Parents and educators across the country have reacted predictably poorly to the NRA’s recent call to arm teachers and post more armed security guards in schools:
The reactions of parents, teachers and school administrators ranged from hesitation to anger on Friday after a proposal by the nation’s largest gun-rights lobby to put an armed police officer in every school.
Superintendent Hank Grishman of the Jericho, N.Y., schools on Long Island said he is outraged by the idea. He says putting more guns in schools won’t make children safer.
“Their solution to resolve the issue around guns is to put more guns in the equation?” said Girshman, an educator for 44 years. “If anything it would be less safe for kids. You would be putting them in the midst of potentially more gunfire.”
The goal is to de-escalate violence, [parent and community activist Helen] Gym said.
“This is not an Old West shootout,” she said. “We’re talking about an elementary school.”
Parents and educators are right to be indignant at the proposed “vigilante-ization” of society. As philosopher Firmin DeBrabander pointed out recently in the New York Times, gun activists like to say that “an armed society is a polite society.” An armed society is also a society where people live in perpetual fear of their fellow citizens. It is a censored society, where free speech is held in check by the knowledge that if somebody else doesn’t like your speech, he or she may be packing. It is an atomistic society, where individuals are too afraid of one another to come together and resist the powers that be. An armed society may be polite, but it is no means civil.
In the wake of Newtown, we cannot turn to the same “solutions” we have tried for so long, without success. We cannot turn to “solutions” that rend the fabric of our schools and our civil society. Schools should be places where we teach children that there is another way to be in this world, a way that does not involve pulling a trigger to settle their differences. For their sake, we must search for new, creative ways of resolving conflicts and stopping gun violence before it starts.