I for one welcome Donald Trump’s policy to arm half the teachers …

… because of this: Some of my best friends are teachers, including my wife. Overall, teachers are the best people. When I imagine a trained armed force larger than the United States Marine Corps, made up of 100% teachers, teachers ready to put things right, I get all giddy.

But seriously…

Trump has suggested that maybe 10%, maybe 50%, of the teacher workforce be armed, and presumably trained. You’ve already read a lot about how bone headed this idea is, and how a teacher with a gun in a school, even with training, is highly likely to accidentally shoot a student who doesn’t happen to be a spree killer, by accident.

I would add that having so many armed and trained teachers would lead to deadly conflicts that have nothing to do with school shooting attacks. Why, just the other day there was a conflict in a nearby high school where some students got all crappy with each other. The teachers had to intervene, it got tense, and eventually de-escalated. The situation got hot enough that a note went around to the school community so everyone would have an idea of what happened, rather than learning an incorrect story via the rumor mill.

Had these students been citizens on the street, and a cop was present, the cop may well have pulled out a firearm, and upped the stakes. In a certain percentage of cases, that upping of stakes can lead to further escalation. Pretty soon, somebody reaches for their cell phone, the trained and armed cop thinks they are going for a weapon, and BANG, dead citizen. Or, the trained and armed teacher thinks they are going for a weapon, and BANG, dead kid.

Imagine that. The teacher goes out to do hallway monitoring, and comes back with, “well, I killed one of them.” Not good.

Also, just the other day, an actual armed teacher accidentally shot herself in the leg at school. You see, in some Yahooistic communities like Utah, the armed teacher idea has already been floated, and a small number of them are armed. And what you get is accidental shootings.

(Also, all the students are going to know which teachers have the guns. A school shooter, who is already a student in the school, merely needs to approach that teacher with some home work related question, pull out the gun, and BANG, dead teacher.)

So, I think it is pretty clear that if you arm a lot of teachers there will be a lot of trouble. But I don’t think people necessarily know the magnitude of the problem.

Consider the following facts.

There are about 3,300,000 teachers in the US.

If they are armed as Trump suggests, that would amount to between 330,000 and 1,650,000 armed teachers.

If each teacher gets one high quality hand gun and a week of training, this will cost between one half of a billion dollars and three billion dollars out of the gate, and a regular ongoing commitment thereafter.

A force of teachers this large would be greater in size than the United States Marine Corps, by a large margin. There are about 188,000 marines.

If armed teachers ended up killing students at the same rate that armed police officers did, simply because they are the armed enforcers in a community that includes some trouble makers, they would kill about 1,650 students per year at a rate of 50% armed teachers, and about 330 per year at the 10% rate. There is of course no way to be sure of the correspondence between cops killing citizens (for whatever reason) and teachers potentially killing students, but when I sit there and think about it, I realize that there is a wide range of perfectly plausible estimates, ranging from just under a few dozen to several thousands. Remember, the million or so cops that exist are, minute to minute, hardly ever in contact with the general public, or at least, by several tens of meters, while teachers and students are constantly interacting. The entire milliu is different. I would imagine that if half the teachers were armed … oh hell, we might as well run an experiment. Start with bus drivers. Give 10,000 school bus drivers each a Glock in a quick draw holster. for one year. See how that goes.

Anyway, I think you see the point. Just the accident rate alone could make enough carnage to come close to the existing rate of in school spree shootings, without decreasing the number of school shootings. Individual school shootings would be somewhat offset by the fact that a teacher gets to plug the shooter, but this may be offset the other way when savvy school shooters cap the armed teachers at the beginning of the event, and maybe even take their guns. And, the possibility is not small that an entire other kind of armed confrontation, whereby teachers simply start using their guns doing the work of effective hallway monitoring, could cause more carnage than is saved by any effort to scare off potential spree killers.

So, now that I think about it, here is my position on Trump’s proposal. Yes, arm the teachers. But no, they should not bring their guns to schools. They should keep their powder dry, in case things get much worse.

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41 thoughts on “I for one welcome Donald Trump’s policy to arm half the teachers …

  1. The ahole rePUKEians hate the idea of paying teachers much less paying to teach them to use a gun! Of coarse they could always get tons of money by reducing the silly military budget!
    As an ex-teacher I would never carry a gun, too damned heavy!! Beside you are a teacher, the killer is pointing a gun at you … do you try pulling your gun while he is busy shooting you? Or do you duck beneath your desk???? Now crouched beneath your desk, the killer approaching, where is your purse with the gun?? Now is the time to hope the other teacher is brave!

  2. If each teacher gets one high quality hand gun and a week of training, this will cost between one half of a billion dollars and three billion dollars out of the gate

    Not at all. Teachers would be required to pay for this themselves the way they already do for most of their professional development and classroom equipment. No hit for governments at all. (That was just a demonstration of the type of right-wing asshattery you can expect to pop up over this.)

  3. This:

    Anyway, I think you see the point. Just the accident rate alone could make enough carnage to come close to the existing rate of in school spree shootings, without decreasing the number of school shootings.

  4. I watched something TV last night – wish I could remember the program – where they went to a university, recruited a half dozen volunteers, some with no firearms experience some with, and offered to train them then try them. So they trained them for a day with Glocks shooting paint bullets. At the end of the training each student was separately attending a class on protective armor and what they did not know is that it was a setup. The student was concealed carrying the Glock , all the other students in that class were trained LEOs or military, and as the teacher was starting the lesson a “live shooter” entered the room and shot the teacher then went after the students. Of all the test subjects only one actually managed to get a shot off but he had technically been killed before he could. Most couldn’t even get their gun out of their holster or didn’t even try they were gunned down before they could.

    Afterwards the professionals made it clear it takes months of constant training to get over your instincts and be able to deal with the threat. Furthermore even taking a week off training wipes out much of those gains.

    Giving teachers guns will only get them killed and likely even more students. The good guy with a gun myth is just that a myth.

    1. That was a 20-20 piece from … ABC? … a few years ago, and was excellent. It’s currently making the rounds again, for obvious reasons. The ammosexuals say it’s unrealistic, presumably because they weren’t in the class that was attacked and they are certain that ammosexuals would do better.

    2. This:

      Afterwards the professionals made it clear it takes months of constant training to get over your instincts and be able to deal with the threat. Furthermore even taking a week off training wipes out much of those gains.

      Giving teachers guns will only get them killed and likely even more students. The good guy with a gun myth is just that a myth.

      Walter Mitty nonsense is out of control at this point.

    1. But they are not combat-trained which makes them pretty much useless. This sick fantasy of teacherz with gunz has to be the most lunatic thing yet from Trumplandia. You lot have completely lost touch with reality.

    2. They aren’t being sent into combat zones, except for some inner city schools. The chance of a school shooter being there is about one in ten thousand per year. So about a 1 in 300 chance they would have to use their weapon once. And there would be other teachers with guns too. And the existence of teachers with guns would deter the shooters.

    3. They aren’t being sent into combat zones

      But if an incident occurs, they will be in a combat situation. Which they will not be adequately trained to deal with. Which was my point. Which is *the* point.

      And there would be other teachers with guns too.

      Also panic-stricken, essentially untrained and as likely to accidentally shoot other children or their colleagues in the chaos.

      And the existence of teachers with guns would deter the shooters.

      This is the usual article of faith based on zero evidence. Most of the shooters kill themselves. They go in prepared to die. Think about it.

    4. And the existence of teachers with guns would deter the shooters.

      Like the existence of armed school security (itself an obscenity) deters shooters…

      Like the existence of armed police deters shooters…

      Like the existence of armed civilians deters shooters…

      Oh, I see, there is deterence in the US – it’s just that we still see the occasional aberration…?

      …Except that the US has one of the highest per capita rates of shooting, despite all those shooting-deterring guns…

      Or perhaps guns don’t actually deter shooting the way you think they do…

      You’re a victim of a diseased culture MikeN. Sadly, the disease has infected a large part of the US herd.

  5. Security guards are probably a waste of money, since the odds of a school shooting are very low. However, the Newtown shooter drove right past his high school to go to the elementary. It is possible this was because he knew from his time there that the high school had a guard.

    1. You have no idea why he acted as he did.

      Now read the bit about shooters generally going in prepared to die again and try thinking instead of continuing to peddle bollocks.

  6. My freshman Latin teacher in high school was a real monster, a bully. I was the youngest and one of the smaller students in the high school and this guy delighted in psychological torture. Years later I found out with great delight that he had bullied a student with more guts and fewer brain cells than me and that the Latin teacher had ended up getting his lights punched out, or something to that effect!

    If I had been bullied by a teacher who was not only sadistic and authoritarian, but also, armed, for a school year, I suspect I might have been close to suicide by the end of that year. A certain percentage of teachers are bullies and sadists, they do great harm, and they shouldn’t be teaching, let alone have guns. Arming them could really help accelerate the downward death spiral of the American education system and turn schools into North Korean prison camps. But hey, arming teachers would be great for fascist authoritarianism in general, and isn’t that what modern conservatives really want? A school where students are mindlessly mouthing the pledge of allegiance to a flag under god, where they are mindlessly praying, where teachers and administrators are surpressing thinking that is curious, challenging, or questioning, and where armed authorities remove all students who aren’t “normal” …. isn’t that a conservative authoritarian dream school? To me, the modern conservative, with their lack of empathy and tolerance of sadists and bullies, seem to be uncomfortably close to the Turpin model of schooling. But please tell us if you think this isn’t the case.

    1. Re Steve P: “A certain percentage of teachers are bullies and sadists, they do great harm, and they shouldn’t be teaching, let alone have guns.”

      Wouldn’t it be very likely that exactly those bullies and sadists among the teacher ranks would be most eager to volunteer for the gun-totin’ teacher position(s)? That would allow them to gain even more power over others than they already had.

      Why is it that the right wing gun fanciers always think of deadly force as the best or only answer to the use of deadly force by crazies and/or criminals? Aren’t there are any non-lethal devices that could be made available in schools for stopping unnecessary and undeserved deaths? If there aren’t any that are effective enough at reasonable range maybe some money could be diverted from killing people to develop something that just disabled them temporarily.

  7. So four “good guys” with guns froze.

    Were they remembering the wrong page of their training manual for school shootings? Were they afraid that they were completely outgunned? Being shooters, they were all likely to have known from the sounds they heard what they were up against. Were they afraid to die doing their job? Were they unable to communicate among themselves and coordinate an attack against the gun man or gun men ( they didn’t know which) ? Four supposedly trained men with semi-automatic pistols against one untrained villainous teenager with an assault rifle? Their trainers and supervisors should be fired.

    Their odds of being able to stop the gunman, save lives, and even survive the encounter were good enough to justify risking their lives to do their job. But they chose one of the underlying values of the NRA, whether or not they were members …. self above all else! Who cares about my effect on society? I am going to save MY hide!

    They can now spend the rest of their lives hiding their identities. Not a very wise decision on their part.

    Gun lovers in the thrall of their confidence-man leaders do not seem to have tumbled to the fact that simply giving a person a gun does not in any way make them a hero, or that the warrior hero archetype, which is great for the morale of primitive societies, is maybe not quite so useful in the 21st century. This battle of gun-love-culture vs civilization sure looks like a clash of unsophisticated tribal values and narcissistic egocentrism against a more mature, socially aware, socially active, science guided, intelligent awareness.

  8. Maybe an armed teacher would freeze, as these cops did.

    Maybe they would get shot, even with a firearm.

    But if you heard the shots approaching, coming down the hall, and had time to get your firearm out of your biometric gun safe, in your locked desk drawer, wouldn’t you like the chance to defend yourself and your students?

    Or would you rather be helpless?

    1. Stop fantasising FFS. Arming teachers is dangerous lunacy. Desperate flailing by politicians without a clue. Do yourself – and everyone else in the US – a favour and oppose it. Be on the right side of history for once.

    2. Sometimes I wonder whether rickA is as stupid and dishonest as he seems or whether he’s simply tossing around asinine comments as a troll.

      If he really thinks a couple weeks of training would prepare anyone for a situation like this (teachers, as he keeps rambling on about) then he is, as we all believe, simply an ignorant asshole, ignorant of how difficult it is for the military to convince the people who enlist to shoot at people trying to kill them, and stupid enough to equate the ability to hit a target on a gun range with the ability to shoot accurately when filled with adrenaline and surrounded by screaming people and someone shooting at you.

      If he’s just trolling — still an asshole, but for entirely different reasons.

    3. Sometimes I wonder whether rickA is as stupid and dishonest as he seems or whether he’s simply tossing around asinine comments as a troll.

      Me too, although he’s been doing this for a long time – I came across him pushing the exact same lukewarmer bullshit at Keith Kloor’s place years ago.

    4. Helpless? No. Given that amount of time, I could motion the class to move in one direction relative to the door and post myself next to that in the other direction with anything I could hold and swing fast (even my belt, for example), ready to whack the gunster as he/she first comes into view with the intent to disable or disarm him/her. Maybe then nobody would need to die and some mentally-disturbed individual might get the help he/she needs.

  9. Maybe RickA should tour the nation’s schools giving talks on why he thinks arming teachers is a good idea.

    I have a daughter as a teacher and I have been one too that after a couple of decades in the military. We are of one accord and it does not match with RickA’s fantasies.

    Has RickA any idea what it is like firing at a target whilst under stress? Many branches of the military practice at this but that does not mean these people should be in schools with guns.

    1. Has RickA any idea what it is like firing at a target whilst under stress?

      You know he doesn’t. Just as you know that none of these ‘arm the teacherz’ idiots has a clue. Or they wouldn’t be pushing this insanity.

  10. Guns in schools are just one of many solutions to the problem of, stay with me on this, guns in schools. (?!?) There are many more reasons to classify it as a stupid solution than as a bright one but it can be considered. But if the dogs of warfare had not been manufactured in over abundance, allowed to escape their kennels, and then fallen into the hands of crazies, there would be little or no need to militarize our schools. The concentration of guns in the populace is near a kind of saturation level, and any time a gun lover slips over the edge of sanity into criminal mental chaos, society has the potential for another suicide or another murder. You can screen out all the people who are not crazy today, and let them have guns, but how do you know that the guy with five AR-15’s up the street is not going to have a mental breakdown tomorrow? Heck, irrational behavior is one of the symptoms of lead poisoning and damned if breathing in lots of leaded gun fumes doesn’t increase your blood lead level. BTW, just being over fond of guns strikes me as being irrational and a bit crazy. Statistics suggest one is more at risk with firearms in their house than without them. To many of us, the desire to have guns is a red flag that a person probably shouldn’t be allowed to have guns. But this is only the 21st century, and many of us are still too fond of our Neanderthal traits.

    1. Aw c’mon SteveP. “neanderthal traits”? No need to use stereotypes when there are real extant Homo sapiens that love guns too much. No reason to impute this to an extinct species, although one with which H. sap. could interbreed.

      I have a few percent of “Neanderthal” in my genome according to one of those outfits that analyze your DNA, but I don’t have any traits that involve gun fondling or anything close. I understand that a couple of percent of Neandertal is common in the genomes of many people of European origin’s genomes and seems to be related to the immune system.

  11. When I was in school, at least some of the teachers had guns in their cars, perhaps illegally. I remember their being an ROTC class, so perhaps some people had guns as well.

    1. Being in ROTC doesn’t mean you get to walk around with a weapon any time you want (no one in the military says “gun” that I ever heard). The military in civilized countries keeps tight control of such things unless you are actually in a combat theater or possibly on guard duty at some critical installation.

    2. Yeah, there was one at mine too. No guns on school grounds (early 1970s).

      There were NRA led gun/Hunter safety courses too, in school. No guns then either. Film strips, movies, discussions.

    3. at least some of the teachers had guns in their cars

      In their cars, not on themselves. When a mad shooter starts a rampage in the school itself, it’s almost as useful as if the gun was on the other side of the moon.

      “Scuse me, could you stop shooting a minute, I have to go fetch my gun?”

      The shooting at Parkland lasted 6 minutes. By the time you went to your car and rushed back (if you feel like rushing back, certainly not a given as we have seen recently), most likely the action will be over.
      And you will be a disheveled guy/lady running around, gun at hand, on a crime scene. Best way to be fired upon by SWAT.

      Another point I wanted to emphasize: gun proponents are willfully conflating two scenarios.
      – they keep saying that people – teachers, students, whatever – need guns to defend themselves.
      – but they are actually asking teachers to defend other peoples. Not just two or three family members, but a full class of children. IOW, during a shooting spree, they are supposed to go purposely into harm’s way instead of looking for a safe place for their oneself.
      This is the job of police officers, soldiers, or in a pinch security guards. That’s quite another set of expectations.

  12. Tyvor Wynn: Why is it that the right wing gun fanciers always think of deadly force as the best or only answer to the use of deadly force by crazies and/or criminals? Aren’t there are any non-lethal devices that could be made available in schools for stopping unnecessary and undeserved deaths? If there aren’t any that are effective enough at reasonable range maybe some money could be diverted from killing people to develop something that just disabled them temporarily.

    There probably are. Inventors like Dean Kamen should be brainstorming about this. I had the thought, “what if the school hallways could be filled with foam, something non-toxic like shaving cream?” I guess the downside is it would hamper first responders finding the shooter, or getting to those who’d already been shot. But I think it deserves consideration.

  13. “what if the school hallways could be filled with foam, something non-toxic like shaving cream?”

    That immediately made me think about the fire, as in flames not from guns, suppression systems used on the hangars of aircraft carriers on which I served.

    Two measures,

    1 fire curtains descended to contain any fire.

    2 high volume water spray which rapidly produced a dense fine mist of water that latterly pulled the oxygen out of the atmosphere.

    Number 2 would have been lethal for anybody trapped in the hangar but then with all the fuels, oils and munitions around ignition and cook-offs could have ensued, anybody who has ever seen footage of the flight deck fire on the USS Forrestal (CV-59) will realise the potential. A modification of such a sprinkler system would be preferred in order to distract more than suck the life out of a crazed gunman and anybody unfortunate to be trapped with him/her. Yes I know this could initiate a hostage situation, but if all so contained were temporarily incapacitated that could avoid hostages being used for bargaining.

    Containment measure could surely be implemented. Yes it costs but the the wealthy NRA, and their even wealthier backers (what do you say could stump up if they are serious about avoiding these mass murders whilst allowing the free use of weapons designed to kill or horribly maim many people in a few seconds. That is not to say the serious and effective restrictions on the ownership of such weapons should not be effected.

    Loesch how low can you go with your despicable apologetics? The people who comment there have your measure.

    1. Yes, I should have thought of that. Being completely surrounded by shaving cream would make it hard to breathe, wouldn’t it?

  14. “Another point I wanted to emphasize: gun proponents are willfully conflating two scenarios.”

    It’s just as reasonable to think that the clowns pushing “guns in schools” know that it would never work but do so simply to distract attention (by generating outrage at the thought) from discussions of things that might work.

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