'Should teachers be armed?" Fast Focus: We're all safer when citizens are armed

January 20, 2013 

Of course they should, as should any other lawful citizen desiring to do so. Millions of law-abiding citizens use firearms safely and responsibly every day. We are mechanics, doctors, teachers, police officers, firemen, nurses, factory workers, scientists and every other occupation you can name. We are retired military and retired police. We are your neighbors and members of your fraternal organizations. We are a vast and too-often silent majority. We walk among you every day, and most folks do not know who is armed or who is not, nor do we cause problems. That is what is meant by concealed carry.

The reason for the question does not have to do with teachers -- it has to do with killers, sane or insane, who for whatever reason wish to kill themselves, and choose to kill others for a moment of notoriety. Most of these killers commit suicide when confronted by either police or an armed civilian. Some are prevented from killing themselves by bystanders, or by malfunction of their devices.

The common thread is that they choose places where there is little or no likelihood of confrontation. The Aurora killer chose a theater because it was a posted gun-free zone. The Fort Hood terrorist made the same choice. The Columbine and Virginia Tech and Newtown killers made the same choice.

The Clackamas Mall shooter retreated and killed himself at the sight of an armed citizen, who chose not to shoot for the safety of people behind the killer. There have been contentions that no mass shooting (defined as more than four victims) has been stopped by an armed citizen. Statistically that is true, because when an armed citizen was present, the killer was stopped before four people were killed.

Why should teachers and students have less protection than you and I do when we are on the street? What makes teachers and students less valuable members of society than judges and police officers? Properly concealed, there is no indication of a firearm.

In schools, only the carrying teacher (hopefully plural) and the administrator know there is a firearm (hopefully plural) on the campus. Even other teachers do not have to know.

It is time to change the signs on our schools and hospitals and courts from "gun-free, meaning "defense-poor and target-rich" to "heavily-defended, criminals look elsewhere."

Representative Klippert has the right idea on this one.

-- BOB MARGULIES, Richland, and VIC PARRISH, West Richland

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