11/06 Arming Teachers: Solution To School Shootings

Is Arming Teachers The Solution To School Shootings?
by Wisconsin Sate Representative Frank Lasee

[In September], fifteen year old Eric Hainstock walked into Weston high school in Cazenovia and fatally shot his principal. In a true act of heroism, despite being shot three times John Klang wrestled the gun away from the troubled teen. This cold blooded murder carried out by a teenager shocked residents of this quiet, rural farming town located 40 miles northwest of Madison. The story has made international headlines and left many wondering why this young man made the choice to commit such a horrific crime.

This was the third school shooting in the nation in the last two weeks. [Previously], a drifter in Colorado took six high school girls hostage, molested them and then killed one of the young women then himself as police closed in on his location. [More recently], a truck driver took twelve students hostage in a one-room Amish schoolhouse in Pennsylvania. He barred the doors and killed five young girls so far. Six others are in critical condition.

Another school shooting spree was prevented in Green Bay [in September] after a student turned in his friends who had told him of their plot to open fire at school. [Subsequently] a 16 year old from Madison got into the home economics room and stole a knife which he used to threaten another student on school grounds.

The school shooting in Wisconsin is particularly concerning. Not because the others were less tragic, but because it happened so close to home. After the initial shock and sorrow of this tragedy wears off, there will be many questions to be answered. Naturally most people will want to know why this troubled teen did what he did.

We must look beyond the why. Only Eric Hainstock truly knows why he walked into his high school with murder on his mind that day. We know that he had a horrible family life and that he may have been picked on by his fellow classmates. Were those the things that pushed him over the edge? We may never know.

Unfortunately we can not legislate proper parenting or prevent kids from poking fun at one another. The fact is that many kids suffer through the same treatment and worse and don’t take a gun to school and commit murder.

The question then becomes: what can we do to prevent school violence in the future?

To enhance security at the schools in Cazenovia at least one armed police officer will stand guard when students return to class…. Sounds like a reasonable plan. Unfortunately there have been several school shootings in recent years and NOT one has been stopped by the police. While the police provide many valuable protective services, stopping a school shooting in progress is not one of them.

Many on the left will most likely use this tragedy to push for a total ban on guns. In their naive view, if there were no guns there would be no crime and we would all live in a peaceful, safer society and sing kum-bye-yah together. Several countries have tried this tactic. It has failed every time.

Great Britain has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the world. To curb violent crime rates, they banned all handguns in 1997. What happened after they disarmed the general public? Homicide rates jumped by 50% and armed muggings increased by 53%. All handguns gone, and gun violence up. Go figure.

In 1996, Australia instituted a “buy back” program which took 660,000 guns off the streets. If the liberal gun control theory is right, crime rates should have fallen Down Under. They didn’t. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the murder rate increased by nearly 10%, assaults rose by 17%, and armed robbery went up by 73%. But how can that be? I thought fewer guns meant less violent crime.

The truth of course is that taking away our constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear arms won’t make us safer. Because when guns are outlawed, only outlaws have guns. Like it or not, that includes troubled teens like Eric Hainstock and many others who have opened fire in our schools. These people are intent on destruction and no law or policy would have prevented these tragedies.

So what then?

To make our schools safe for our students to learn all options should be on the table. That includes encouraging teachers and other school officials to carry firearms. While it may not be politically correct, it has worked effectively in other countries.

Following repeated attacks of Israeli schools by Palestinian terrorists, teachers and parent volunteers in the West Bank began carrying concealed weapons to protect themselves and their students from harm. In the twenty five years since, no child has been harmed by gunfire in an Israeli school. Thailand recently enacted a similar program to allow teachers to carry guns for protection. The results have been the same — less violence and a safer learning environment for their children.

We, as adults, have a duty to protect our children. If we truly want to make our schools safe havens for learning wouldn’t it make sense to give our teachers the tools and training they need to protect our kids from harm?

This article was taken from Lasee’s Notes, which is a weekly column by Representative Frank Lasee, 2nd Assembly District, covering events in the Wisconsin legislature and statewide.