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Monday, October 19, 2015

A Look at the "Second Gun" Theory

I’ve been spending some time looking at op-eds, Twitter posts and Facebook rants going both left and right on this gun issue and school shootings.  For the sake of argument, let’s assume we follow the two gun theory and approve guns in school.  What if we arm the teachers.  How would that look?

As a superintendent, I oversee roughly 100 teachers.  Of that 100, I cannot imagine more than, say 25% to have shot a gun enough to be proficient.   Considering that only 22% of these teachers are male and that a few of the women probably have gun enthusiasts in the family, or hunt themselves, and that some of the men probably do not, I’m guessing this is a good estimate.

That 25% can’t possibly cover and protect four different school buildings and teach at the same time!  So if we are to really protect all of our students, we’ll need administrators, custodians and any willing employee to have a gun and ammunition in their classroom/office.  But to take care of recesses, lunch hours, PE classes and the like, we’ll also need holstered guns for people in these positions.

I just estimated that about 75% of our people are not proficient gun handlers.  We learned in A.L.I.C.E training that even highly trained police officers in stressful conditions hit a moving target only 20% of the time.  We’ll have to train all those armed volunteers, which will mean PD time set aside for gun range work.  Police officers train about twice a year, 8 hrs each time.  ( I'm confident their hours in practice are significantly more, but at a minimum we'll need 2 days per year of PD time on the range, after initial training.  So, do we teach new reading strategies or technology tools, or spend that time on gun skills?  Certainly legislators will appropriate money for this and to buy the guns and ammo necessary.

What about activities?  Ball games, concerts, plays and art shows.  After all, emotions can get pretty raw at some ball games; the thought of a fully armed, zealous crowd on both sides makes me pretty nervous.  Perhaps we just count on armed police presence at all events.  There are six school districts in Fayette County and only a couple of the communities have a police department.  Sheriff deputies will be stretched pretty thin on Friday nights.

So I ask, what is our tolerance level for this risk of bringing guns into schools?  What is our financial commitment to school children’s safety when it comes to training and arming teachers?  Will we tolerate accidental shootings from those 80% of shots that don’t find their target? Will our law enforcement organizations be able to provide adequate police presence at all events?  

Any gun scenario will start with someone firing first.  Unless an intruder is walking up to the building brandishing his guns, it wouldn’t be a school weapon fired first.  Chances are one of those 25% will also not be in the immediate area, so lives will be lost before a second gun can have an impact.  More guns are not the answer.  I don’t have an answer. I do have much more confidence in the responses we’ve learned through A.L.I.C.E. than I do armed teachers.   And wouldn’t it be nice if we could have some restrictions on who can buy a gun.  Wouldn’t that reduce the chances of all this being necessary?