As a university professor, I have learned that people do not go into education – at any level – because they harbor a desire to control or even protect others. They're there to create knowledge (research), transfer knowledge (teaching), or develop character (mentoring). They leave security to trained professionals.
I do not own a gun, but am entirely sympathetic to those who love to hunt, participate in competitive target shooting, or keep a weapon for self-protection. We have no firearms in the house precisely because, as a qualified marksman, I know how dangerous they can be. Suicide and accidental discharges happen far more often than mass shootings, which now occur almost daily in the U.S. That's a calculated risk/reward decision on my part.
The vast majority of America's school teachers, along with virtually all of our university professors, oppose the idea of concealed carry in our classrooms.
The list of what could go wrong is just way too long. Teachers would require training that exceeds a twice-yearly trip to the range to see how many holes they can put in a paper target at 25-meters. Police tactical units actively train to take down a shooter using mobility, deception, speed, and highly sophisticated radio and video communication.
If I were a school teacher in an active-shooter situation, my greatest risk would come from the initial wave of first responders who might well misidentify me as the shooter. Add that to the astonishingly low rate of "moving target hits" that police and military will tell you about. This is a risky, dangerous proposition for all involved. And, of course, those wide-eyed, innocent students now realize that the fellow teaching Algebra or the woman instructing a choral group have somehow been transformed into "point security" for their school.
I've been at this nearly 50 years. I may not be the "genius" other people will claim for themselves, but I can tell you with rational clarity that facility security is best left to the professionals. If you tell me we can't afford it, I would say "find something else in the budget that can go – at least in the near term."
Every large corporation has its own security force. Small businesses and ordinary citizens alike depend on the police, sheriff, and highway patrol in their communities. Arming America's teachers is a dumb idea.
Commentary by James S. O'Rourke, IV, PhD, Lieutenant Colonel, USAF (Ret.) and professor of management at Notre Dame Univerity (USA) in England.
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