Right now, we have a huge debate on gun control (again) thanks to a recent school shooting. But I feel like I’m being told two different things by the those who would prefer to gut the second amendment. The first is that teachers are saints, and doing the work of angels here on Earth. They are overworked, underpaid, yet still they soldier on, doing their best to educate the children of this great nation, who would be imbeciles incapable of the simplest of tasks without years of public education. Think of the children!
And then we have the same people (or so it seems) claiming that arming teachers would turn our schools into slaughterhouses. Teachers carrying guns would use them on problem children, or else those problem children would physically overpower the teachers, wrest the guns away, and use them to slaughter the innocents. Think of the children!
Which is it? Because it seems to me that this whole debate is framed in hysterical terms from top to bottom. It’s not just the one side of course, but the problem with gun rights activists is that their hysteria is based on actual history. Damned inconvenient, but there it is.
Other inconvenient facts ruin the “Teachers as saints” narrative. We hear about female teachers charged with statutory rape so often that it’s not even a shock anymore. We know that the ability of the average high school graduate to read, much less show any other hint of cognitive reasoning ability has been declining for decades. Our solutions, which generally involve throwing money at the problem, have yielded precious few verifiable results. Public education in America is a global joke, but Americans are still supposed to support it as though it fulfilled every promise ever made to We the People.
And now we have the supposed epidemic of school shootings. I say supposed because the evidence still says that the chances of your child being shot at school are still on the order of being struck by lightning. If you compare it against the number of guns in this country, you have a better chance to win the lottery. School shooting are tragic, often affecting more than those that died, and difficult to wrap our heads around. But the answer is not making guns illegal. Even the complete repeal and repudiation of the second amendment will not stop gun crime, much less any specific gun crime.
So the proposal has been to let teachers arm themselves if they choose. Many will not, and that’s fine. You don’t need a lot of guns to stop a school shooter. In general, if you start shooting back, their rampage ends pretty quickly. If we ever get to a point where this isn’t the case, we’ve got more serious problems going on.
But now we come to the second claim: guns in the school will cause more school shootings than they prevent. It’s an appeal to emotion, not evidence. The school districts that allow teachers the right to conceal carry have not shown any significant uptick in school shootings. If they had, it would have been trumpeted across the world before now. And if you tell me that those places are anomalies, then I want you to explain why your anomaly gets to outweigh mine. Because, again, school shootings are exceedingly rare.
But it all comes to this: if public education was so wonderful, then the public would be able to evaluate any or all of these claims with something more than “guns are scary” and “bad things shouldn’t happen”. Thousands of years of human thought will tell you why these statements are too ridiculous to even be a part of the conversation. But I guess the people using them think I’m too stupid to notice. After all, I went to public school.