national priorities. We must as a nation draw away from the gun culture that regards weapons as toys. We must demand training and accountability for all sellers, buyers and users of these weapons and prescribe the uses for which these weapons are appropriate or the right to use them becomes forfeit. We must learn to treat these dangerous weapons with the respect they deserve and recognize them officially for what they really are: deadly weapons of mass destruction.
Now let’s look at what the majority of Americans think about this. Read and watch:
Amen! I say! Common sense is there, why don’t our legislators and president follow the populaces? Big Money Talks! Quite obviously if you look at government donations.
As a veteran, a hunter, and gun owner of a pump .22 and a lever action .32 special, I can just look at the picture above and tell you three things those toys designed for man-killing could do without for the general non-trained shooter, non-federally controlled militia or wannabe next headline maker.
I can also tell something from the pictured weapons that each should be required to have, and I’ll bet none of them do. That is, a trigger lock or an individualized security mechanism to prevent any thief, child or goof-ball from using the gun without the key or code. Why haven’t we legislated this basic safety mechanism?
Finally, I want you to think about the name “weapon”. Why do you think we call these things “weapons” rather than just “rifles”? Well, I would guess that is because weapons are generally used to kill humans rather than animals. My rifles and guns, not just the ones listed above, but the Winchester .458 and the 8mm. Mauser and the 20 gauge shotgun and the Eddystone 30-06 to name a few of my former rifles, all did a considerable amount of animal killing with magazines holding 3- 5 shots. When I was in the military we trained with M-16 and M-14 weapons and large magazines daily. We handled, cleaned and slept with them and treated them with care because they had a specific job to do which was not hunting animals, or plinking at squirrels. It was serious business requiring serious training and target practice in order to be able to kill humans.
There is something that the 99% of the US American population who are no longer being trained militarily to kill other humans should think about. What in the “hell” are we really planning to do with all the millions of weapons that we are selling and passing out to everyone in our country? Those weapons of mass destruction are much more likely to kill you or your child or your friends because you own them. You or members of your family are much more likely to commit suicide with that weapon than you are to ever confront or kill that fabled intruder, rapist, or other beastie of the night which you fear? You have been sold a bill of goods by the NRA, a Brooklyn Bridge by your congressmen, and a big bottle of snake oil by the pundits to salve your fears. Guns won’t solve America’s problems, Discussion, research and voting can.
Speak out about thet need for change to your congressmen and the nation. If you don’t, then the next time we have another mass shooting look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself, “Am I and the rest of Americans really and truly so God-damned stupid?”
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