Even more disturbing than the National Rifle Association’s suggestion last month to put armed guards at every school in response to the Sandy Hook shooting is the fact that people are taking it seriously.
An Ohio gun owners’ group, the Buckeye Firearms Foundation, along with a group called the Tactical Defense Institute, is putting together a curriculum to train teachers and school staff to shoot.
As of Wednesday, the Armed Teacher Training Program had attracted more than 600 applicants from several states, according to a local Fox News affiliate.
"We knew this would be popular, but the response has exceeded out expectations," Fox19 quoted Jim Irvine, chairman of the Buckeye Firearms Foundation as saying. "People doubted if we would fill the first class. That happened in hours.”
Aside from the danger of accidental shootings and the lack of any evidence that armed civilians stop mass shooters, this program fails to address the root of the problem. Even if putting more guns in schools made sense as a way to stop school shootings, it’s still addressing a symptom and not looking at the many factors that make America such a hotbed of shooting violence.
I’m not suggesting, as the NRA did, that we blame video games and violent movies. They’re prevalent around the world and no link between violent media and violent action has been made. Clearly, there’s more going on in the U.S., as this chart from the Washington Post shows:
And I’m not suggesting, as much as it would be my personal ideal, that we confiscate and destroy all guns, since we need a plan that could actually happen.
I don’t claim to know what the solution is, but just piling more guns into a system overloaded with gun violence is just so counterintuitive that I can’t believe anyone heeded the tone-deaf advice of NRA leader Wayne LaPierre.
Perhaps a good start would be to focus on prevention, and try to figure out what makes these people want to kill children. If we’re going to pour resources and energy into addressing a component of gun violence, it should be mental health screenings and treatment, not introducing more guns into the school environment.