In response to the shootings in Connecticut last week, Texas Governor Rick Perry wants to allow teachers to carry weapons in their classrooms — that is, if someone has obtained a concealed carry license, “you should be able to carry your handgun anywhere in this state” (with the exception of private property where property owners have said otherwise, he clarified).
Yet Perry knew what the reaction from the rabid anti-gun Left would be before those words ever left his mouth: “Perry wants more school shootings! Conservatives want more guns, more death!” We’ve seen this reaction all over the internet, from national media figures like Piers Morgan, and even from so-called representatives. All the while, of course, telling conservatives not to “politicize” the event — so they can.
Perhaps there has been no worse offender in our state than our beloved Arkansas Times, pushing an anti-gun story almost daily since the horrific shootings in Connecticut last week, interlaced with at least story about a robbery in which three armed robbers accosted unarmed KFC employees and customers – someone forgot to tell the robbers it’s illegal to rob a store and carry a gun without a permit. I draw your attention in particular to this article, posted on Monday, as a preemptive, thinly-veiled “assault” if you will on Rep. Charlie Collins’s forthcoming proposal to let college professors carry weapons on campus. Collins ran the bill last session as HB 1479 and now says he plans to run it again in the 2013 session. Times blogger extraordinaire Max Brantley was hoping Collins had “had a change of heart.”
While reflecting on the CT tragedy myself yesterday and hoping to compose some solutions, I posted on Facebook: “Teachers are the most responsible, noble, hard-working, trustworthy, honorable, decent, respected people in the world — until you mention something about letting them take measures to defend themselves and their students.” Having not yet read the post on Collins, I did not know that the Times was already aiming their artillery at this issue nor could I have predicted what happened next.
We don’t know how many lives were saved by the alert and brave actions of the faculty and staff at Sandy Hook, but we suspect they were many. Yet how many among us should stand ashamed today for showing so little respect for such public employees — mocking teachers, in particular, for their cost to taxpayers in salary and benefits — and failing to appreciate how willingly many educators stand prepared to lay down their lives for our children?…
Next time we discuss the state of education, let us also recall those images of teachers leading children out of harm’s way in Newtown or those half-dozen adults who died in the line of duty. Public educators deserve our respect, not just for what happened in Sandy Hook but for their extraordinary, daily devotion to the education, health and welfare of the next generation.
There is no doubt that many of the teachers who gave their lives in defense of their students last Friday are heroes of the highest order — and it seems we all agree on that point. Yet the authors of these heart-felt memorials oppose letting these heroes carry guns to protect themselves and their students. Why? Why must you give your life in order to be a hero? Would these teachers have been any less heroic if they had been armed and shot the gunman before he could kill others? Hardly so. They could have saved the lives of countless other innocent, unarmed victims. The author says “we don’t know how many lives were saved” by teachers and staff — but we know of at least 28 that were not because these people were made helpless and defenseless by their government that seeks to “protect” them.
I realize that Rep. Collins’s bill would only apply to college and university professors, not middle schools, but the principles are the same, are they not? The government has made all school campuses easy targets for gunmen, for they know that no law-abiding citizens will be carrying a weapon there. I was in college when the Virginia Tech shooting happened. I remember the feeling of being a sitting duck, with my life in the hands of whoever decided to walk through the door. Perhaps it’s time we give teachers (and students) a fighting chance against crazed gunmen who invade campus?
If we all agree that teachers are “extraordinary” and stewards of the health and welfare of the next generation, why can’t they be trusted to carry a weapon? Why can’t we agree that they should be afforded their full constitutional rights and allowed to defend themselves on campus? How many more teachers have to die?
*I have just completed an interview with Rep. Collins about this proposal and other items that we may see in the upcoming session. Stay tuned to The Arkansas Project for the complete report.