After the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, it stood to reason that perpetually underpaid, overworked, and shat upon teachers in other parts of the country might try to imagine what they'd do if a similar situation arose in their workplaces. In some places, they're reviewing safety procedures. In others, educators are encouraging their students to respond to the deaths of 26 people in Sandy Hook with 26 acts of kindness. In Utah, they're flocking to shooting ranges and buying guns for themselves, so they can magically become Neo from The Matrix if someone decides to target their classroom. This is not going to end well.
A few states, including Utah, have laws that allow teachers to carry concealed weapons in their classrooms. And following the Newtown attacks, one gun club offered to take advantage of both heightened fear and the state's lax gun laws in a wrong-headed attempt to more guns in school classrooms — by offering free weapons classes to educators. Per ABC news,
Aposhian spoke shortly before opening a weapons training class for teachers and school employees that drew more than 200 Utah educators organized by the USSC, a leading gun lobby group that believes that teachers should be able to fight back when faced with an armed intruder.
"One firearm in the hands of one teacher could have made the difference at Sandy Hook or Columbine, but they weren't allowed to carry in those schools," Aposhian said.
Other states are responding to Newtown in a similarly shooty manner — Ohio's Buckeye Firearms Association has started a pilot program that aims to arm 24 teachers and train them in gun use before sending them skipping off on their merry way to their classrooms, and Arizona's Attorney General has proposed to amend state law to allow one teacher per school to carry a gun. Arizona, just to refresh your memory, has a Republican supermajority in both Houses as well as a nutbag Republican governor, so if actual legislation like this were introduced, you can bet your illegal high capacity magazines that it will pass.
The logic here echoes that of NRA Spokesperson and Actual Crazy Guy Wayne LaPierre, who remarked in the world's tackiest press conference that "the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun." Because if a good guy has a gun and a bad guy has a gun, it's sort of like nobody has a gun. Unless a bad guy has a bigger gun. Then the good guy is extra for sure going to die.
Not everyone is on board with this Oprah-style YOU ALL GET GUNS! approach to violence prevention. The Utah's State Board of Education's director of law and school legislation called the free firearms training a "horrible, no good, rotton idea."
A few important questions: how would an armed teachers program assure that the only person with access to the gun was the teacher? And does a place exist to store a gun in a classroom that is both immediately accessible in the event of an emergency and completely inaccessible to kids in the classroom? Who will assure that none of the guns misfire, accidentally killing children? Is now the time for me to buy my elementary school age cousins bulletproof Disney backpacks? Look, sweetie. Now you won't accidentally get shot by your teacher or on purpose shot by a bad guy. Just like Princess Jasmine!