'Should teachers be armed?' Fast Focus: Teachers teach, not shoot

January 20, 2013 

It was with disbelief I read that our state representative is vowing to introduce a bill to have teachers carry guns in the classroom.

I wonder where the kindergarten teacher will carry that weapon? Strapped on so that a curious student can reach for, and perhaps remove, the weapon? Or in the desk where someone looking for a pencil or marker could stumble upon the weapon? Or would the weapon be safely locked away, unloaded, and the teacher would have to have time -- after securing the classroom and the students -- to unlock and then load the weapon?

And would this teacher, whose livelihood is helping and nurturing young children or adolescents, then be ready to shoot to kill probably another young person? Mentally ready?

There must be other, more appropriate solutions. I certainly hope so because my family is full of teachers and none of them are ready to shoot another human being.

-- REBECCA JAY, Richland

Guns deter shooters

How many times has a crazed gunman attacked a police or law enforcement facility? Wonder why there are very few such instances? Could it be that there are armed persons who might not take too kindly if they were attacked and therefore reply with deadly force? It seems these crazies go after institutions that are "gun free" knowing there will be little or no resistance.

Some folks want school teachers to be armed. I would support this idea under certain conditions. Any teacher, school administrator or staff should be allowed to carry a personal weapon while assigned to these gun-free zones. But, they must provide their own weapon, have undergone a weapons training and handling course and apply for a concealed carry permit. Those who comply with these criteria should remain anonymous. I'm certain there are teachers, administrators and staff who would be able to qualify and would welcome such an arrangement.

With all of the publicity these crazies receive, how long will it be before we experience another attack on a gun-free zone? Let's get the teachers and staff involved in providing the first line of defense.

-- D. SUTER, West Richland

First victims

If memory serves me right, before the massacre at Columbine High School their school staff included an armed security guard. I believe I read that the two teenage attackers exchanged fire with the security guard. How could a teacher prove she would be faster and more accurate than a surprise attack? How can you train children to avoid becoming collateral damage during gunfire from multiple directions?

It would be nice to live in a culture where children are cherished more than we cherish our guns.

-- JOY K. RASCH, Kennewick

Allowed, not forced

Teachers should be "allowed" to be armed. A few armed teachers may have made a big difference during the school shooting in Connecticut.

If individuals contemplating a school shooting knew that they likely would meet opposition, they might change their minds. Armed teachers would provide a major deterrent to selecting schools as targets. They very likely could take out the shooters in those situations.

Teachers who choose to be armed should be required to obtain a concealed weapons permit including a reasonable background check, and participate in programs on gun safety and defensive use of their firearms. School districts should bear the cost of obtaining the permit and the required training.

There have been more than two dozen school shootings in the last 40 years. Right now our schools are seen as easy targets with no defense. Armed teachers who have been trained in the use of their weapons would change that perception.

I believe arming teachers is prudent and long overdue.

-- RON ASPLUND, Pasco

w Editor's note: Because of space restrictions, letters from J. Sullivan, Benjamin C. Cook, Alta P. Thomas, Bob Margulies and Vic Parrish are posted at tricityherald.com.

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