“Guns, guns, guns!”
— from RoboCop
Twenty dead kids in Connecticut doesn’t quite have the same rock and roll ring as four dead in Ohio. But, however you slice it, the beat of America goes on. And on. And on.
Our nation was founded on three things: slavery, tobacco and guns. Slavery produced the tobacco, which was the first export product to bring in money with which to buy guns, which eventually helped us fend off the British and create an American Empire. What a great thing, though it didn’t work out too well for African-Americans for 350 years, or Native Americans for, like, forever. Yet without any one of these ingredients — slavery, tobacco, guns — conceivably America never would have happened. We’ might be little more than a muddle of smaller, separate countries, like Europe.
And America is beautiful — amber waves of grain, purple mountain majesties and classrooms full of tiny kids’ crimson blood: of thee I sing, “I was 5 and she was 6, we rode on horses made of sticks —oops, bang, bang.”
Funny thing, though, when mass murder, especially in America, strikes in the most innocent of places, Americans do what they’ve always done: buy more guns. All that hand-wringing, all the sobbing, all that pretense about gun-control — and suddenly gun sales skyrocket off the charts. American logic is never quite the same as simple Aristotelian syllogisms: A) too many guns killing too many people; B) too many students killed by too many guns; C) therefore, buy more guns.
Twenty dead kids in Connecticut. A good day for the gun business.
And now, dear reader, they’re talking about arming classroom teachers, as paramilitary educators, to keep kids safe. Nothing like schools with pistol-packing instructors to liven up education’s normally docile routine. In Utah, for example, teachers are now being given a brief, six-hour training session and handed concealed weapons permits. Which could prove entertaining if nothing else, and here’s why:
In 26 years of teaching, I have encountered some interesting colleagues. Once, a teacher in the classroom next to me had a nervous breakdown. She violently destroyed her room in front of students while screaming she had been possessed by the devil. Sure, give that woman a gun.
And another time, students came running to me saying they were afraid because their speech teacher down the hall was hearing voices in his head (other than their bad speeches). Those voices were telling him to get a gun and shoot them for driving him crazy. Apparently, he’d been living on the streets of Vegas at night, homeless and doing meth, then coming to school to teach each day. Shit, give that guy a Glock.
Is there any good reason to arm teachers? Yes. Bad administrators. In their book, Breaking the Silence: Overcoming the Problem of Principal Mistreatment of Teachers, researchers Joseph and Jo Blasé reveal that about 40 percent of principals in America are knuckle-dragging bullies who create fearful work environments, doing considerable harm to teachers and students across the nation.
Hence, most teachers have at least four good reasons out of 10 to get a concealed weapons permit. Ridding schools of bullying principals might be an efficient way to improve public education. So hell yeah, give teachers guns! O happy day!
CHIP MOSHER is a simple classroom teacher.