Since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, some politicians and pundits have suggested – as a solution to our mass shooting problem – that we arm teachers.
Arming teachers?! Who do you think we are? Highly trained mercenaries that do a bit of teaching in our down time? This ain’t The Substitute. Stop watching ’90s movies and get real.
I’ve often wished I was an ex-Special Forces operative with hand-to-hand combat skills and the martial arts prowess of a ninja. Alas, I am but a chemist. While I can blow student’s minds with awesome chemistry, I am not trained to – and perhaps not capable of – blowing away some would-be spree killer.
You know who is trained to deal with spree killers? Law enforcement. Like I’ve trained to be a chemist, they’ve trained to deal with violent people. They’re trained to talk somebody down or, if need be, take somebody out. I can’t do their job. I do not have the training, experience, or desire to do law enforcement’s job. I’m confident law enforcement feels the same way about my job.
Think I don’t care about my student’s safety? Think again.
I’m often the first person to teach these students the basics of laboratory safety and I take that job very seriously. My students receive basic safety training at the start of the term, with specialized safety training as part of each and every lecture/lab for entire term. I teach chemistry. Teaching students how to do chemistry safely is my job.
What about non-chemical safety? For each classroom I’m assigned, I know both how to safely evacuate the room and how to quickly bar access. I know the who our campus security officers are and roughly how often they do patrols in my building. I know where the nearest police station, fire house, and hospital is. I know when to call for help and will not hesitate to make the call.
Get help. That’s what you do when you’re faced with a situation beyond you’re education, training, and experience. You bring in the right people to come up with the best solution.
That is what we need to do with our mass shooting problem.
Gohmert, Olson, and their cohorts aren’t the right people and arming teachers isn’t the best solution.