The August 15, 2008 Houston Chronicle has reported that one school district in North Texas will allow teachers who have concealed firearms licenses to carry their weapons on school property:
Trustees at the Harrold Independent School District approved a district policy change last October so employees can carry concealed firearms to deter and protect against school shootings, provided the gun-toting teachers follow certain requirements.
In order for teachers and staff to carry a pistol, they must have a Texas license to carry a concealed handgun; must be authorized to carry by the district; must receive training in crisis management and hostile situations and have to use ammunition that is designed to minimize the risk of ricochet in school halls.
Superintendent David Thweatt said the small community is a 30-minute drive from the sheriff’s office, leaving students and teachers without protection. He said the district’s lone campus sits 500 feet from heavily trafficked U.S. 287, which could make it a target.
“When the federal government started making schools gun-free zones, that’s when all of these shootings started. Why would you put it out there that a group of people can’t defend themselves? That’s like saying ‘sic ‘em’ to a dog,” Thweatt said…
A number of regular NoodleFood readers have left supportive comments on the newspaper website. From Kelly McNulty (who alerted us to this story):
This is a wonderful step in the right direction. Everyone has the right to defend their life, and in this situation, adults will be able to defend themselves and their students.
Someone commented earlier about being scared of “a bunch of kids.” Scared of kids? Did you forget Bailey, Colorado less than two short years ago?
It doesn’t matter where you are in society (work, school, home, the mall, etc.), you can be threatened with your life. If you are not prepared to save yourself, all you can do is hope that someone else will. (Good luck with that.) I was robbed in my own home (when I lived in Houston) and it’s not fun to beg for your life. Now I own a handgun and I know how to use it. I just wish I would’ve had it then.
Unlike animals, humans are not naturally equipped to defend their lives. We have no claws, no sharp teeth, no tough, furry skin, etc. Man’s only tool for survival is his mind. Guns were invented by the human mind as a tool to serve and protect us. You can pretend that evil doesn’t exist or you can acknowledge it and prepare for the day it may come to you. Hopefully, it never will, but I’d rather be safe than dead.
From Nick Provenzo:
I absolutely support the right of a teacher to bear arms in defense of their and their student’s lives, so I support this measure wholeheartedly and wish other jurisdictions would do the same.
I think it is appalling that anyone would demand that teachers be forced to be unarmed and left as the potential victims of any common thug. The lawful possession of firearms on campus is a sure deterrent against anyone who would seek to use savage violence in the schoolyard and I think it teaches as powerful lesson to would-be attackers: it tells them that the innocent will defend their lives without question.
I also left the following comment:
This is an excellent idea. Armed school staff have already saved lives.
Back in 1997, troubled teen Luke Woodham started shooting at students at Pearl High School in Pearl, MS. Fortunately, assistant principal Joel Myrick was able to retrieve his firearm from his car in the school parking lot, and use it to force Woodham to surrender.
Unfortunately, Woodham killed two students and wounded seven more before Myrick stopped him.
Who knows how many of those kids could have been spared if Principal Myrick had been allowed to keep his firearm concealed on his person in the classroom?
For more information on similar situations when honest armed citizens have used their weapons to stop bad guys, I recommend this essay: “ When mass killers meet armed resistance“.
Penn & Teller have their own inimitable take on the issue in this episode of their television show:
(As an incidental note, Penn and Teller are both big fans of Ayn Rand. They mentioned this to Diana when we attended one of their shows in Las Vegas a couple of years ago and they saw that Diana was carrying a copy of The Fountainhead. We also got their autographs that evening, since I was one of the audience volunteers who picked a card out of the deck for one of their tricks.)