I’m coming back to the armed teacher thing because I was recently flooded with articles by combat veterans on why arming teachers is a bad idea.
I said it before, I hate the phrase “arming teachers.” I do not want to put a gun in the hands of someone who doesn’t want it. I am not drafting people into an army. This may be a semantic argument but my feeling is that any teacher or principal who wants to be armed in school should be allowed to.
I think the semantics are important because the “arming teachers” language has led to a series of articles with a common thesis “I served in combat and Iraq/Afghanistan and teachers shouldn’t have guns because they are not soldiers.”
Some of the loudest voices opposing President Donald Trump’s proposal to arm “highly trained” teachers to protect students belong to the group that knows best what it’s like to confront someone with a gun: military combat veterans.
“There is a gulf between being taught how to handle a weapon, and learning to fight. Those are two distinct things,” Brandon Friedman, a former Army captain who was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan and later served in the Obama administration, told BuzzFeed News. “And learning how to fight, how to stand your ground when an aggressor is trying to kill you, that’s not something that comes naturally to people.”
Learning how to fight takes training — military training.
“So in order to teach, now you have to be a soldier? That’s insane,” he said.
“They have this Hollywood view of what a gunfight is like,” Friedman said. “Veterans know first hand (that) until you’ve been shot at, and seen how people react in these situations, you can’t wrap your mind around it.”
This was the same guy who posted this on Twitter.
So my ability to own an AR is forfeit because I have degenerate disc disease? What other civil rights should people with physical limitations give up?
“While soldiers/security are trained to run to the sound of the guns…not all do for a variety of psychological reasons. It happens more often than most would think, and it’s part of human nature,” he said.
As veterans who’ve experienced combat will tell you, no one ever really knows how he or she will perform in a situation like this until they get there. Acting like a swaggering action hero is not something many people can do, no matter how much they fantasize about it.
A school is not a combat zone. Somebody who is a sheriff’s deputy at a high school, a security officer, are they running ranges every day? Is he proficient with a firearm? There is a difference between being proficient with a firearm and someone who is in the mindset in which they are ready to engage at all times. Which takes us right to the heart of this idiocy of this proposal to arm teachers.
Beyond the training one is doing physically, I think it’s always important to remember the training and the great lengths the military goes to to get someone in a mental position to engage someone. We talk all the time about how teachers are dealing with things on a day-to-day basis that require extra levels of empathy. You know what requires no empathy? Shooting another human being. We’d be forcing teachers to go to great lengths to dehumanize their own students.
From Charlotte Five:
Defending children is a must, but putting a firearm in the hands of even the most trained teacher isn’t the answer. Anyone suggesting this solution has clearly never experienced a situation like the one seen in Parkland because it oversimplifies the complexity of an active shooter situation, especially in close-quarters. It is not as easy as a “good guy with a gun stopping a bad guy with a gun.”
I ask that you take a few minutes to understand my perspective and why I feel strongly about this matter. Before recently moving to Charlotte, I served for three and half years as an Army infantryman, stationed at Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks, Alaska, and I deployed to Afghanistan’s Kandahar Province in 2011. By the time my tour was over, I left a place that claimed two members from my company, cost six others at least one limb, wounded over 25 percent of our total force, and left me with shrapnel in my face and a bullet hole in my left thigh. When I saw the news flash of another school shooting I couldn’t help but think of the firefights I had been involved in and how these students and teachers just encountered their own version of Afghanistan.
Regardless of training, you don’t know how people will respond in life and death situations until the moment comes. You don’t know how people will react when they hear gunshots. You don’t know how people will react when the person next to them is shot. You don’t know how a person will respond when their task is shooting someone they know or taught. You just don’t know.
And now we are expecting teachers, even with training, to perfectly handle this situation. I say perfectly because anything less could mean even more tragedy and death. This isn’t a movie where bullets always miss the hero. These teachers aren’t action stars. These are average people, who more likely than not, have never come close to experiencing anything like this.
From Business Insider:
“Shooting under stress is extremely difficult. Even for the most well-trained shooters,” Jay Kirell, an Afghanistan veteran who has written about difficulties veterans face in civilian life, tweeted. “A teacher is not going to be able to do this. Cops & soldiers literally get paid to do this & most of them can’t shoot accurately under stress.”
“Not because they suck, but because it’s nearly impossible to hit a target in one shot when pumped full of adrenaline,” Kirell added. “And if you’re in a school with a shooter and dozens of children, if you’re not shooting accurately you’re just creating crossfire.”
Data compiled by the New York City Police Department underscores the difficulty of firing accurately in challenging situations.
In 2005, NYPD officers intentionally fired their guns at someone 472 times, hitting their mark 82 times. In 2006, New York police fired under the same circumstances 364 times, hitting their target 103 times. That same year, Los Angeles police fired 67 times, recording 27 hits.
Honestly, I think that says more about how shitty the NYPD is than anything else. I wouldn’t hold them up as the paragon of urban defensive tactics when they are encouraged not to practice shooting with guns modified to be more difficult to shoot to prevent accidental discharges because teaching trigger discipline is hard.
From Task and Purpose:
(Forgive me, but Task and Purpose seems like a really Lefty magazine for the military. It may be just a semantic thing, but I have a problem with a military magazine that has a column titled “The Long March” knowing what the significance of that phrase has in Marxist Communism.)
Instead of would-be Rambos, Trump’s logic goes, perhaps it’s those Americans who fully understand and respect the power of firearms who are worthy of safeguarding our schoolchildren. To which a lot of veterans on Twitter responded: Fuck that noise.
So there you go, multiple veterans from multiple sources telling us why arming teachers would be a disaster.
I am not a combat veteran. I mean no disrespect to the majority of people who have served, but fuck that and fuck these veterans.
This falls in the same family of arguments that I’ve seen made by police against concealed carry and by police and members of the military against owning AR-15’s.
It all boils down to an appeal to authority: “you’re just a shitty civilian, you don’t know how to use that gun under stress, you’ll only make things worse, leave the guns to us.”
It’s an obnoxious as hell argument.
Especially because what I am advocating for isn’t to turn teachers into SWAT teams or infantry units. I don’t expect teachers to engage in combined arms squad tactics.
What I do want is for people who want to be able to defend themselves to be able to to that.
At Virginia Tech, Seung-Hui Cho killed students when he was able to get through an insufficiently barricaded door. Police call a breach like the the fatal funnel. It doesn’t take combined arms training to know to take a defensive position and aim at the door in case the shooter comes in.
Hell, there is little evidence that a teacher has to hit the shooter to be effective. As per the last news I read on the recent Maryland school shooting, it is unclear if the cop or the shooter fired the fatal shot (it may have been a suicide once engaged).
It’s not about bounding overwatch or slicing the pie. Those are great to learn. At the end of the day it’s about self defense.
One of my favorite books, and movies is We Were Soldiers… (Once, and Young). Joseph L. Galloway was a reporter and conscientious objector. When his position was overrun he put down his camera, picked up an M-16 and defended himself.
I will at this point deffer to one of the greatest soldiers of 20th century American History, Command Sargent Major, Basil L. Plumley, giving one of the simplest orders ever given in combat.
(Note that it was Joe Galloway, played by Barry Pepper that the camera cuts to next – just to prove my point.)
That’s the point, this is about the simplicity of self defense. That is a right that shouldn’t be stripped from people.
It’s hard to find a video worthy of following the great Sam Elliot playing CSM Plumley, but if there is any, it’s got to be Clint Smith.
I’ll let him have the final word on this.