Friday, February 8, 2013

Why I'm pissed off about guns in my kids' school.

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.

65 comments:

  1. I find it scary that (as of the time I read the article) only you and one other person think this isn't the greatest idea in the world.

    ReplyDelete
  2. That's seriously terrifying.. I can't imagine sending my children to school where someone has a gun. AND you don't even know which person has them?? So scary, I get that people have the right to bear arms and in the States its more normal, but in my life in Canada I have met exactly one person who even owned a gun, he was my dad's best friend and I never saw it, just the locked box he kept it in and the separate locked box he kept the ammo in. So I personally cannot even wrap my head around the idea of someone wandering through my child's school with a concealed firearm.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I grew up in a household with guns, but the bullets were always locked away and my brother and I received regular discussions about them and learned to shoot and to always treat a gun as if it's loaded, even if the chamber is open, and we also knew our ass was grass if we ever went near one without our dad present, including the low-powered BB gun (he wasn't taking chances on us thinking if one is okay, another might be too). Because of all this, when a friend of ours found a gun in his mom's closet and the friend, my brother, and I, were the only ones there, and the friend thought it would be cool to play with because he said his mom never kept it loaded, my brother told him to set it down carefully and I took it and put it on a high shelf in a closet and we took the friend to our house and called dad, who came home from work early to talk to the boy's mother.

      Our training didn't stop there. As soon as we were each old enough, he also put us through state gun training programs. We passed with flying colors.

      Problem is a lot of people have guns and don't instill a sense of awe and responsibility into their kids, and then ignore training altogether. We knew guns could be used for good or bad, and that in either situation, they had tremendous power, and we respected that. We also the responsible steps to take in the presence of one. They can be fun to shoot at ranges and hunting is a wonderful experience (really hunting more or less was walking through the woods enjoying nature with protection in case we ever came upon an animal wanting to eat us, and I wasn't allowed to be alone with a gun when hunting until I was 14 and had more official training under my belt than most non-officer/military adults), but the power in your hands must be respected. Like more than god, because you're not going to point your finger and tell god to take down that guy over there, but you can with a gun.

      Oh, and for good measure, we also learned a lot more about knives than how to cook with them, and other things we may encounter than can be used to cause harm, even accidentally, and also had years of martial arts training more for the aspect of self-control and respect than even for self-defense.

      Too bad more people weren't like my dad, and even your dad's friend who kept his gun and the ammo separate and locked up. That's being responsible.

      Delete
  3. I live in Europe and this kind of thing is incredible to me. What's more, it's frightening that no one saw fit to inform the parents of the students who attend this school. I understand that the decision was made by the school board, but parents should have the final call on whether or not they want their children to attend an establishment that is rife with concealed guns. Like I said: incredible.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Par for the course in American schools. My best friend's daughters go to a school where they were considering putting bars on all the windows and were going to have a PTA meeting about it when word got out, and then changed the date of the meeting without publicizing it, so only the principal and a few others already in favor of the bars would be there to vote. Of course it passed and now the windows are being barred like a jail.

      Problems are this school doesn't have money for tissues or new books, yet has the hundreds of thousands to bar the windows, no school shooter has come in through windows but student would now be trapped inside in case of a shooter or fire, and the school grounds are wide open and offer no protection of any sort at all, as in the kids could wander off without even a fence to give them pause, and then, of course, the school moving the date for the meeting forward.

      Welcome to American public schools. We're screwed.

      Delete
  4. Because you know....TEACHING people what to do during a shooting is a total waste of time. Correct me if I am wrong- but often it is PANIC that kills people involved in shootings (aside from you know...bullets). People panic because they don't know what to do. People know what to do- get down, get safe, don't panic- would be a lot better.

    So yeah- I agree that SOMETHING needs to be done but arming people with guns and keeping those you claim to want to protect ignorant- I do not agree with. Guns in school will not help the problem.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right after Columbine my schools started doing shooting drills in about the same frequency as fire drills (once or twice per semester). Where to go, what to do, how to exit the building. I don't know how frequent this was in the rest of the United States, but I know it wasn't universal.

      Delete
  5. Becca shared your tweet with the link to this. I'm glad she did. My dad in in law enforcement and is trying to work with the school district on protecting the students. The district wants teachers with guns, the law enforcement agencies want a secured gun safe in the principal's office that ONLY the school resource officer can have access to. In that safe would have a few assult rifles, ammo, and a few peices of armor that can be easily put on.

    The district and districts don't like that idea but the cops don't like the districts ideas. I personally believe that though it'll be hard to come find middle ground on this issue, the do need to figure out a solution. I, personally, think that the safe isn't a bad idea but I do worry about those smart teenagers that can crack any code or pick any lock.
    The only idea I full heartedly agree with is to have at least one resource officer at every school at all times. Doesn't mean it'll help like we want it to, but at least those officers can do their part in protecting the students.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your district has a principal's office that doesn't have a secretary out front? Wow. You couldn't reach our principal's office without going by the secretary and her assistant, and one was always present. I'm surprised there's a school where students could walk into the principal's office and have enough time with a safe to break in.

      A big problem with the district's idea is that teachers don't receive the regular support and training that officers do and probably can't get into a mental place to actually shoot someone. An officer spends at least eight hours a day in a mental state of realizing they may have to shoot someone. Teachers don't. Will the districts have the teachers recertify with the same regularity as officers? I have yet to hear about a single school wanting to arm teachers giving more training than one course at the start.

      Between arming teacher volunteers or no guns anywhere, students are safer without them there. These districts wanting to put guns in class rooms with teachers who aren't experts with them is just plain stupid. I'm all in favor of gun rights, but not being stupid with them. Sticking them in classrooms with volunteers carries a far greater risk to the students than an armed intruder. Nix the guns in classrooms and have drills on how to get out safely. As pro-gun-rights as I am, there's not a chance in hell I'd let my child go to a school where a gun is kept in a classroom by a volunteer.

      JFC, I hate living in America and wish I could move away.

      Delete
  6. This would absolutely make me choose to homeschool. I'm fine with other people having guns in appropriate places, but schools are NOT an appropriate place - by definition, they're full of people whose minds have not finished maturing yet.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Statistically, more guns equals more deaths. End of story. That is absolute insanity.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not necessarily. Russia has disarmed its population. So the death rate should be low, right? Wrong. Russia has one of the highest murder rates in the world.

      In Norway, gun ownership is mandated for a large swath of the population. Yet the murder rate is very low.

      Statistically more guns means more gun-involved deaths. But you can't overlook the overall murder rate. The deadliest mass-murders involve bombs. If you've got bleach, ammonia, gasoline, motor oil, styrofoam, some glass bottles, rags, and plain tap water, you can make war-grade chemical gas, Moltov cocktails, and napalm. Toss in a bunch of cow shit and you can pull off another Oklahoma City bombing and kill 168 and injure nearly 800 more. Look overseas where bombs are used to kill far more people at once than one person can do with a gun. Bombs are the deadliest weapons. When people can't access guns, or don't care for the "thrill" of picking people off one by one, bombs are employed.

      It makes me want to cry.

      Delete
    2. Russia has a broken healthcare system and a myriad of other issues, including high poverty levels. Hey...that sounds familiar, doesn't it? Access to guns is not the only piece, but on the whole, poorly regulated guns are a bad thing. Poorly regulated guns with no mandated training is a very bad thing.

      I am not anti-gun, per se. I don't like them, but I do feel that they are too ingrained in our culture to completely eliminate them.

      In our country, guns are the most common implement of murder and the most common successful implement of suicide. Did you know that women attempt suicide at a rate of 3 times more than men, but 4 times more men are successful? Women choose poison, and men choose guns. High rates of poverty correlate high rates of murder, and in countries with ready access to guns, guns are the implement of choice. Like this one. And lets not forget the roughly 1000 people a year that are killed by accidental misfire. People who would still likely be around with more stringent control and mandated training. (Training that is required in quite a few other countries like Switzerland and Israel that people seem to quote as gun loving utopias.)

      As for bombs, they aren't personal enough for most mass shooters, I suspect. They also take more effort to put together, and many bomb making materials are regulated by the government. I suspect that most mass shooters (which is not a likely way to die, by the by) have an image in their mind of going out in a blaze of glory, making a statement. People tend use bombs when they are working for an organization higher than themselves (as an act of terrorism with a statement); they rarely utilize them when they work alone.

      Delete
  8. "Kids shouldn't be afraid of getting shot at school"

    Agreed. And when you look at the statistics, they really aren't at any great risk of being shot at school. According to stats on Wikipedia there have been something like 31 shootings in the US so far this decade. That's out of about 100,000 schools. And of those 31 shootings, only 16 of them had any fatalities. 14 of those had 3 deaths or fewer.

    The previous decade shows basically the same thing. A very small percentage of schools actually had shootings, and most of those shootings had few or no deaths.

    School shootings are tragedies, but they're also anomalies. Schools should be more concerned with improving literacy rates and math scores than trying to prevent something that has less than 1% chance of occurring. There are better ways to deal with mass shootings anyway (improving the mental healthcare system springs to mind).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To add some additional perspective to this: fewer than 200 people in the US have died in school shootings since the year 2000.

      Meanwhile, in the year 2010 ALONE roughly 655,000 people died of malaria. 90% of those deaths were children.

      You want to protect kids? Donate money for a mosquito net.

      Delete
  9. Wow, living in a country where even Police Officers don't routinely carry guns (NZ) the thought of people I don't know carrying guns in my child's school is horrifying. Of course we have never had a school shooting here, so I don't have that same fear that parents must have in the US, but I really don't think that having anonymous people carrying guns in school is the answer. I hope you can find a solution for you and your children that you are comfortable with.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Holy shit, that is terrifying.

    ReplyDelete
  11. SMH. And this is practically in my own backyard as well. Doesn't surprise me, though. This area of Michigan is rife with people with this mentality.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And after reading the comments on the link Jennifer posted above only confirms my comment.

      Delete
  12. Speaking of armed adults leaving guns in bathrooms, do you remember this story from last month? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/18/armed-school-security-gua_n_2505747.html

    Sure, the gun wasn't loaded, but I think the point is that even experienced, fairly responsible adults fuck up from time to time. And I don't want one of those times to include my kid and any kind of weapon (loaded or unloaded).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. An unloaded gun should NEVER be treated as unloaded. Bullets can lodge and discharge. There've been deaths when people presumed a gun wasn't loaded because they didn't see a bullet.

      Delete
  13. I'm a democrat in an overwhelmingly Republican family. I tend not to get into political conversations out of habit. But this is one I get really adamant on. More guns is never the answer to any question, unless the question is "What do you not want near your children?" I get so tired of these knee jerk reactions. If you had asked any of the people involved this time last year if they'd like to have volunteers wandering the school armed, you would have had a riot on your hands.

    Guns are indeed a tool, and have their proper place and use. I wouldn't have wanted random people armed and wandering the airports, malls or movie theaters no matter how well trained. I don't have children, but I don't think that precludes me from having a valid opinion. In fact, it makes me a bit more objective. I get wanting to protect your children, but this is a HUGE step way over the line.

    And as I said to my very irate cousin, with whom I got into this exact argument: There is no argument that will make me ever think this will be a good idea. And please come see, me when a teacher accidently shoots a student, or a child kills someone. Because I would love to hear your justfication then.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I've been involved in the school system a long time, and let me tell you, one of the biggest difficulties is trying to keep shit from getting stolen. Purses. Backpacks. Computers. Fuckin' desk supplies. Anything that isn't nailed down -- no, scratch that, even stuff that IS nailed down -- gets stolen at one point or another. Fact of life. And you can bet your ass that guns will be, too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You made a very good point here!

      Delete
  15. Thank you for this. As soon as I heard the idea of arming every teacher, I thought it was a bad idea. I want my child's teachers to be focused on education, not security issues. I can only imagine how many accidents there will be having every adult in a school armed. And let's be honest, some teachers are barely capable of doing their own job - I don't think we need to add any more responsibility to their lives. When I look back at the teachers I had growing up, I don't think I would trust ANY of them to have a gun in the classroom.

    ReplyDelete
  16. This is just. I can't even believe this. What's next? Giving every kid a gun?

    ReplyDelete
  17. So we want to add guns to underpaid, stressed out folks who are trying to keep 20-40 kids in one room in line? What could go wrong?

    ReplyDelete
  18. That's completely insane. I really wouldn't want to be in your position. I hope you have options other than homeschooling, because that's a big task to have to suddenly take on. Honestly though, if I had to choose between having kids in a gun filled school or homeschooling them myself, I would have to take the homeschooling.

    ReplyDelete
  19. ...What?

    Oh good lord. This is really just another way to make schools more like prison, isn't it? D:

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My best friend's daughters' school moved up the date of a meeting without telling anyone to pass a measure to put bars on all the windows. The kids are going to now be behind bars in the most literal sense.

      Delete
  20. "5. If there are more guns in the school, there are more guns for a shooter to use."

    This seems unlikely. Call it what you will, spree shooters go after soft targets. They attack people in places where they are not armed - cinemas, schools and universities. Even Adam Lanza, someone who /did/ attack a gun owner to steal her guns, did so when the victim was in bed and not when she was carrying a weapon. I'm not saying this is a good idea, but an armed enemy is not exactly catnip to these people.

    "The worst case scenario is that one of these armed volunteers will go on a spree themselves."

    I think you'd find that they'd bring a gun anyway. Anyone willing to break the laws against committing mass murder is unlikely to be deterred by any standing request not to bring guns into a school.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, they won't be deterred by a request not to bring guns into the school. But they might be deterred by having to go out and get a gun in the first place (along with any background checks, waiting periods, etc. that might go along with that), having to deal with any security measures that may be in place at the school (alas, many schools do have metal detectors by now) instead of having a free pass to bring the gun inside, etc.

      These things are not insurmountable. Someone who is determined will certainly get around them. But they will make it less likely. Many mental health crises have moments of high risk and intensity that are especially dangerous but limited in time. Having near-zero obstacles in the way at those moments of crisis/stress/delusion make it that much more likely the person will act. Every additional obstacle placed in the way adds another chance that the person can cool off, decide against it, give up.

      And this is supposedly volunteer-based and anonymous... even if 99% of volunteers have only the purest of reasons for volunteering, what safeguards are there against even just one person volunteering for the wrong reasons?

      Honestly, I think the other risk factors - gun accidentally left somewhere, gun stolen by kid, gun used in haste/panic/confusion by a volunteer not sufficiently trained after just 4(!) weeks of training and accidentally killing a kid - are more likely concerns, but "volunteer goes on a spree him/herself (and now has a gun and nothing to keep him from bringing it into the school)" is not as outlandish as you make it sound.

      Delete
  21. As a Canadian, looking at the American gun culture from the outside, it just doesn't make sense. But the pro-gun people seem to be so mired in this mindset that they can't even imagine an alternative. It's like they have blinders on. I wonder if part of this is due to the fact that the American media is so insular (I've spent weeks in the US on various business and pleasure trips, and never heard a single news item on anything outside US borders). When people aren't exposed to alternate worldviews, it's hard to change their minds.

    I think all pro-gun Americans should live a year in a country that does not share this mindset, just to realize that there are options. I'm not saying it would solve the problem, but it sure couldn't hurt. But sadly, I don't run the world... :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't lump all pro-gun-rights people into the same category. We're not all the stupid NRA idiots who think anyone who wants an assault rifle should be able to pick one up at the corner convenience store. Many of us favor stricter background checks, disallowing those who are mentally instable from buying guns (screw the whole medical privacy thing - as it stands, doctors have to repost epileptics and sometimes even diabetics to the DMV), mandating regular gun-safety courses, and serializing bullets and registering them to the purchaser and holding the purchaser personally liable for any crimes committed with them, even if they're stolen.

      The NRA sees someone like me as anti-constitution, and those 100% against guns being legally obtainable at all see someone like me as wanting to go shoot people up.

      Also don't presume that all Americans are content to watch Fox News. With the internet, many of us seek out news sources from other countries. the BBC and India's news sources give a much less biased look at the US than our media which is now considered to be entertainment and allowed to fabricate things after Fox News sued and claimed that presenting news is entertainment. Almost all of my news comes from NPR (so right there the gun-nutcases in the NRA think I'm a dirty anti-constitutional Fascist commie) and foreign media.

      Most of us would love to live in Canada and have medical care. Live in America, versus just trips here, and you'll find that it's not so easy here as you might think. A few weeks doesn't give you a full look at life in another country. Live here and worry about how to see a doctor or having police bust down your door when the warrant was for your neighbors.

      Delete
  22. When i was in high school in the 90s, we had a cop on site and he carried a gun. We had no issues but he was a trained policeman and we knew him. I can't even imagine"volunteer" "anonymous" guns in school . As several others have said, it's just a matter of time until something awful happens.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is how it was for us too. The officer wasn't presented so much as there to protect us, like we were in danger, but rather as an officer who was there to talk to if we needed an officer. Too bad the guy was an asshole.

      I think an officer in schools can be a positive thing if the officer isn't an ass. Building up a relationship of trust and being there is a student needs to talk about something can be a lot easier for student needing help than trying to get to a station or calling the police. The officer is already there. There's no guarantee that an officer will ever need to use a gun to stop a fight, but there's no evidence that a trained officer (who re-certifies several times a year) increases violence. In my high school, I know of one incident where merely knowing that Bob had a gun stopped a group of idiots planning an incident.

      To put this burden on teachers? No. Their jobs are to teach, not to act as body guards.

      Delete
  23. And 4-12 weeks of training? You've got to be kidding.

    ReplyDelete
  24. complete insanity. If I could agree with you more than 100% I would. After Sandy Hook I was looking online for informed articles about how to talk to my kindergartener about what happened (as I wanted him to hear it from me not a panic-ridden student). In them, it said that young children do not yet grasp the idea of statistics. So you need to just tell them that they are safe at their school and it won't happen to them because they don't understand what a 0.0001% chance means. Apparently, lots of adults can't grasp statistics and probability either. Chill out people. If someone wants to shoot up a school, they're going to find a way whether or not you have random "volunteers" roaming around.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Agh THANK YOU! I've tried making some of these points to my very gun positive friends (Kansas, we have lots of issues). Anyway, I keep getting shot down (pun intended) because I'm "not a parent and don't know what it means to want to protect [my] child." Just plain fucking ignorant. On a WAY better note...
    http://cheezburger.com/7007179008

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. People who want to protect their kids should be focusing on hazards like cars, or swimming pools, or the anti-vax movement (which, if it ever gains a serious foothold, will be VASTLY more devastating than all the school shootings in history combined). School shootings are awful, but they're also waaaaay down on the list of things a parent needs to worry about.

      Delete
  26. All these kids play computer games in which you 're-spawn' (or equivalent) when you get shot. They do not get that when you shoot someone, they stay dead. The gun will simply be the next power tool - there is no WAY to hide it that a kid can't find - and then there will be tragedy, and then people will go "Maybe we should legislate against...oh, what can we legislate against next?" I'll tell you this; you can't legislate against STUPID. Which is a pity, because then this might not have happened.
    What could possibly go wrong? I think we won't have to wait too long to see.

    ReplyDelete
  27. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I went to an ok high school in Michigan. It wasn't great, it wasn't terrible. What it did have was a massive student population of 2,500. Fights were rare but did happen. The most serious fight (and as far as I know, the most serious incident to ever take place at that school) happened within the school when two boys began absolutely trying to destroy one another. The school security guard, with the aid of the vice principal, broke up it up.

    This was an extremely volatile situation. No one in authority knew exactly what was happening until it was over. There was a huge crowd in the halls, a lot of yelling, students trying pull the fight apart and others cheering it on. I would not have felt safer knowing that a mysterious volunteer with a gun was in the school who could completely misunderstand the situation and run out of a classroom with weapon drawn.

    Will these volunteers overreact? What incidents are they allowed to draw their weapons over? What will all the student bystanders do when suddenly confronted with the fact that someone has a gun? No one shouted "Bob is fighting Brad" in those halls, just "FIGHT!" Someone is just going to to scream "GUN!" and you will watch every 13-18 year old panic and start running every which way.

    ReplyDelete
  29. As a public school teacher, I find this appalling. I don't want to go to work each day where there are any guns, even locked up, but the idea that "volunteers" would be armed and anonymous would make me leave permanently. You need to recall that school board now, and fix this ridiculous idea. Good luck.

    ReplyDelete
  30. The first problem I have with this is that I went to school with kids who could easily overpower teachers. I'm sure everyone else reading this thread did, too. Not all of the school shootings happen by some outsider coming in and shooting up the place. Kid gets pissed off and is in the right frame of mind to shoot some fuckers. Instead of having to leave the premises to get a weapon- and getting a chance to cool down and change their mind- there are ALREADY GUNS THERE! How convenient!
    The second problem I have is that school teachers are already doing too much. They are responsible for too many kids in too big of classes, and teaching is already a difficult job. How much more difficult is that job going to be when they have to be teacher AND police officer? How is the education of the kids going to suffer even more than it already is with overcrowded classrooms?

    ReplyDelete
  31. Alex, no 1 answer is a silver bullet solution, but doing nothing and doing stupid things are not going to help solve the problem.
    More guns does not lead to less shooting, ever.
    Having a gun in the house statistically puts your family in greater danger and having fun.
    I am the wife of a police and not anti gun. But putting guys near a bunch of emotional tweens and teenagers, in the hands of some volunteer when trained Police only hit their target 18 percent of the time is ridiculous.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A mall shooting here was stopped by an armed civilian with a legal concealed carry. The shooter had his gun aimed at a woman and was the civilian aim his own gun. The civilian stated afterward he didn't feel comfortable shooting in case he missed and hit someone else, and hoped just having the gun might deter the shooter. It did. The shooter ran into Macy's and shot himself. The media reported it as the gun jammed and the shooter disassembled and reassembled the gun somewhere in Macy's and them shot himself, but there was no chance for him to find somewhere secluded enough to disassemble a gun, dislodge, and reassemble. Also several witnesses back the civilian up, including the woman who stared down the shooter's gun's barrel.

      Two died plus the shooter, one teen was shot and survived, and the media ignored that what stopped the guy was an armed civilian who was responsible enough to realize he might miss his target and so wasn't going to shoot.

      This doesn't mean I favor handing guns out to everyone who wants them. But in some cases, responsible people with guns have saved lives. Take away the guns in your husband's force, and tell me that murders of innocent people will go down.

      More guns in the hands of the stupid, evil, unstable, uneducated, and just plain desperate, doesn't lead to fewer shooting.

      Delete
  32. Ok that is an absolutely fucking terrible idea! I am just baffled by how anyone could think that having guns in schools is good idea. As you have said, Jenny, it is much more likely to lead to a tradegy than prevent one. I live in the UK and I just can't understand this idea that guns keep you safe, the statistics say otherwise. I also think it's incredibly dodgy that the school board did not consult the parents, or it seems all of the teachers. I really hope that there is someway to prevent this from happening or that you have somewhere else to send your children to school.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I agree with you 100%. And now a cute dog picture:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/32447369@N03/8267632166/

    ReplyDelete
  34. THANK YOU FOR POINT NUMBER TWO! I was beginning to think I was the only person that remembered that sometimes not all teachers, coaches, or whatever have been particularly trustworthy and the last thing those kind of people need is access to a gun. Also everything else I completely agree with. People need to get off this arming teachers crazy train. Ludicrous.

    ReplyDelete
  35. This is the second time I've seen you mention violent video games in connection with shootings and/or shooters and it's extremely disappointing coming from someone who I had considered educated and rational.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think we can deny that there is any connection between a violent media culture and a violent society. Video games are certainly not the only cause of gun violence, and I've never once argued that. However, I refuse to say that our lives don't imitate our arts and vice versa, or that we have no personal responsibility for the culture we choose. Keep in mind, I'm saying that as someone who loves first person shooters.

      Delete
    2. What do we blame for all the violence BEFORE video games and movies? Radio? Plays? Bedtime stories? Puppet shows? Guns were here before videogames, and gun crimes certainly were as well. They're just an easy scapegoat for people who want something to blame but can't be bothered to do serious research into the issue.

      This video is quite enlightening on the subject: http://youtu.be/MaF9nbLo8as

      Delete
    3. But nobody said video games and movies CAUSED a more violent society, Anon. Jen said, quite correctly, that we can't deny there is a CONNECTION between the two. Nobody said one caused the other. Social trends are far more complex than that. A more violent society is going to enjoy more violent games and films, just as seeing violence *might* inspire someone to act it out.

      Delete
    4. I think there is an issue with video games, but it's not about the games but to discuss how we see violence, how we react to it, why we can't act it out in the real world and that we need to talk about them. Games are not responsible for shootings, but they add some flavour to the total message of "We somehow have a love for violence, but we should never dare to speak about it or reflect on it!"
      I hate it when people tell me that playing games is evil, but I also hate it when gamers don't want to discuss about the messages of the games, because some games should be discussed, wether they are homophobic, misogynistic or "just" unnecessarily violent. Only by reflecting on our society and our culture we can improve ourself.

      Delete
    5. Anon, I'm beginning to think that you're so committed to proving to me that videogames don't cause gun violence that you're blatantly ignoring the fact that I've never ONCE said that videogames cause gun violence. I've only suggested that gun violence is glorified in our culture and that's reflected in our media, like in videogames. I'm getting real tired of your attitude and insinuation that because I don't agree 100% with you that violent media exists in a bubble completely unaffected by and not influencing the rest of our culture, I'm somehow not serious or unwilling to be educated.

      Delete
    6. I think there is some confusion here since anyone who posts without an account is called Anonymous...

      I never meant to insinuate you were uneducated, but as someone who works in the videogame industry, you could understand how I would get upset when people claim games are "training" kids, when that has no basis in fact and sets up an unhelpful and damaging dialogue about videogames. It'd be like saying romance novels train women to be abused or raped, when that's not the case at all. Romance novels are FANTASY, just like videogames. The problem is the society around them, not the entertainment themselves.

      Violent video games and movies are created and consumed around the world, yet only in America do we have so many instances of gun violence. But it seems like instead of blaming our guns and our gun culture, we blame anything else: it was Marylin Manson and the Matrix for Colbumbine, and now video games is the new hot thing for us to point the finger at.

      And since I don't want you to misinterpret my intention: I'm not saying specifically *you* don't want to blame gun culture, I'm saying in general the American people don't. My only issue was your repeated mentioning of games somehow training kids to know what to do with a gun, which as a gun owner you should know firsthand there's a world of difference between using buttons and a joystick to aim and reload, vs. actually having to aim and load a real gun.

      Again, I was not meaning to cause offense, or to argue with you, but to open up a rational dialogue as to why you believed this. As someone in the entertainment industry I'm sure you can understand how tiring it is to have to constantly defend your way of life, and how having to do so constantly may make you sound a little more aggressive in written text, than you may have intended.

      Delete
    7. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/inside-out-outside-in/201212/violent-video-games-and-movies-causing-violent-behavior

      Some people who are already aggressive are drawn toward the games, and some people play them to relieve their stress. There's a lack of evidence that games are affecting the rate of violence one way or the other. The article notes that the Japanese are extremely avid game players, but have a homicide rate near zero. One researcher speculated that the tight gun controls may play a role. However Russia has virtually disarmed its population and yet has one of the highest homicide rates in the world. Russia is comparable to the US for its lack of medical and mental care access, poor education, and high rate of poverty. Japan has medical/mental health care, a strong education system, and poverty is pretty low.

      It's easy to point a finger and what seems like an easier problem to handle. Just ban the sale of guns or violent video games and all will be good. Easier to deal with than trying to improve our terrible schools and building a system where people can see doctors and trying to find a way to get the rich to keep jobs in America instead of exporting them to Russia (happened to me, and I've been struggling ever since). But the reality is we need to address the causes. Guns and video games aren't the cause. People being sick and desperate are the fuel.

      Don't get me wrong. I think we need to require background checks on people trying to buy guns, and people who are mentally unstable should be reported to a federal organization for guns the exact same way people with seizures are already reported to the DMV. No one cries about HIPAA violations for epileptics. I also think a gun safety course should be mandatory, and if you haven't had one in the previous ten years or for the type of gun you want to buy, then a course should be required again. I also think that bullets should have serial numbers on them registered to the purchaser who is on the hook for any crimes committed with them. You can reuse casings. I know how to reload them. But you're not getting the bullet out of the guy who was just shot. If you buy a bunch of ammo and don't keep it locked up (most police departments will hold it for you for free), then you are liable as well as who pulled the trigger. This would help cut the number of bullets floating around. A gun isn't much use as a murder weapon without a bullet in the chamber.

      But we can't focus only on that. We MUST look at the overall picture unless we want to become like Russia with an unarmed population that resorts to other methods of murder that make it one of the deadliest countries in the world.

      Delete
  36. I think it's really sad that people always focus on "What would happen if somebody goes crazy and how can we react" instead of "How can we help people to not get so desperate". I don't know exactly how things are handled in your country, but we have a total lack of psychological support in Germany and had our own series of school massacres. Even my schools guidance counselor didn't see that I had deep issues and needed therapy when I was in school (I'm now getting therapy, and feel much better). By not acknowledging that something is wrong and that somebody needs help he can drift into that downward spiral that ends in murder and/or suicide. I won't say that there won't be any more incidents in schools if you get more psychologists, but I think by making mental health a real and important issue we can minimize the number of people getting so desperate and grabbing a gun, whereever they get it. I think it would also be a good message to children to tell them: "If you have problems, there is always somebody to talk to who will understand." instead of "You can't solve problems by talking, only with brute force."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One in six people here lives in poverty, and far more live in what is called relative poverty. Our official poverty level is set at the federal level and doesn't account for how some places are so expensive to live that you have to make more than the poverty level just to pay for a roof over your head. Even if you're starving in those places, as long as you have somewhere to live, you're not in official poverty, but you are in poverty for that area since you can't meet your needs. Most American politicians find this to be completely acceptable. They don't care that about 15% of children here go to bed hungry. When other countries do this, the US invades for human rights violations. Yet it's acceptable here.

      The irony to our poverty level is that Americans works more hours on average than every other country in the entire world, and yet our rate of poverty is higher than every other first world country, and higher than some in the third world. We have no right to paid medical leave, and only a few years ago got the right to take off six weeks unpaid if we're sick. But you have to have the money for a doctor to verify your need to take off, or else you can lose your job. We have no maternity leave, and yes, some mothers have to go back to work within a couple days of giving birth, as happened to a friend of mine who had a c-section and had to use her unpaid time off for bedrest to not lost the baby. We've got states where bosses aren't required to let you have bathroom breaks! And we've got millions who think that all regulations on employee treatment and minimum wage should be cancelled to let the market work it out itself. That would *so well* before the industrial revolution that you expected to die every day at work and kids were routinely crushed to death in big machines....

      Half our country is also against any form of universal healthcare. It's disgusting how many people believe you and your family should only have the healthcare you can afford. If your child has cancer and you don't have the money to pay for chemo, then you don't deserve for your child to stat alive, and you child doesn't deserve to live. That's the mindset of tens of millions. Disgusting, is it not?

      Even if you've got health care, you may not have access to mental health services. If you do, you are probably limited to twelve therapy sessions a year. If you're lucky you get that much. Once a month isn't enough to do much, if any, good.

      Let's not get started on how pathetic our education system is that the majority of college freshman have to take remedial courses to get them caught up since schools here usually graduate kids who can't even read at a seventh grade level.

      Most crime here stems from a lack of mental health services, a lack of medical care, poverty and being unable to meet their needs, or poor education. We'll always have those rich assholes who think it's fun to beat on people anyway, but the vast majority of crime is a month the poor for a reason. Most criminals aren't bad people. They're just trying to get by and survive in a country that keeps subsidizing the rich while making it harder for the poor. You don't hear about the rich shooting up schools because the rich have therapists. In fact, if you don't have a therapist (because being rich is so hard), you're considered to be odd.

      I would give anything to not live in America.

      Delete
  37. I'm disgusted by the idea. Disgusted the school board would do an end run around the parents; disgusted that anything the NRA recommends would even be considered. Disgusted by the profits I see rolling in for gun makers while they lick their chops over this "plan". My kids would be pulled out, asap. I'd also consider hiring a lawyer to start a class action to withhold school taxes due to the deviousness of this plan.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I have been in schools where the School Resource Officer (a member of the local Police Department) were assigned for DARE instruction. At first it did bother me to be that close to a weapon, but I got over it. As the years passed, I got to know the DARE officers and came to trust them implicitly. They are not volunteers, nor are they retired law enforcement officers. They come in armed because there is always the possibility that they will be called out to respond to an emergency situation. They are not armed in response to school violence.

    Having said that, I am opposed to anyone else coming in to my schools armed. I am opposed to having my teachers armed, and will quite my job on the day that I am told I must arm myself in order to continue teaching. More guns do not equal a safer environment.

    Please the discussion about gun control/regulation open and moving. I keep hearing that the "hub bub" about gun control has calmed down. It hasn't, nor should it have.

    ReplyDelete
  39. I live in Canada, so this isn't a problem here (yet), but my thoughts exactly. I'm happy to live in a place where my chances of getting shot or even threatened with getting shot are pretty much nil. People can own guns in Canada if they want to, but they have to register, and keep the thing locked up when not in use, etc. etc.. And that means those of us who aren't and don't want to be gun-owners don't feel threatened. It's not that no one ever shoots anyone ever over here, but it's exceedingly rare. And in the city I live in, which borders Detroit, the last few shootings we had (two years ago was the last that I recall) were from Americans...

    ReplyDelete
  40. I Appreciate you Man for this Gorgeous work at this blog. I like it.Nice to meet you.Keep it Up.Thanks
    Download FREE Themes for all eCommerce websites/blogs.

    ReplyDelete

Say some stuff! If you can't think of anything to say, leave a link to a cute dog picture. I'm easy.