Opinion: Tuesday's school shooting kills 21 people & raises questions, should Missouri teachers be armed in classrooms?

Pink Politic

On Tuesday, a former Uvalde High School student in Texas walked into Robb Elementary School and killed nineteen children and two school teachers in a classroom where he barricaded himself.

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Gun rights activists hold up signs saying 98% of mass shootings are in gun-free zones.wikimedia.org

He allegedly got in through an unlocked back door of the elementary school. Preliminary investigations suggest that he had a juvenile record.

Predicting a school shooting, is it possible?

He posted on his social media account that he planned to shoot his grandma, then shot her in the face. He then posted a second time online that he shot his grandmother.

A third post said he was going to shoot up the elementary school. After shooting his grandma, he left his house and drove to the school. Somehow his grandmother was still able to call 911 and alert them that she had been shot. She is in critical condition. Investigators believe that all of this happened within minutes.

18-year-old Salvador Ramos legally purchased the two firearms he used within the week of the shooting on Tuesday. Although he was someone with a juvenile record, he could still legally buy guns. It only took minutes to kill nineteen children and two teachers upon entering the school.

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The school shooting brings many questions. The shooter was not a current student of the school district. He dropped out of school when Covid-19 shut schools down across the country.

Some say we need better ways to identify school shooters before committing acts of violence. How can we predict someone will go into a school and shoot people if the alleged shooters are isolated and no longer attend school? Some believe arming our teachers is the only answer.

Is arming our teachers the answer?

Some organizations such as everytownresearch.org say,

We can't let risky ideas, like arming teachers, dominate the debate. Put simply, an armed teacher cannot, in a moment of extreme duress and confusion, transform into a specially trained law enforcement officer. In reality, an untrained armed teacher introduces risk to student safety on a daily basis.

However, in an interview with NPR, CEO Greg Martin of Shield Solutions says,

"All of our training, we set up our scenarios, so they are high stress. We want them to be able to react properly in a high-stress event."

As with everything, liability and insurance become a concern, but Shield Solutions has that covered.

School employees that go through Shield Solutions training become contractors of the security firm. If an educator uses their weapon to take down an attacker, they are considered employees of Shield Solutions and covered by its insurance rather than the schools.

Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the National Rifle Association, said, in a PBS NewsHour interview in 2018,

To stop a bad guy with a gun, it takes a good guy with a gun.

and

Every day, young children are being dropped off at schools that are virtually wide-open, soft targets for anyone bent on mass murder. Schools must be the most hardened targets in the country.

Do gun control laws always work?

According to American University in Washington D.C., it is not easy to study the effectiveness of background checks and waiting periods for gun purchases. They claim that background check policies can vary significantly by state, and few maintain the appropriate data.

1 in 3 mass shootings involved a shooter who was legally prohibited from possessing firearms at the shooting time.

In May of 2022, The New York Times reported:

Of all the wrenching similarities between the massacres at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, the Walmart in El Paso, and the Tops supermarket in Buffalo, one stands out most starkly: Each gun used was purchased legally.

Predicting when someone will "lose their mind" and commit such a horrific act of violence is not easy. This week, the shooter in Texas pulled it off, even posting his intentions on social media before committing the heinous act of violence, and the school had no idea he was coming.

Is calling the police an effective way to deter a school shooter?

Are our children sitting ducks? Should we arm and adequately train our teachers to protect our children in school?

Law enforcement is already walking into mass casualties upon arrival in most cases. A shooter can murder countless children and teachers within minutes before anyone can even call 911. Should we count on law enforcement to intervene in time to save our children?

How fast a shooter can kill mass people begs the question, is the only way to solve this problem to ensure that protection is already onsite when a shooter enters the building?

A Washington Post opinion piece by Eugene Volokh in 2018 explains that many mass shootings often occur in gun-free zones,

Even in states which allow concealed carry, there often aren't people near a shooting who have a gun on them at the time. Many mass shootings happen in supposedly "gun-free" zones (such as schools, universities, bars, or private property posted with a no-guns sign), in which gun carrying isn't allowed in many states. And there is no central database of such examples, many of which don't hit the national media, especially if a gunman is stopped before he shoots many victims.

In his article, he highlights stories where people were most likely saved from someone who legally carried a firearm.

Considering that people who cannot acquire guns legally can quickly obtain guns illegally and that many mass shooters were able to acquire firearms legally, are Americans focused on the wrong solution for protecting our children at schools?

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Change comes from involvement, and involvement is easier than you think.

Click this link to email your senator and tell them how you feel about gun laws in Missouri.

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What are your thoughts on how to protect our innocent children and teachers in school?

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