My mother was a special education public school teacher in Prince George’s county Maryland for 36 years. It required a fervent, unimaginable patience. It required a sense of humor. It required empathy. It didn’t require combat training.
And thank goodness, because—although a warrior in many ways— my mother is not a fighter. She is not a soldier. She is a teacher— and it is her pacific nature and unwavering kindness that make her a damn good one. In the wake of Parkland, I think of teachers like my mother and what asking them to add artillery to their back-to-school shopping lists would mean for America.
There is such absurdity that comes with this non-solution that I fear 400-plus words on the matter gives weight to a concept that should remain suspended in ridiculousness. But history (and recent history) tells us that turning a blind eye to dumb ideas and dumb policies does not abolish dumb ideas and dumb policies.
Imagine a future where our educators are not only allowed— but encouraged to bring guns into their classrooms: “Eyes on the board, Rebecca. Stop looking at the back closet where I keep my 9mm. Today we’re going to learn about our Founding Fathers…” It’s not the beginning of a Saturday Night Live skit. It’s our president’s dream for education in America. It’s a potential new normal where we lose teachers to other professions because we ask them to mold America’s children, ignite a passion and love for learning, and be armed and ready to kill if necessary.
Last October, America lost 58 people at the 91 Harvest music festival. In 2016, 49 people were murdered at a nightclub in Orlando. One Sunday in November of 2017, families attended their local church in Texas and twenty-five community members never returned home. Arming our teachers is a hop, skip, and a jump away from asking our DJs and our Pastors to also consider concealed carry.
Before we actively turn our schools into combat zones, before we decide that the only way to fight violence in schools is through increased weaponry, before we bound towards a future where bullet-proof vests are part of the dress-code, perhaps we try policy change. We can’t tell our children that ‘violence is not the answer’ and to ‘use their words’ if America’s adults won’t even ban the lawful purchase of AR-15s. And we can’t tell Parkland students we hear them if we propose measures that contradict their very plea for commonsense reform.