'Should teachers be armed?' Fast Focus: Be smart about it

January 20, 2013 

On the surface, arming teachers might seem to be a very extreme measure. However, consider the following: If an armed person, officer, school official or volunteer had been in the building or parking lot of Sandy Hook Elementary on Dec. 14, 2012, at 9:30 a.m., there may still have been shooting but chances are there would have been 20 children and six adults going home to their families, or at least maybe a whole lot more than there are without that person in the parking lot. Adam Lanza had to shoot his way into a locked building, so apparently a "lockdown" did little to prevent the carnage.

I'm not a proponent of living in a police state with armed guards everywhere, denying myself and my family or any other law-abiding people the opportunity to live free. Everyone gets to make choices about how to best accomplish that, but denying people rights to a relatively safe environment, without the fear of assault or death, should not be either defined or rejected without due process. Gun-free zones, drug-free zones and zero-tolerance policies are all laughable and are proving time and time again to produce neither zones free of guns nor drugs. And zero tolerance only needs one act to prove it didn't work.

Arming teachers is not too extreme, but it has to be done correctly. The teacher must volunteer for this task; no teacher should be forced to participate. The volunteer teacher must undergo professional weapons handling training, become certified, and must undergo periodic refresher training. The weapon should not be physically carried by the teacher, rather, it should remain in a biometric gun vault that itself is in the teacher's locked desk drawer. These biometric gun vaults can store up to 30 fingerprints, so all the (qualified) teachers in adjacent classrooms also could have access in an emergency. These biometric gun vaults will prevent any unauthorized access by students while affording the protection necessary to prevent another tragedy.

-- DALE WILSON, West Richland

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