Teachers with handguns

Trump's dumbest idea so far

After 12 months in power, the world has grown used to Donald Trump's antics, with the president's foul-mouthed tirades, sexual misconduct allegations, alleged collusion with Russia, support for Neo-Nazis and racism towards Africa's 'shithole countries', nothing more than the type of behaviour we have come to expect from this most unpredictable of presidents.

But even by Donald Trump's own standards, his response to the horrific high school shooting in Florida, which left 17 people dead, ranks among his most shocking ideas yet.

Instead of making it more difficult for mentally ill teenagers to purchase semi-automatic firearms, the president has decided that the solution to the problem involves placing more guns in schools, giving one million teachers handguns to carry about on a daily basis.

The ‘reasoning' behind Trump's proposal to spend one billion dollars arming America's teachers was laid out, like most of the president's ‘brain waves', in a series of tweets

Trump on Twitter

‘...concealed guns to gun adept teachers with military or special training experience - only the best. 20% of teachers, a lot, would now be able to (tweet)

‘....immediately fire back if a savage sicko came to a school with bad intentions. Highly trained teachers would also serve as a deterrent to the cowards that do this. Far more assets at much less cost than guards. A "gun free" school is a magnet for bad people. ATTACKS WOULD END! (tweet)

‘....History shows that a school shooting lasts, on average, 3 minutes. It takes police & first responders approximately 5 to 8 minutes to get to site of crime. Highly trained, gun adept, teachers/coaches would solve the problem instantly, before police arrive. GREAT DETERRENT! (tweet)

‘....If a potential "sicko shooter" knows that a school has a large number of very weapons talented teachers (and others) who will be instantly shooting, the sicko will NEVER attack that school. Cowards won't go there...problem solved. Must be offensive, defense alone won't work!' (tweet)

UK and Australia?

Trump's plans to put a million weapons into the American school system defies common sense and is exactly the opposite to what other countries have done to tackle the threat of mass shootings.

In 1996, Thomas Hamilton, a former Scout leader, opened fire on a group of 5 year old children in the gymnasium of Dunblane Primary School in Scotland, killing 16 children and one teacher. The following year higher calibre handguns were banned, and by 1999, the public had surrendered 165,353 licensed handguns and 700 tonnes of ammunition. There have been no schools shootings in the UK since the Dunblane massacre.

A similar response by law makers in Australia, to the massacre at Port Arthur which saw 35 people shot dead, resulted in the banning of semi-automatic weapons across Australia. There have been no mass shootings in Australia since the massacre at Port Arthur.

Trump's idea to tackle mass shooting by equipping teachers and schools administrators with firearms has, unsurprisingly, angered teachers, students and parents, who have taken to social media criticizing President Trump and the Republican party.

There are so many reasons why Trump's plans to arm one million teachers is a bad idea that you could write an entire book about it, but for now here are four points worth considering;

The classroom is not an environment for weapons

The classroom environment is one of the most important factors affecting student learning, with a safe, positive environment providing students with a place where they feel encouraged to tackle challenges, take risks and grow as individuals. Guns in classrooms would destroy this nurturing environment.

Armed officers hid from the Florida school shooter

An armed sheriff's deputy who was on duty when the Florida high school shooter killed 17 students failed to tackle the shooter and was reportedly found hiding behind a concrete barrier in the school's car park. With trained law enforcement offices too scared to tackle a lone shooter with semi automatic weapons, it's unrealistic to believe teachers and schools administrators will be capable of successfully confronting an armed killer.

Stray bullets likely to kill more children

According to statistics from NYPD, trained police officers struggle to hit their targets during gunfights, with the average rate of accuracy at just 18%. It's unlikely that teachers will be as accurate as the average New York police officer, which will result in a lot of stray bullets flying around the school and a high chance that more children will be shot in the crossfire.

You do not want to be carrying a weapon when the SWAT team arrives

As soon as a shooting takes place in a school, authorities will call in a SWAT team to eliminate the threat. Any teacher walking about the school with a handgun is likely to be incorrectly identified as ‘the threat' and ‘taken out'.

Despite the President's ludicrous plans, there is some hope for teachers and students as millions of Americans are planning protests against Washington's inability to tackle the threat of mass shooting.

Two large nationwide protests have been planned for March, the National School Walkout on March 14 and the March for Our Lives on March 24, which will put pressure on the American government to take action and make schools safer. For the sake of America's students and teachers, let's hope lawmakers in Washington listen, and finally do something.

Dan Maxwell


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