Let’s get something straight: No one is serious about arming teachers. Oh, over the past month the idea might have seemed serious. And it’s certainly been treated seriously. But it’s every bit as disingenuous as the “thoughts and prayers” of the NRA’s favorite elected officials. Serious ideas receive serious scrutiny and the proposal for arming teachers can’t hold up on that count. It can’t even hold up to casual scrutiny.
Have you seen the study on police gunfire accuracy rates? In NYC, only 43% of all shots fired within six feet hit their mark. Is it at all realistic to think that teachers would be any more effective? What about built-in prejudices? Wouldn’t teachers, like police, need anti-bias training? And when a teacher accidentally shot a student, would we — oh, look! It already happened! Will the teacher be fired? Jailed? Will students be wary of taking his class? Will his career be ruined for doing something the government sanctioned?
If you aren’t convinced of the silliness of the “give teachers guns” argument, you should note: There are roughly 90,000 grade and middle schools and 37,000 high schools in the US. The average high school has 750 kids. The average middle school has 600 kids. The average grade school has 450 kids. Let’s say — with extreme generosity — that every “good guy with a gun” can protect 150 kids. That’s five teachers with guns per high school, four per middle school, and three per grade school, totaling around 315,000 vetted, certified, and armed grade and middle school teachers (if you assume that there are roughly 45,000 of each type of school) and 185,000 vetted, certified, and armed high school teachers. Altogether, we’re talking about 500,000 armed teachers (this equals roughly 14% of the 3.6 million teachers in this country).
The margin for error skyrockets when you give guns to that many people. In fact, it’s been empirically proven that there’s a causal relationship between accidental shootings and gun availability. That point aside, when you talk about 500,000 armed teachers, the cost of training becomes wildly expensive. It does nothing to trace the problem back to even its most obvious root causes. It creates a situation where communities are divided because a beloved teacher failed to save a student or shot one in the crossfire or did not react in the way some might have hoped. Which means we need a system for managing these catastrophes when they crop up. An administration to make sure certifications and training are up to date. Plus an internal investigations unit to make sure that administration isn’t corrupt.
Suddenly we’d have more armed teachers in this nation than any single active branch of the U.S. military. And that’s before we even thought about arming college professors. We are, effectively, talking about a brand new government agency. And a massive one at that.
So… all we need, to make this idea a reality is half a million people with the aptitude for playing desperado when faced with an assault rifle. Should be easy enough to find — as long as they aren’t squeamish about blood like, say, the president of the United States.