Sorry for the length, but I didn't have time to write a short blog.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Stop or My Teacher Will Shoot!


One of the first "bright" ideas in answer to the gun crisis from a number of states: Arm the teachers.  I forget where I heard it, but one response pretty much sums up mine. The person said something like,  "I've known science teachers who couldn't navigate a Bunsen burner and someone wants to give them permission to carry a gun?" While no one is actually offering to force teachers to carry a gun, there are plenty who actually could get a gun permit and probably even a few who would love to carry a gun. I renew my point of view that most of the folks I know with a carry permit, are far from marksman shots.  I am actually of the opinion that if someone would love to carry a gun, they probably shouldn't be allowed to carry one. In fact, most people who have handled a pistol will tell  you that they are terribly difficult to be accurate with one.

I've seen all the statements and memes about how if we had guns in Aurora or Sandy Hook the blood shed would have been stopped.  It might have ended sooner, or odds are that  it would have been much much worse.  One that struck me was all the armed passengers pointing guns at the 9/11 highjackers.  All I could  think of was the massive decompression that was about to occur.

I cannot imagine what the cross fire would have done in Aurora given a few well-heeled permit carriers.  Shooting when the target is returning fire and Dirty Harry is not in the room is not like it is in the movies.  Too many folks seem to have this movie version of highly trained shooters in a room as they roll and dive, shooting with the accuracy of Bruce Willis while the bad guy has the aiming ability of a Star Wars stormtrooper.  Reality, with a pistol, for most good, well-practiced shooters is they are lucky to be accurate maybe 70 percent of the time.  There are no splitting a slug with another slug like Robin Hood and the arrow and your target is armed, possibly covered in Kevlar, and shooting back at you with a semi-automatic, pistol-gripped riffle with a 300 round mag attached, having just filled the room with smoke bombs.

If ten expert marksman open fire each shooting a clip of  eight, that's  80 bullets that are now in the air going through a panicked crowd in a theatre or through wall of a classroom in  a school. To qualify as an expert marksman in the Army one must hit the target at least 26 out of 30 (86.6% accuracy) times with a pistol.*   If we use the Army's standard, out of the 80 bullets fired by our experts as many as 10 of them are stray.  We now have 80 bullets that weren't there before and we have no idea where 10 of those bullets are going. Now multiply that number by those who have had a permit-to-carry.  They may only hit five out of eight shots or less.

The class to carry a concealed weapon is seat work.  There is no actual shooting practice.  In fact, you can get this license in some states online.  These are the Dirty Harry wannabes.  If they can get their gun out of their holster, while they are trying  to shoot at the bad guy, they are going to shoot the furniture and walls and ceiling and floor and sadly each other and others who aren't Dirty Harry.  There is a reason why Barney Fife had only one bullet and had to carry it in his pocket.  There are actually far more Barneys than Harrys in the world.

Arm teachers? Really?  Do we need security in our schools. Yes.  Should that security be armed? Only if they have real training and I don't mean what the NRA or volunteer posse calls training.  I mean actual police or military training.  What we don't need is to turn our schools into armed camps with someone who can afford a license, a holster and gun.  There are days that I am truly glad that I retired when I did.  When I hear of some politician's dumb plan to arm teachers or put guns in lock boxes in class rooms next to the fire extinguisher, I have to wonder at the intelligence of some elected officials or if they have had their meds that day.

A well reasoned action is always better than one that is knee-jerk and only looks good.

*I'm not using the NRA standards which are based on placement in a shooting contest over a 120 shots where the person ranks a certain percentage among  the other shooters not on the basis of how many shots hit a target.  It is less stringent since there is no actual number of on target shots set.