Commentary

Debunking the mad idea of arming teachers

Not that any sane person can’t figure this out intuitively, but in case you wanted a little more information on the subject, here are a couple of essays to check out this morning regarding the Prevaricator-in-Chief’s loony tunes idea of arming school teachers.

In “Arming teachers to stop school shootings is a dangerous myth,” Luke Barnes at Think Progress provides a helpful summary of some actual research on the subject that is instructive. Here’s an excerpt:

“But research shows both Trump and the NRA are wrong. Armed personnel within schools would have very little chance of stopping a school shooter. What’s more, it’s been consistently proven that more guns in schools increases the risk of a deadly accident.

‘There are some myths behind the armed teacher idea in the U.S. The first is that good guys with guns can easily stop mass shootings and there have been numerous studies to show that’s not true,’ said Eugenio Weigend, associate director for gun violence prevention at the Center for American Progress….’The FBI conducted a study of 163 instances of mass shootings and found that only one was stopped by an armed individual versus 21 that were stopped by unarmed people.’

…Then there’s the issue of the extensive training school personnel would require in order to have any chance of neutralizing a school shooter. As Lawrence O’Donnell pointed out Wednesday night, the type of training teachers or other school personnel would require to prepare for school shootings is incredibly difficult and similar to that undertaken by police SWAT teams — clearing buildings packed with students, making split-second decisions to avoid accidentally shooting either an innocent victim or another armed responder.”

With schools like Marjory Stoneman Douglas, which had more than 3,000 students, the idea of one or even a half-dozen armed personnel being able to quickly find and neutralize an active shooter in the ensuing chaos seems ludicrous. That’s if they even decide to enter in the first place. According to the Broward Sheriff’s Office, Marjory Stoneman Douglas’ armed school resource officer did not go inside the school to confront the killer when the shooting happened. He has since resigned.”

Meanwhile, Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo has an interesting essay entitled “Gun Rights, ‘Positive Good’ and the Evolution of Mutually Assured Massacre,” in which he thoroughly explains and debunks the “positive good” theory behind this terrible idea. After explaining the NRA’s basic argument — that having more guns everywhere makes everyone safer — and explaining its origins in the writings an off-kilter economist named John Lott, Marshall says this:

“In the abstract, where no humans actually exist, there’s actually a compelling logic to this. If I know you’re armed, I’ll be on my best behavior. You will too because you know I’m armed. Of course, in practice, almost everything is wrong with this logic. It relies on an extremely crude version of economic rational action and an even cruder form of game theory. This is particularly the case when you realize that the fraught, angry situations where people impulsively kill other people are by definition not rational. This doesn’t even get into situations like school shootings where the assailant usually intends to die in the massacre. It also doesn’t get into accidents, misunderstandings. It’s completely nuts.”

Marshall goes on to persuasively liken the NRA’s increasingly strident defense of guns to the defense of slavery that metastasized in the southern U.S. in the decades prior to the Civil War (a period during which slavery went from something that few, if any, people publicly defended to something that its practitioners ended up launching a war over). Click here to read the entire article.

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