Let’s be honest. It’s hard to imagine a worse idea than arming teachers in the classroom to prevent mass shootings. It’s an unserious idea — a crackpot idea, really — that won’t ever happen, of course. But since the president of the United States is out there pretending to treat it seriously, I guess the rest of us have to as well.
I mean, where would the teachers keep the guns? Do you want Miss Veronica packing a loaded gun in your 5-year-old’s class? What are the greater odds — that a lunatic gunman would enter the classroom or that there would be an accident involving the gun and someone’s kid winds up in the emergency room or worse?
It’s absurd. Or as my sister, the third-grade teacher/education professor, so aptly put it, “moronic.” Or should we now expect kids to hold cookie sales to buy their teachers a Kevlar vest?
“It’s inconceivable,” my sister said, “that a teacher would use a gun to kill a child. I can’t think of a profession more separate from violence.”
It’s absurd. It’s moronic. It’s straight out of the more-guns-mean-less-crime school of non-thinking. It is also, to this point, the president’s bright idea to end mass shootings in the classroom, although, I should point out he’s talking about arming teachers who have been, say, Marines or others similarly trained. He thinks there could be 10-20 percent who qualify and maybe as many as 40 percent, which leads me to wonder how many teachers he hangs out with. I’ve got a sister, wife and daughter who are teachers/professors, and none of them has ever fired a shot. But maybe that’s just me.
I did once have a U.S. history teacher who was a Marine. We used to entertain the rest of the class by arguing, and pretty angrily, about the Vietnam War when we should have been talking about, I don’t know, the Missouri Compromise. He used to tell us when he was a World War II officer, he prided himself on never having taken prisoners. In retrospect, I’m kind of glad he wasn’t armed.
Presumably, Trump is talking about teachers carrying a concealed weapon, although who knows? Is a concealed weapon sufficient to take on an AR-15 from someone coming into the classroom who doesn’t expect to get out alive? We’re told by the president that “a gun-free zone to a killer, or somebody who wants to be a killer, that’s like going in for ice cream.”
It’s an interesting theory. Trump says that the shooters are “cowards,” who wouldn’t bring a gun to school if they knew they’d be met with guns—as if they cared about consequences or were busy looking for soft targets. I wish I could have asked him this: How many of the ice-cream-loving school shooters are either dead or in prison? (Hint: Without doing the research, I’m guessing all of them.)
He also says school shooters are “savage sickos,” but adds in the Parkland shooting: “A teacher would have shot the hell out of him before he knew what happened.” Well, there’s this conflicting evidence from the armed deputy at Stoneman Douglas who apparently chose not to confront the shooter and didn’t shoot the hell out of him. This was a trained Broward County officer who stood aside while 17 kids were killed. He resigned from the force. Trump called him a “coward.” I don’t know. I’m guessing the guy sent to guard schools is not chosen for his gun-fighting abilities.
And, of course, there are all the pretty obvious red flags — serious warnings about the shooter — that various law enforcement officials saw but didn’t apparently think were important. And we’re talking about arming teachers?
Where we can all agree is that there are few things worse than mass school shootings, even if the NRA accuses the media of loving them. (Note: I’ve covered five, starting with Columbine, one as heartbreaking as the next. Only a sociopath would make that accusation against reporters, or anyone else, and actually mean it.) And mass shootings, we know, don’t happen only at schools, but at churches and at movie theaters and at country music concerts.
But let’s get past emotions here and move on to the data. In 2008, The New York Times did a survey of all NYPD shootings from 1996 to 2006. They found cops — the good guys with guns — hit their intended target 34 percent of the time, which means they missed two shots out of every three. And if that’s sounds low, try to put yourself in their place — shooting at actual human beings is apparently harder than you might have guessed from watching TV.
More pertinent numbers, though, were found in a 2006 study from the Rand Center on Quality Policing, which determined that in a gunfight the police hit rate fell to just 18 percent. In other words, firing at someone while someone is firing at you is a hell of a thing to try to do, and that’s for cops who are trained to do just that. Imagine a teacher shooting across a classroom full of students while trying to bring down the heavily-armed sicko savage.
Or consider this: In an FBI analysis of law enforcement engagement with 45 active shooters between 2000 and 2013, the cops were either killed or wounded 21 times.
In other words, this has got nothing to do with ice cream or with teacher training. This has to do with the intersection of disturbed young men and their easy access to high-powered guns. And unless you’re talking about how to resolve that complicated issue, you’re not saying anything that matters.
Trump’s brief out-of-character anti-vaping stance was a mystery — but he flip-flopped back to form
The momentary question upon hearing that Donald Trump’s plan to ban flavored vapes had gone up, well, in smoke was only under which category of Trump strangeness to file this new failed act of governance.
Was it another example of Trump's hypocrisy of advocating one thing, only to do another? Was it another opportunity to suppress a move for public health in favor of perceived personal political advancement? Was it an actual defense of new jobs in the vaping industry over the effects that these jobs have on the vastly growing numbers of new young smokers? Was it another case of Trump surprising his own people by making the announcement on Twitter rather than actually talking to his own administrative staff?
Relax, Devin Nunes – theater is essential to politics
“A televised theatrical performance staged by the Democrats.” With these words, Republican Rep. Devin Nunes expressed his discontent with the beginning of presidential impeachment hearings. He indirectly invited listeners – both supporters and detractors – to consider the relationship between theater and politics.
As the hearings continue, it’s important to remember that theater is one of the most consequential elements in U.S. history, enabling the killing of a president, the election of at least two, and probably the impeachment of another.
Don’t be too sure that impeachment won’t move public opinion
Last week, I lamented about how the political press is incapable of conveying the gravity of a historic clash between two co-equal branches of government–one that has the potential to redefine a president’s powers and immunities going forward–in large part because most reporters are trained to cover political conflicts on the eve of an election first and foremost in the context of the horse race. So yesterday’s big impeachment news was that 70 percent of Americans believed Trump’s “actions tied to Ukraine were wrong” and a slim majority favored removing him from office, according to an ABC News/ Ipsos poll, and today we learn that “the first week of the House’s public impeachment hearings into President Donald Trump did not move public support for the inquiry in Democrats’ favor, according to a new Morning Consult/Politico poll.”