Have Gun, Will Teach

Wouldn’t you know that the state of Missouri, with extremist Republicans wielding real power in the legislature, is on the cutting edge of 18th-century progress:

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – More than two dozen Missouri lawmakers are backing legislation that would allow teachers and administrators with concealed gun permits to carry weapons in schools…

Missouri law currently prohibits concealed guns at schools unless approved by the local school board or a school official.

Earlier this week, Republican Rep. Stanley Cox, of Sedalia, suggested that people might think twice about attacking schools if they knew that teachers or administrators could be carrying guns.

Yes, people might think twice about slaughtering school kids if there were a danger of getting shot in the head. Oh, but the latest killer shot himself in the head. So, maybe Rep. Stanley Cox and like-minded gun zealots in Missouri should themselves think twice about the effectiveness of arming educators.

And while they are thinking twice about that, perhaps they can think once about what the call for arming educators says about our gun-crazed culture, not to mention what it says about our unwillingness to address, as a social problem, people with serious mental health issues.

On the local front, just a stone’s toss from Joplin, we have this response to weaponizing teachers, from an, uh, “educator”: 

“We need to evaluate, not react,” states Dr. Phillip Cook, Carl Junction School Superintendent. 

Cook says his school has already made safety improvements which includes making sure all doors into the school and classrooms are locked. He says, every option should be considered when it comes to student safety.  

“If someone can convince me that that’s the appropriate thing to do to keep our kids safe, then I’ll be in favor of it,” states Dr. Cook.  

Who would have thought, here in the 21st century, that an educator, especially one with a “Dr.” in front of his name, could be persuaded that school teachers ought also to be gunfighters.

What a state some of us find ourselves in. 

14 Comments

  1. jdhight

     /  December 20, 2012

    I am very concerned about the state of Missouri. With veto-proof majorities in both the senate and legislature, I see this state becoming both radical and a threat to the middle class, the poor, and workers. The overly business-friendly, generally Republicans, will do everything that their ALEC overlords and big money tell them to do at the expense of blue-collar workers, the unemployed, the elderly, and the poor. Perhaps this is what it will take to convince voters that the GOP of today does not have their interests at heart. Their support is with the big-monied interests that control the Republican Party of today.

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    • Jim,

      ALEC plus “veto-proof majorities” of Republicans equals harmful legislation. We know that from experience in other states. Our side needs to do a better job of calling out the extremists long before the elections, like right now. It should start with the President, but it can’t only be him. It has to be folks like Jim Evans, who if he wants to be a viable alternative to Billy Long, must speak out forcefully right now, in every forum he can find and at every meeting he can attend.

      Duane

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  2. Yes, arming the school staff is a really good idea, especially for the firearms manufacturers. So, the whack job who still wants to take on the school and avoid a shootout will then have to resort to the trusty pipe bombs. But, if the pipe bombs are somehow stopped, then the psycho could always go with the ol’ Timothy McVeigh-style Ryder truck filled with explosives. And if that doesn’t work, there’s the al-Qaeda technique of using a rent-a-plane (with or without explosives, and/or 72 year-old virgins) Or, if the nut case doesn’t like to fly, there’s always the poisoning of the water supply . . .

    Looks like the Missouri legislature is going to have to be get pretty creative if they really want to protect the schools — not to mention the other 49 state legislatures, not to mention our, gulp, Congress. Arg!

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    • After they “protect” the schools, then what is next? How about the pre-schools? How about day-care centers? Nursing homes? Any place a man, yes, a man, armed with a rapid-fire assault weapon can find a way to become infamous.

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  3. Anonymous

     /  December 20, 2012

    What is wrong with doing what Joplin does and that is to have a uniformed police officer in the school? I would rather have a “pro” carrying guns in schools than teachers. Also, do they plan to give these teachers training for the various scenarios that may arise? Hazard pay? When the cops show up looking for a shooting suspect, how will they know who is teacher and who is the shooter? I would like to hear from teachers on this issue.

    Kabe

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    • As I see it, Kabe, the problem with having a uniformed armed police officer in each school is that it wouldn’t be effective. Consider what kind of job that would be – something like being a mall cop, I’m thinking. Except for the gun of course. From what I read it is common for many police officers to retire without ever having to fire their gun at a person, and those are cops who deal regularly with the criminal element. And if someone like Adam Lanza were to target such a school, he would have the element of surprise, not to mention a substantial edge in fire power over a one-bullet Barney. These reasons would also apply to armed teachers, which is why that too is a nutty idea.

      This discussion reminds me of another, similar overreaction when after 9/11 the national guard posted an armed watch at the Joplin airport for some period. Was it months, or just weeks? I don’t remember, but I do recall thinking what a nutty idea it was.

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      • Anonymous

         /  December 21, 2012

        Jim, actually Joplin has a JPD officer at each middle school and the HS’s. I should have been more clear. I have a child in each and from my experience it has been very positive. My kids know the officers and they seem to have a very positive effect on the kids. I do not know if they are rotated for this duty or not but I am sure this is not done as a second job. They are in JPD uniforms. That is what I refer to as a “Pro.” If nothing else I would imagine it helps with the students daily behavior. I do not like the idea of a teacher or private security filling this role. I am sure I could spot the teacher on day one. In Missouri, the first day of school is in mid- August when it is around 100 degrees. The teacher that is sweating profusely and refuses to take his (I will assume most female teachers would not do this) suit jacket off probably is the one with the gun. lol I still hope we hear from a teacher on this subject, I would love to know what they think.

        Kabe

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        • Thanks, Kabe, for the insight on the JPD officers. I look forward to hearing more details about it.

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        • I can see, Kabe, where having an officer (or two) in a large school could be turned into a positive thing. It has seemed to work in Joplin, which had its own episode involving a gun in my son’s middle school several years ago. If I hadn’t been off work that day, which meant dropping him off a little bit later, my son would have been in the school when that kid came in with the gun and threatened the principal.

          Perhaps until the culture is changed, until we no longer entertain NRA fanatics as reasonable cultural voices, placing a trained officer in and around our schools is the best immediate answer, as long as we work on the mental health issue and the proliferation of mass-killing weapons.

          Duane

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          • Anonymous

             /  December 23, 2012

            Duane-The use of Police Officers in schools will certainly create a problem for the Republican Party. After all, it was they who wanted to rid many cities of the burden of paying police officers at the state and municiple levels. I am willing to bet that the Republican Party would crumble to the demands of the NRA and try to save face using the Connecticut incident as a reason to change their position on getting rid of police officers.

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          • Anonymous

             /  December 23, 2012

            Sorry- Kabe^

            Like

  4. henrygmorgan

     /  December 21, 2012

    Duane:

    While a professor at MSSU, I refused to allow anyone armed into my classrooms. A few off-duty police officers argued that they were required to carry their sidearm even while off-duty. The Administration sided with me, and off-duty officers turned in their arms at the Police Academy while attending classes.

    I used to joke that I didn’t want to return a paper with a bad grade to a man carrying a .357 Magnum, but my serious reason was that it made the other students in the class very nervous, to the point that several complained to me after class, and one young lady got up and left the classroom. These incidents caused me to begin my ban. I assume that it was not my lectures that produced that result, although you can never be sure. I can guess the reaction that I would get if I showed up in the class with my 1911 Colt .45 strapped to my side.

    The absurd notion that arming teachers is the cure for school violence is one of the most ridiculous ideas I have heard in a long time, no hyperbole intended, even in the Theater of the Absurd enviironment we find ourselves in today.

    Henry

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    • Couldn’t agree more, Henry. And your thoughts, rooted as they are in your experience in the classroom, are especially valuable. I can’t imagine, given the temperaments of some of the kids I knew in school, my anxiety at the prospect of one of them packing heat. For that matter, I remember one teacher I had in high school who would have scared me, had I known he had a pistol in his pocket.

      Duane

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  5. ansonburlingame

     /  December 22, 2012

    It is not just schools. Read Rachel Marsden’s column in Saturday’s Globe. She for sure tries to link “sanity” and gun possession, a worthy effort in my view, as a matter of policy throughout the U.S. Do what she suggests and no JPD needed in schools on a routine basis, in my view. Also note ,y reply to “Helen” on a previous blog herein.

    Anson

    Like

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