The NRA should be proud of me.
In my inappropriately named novel No Child Left Alive, a second year teacher in a dysfunctional public high school begins carrying a handgun to class after a near-rape incident.
Recent events have led me to believe that I am not cut out to be a novelist. In my book, the authorities frown on teachers with guns.
In real life everyone from Texas Gov. Rick Perry to Missouri State Rep. Mike Kelley (R-Lamar), are not only sounding the drumbeat for arming our teachers, but they are almost making us feel ashamed if we are not fully prepared to bring our guns and blow the heads off any intruders. Not even the death of 20 schoolchildren at Sandy Hook Elementary School is making a dent in the minds or hearts of some of those who serve us.
Forget any efforts to curb the proliferation of the kinds of weapons that would have made our Founding Fathers skip directly from the First Amendment to the Third. Forget a reversal of the drastic cuts that have allowed so many Americans in desperate need of mental health care to slip through the cracks.
As usual, when it comes to public schools, it all comes down to the teachers, as far as our state and national legislators are concerned. Forget funding for additional resource officers for our schools; forget reasonable limitations on the kinds of weapons that no civilian needs to own. Forget about a common sense solution to the epidemic of violent movies and video games that besiege our young from infancy.
Those things appear to be extraneous to those who represent us. Let the teachers carry guns, and our elected officials can sit back, collect their campaign contributions from the National Rifle Association and wait until the next time a gunman strikes terror into a community.
When I have written about the problems with guns in our society, I am usually swamped, nearly immediately, with knee jerk responses. You know the ones:
"The killers go to schools, malls, movies, churches, etc., because they are gun-free zones. They don't have to worry about someone returning fire." (Actually, they go to those places because that is where the people are. Most of these killers spend little time thinking about who might be carrying a concealed weapon.)
"If you criminalize guns, only the criminals will have guns." (Another weak argument. Few of the gunmen who massacred innocent people across this nation were criminals prior to their acts of violence.)
And the worst one: "Guns don't kill people; people kill people." For once, I am inclined to agree with the heavy firepower enthusiasts on this one. It is people who kill people. And the ones who have helped pull the trigger have been the NRA's legislative lapdogs, crying wolf every time someone mentions curbing high-powered weapons and acting like government storm troopers will be knocking on the door any minute to get your handguns and hunting rifles. Instead of working to keep people from obtaining the type of weaponry no one needs for protection, they are carving out one protection after another for gun owners, proposing and often passing bills that make it easier for one human being to kill another and never face any scrutiny over that death.
I am proud to be a schoolteacher, and I put the education and safety of the children who sit in my classes above all else.
That being said, I am not going to carry a gun to my classroom, not now, not ever. I will do my utmost to provide my students with a quality education and do whatever I can to help them succeed in life.
The job of making sure our children's educational needs are being met, and doing whatever we can to contribute to their mental, emotional and physical security, is one teachers meet every day.
Adding more guns to schools in an effort to stem the tide of violence that is overwhelming this country is madness.
It was only a few years ago that the U.S. spent billions of dollars looking for weapons of mass destruction in every nook and cranny off Iraq.
Those weapons were never in Iraq; the weapons of mass destruction are sitting in Congress and in state legislatures across this nation.