"Mrs. Lacey!" he exclaimed, obviously shocked to see me there. Speechless for a moment, he finally managed, "I didn't know teachers ever went shopping!"
I told him it was actually quite common. The point is that kids who, in their logical brain, know better sometimes find it hard to believe their teachers have a life outside the classroom. To them, teachers are a breed apart.
By the time they become adults most have given up these childish ways.
Not some of our legislators, however. If they were fully formed adults, we wouldn't be seeing banners like the one in the photo above. Either they cling to childish beliefs (teachers are in charge and all-powerful) ... or they've never been in a classroom ... or they're dangerously untethered from reality.
Arming teachers is what a former colleague of mine, a psychologist charged with diagnosing learning disabilities, would have whimsically designated JPD: Just Plain Dumb.
Think about what's involved when you arm a front-line teacher. First, there's this thorny issue: where are classroom teachers to keep their weapons? Mass murderers don't announce in advance the time and place of an impending attack. Teachers teach on their feet. They move around the room. To pretend that teachers can be the first line of defense means they must spend the day with a gun holstered on a hip.
Never mind the unfriendliness of greeting your students looking like one half of Bonnie and Clyde. Never mind the annoyance of having to strap on and wear all day a lethal accouterment you hope you never need, barely know how to use, and that makes you feel like an imposter. Never mind that armed instructors make the school look like a war zone. Even if competent with the pistol (and how likely is that?), a teacher can be disarmed, too inexperienced to shoot straight, or shocked into paralysis in a crisis.
If you're not wearing a holster ... what then? Do you put the gun in a locked desk drawer? An unreachable shelf in a cupboard? A secret compartment in an innocuous looking dictionary?
You can see where we're going with this. A gun that's hidden away is not only useless in an armed attack; finding, seizing and using it is a temptation for an upset student short on self control. Arming teachers, no matter the location of the gun, is about as effective as spitting on forest fire.
And where's the body armor for the teacher and, for that matter, for the kids? Finally, what's a lowly pistol going to do in a short-lived gunfight with an AR-15?
I know politicians of all political stripes like to think that baby steps--background checks, raising the age at which an aspiring gunman can purchase an assault weapon, red flag laws--are "progress." I suppose they are ... but not much.
The fact remains: An assault rifle is a weapon of war. Its only purpose is to kill large numbers of people in a short period of time. Allowing civilians to purchase them is lunacy. There's a term often used when referring to groups that are discriminated against due to innate characteristics. Age is one such characteristic. In this country, we now have one very large unprotected class. They're called school children.