The man watches too many action movies.
Since I have some actual experience on the subject, let me lay out why arming an additional 700K amateurs is an entirely bad idea.
This is one of the biggest risks an officer faces in the field. If known how, removing a handgun from someone is extremely effective. Add to that the fact that teachers do not not have their attention on their weapon 100% of the time. Imagine a situation where the teacher is writing on the blackboard and gets rushed. For that reason alone, these weapons will most likely be locked in a weapons cabinet. So now, when something happens and adrenaline is flowing, the teacher must unlock the weapon, load the weapon, and engage. More than likely teachers will be shot first as the shooter knows that a teacher might have a weapon or be on their way to get one.
Professionals, those who are trained in tactical situations on an extremely regular basis, only hit their target around 30% of the time. The NYPD stat for a regular police officer involved in a live fire incident is 18%. When the world goes to hell, your mental ability drops to about 20%. So with rational thought stripped away, let’s give the teacher a 15% effective rate. That means 85% of the bullets just fired missed the target, likely hitting those children who are running away from the shooter. Because in a school situation, you are not going to get a clear shot. And the shooter is not a paper target sitting still at the end of the range. They are actively trying to not get shot. They are moving erratically. And I’m assuming these are not .38 rounds — low speed rounds that are preferred in closed areas — so all of that nice tile and cement walls that schools are built with now becomes part of the danger. Those .9mm, .45mm, and .50mm rounds ricochet around like ping pong balls. Oh, they are .38? Then your teacher better be a much better shot because they lack the stopping power that the more dangerous rounds provide.
You’re Not a Good Guy With a Gun, You’re Just a Possible Hostile.
When the police do show up, there is one rule. Anyone with a weapon is a target. In the time it takes to ensure that the teacher is not the active shooter, more deaths will happen. Police teams train constantly in tactical drills so that they all know where each other will be and communicate via radio so that they are all in coordination. They wear uniforms for a reason. Now, they will have to know exactly how many teachers at that school are armed, and what their location is. And this will delay their entry. Unless the armed teachers are trained to shelter in place and then, if only 30% of the teachers are armed, and they are protecting those who are sheltering in place with them, then 70% of the school are still sitting ducks for the shooter. And what happens when the SWAT team breaches the room? The teacher has to make a split second decision; is that a good guy or bad?
If they’re not sheltering in place and are actively moving to engage the shooter then a lot of innocents are at risk. And the police will need to move even slower to clear the school. And more lives will be lost.
High Risk / Low Reward
Having armed teaches will not be a deterrent as these individuals are usually suicidal. There is no thought of self preservation. If they survive, fine, if they don’t, that is also fine with them. So now, for that one possible scenario where a teacher actually holds their crap together, breathes, gets an open shot with no one around, and takes down the shooter, you’ve increased the odds that something else will happen with that weapon exponentially. Add to that the fact that most of the schools will be spared a mass shooting, so in those schools you now have added the risk of weapons where there were none before, for something that probably won’t happen. And you’ve added additional training to the teacher, taking away time — time they rarely have — from something that would be more beneficial.
Simply, it’s just a bad idea.
John Harbour is a United States Air Force veteran where he was a hostage rescue sniper with the Emergency Services Team (EST) and the leader of an airborne quick response team (AFT). He was last stationed outside of Las Vegas in the middle of the Nevada desert. He also served as diplomatic protection at the United Nations headquarters in New York, is a classically trained actor, has tended bar, worked in advertising and technology and enjoys nothing more than traveling the world searching for stories.
John lives in New York City with his wife and is the author of articles, short fiction, and the novel Nighthawks. He is an incurable wanderlust and is currently working on the novel The Heart. His first non-fiction book, Diary of a Hippie: A Real-Life Journal of What to Expect During a Total Hip Replacement was released in January. Visit him at www.johnharbour.com