This morning, I was having my coffee, doing my normal Facebook creeping when I found a local news story about the school that my son and daughter attend. Normally, I would never disclose this information about my kids to the internet at large, but this is a special circumstance.
I do not want my children in a school where anyone is carrying a gun. Not because I'm a raving anti-gun liberal. I think I've made it very clear in the past that I am a fan of guns and shooting things that aren't people. I think guns are rad as hell. But I also have a working brain and I realize that while a gun is a tool, the same as a hammer or a chainsaw, it is not the only tool for a job, or the right tool for every job.
The school board, other parents, and local police feel differently. And that's fine. I think it would have been awesome if parents had been notified by someone other than the local news station about this impending change, but whatever. Here's why putting guns in the school is going to make it a dangerous place, and why I'm going to be making some tough choices about the future of schooling of my children:
1. More guns won't solve our mass shooting problem. Columbine had armed security. Didn't help. In the Aurora shooting, the suspect was wearing body armor. A trained sniper would have had trouble taking him out, and it wouldn't have been a shot that was possible with a handgun. Allowing teachers and other volunteer civilians to carry firearms in school will just mean more bullets flying around, killing children.
2. People in positions of authority over children already abuse that power to be predators. I'm not saying that all of the volunteers in this program are molesters. I'm not suggesting that even one of them are inclined to molest a kid. However, we're talking about a program in which the people carrying the firearms are anonymous. How long before, "Don't tell mom and dad, because I have a gun and can shoot you," becomes a useable threat? Even by people who aren't in the program, because remember, we don't know who has that gun. Answer: At exactly the same time we have people anonymously carrying guns in the school.
3. Kids shouldn't be afraid of getting shot at school. Not by a teacher, not by another student, not by a volunteer or an armed gunman. It shouldn't be a possibility. Psychologically, what does it do to these kids to know there are armed people wandering around the school? "But Jenny, you can just tell your kids that the people with guns are there to protect them." Awesome, now do they not only have to fear a school shooting in the first place, but I've just indoctrinated my kids into the gun culture behind the mass shootings in the first place. You know, the culture that tells us guns are always the solution? On top of that, I'm teaching my kids that stranger + gun = safety. Great plan, school system, bang up job.
4. An intelligent person would not trust someone they don't know to have a gun around their child in their absence. That seems like it should be Parenting 101, guys. There are people in this town I wouldn't trust around my kids, and sure as hell not with a gun. And since I don't know who's got a gun, I don't know if I can say it's okay for my kids to be around them.
5. If there are more guns in the school, there are more guns for a shooter to use. What happens when a school shooter exchanges fire with an armed civilian, then kills the civilian? All the video games and movies the shooter has ever seen have already trained him or her to pick up that gun and ammo and continue on the rampage with more fire power. Furthermore, when the kids figure out who these armed volunteers are (and they will find out. Some kid is going to tell their friends, "my dad brings a gun to school, so he can shoot you," and the cover is blown. Kids don't keep secrets), all it takes is for one kid to disarm that teacher or volunteer. Now, that kid is armed, whereas he might not have been before.
6. These volunteers are human, and they will make mistakes. No matter how much training someone has, they can always panic, or snap, or be irresponsible. The worst case scenario is that one of these armed volunteers will go on a spree themselves. The more likely scenario is that someone will leave their gun in a bathroom or something because people are prone to dumb mistakes, no matter how certain we are that we could never, ever do something like that.
Look, I'm sure the people who signed up for this program are really nice people. No, actually, I'm not sure, because I don't know who the hell they are. So, you know, see #4. But let's assume they all went into this program with the good intention of wanting to protect kids. I'm absolutely sure Chief Pierce is training the volunteers well and I have every confidence that he's also coming at this program from a good place, but I am not willing to send my kids to school where there are people I do not know wandering around with guns.
I realize this post is scattered at best and nonsensical at worst. But I firmly believe that the best way my kids can avoid being shot at school is for there to be no guns in their school, no matter who is carrying.