Teachers Begin School Year Armed with Lucky Charms

By Ken Hanson

Another school year has started. Kids settle back into a structured routine, bus drivers renew early morning coffee friendships, young athletes take to sports fields and millions of parents once again rely on security arrangements that amount to rubbing a rabbit’s foot. It was an especially surreal experience for me, as I walked into the brand new school building on dedication day, past dozens of brand new “no guns” stickers, and noted that both my kids’ classrooms were right next to exit doors. Sadly, my first thought was to remember to tell my kids that if they hear gunfire, they are to run for the exit door rather than let the teacher lock them down as ready-made hostages.

Whether we want to acknowledge it or not, schools are nothing but soft targets to the sickos of the world. Yet we continue to protect against this reality with nothing but happy thoughts (denial) and wishful “precautions.” Virginia Tech, Columbine, Paducah, Nickel Mines, Weston, Campbell County, Red Lake, Rocori, Appalachian School of Law, Case Western, Jonesboro, Thurston…it pains me to go on and I am not even half way through the roll call of shootings from the past decade. What do all of these have in common? Conclusive demonstrations that layer upon layer of laws, soft security measures and wishful thinking yield nothing but crime scenes.

There is, however, one approach that we have not tried, and that approach remains the 800 pound elephant in the room.

It is important for the reader to understand that school shootings are not confined to the lone psychopath going out in a blaze of glory or the ranting loner seeking to harm those who are perceived to have harmed him. Look no further than the Beslan massacre – Islamic terrorists liquidate a school full of kids, parents and teachers. If you have not read about Beslan, you owe it to yourself and to the children of America to read all you can about it. Yes, I recognize there is some dispute how it ended and who was responsible for “the beginning of the end.” However, in my simple mind, had dozens of heavily armed terrorists not taken over an elementary school and ringed it with bombs and landmines, we would not have a controversy over how it ended. I refuse to engage in the apologetic mindset that thinks that “if only we had not done this, then people who willingly strap bombs to their bodies would not have done that.” (Please save me the vapid “blowback” emails from the RP supporters. I blame the “dumb bombs” and sleep soundly at night.)

Beslan, of course, is not the first time Islamic terrorists have targeted schools, nor will it be the last. In 1974, for instance, during Passover, the PLO launched a series of attacks specifically targeting schools, buses, kindergartens and other child-oriented targets. I have read (I have enough trouble keeping track of Ohio gun laws, much less Israel’s gun laws) that Israel, at that time, had fairly strict gun control, dating back to British rule of the territory 50+ years before that. After a brief gnashing of teeth (“This isn’t the wild west!”) Israel took the novel approach of handing out guns and permits to any capable adult. Teachers, nannies, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, what have you, all started carrying guns. Parents (armed) volunteered to work security shifts, grandparents (armed) became fixtures in schools. Older children received compulsory gun safety training and a sort of high school militia was organized. Soon enough, the Islamic terrorists realized that attacking schools in Israel was a sucker’s bet. Despite the heavy concentration of guns in schools in Israel for 3+ decades, their school shooting rate is non-existent compared to gun-free American schools.

Here is a simple thought experiment for you. Tomorrow Israel passes a law banning all guns, even those carried by staff and faculty, from schools. Israel’s school shooting rate will 1.) Increase? or 2.) Decrease?

For my money, the lesson others have learned is that if you want a problem addressed, you must *MAKE* IT GO AWAY RATHER THAN *WISH* IT AWAY. By way of analogy, cancer researchers recognize that prevention, healthy lifestyle etc are all part of the anti-cancer approach. They also realize that, despite best prevention practices and all the positive thinking the world, the bad critters will still get through, and the only way to deal with that is to swiftly and strongly neutralize the bad critters as soon as they are detected. If your prostate test results indicate problems, would you go to an oncologist who 1.) Says you should have eaten more fresh fruit and fiber, in fact we should pass more laws requiring healthy eating and banning certain types of food, or 2.) Says you should eat healthy, but we need to intervene aggressively and quickly and zap the bad critters?

Maybe it is just me, but the concept that you can prevent a tragedy by outlawing the tragedy is laughable. All the “no gun” stickers on our school mean is that if my kids’ school calls and says my child is sick, I have to drive home and drop off my gun before I pick my kid up. I, being a person who lives in the real world, do not believe for a second that a terrorist or psychopath is going to turn back at the doors when they see the same stickers. Continuing further on this fearless journey, I venture to believe that the police will never prevent a school shooting, and will only react to school shootings. This is not a knock against the police; however, the reality is their job begins after the first bodies fall. All of this combines, in my simple mind, in the conclusion that the only people who can stop a shooting are the people who are being shot at.

The United States Marines have done more for World Peace than all the peace demonstrations ever held in Washington D.C. combined. One armed teacher in the right place at the right time will do more to stop a school shooting than all laws and stickers ever created.

Ken Hanson is Buckeye Firearms Association Legislative Chair and author of The Ohio Guide to Firearm Laws.

Related Stories:
The uncomfortable truth about school shootings

(Oregon) teacher goes public in fight to pack pistol

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