Admittedly, I was not a fan of naming the head of Exxon-Mobil as the head of the State Department, but I must give credit where credit is due. Rex Tillerson was exactly right when he described the current occupant of the Oval Office as a moron. The president proves the accuracy of that assessment on an almost daily, if not hourly, basis but no example is better than his current cure-all for eliminating gun massacres in schools: arming teachers!
Now, to be quite honest, if I were a teacher in a classroom and there was a shooter with an assault rifle in the hallway firing at will, I would definitely wish I had in my possession a firearm. That goes without saying.
However, simply adding the arming of teachers, as some eight states currently allow, into the broader discussion is not what makes Trump a moron. It is his sincere belief that he just came up with the solution that seemed to have eluded everyone else other than the NRA. The expression on his face when he shared this brainstorm with the survivors of school gun violence is priceless.
The fact that he is incapable of assessing the full range of ramifications of his, in his mind, brilliant solution is truly frightening coming from a sitting president. Not realizing the complexity of the issue and the need to implement a broad range of actions, including fewer guns, to address this epidemic of mass shootings is what truly makes him so unfit for the office he now holds.
Regarding the issue of school shootings specifically, arming teachers is not as simplistic a solution as this president would have you believe. According to former Police Commissioner of New York City, Boston and Los Angeles, Bill Bratton, who is a particular hero of mine, “Proposals to arm American teachers are the height of lunacy. Are we also then going to arm school bus drivers and school crossing guards. The #NRA & gun manufacturers would love that. Let’s not keep trying to apply ill thought out political band aids to avoid addressing real need–loop hole free regulations and dramatically improved background screening. The answer to gun violence isn’t more guns. NYC 25yr gun related violence decline, continuing this year, clearly shows that fewer guns has resulted in dramatically less gun related violence of all types, much as the 10yr ban on assault weapons lowered crime involving that weapon.”
I can’t help but think back to “All In The Family” character Archie Bunker’s solution to stopping the rash of plane hijackings of the 60’s and 70’s: arm the passengers. Coming from a character on a sitcom was both entertaining and funny; coming from a sitting president, not so much.
Thinking back to my own days at Thomas Jefferson High School in East New York Brooklyn, arming teachers would have resulted in those teachers being “jumped” and relieved of their guns before they even made it to school grounds, serving only to increase the number of guns finding their way into the surrounding neighborhood.
I also think back to the attempted assassination of Republican icon Ronald Reagan by John Hinckley. Reagan was surrounded by armed Secret Service agents who ultimately took down Hinckley but not before he wounded Reagan, a Secret Service agent, and a D.C. police officer, and did irreparable harm to Press Secretary Jim Brady.
Would a cadre of armed teachers to supplement the Secret Service detail been helpful? I think not. Would making it more difficult for individuals like John Hinckley from acquiring lethal weapons make more sense? I think so.
At Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Scott Peterson served as the armed resource officer and had been in that position many years. During the shooting, he apparently feared going in to confront the shooter. Nothing to be proud of for sure, as that decision certainly cost the lives of others, but, nevertheless his fear was somewhat understandable, if extremely inappropriate, considering his position.
Expecting teachers to leave their classrooms to confront a shooter in the hallway with a military-style assault rifle would be, accordingly, expecting a lot. What must be factored into the equation are the ramifications of more guns on school grounds and the increased likelihood of increased instances of “accidents.”
As Chief Manger testified a few weeks ago before Congress, too many people with guns makes the job of law enforcement more difficult when responding to an active shooter situation. It was somewhat interesting to hear the president ridicule Deputy Sheriff Peterson as a coward considering that Trump escaped serving in Vietnam with a bone spurs deferment four times. Quite the brave soul is he!
Some pro-gun legislators like to point to the Sutherland Springs, Texas shooting a few months back during which a trained gun owner played a significant role in subduing the shooter and, more than likely, lessening the casualty count even though it did reach 26. That individual should be praised.
However, what also must be recognized is that the availability of the military assault rifle used by the shooter also contributed greatly to the casualty count. Yes, the shooter was not properly included in the NICS database, but it was access to the assault rifle that cannot be underscored as a major factor in the number of casualties in this and so many other mass shootings.
Although the Supreme Court ruled in the Heller case in 2008 that citizens do have the right to own guns to protect themselves, the court also stated in its ruling the right and obligation of the government to set reasonable limitations for the safety of its citizens. The ban on automatic weapons is one such example. It is not a Second Amendment right to own a machine gun.
Conservative Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Warren Burger may have said it best: “The Gun Lobby’s interpretation of the Second Amendment is one of the greatest pieces of fraud – I repeat the word fraud – on the American people by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime. The real purpose of the Second Amendment was to ensure that state armies – the militia – would be maintained for the defense of the state. The very language of the Second Amendment refutes any argument that it was intended to guarantee every citizen an unfettered right to any kind of weapon he or she desires.”
Instead of arming teachers, maybe a much more practical plan to address the epidemic of mass shootings includes closing the so-called gun show loophole by funding the ATF so that they can close down commercial sales without a license at the enumerable gun shows across the country, limiting magazine rounds to 10, requiring licenses for all guns, re-instituting the ban on assault weapons, requiring liability insurance for firearm ownership much like ownership of automobiles, accountability for those responsible for populating the NICS database who fail to do so properly, limiting the personal sales exemption to just those individuals with a personal relationship and not transactions over the internet or at gun shows, require child locks, increase waiting periods on all gun sales, and require judges hearing domestic violence cases to ensure individuals are aware of the requirement to surrender firearms.
You think this is a no-brainer, guess again; replace the president’s Secret Service security detail with “thoughts and prayers!”