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Should teachers be armed?
A Texas congressman sparks a heated debate by suggesting that Sandy Hook Elementary's principal might have saved lives if she had an assault rifle in her office
 
If Sandy Hook principal Dawn Hochsprung had access to a gun, might she have prevented a massacre?
If Sandy Hook principal Dawn Hochsprung had access to a gun, might she have prevented a massacre? AP Photo/Eliza Hallabeck

Shaken by the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Americans across the country have made impassioned pleas for new policies to prevent such tragedies in the future. Some are demanding tighter gun control, including a ban on semiautomatic weapons like the ones the suspected shooter, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, reportedly used. Others say the answer is improving mental health care for people who have complex psychiatric and emotional issues, as Lanza reportedly did. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) has another prescription. Gohmert says we should make sure at least some administrators or teachers at every school are armed. "I wish to God [Sandy Hook Principal Dawn Hochsprung] had an M-4 in her office locked up so when she heard gunfire she pulls it out and she didn't have to lunge heroically with nothing in her hands," Gohmert told Fox News, "but she takes him out, takes his head off before he can kill those precious kids." Is arming educators really the answer?

Actually, yes: The "most practical" way to deter school shootings, says John Hinderaker at Power Line, is to require that a few "teachers or administrators in each school be trained in the use of firearms and armed at all times." Killers who want to go out in a "blaze of notoriety" pick schools because they're full of helpless victims. Give teachers the means to stop them and the murderers will stay away — "no one tries to shoot up a biker bar."
"The Sandy Hook murders: What to do?"

Arming educators won't help at all: "This really is the biggest fantasy of our modern conglomeration of gun fetishists," says Attaturk at Firedoglake. "'Oh if only so and so was armed this could have been prevented.'" If that were true, Adam Lanza's mother should have been safe — "she was armed to the teeth." Instead, she was the first victim in this heartbreaking killing spree. "And that's how that goes about 100 percent of the time."
"The Han Soloists"

If anything, putting guns in schools would lead to more deaths: "A Mother Jones analysis of 61 mass murders over the last 30 years found that 'in not a single case was the killing stopped by a civilian using a gun,'" says Ben Armbruster at Think Progress. One expert says that civilians are less likely than police to hit their targets in such life-or-death situations. In other words, arming teachers and principals might lead to deadly crossfire, and "more chaos and deaths."
"GOP rep suggests teachers should be armed with assault rifles"

 

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