Friday, March 25, 2005


Guns for Teachers

To stop school shootings such as the recent Minnesota incident, the NRA claims that teachers should have guns to hold off shooters. Now that makes a lot of sense. And why not further stimulate the domestic arms race? We could use textbook money to issue stun guns and assault rifles to all teachers and school administrators, and post armed guards at strategic locations in and around all schools.

Rampagers might then just stay away from schools, and instead go on rampages in other places like businesses, supermarkets, or factories. Then we would have to arm everyone in those places, too. Not to mention private residences, where rampagers would strike if thwarted elsewhere.

Of course that is stupid, but it’s the logical extension of the NRA’s line of reasoning. Ultimately, everyone would have to pack some heat as insurance against being shot before sundown. Summer camp for children might turn into boot camp to give them firearms practice and to hold war games.

So, what to do? First, strict gun control. While not perfect, Japan’s system has some good points (I think the police have too much power in this regard). If gun owners were required to securely lock away their guns and ammunition when not in use, as Japanese gun owners are, Jeff Weise would not have had such ready access to weapons.

But more than anything else, the violence level in society — both domestic and international — must be reduced. As long as violence is regarded as a legitimate means of addressing grievances and solving problems, people will continue trying to get their hands on weapons and use them for these purposes, and institutionalized violence by states will continue unabated. The NRA is just pushing us farther down a slippery slope.

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