Monday, October 09, 2006

Always Be A Good Boy, Don't Ever Play With Guns

Words by Mr. Johnny Cash that a certain Wisconsin State Representative, Frank Lasee of Green Bay, would do well to heed. Representative Lasee is the genius behind the Doc Holliday theory of stopping school violence: arm the teachers. From WisPolitics:

“To make our schools safe for our students to learn all options should be on the table,” said Lasee. “Israel and Thailand have well trained teachers carrying weapons and keeping their children safe from harm. It can work in Wisconsin.”

Boy, is that ever a huge gamble Representative Lasee is making with the lives of our children. There are more unpleasant variables in his plan than a weeks worth of Algebra 2 homework. For one, any time more weapons are introduced into a school, the greater the chance for accidental violence. Lasee proposes having the firearms locked up until needed, which would virtually negate their swift use in an emergency anyway. Another problem is the potential for the guns to get into a student’s hands. No school is a maximum security institution; they are one of the most common targets of mischief break-ins. Yet another big variable is the possibility of collateral damage. While Representative Lasee and his NRA owners would certainly like everyone to forget it, the fact is that most of our gun control laws are designed to protect innocent victims. There’s a reason Wild West shoot-outs were made illegal and it wasn’t because liberals wanted Wyatt Earp’s gun.

Also, the United States bears little enough resemblance to Thailand and Israel. Both of those nations took to arming teachers for the teachers’ protection, especially in Thailand. The idea was not to create an army of paramilitary educators but rather a line of personal defense against the very real threat of terrorism in those countries. The U.S. is dealing with a completely different school violence problem here and trying to address it as a terrorist issue is a terrible misread. Not everyone who commits violence is a terrorist and not every violence problem has an anti-terrorism solution. Violently disaffected youth, like Harris and Clebold, or deranged nuts like Charles Carl Roberts IV act in an entirely different moral framework from a Palestinian suicide bomber.

Another gem from Lasee:

“In Israel and Thailand several lives have been saved because criminals don’t want to attack schools where well-trained marksmen and women may return fire.”

Does Representative Lasee honestly believe that armed teachers will be a deterrent to some kid who turns the wrong corner in his head and decides to shoot up his school? Again, these are not calculated acts of terrorism but rather the playing out of twisted rage from demented minds. Lasee certainly understands this, which is why what he’s really suggesting here is that schools will be safer because teachers and administrators may be able to maim or kill potential assailants. The issue, again, of collateral damage notwithstanding, that’s an incredible amount of discretion to be granting our educators and school administrators. I’m only barely on board with our law enforcement officials having life-or-death discretion in matters; adding thousands of more people with that power and introducing them into an environment as stressful and unpredictable as a high school is a disastrous idea. What will Representative Lasee say, assuming his plan passes the Legislature, when an overreacting teacher shoots the first innocent child by mistake? It’s inevitable; it will happen. Is that a price Wisconsin is willing to make it’s children pay in order for the illusion of safety, as safety bought with potential violence is always illusory? Not for me, not for my children…

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