Time to arm willing teachers to stop spree killers

by Jeff Thomas

By now everyone has heard about the Chardon High School shooting that left three students dead and two others wounded this week.

Many believed it was just a matter of time before a school shooting reached Ohio. On Monday morning it happened. This just highlights the need to arm willing teachers to serve as the last line of defense of our children.

While a lot remains unknown about Monday's shooting, had a willing and properly trained and armed teacher been present, this could have prevented multiple children from being shot.

I don't know anyone who would argue against the notion that children are the most precious gift in life.

Nor would any able-minded parent stop at anything to protect their children. Having the ability and means to protect children should not stop when they leave the home or enter school where they will spend more than 10,000 hours to someday be able to graduate from high school.

While some may try to argue that targeting schools for massacres is a new phenomenon that began with the Columbine High School shooting in 1999 that left 12 students and a teacher dead, and 21 others wounded, that's far from the truth. Bath Township, Mich., still holds the unwanted title for being the deadliest mass murder at a school in U.S. history when a man, enraged over property taxes to build a new school, set off a series of bombs. Killed were 38 elementary school children, two teachers, four other adults and the bomber.

There also have been countless other school killings that did not capture national headlines. On top of that, numerous plots have been foiled.

One thing is clear from history: school massacres have happened for many years and will continue to happen. While teachers have received training in how to lock down their classrooms, and police have changed their strategy to have the initial officers on the scene go in as opposed to waiting for a SWAT team, more needs to be done.

It's time we arm teachers who are willing to stand guard between our children and someone willing to harm them. This in no way means arming reluctant teachers, but rather arming teachers who are willing to accept the responsibility.

A teacher willing to take the appropriate training and pass a qualification test could become the one who saves numerous lives.

My proposal would include psychological screening for teachers and a requirement for the teacher to always have a gun on his or her body, not in a purse or bag, but concealed on his or her person so only he or she has access to it.

Parents have a responsibility to ensure that their children are safe. When a child is at school, that responsibility lies with teachers and school administrators. To ignore the notion that a person bent on harming children can't possibly strike at "my school" is irresponsible.

To further ignore the chance to do something is even more irresponsible. Hoping or praying it doesn't happen will not protect the country against these killers. What everyone must realize is that a dedicated killer doesn't think like you or me. These people are ruthless and get a high off killing. These killers will keep killing until stopped and that includes by any means necessary, including deadly force.

In the days and weeks ahead people will line up to assign blame; politicians will try to win votes with rhetoric and anti-gunners will blame guns. People always want to assign blame, whether it's the parents who raised the shooter or teachers, counselors, television shows, video games, the suppliers of whatever weapon was used or the media. None of them is to blame. The blame lies with the person who carries out the violent crime and no one else.

It's time we stand up for our children and give teachers the ability to keep them safe, just like we would, so our children can grow up.

Jeff Thomas is a certified NRA pistol instructor and concealed carry instructor.

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