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Guns: A Serious Reason to Support School Choice

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

The vexing reality concerning school shootings stands as another crucial reason everyone should support school choice -- especially the parents crusading for gun-free zones.

When I was teaching in California, I remember going to work the day after the attack at Columbine High School in Colorado. Twelve students and one teacher lost their lives in that massacre while another 21 victims suffered gun-shot wounds. 

At the time, I had just begun my transition from the Marine Corps to the classroom. The campus where I worked was huge with many buildings. There were nearly 4,000 students and only one armed resource officer. 

The number of possible shooting scenarios that I imagined as I walked across campus at that time made me wonder why I had become a civilian. It wasn’t a serious thought, but it did cross my mind.

In my classroom, I thought about attacks and how I might best protect the 40 students under my charge each period. What would I do should some lunatic decide to murder us?

I had to strain hard not to notice our bleak reality. Without impossible luck or an amateur killer doing everything exactly like I imagined in the privacy of my imagination, we were all just sitting ducks. 

My multi-colored Sharpies provided absolutely no protection from a lunatic, a trained terrorist, or an emotionally disturbed teenager with an illegal gun -- or even a legal one. 

Without a gun of my own, I was useless. 

Granted, no plan is fool-proof, but had I been armed, I would have at least had a better chance of fighting back and protecting my students. There are countless possible scenarios, but a teacher trained with a gun and fighting from a barricaded position would likely stand a pretty good chance against a mentally ill degenerate like the ones who have plagued our society so far. Most of these pitiful souls have not been looking for a gunfight. In fact, Nikolas Cruz in Parkland, Florida, did not even want to die. 

The examples of a teacher, resource officers, and good samaritans using guns to stop deranged individuals from killing more school children and adults speak for themselves. Obvious examples include the following: Pearl High School in Mississippi, Parker Middle School in Pennsylvania, Appalachian School of Law in Virginia, Sullivan Central High School in Tennessee, Reynolds High School in Oregon, and Arapahoe High School in Colorado.         

Emotional arguments supporting more laws against guns from desperate parents who expect their children to be safe in school should not surprise anyone. Most of us can empathize with how these parents feel. 

On the other hand, angry feelings against guns should not dictate where other parents enroll their own children.

A quality education remains the primary objective of schools. Nevertheless, today’s parents need a choice between schools protected by guns and schools protected by good intentions and feelings (i.e. free-fire zones). 

The future body counts will speak for themselves. Having the choice would most likely uncover which ideology is more pragmatic. Many people would probably adjust their thoughts about guns accordingly. 

It takes incredible effort to ignore the failures of the laws already in place. Laws merely lay the foundation for consequences of criminal behavior. Our current laws do nothing and have done nothing to stop school shootings. Thinking more laws will suddenly stop the carnage makes for a nice fairytale -- I guess. 

However, based on my own real-world experiences and simple observations, parents and educators who depend on laws or anyone other than themselves for self-defense or the defense of their children are simply practicing wishful thinking. 

Of course, the government should not compel parents or teachers who fear guns to send their children to schools protected by officers and teachers with guns. All parents deserve the right to choose a school that best serves their children’s needs. 

If we want to protect children, doesn’t school choice just seem obvious?  

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