No Gun for Miss Potter
By Jean Godden
I dug out my high school annual and dusted off the cobwebs. This annual was published years ago in another state (Virginia). Regrettably, I didn't get to attend school in Seattle until enrolling at the University of Washington.
After listening to Donald Trump call for "highly trained" school teachers to carry weapons in their classrooms, I had wanted to think about the president's ludicrous idea. What would it have meant in school years gone by?
As I paged through my old annual, I thought about Miss Potter, my biology teacher, a delicate slip of a woman who didn't mind dissecting frogs and dissembling crayfish. She might have had the resolve to fire a hand gun; but, remembering her coke-bottle thick glasses, I wouldn't trust her aim. All of us would have been at risk.
Then I paged along and spotted Miss Blake, a lean, mean history teacher, who doubled as a college counselor. If need be, she would have whipped out a revolver and likely would have drilled a few cantankerous students just for good measure.
And then I came across a picture of Miss Wilshin, the health teacher who explained reproduction in such a way that none of us felt the need to blush. Given her kind and generous soul, I expect she would have fired a warning shot and then sacrificed herself for her students.
Obviously, the idea of teachers with guns is completely insane. It's another Trumpism and it fits in with his ridiculous idea that he would have charged into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School unarmed. The Trump-as-defender is highly suspect coming from someone who cowered behind bone spurs to obtain five draft deferrals.
Trump later tweeted that mere knowledge of teachers with guns would deter "the sicko" from heading into a school in the first place. Then he added (using all caps) that "ATTACKS WOULD END!" It is as if Trump is using the Parkland, Fla., massacre as an excuse to release more hyper machoism.
What Trump is really doing is exposing his misunderstanding of mass shootings. Most, if not all, of the deranged shooters expect to die during their killing sprees. It is wrong to believe the president's guns-in-classrooms proposal would deter them.
Moreover, after talking with a couple of veteran Seattle high school teachers (call them Doug and Roberta), I became even more convinced of the folly of arming teachers. Doug pointed out the difficulty of protecting a gun in a school setting. Would teachers be forced to wear loaded guns? Or would the gun be locked away somewhere in a desk drawer? How could it be kept safe and secure?
Seattle police tell teachers that, in the event of a school shooting, they will respond quickly, but it may take ten or twelve minutes. Meanwhile, the safest thing to do is to lock students away from the shooter.
That's good to know. And, fortunately, there won't be any armed teachers in Seattle schools. On Feb. 27, the Seattle school board voted unanimously to send a message. They said more guns mean more homicides and do not make us safer, but instead increase risks.
School director Eden Mack added that we should arm our educators -- not with guns -- but with updated curriculum, professional development, adequate staffing, nurses, counselors and psychologists. Mack said the greater need is for pencils and books and for gun safety legislation.
The Seattle directors urged Seattle students and others to join the national March for Our Lives on March 24. That is the proper way to keep the Parkland students' cause alive. The energized student survivors are on fire and they are leading the way.
Those students have been clear about the best way to prevent the threat of a bad guy with a gun: We must act to keep him from getting the sort of battlefield weapon the Parkland killer used. We must ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, tighten background checks and increase gun-owning limits from 18 to 21.
The public -- two third of Americans -- agree with the students, favoring stronger gun control and banning assault weapons. Businesses like Walmart and Dick's have already put those measures in place. It is high time we insisted that our elected officials -- both national and state -- do so as well.
"What would it have meant in school years gone by?". This isn't in "years gone by", it's now, 2018. "..but it may take ten or twelve minutes."; likely that, if not longer, until the police both get there and also assess the situation, while the shooter has already entered a school and started shooting at multiple people before anybody has started to barracade doors and such, but this is your preferred scenario over already having an armed person with training already present? Really?