Absolutely, say the anti-gun lefties. They would rather leave kids defenseless from kindergarten through high school than trust willing teachers to protect them with concealed-carry weapons. Teachers idolized as brilliant, selfless saints in the classroom are apparently too incompetent, irresponsible, or just plain stupid to be trained to capably operate a firearm.
But when that next crazy person cruising the neighborhood looking for a massacre target – and there will be many next ones -- sees that “GUN FREE SCHOOL ZONE” sign, what he actually reads is: “Hey, come on in and slaughter a bunch of kids, there’s nobody here to stop you!” It’s hunting season all year long and every deer in the woods is painted neon orange and staked helplessly to a tree. The Aurora, Colorado, theater shooter who killed 12 and injured 70 in 2012 specifically said he searched for a theater with a “Gun Free Zone” sign, bypassing other theaters closer to where he lived that didn’t have that sign. Nearly all massacres – whether in schools, churches, or shopping malls – have that fatal sign in common.
Here’s a radical idea – let’s take down those idiotic invitations to kill and replace them with the bold message posted in 110 Texas school districts that have trained and armed teachers and staff: “ATTENTION please be aware the staff at this school may be armed and will use whatever force is necessary to protect our students.”
BUT nooo…if teachers are armed, they’ll shoot their eye out like Ralphie in A Christmas Story! Or they’ll turn their six-shooters on some misbehaving teen who’s cracking his gum! Or a kid will wrest the gun from the teacher and start spraying classmates with hot lead!
Can’t have that. In fact, Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers says her union members don’t even want the right to defend themselves. Never mind that teachers and staff from Columbine to the Parkland massacre have been murdered along with their kids; Weingarten thinks that teachers would rather die shielding their students with their own bodies than protect them with that instrument of Satan, a gun.
The teachers union chief said in a February telephone town hall with 60,000 educators “the response was universal, even from educators who are gun owners: Teachers don’t want to be armed, we want to teach.” She insisted “We…would never have the expertise needed to be sharp shooters; no amount of training can prepare an armed teacher to go up against an AR-15.”
Actually there are several such expert training programs in many of the 20 states that allow concealed carry by school personnel. One is called FASTER – an acronym for Faculty/Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response. Begun in Ohio after the 2012 shooter in Sandy Hook, Conn., murdered 20 kids and 6 teachers (your union members, Ms. Weingarten?) the program has trained school employees in 76 of Ohio’s 88 counties and has expanded to 11 other states.
A couple of years ago Colorado Springs activist and author Laura Carno attended a FASTER class in Ohio and brought it to Colorado. Now the group has trained or is in the process of training school personnel in about 25 school districts. Says Carno, “Since the Parkland massacre, we’ve been getting a flood of calls from schools that already have staff with concealed carry permits that want our FASTER program, which also includes life-saving medical training. Armed staff is a free or low-cost addition to School Resource Officers (SRO’s) because one or two SRO’s can't cover the entire school.” FASTER training is conducted by active duty law enforcement trainers with SWAT experience.
Immediate response is also a critical factor, Carno says. “At Parkland, it took the killer less than 7 minutes to murder 17 people. The closer an armed staffer is to the beginning of a violent event, the sooner it is stopped, and the fewer people die. If killers don't know which staff members are armed, that itself is a huge deterrent.”
The much-maligned National Rifle Association offers the National School Shield program that was also inspired by the 2012 Sandy Hook tragedy. CEO Wayne La Pierre says the program was in over 150 schools in 2017 alone. He told Rush Limbaugh, “Let’s talk about gun-free zones. Look at Congress! You know what they’re protected by? Glocks and Sigs….to leave our children, our most precious resource, completely vulnerable the way we do, is nuts.”
But some school districts ARE arming their staff – with weapons like the 600 miniature 18-inch baseball bats issued to school personnel at a district in Erie, Pa. “We don’t want to be sitting ducks,” said William Hall, superintendent of the Millcreek Township School District, and a man clearly lacking the irony gene.
His district is getting serious about fighting back, he insisted. Defying credulity and reason, Superintendent Hall stated, “I think a bat could disarm a pistol with a nice swing.” A pistol 18 inches away. And Jon Cacchione, the president of the Millcreek teachers’ union, true to his anti-reality union masters, said it’s better than doing nothing.
Reactions on Facebook ranged from the incredulous -- “Is this a late April fools joke?” to concealed carry advocates who said, “best to just arm teachers and staff with guns.” Well, duh.
Meanwhile, the sober, gun-toting protectors of the public safety in the Millcreek Township Police department made it clear they were not involved in the bats decision.
Doubtless union heavyweight Weingarten would question Superintendent Hall: had he assessed the clear and present danger of a teacher clubbing a student for failing a quiz, or bashing herself accidentally on the head and knocking herself out, and thus putting all bat-wielding teachers in unsafe working conditions? Not to worry, says Hall, the bats are locked up in the district’s classrooms so they don’t fall into the wrong hands. Whew!
Though this superintendent is undeniably bat guano crazy, other school districts display even more creative wackology in their panic to avoid the obvious bang-bang solution. Take the Blue Mountain School District in Schuylkill County, Pa. where Superintendent Helsel equipped every classroom with a five-gallon bucket of river stone as an answer to the Parkland massacre. Yes, stones.
“If an armed intruder attempts to gain entrance to any of our classrooms, they will face a classroom full of students armed with rocks and they will be stoned,” the superintendent, David Helsel, said apparently with a straight face. “They’re the right size for hands, you can throw them very hard and they will cause pain, which can district.”
What a terrifying symbol of the deranged denial syndrome that’s infecting the left: a literally stone-age response from learned “educators” up against deadly modern threats.
Shortly after the Florida horror, the Parkland teachers got together to talk about how to stop the “next one.” The New York Times reported, “For hours they spoke of the golf clubs and baseball bats they would like to keep in their classrooms, of the bulletproof vests they wish they had…” Inquiring minds want to know: Will teachers need concealed carry permits for golf clubs? Are parents to send their kids off to class every morning in bulletproof vests – or are vests only to be issued to teachers?
Instead of acting on the only rational solution, the left cynically recruits tens of thousands of earnest young people to fill the streets, marching against our constitutional right to bear arms. These are youth terribly traumatized by their friends’ murders, and we all sympathize with them. But they’re not wise enough or old enough to realize that the crazy and clinically depressed will always be able to steal or buy a weapon to kill. Often, 14 and 15 year olds simply take a legal weapon from a relative’s home and attack their school. The anti-gun mobs don’t care that the Parkland massacre was a glaring failure of law enforcement and existing gun and background check laws.
The 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz was expelled from school because of violent behavior and his threatening social media posts were even reported to the FBI which did nothing. Alarmed callers contacted police over two dozen times in 10 years to report Cruz’ erratic and dangerous actions, but about a year ago he somehow passed background checks and legally purchased the rifle he used to kill 17.
Four Broward County police officers (one a School Resource Officer assigned to the school) stood outside listening as the killer shot up the school instead of entering and stopping him. More gun control laws won’t give courage to cowards.
The lack of reasoning ability from emotional teens who think erasing the Second Amendment will end school shootings is a result of the defective “education” they receive in our public schools led by those ridiculous bat-wielding and stone-throwing school superintendents.
In most states, the local school district’s Board of Education (BOE) must approve training and concealed carry by school staff. One problem: most BOE’s follow the anti-gun lead of the teachers’ unions, even when many teachers volunteer to take the training to protect their students. They’re also protecting themselves since in every mass shooting teachers have been gunned down along with their kids (five faculty and 27 students at Virginia Tech in 2007; six teachers and 20 first graders at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012; three teachers/staff and 14 students at Parkland on February 14).
In most districts, the only way worried parents will get armed security for their kids is to show up at BOE meetings and demand it. When school administrators and the BOE say no, propose a challenge. Ask that half the schools in the district allow willing teachers to take firearms training and conceal carry in their schools, while the other half continue their run-and-hide response to an active shooter attack. Then let the school district and BOE monitor to which schools parents choose to send their children.
Joy Overbeck is a Colorado journalist, author and Townhall columnist who has also contributed to The Washington Times, The Daily Caller, American Thinker, BarbWire and elsewhere. More columns: https://www.facebook.com/JoyOverbeckColumnist Follow her on Twitter @JoyOverbeck1