Sunday, January 27, 2008

Pen, Paper, and Pistol

This past Friday a piece of legislation was introduced into the Arizona legislature that begs to question the sanity of its sponsors. State Senator Karen Johnson and Senate Majority Leader Thayer Verschoor are co-sponsoring legislation that would make it legal for persons with concealed weapons permits to take their guns to school. Any school: elementary, junior high, high school, college, public or private schools. Anyone with a permit: parent, teacher, coach, bus driver, janitor, even students. (Don’t criticize the lunch, the cook may be packing!)

Senators Johnson and Verschool, both Republicans, justify their wacko bill on the grounds of safety. Supposedly a potential school shooter would be forced to think twice, knowing that his or her targets might shoot back. The reality is, of course, that many school shooters are suicidal to begin with, and, almost certainly not acting in a rational manner. Any ensuing shootout would be much more likely to injure and kill more people than a lone shooter would, and when responding police are added to the mix, not knowing for sure which shooters are on which team, the carnage could grow exponentially.

Teachers need to be free to teach and students need to have the freedom to learn without worrying that some unintended provocation might unleash World War III in a classroom or crowded hallway. Guns aren’t about protection, they’re about machismo. They won’t cure bullying, they will simply reinforce it.

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