My first diary...I started to formulate my thoughts around 3 am EST -
This line is lifted from a petition sent to the White House in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook School shootings.
If teachers and principals are armed and trained to defend themselves during a school attack there would be fewer casualties and less attempts to attack schools.I have taken pause many times during my 26 years as a professional educator at the suggestion of those outside the profession who claim to know just what's needed to fix it.
I respectfully decline - we are not Sparta. I have had a hard time sleeping tonight. I live and work about a 20 minute drive from Newtown (New town - not like they say it in MA) and as a math teacher and a parent I decided to crunch some numbers. More below...
And spare me the arguement that these are the individual actions of a mentally unstable individual - or whatever the latest NRA soundbite is for this kind of thing. A mentally unstable individual is a danger to him or herself. A mentally unstable person with a gun is a danger to all of us.
I don't own a gun. I never have owned a gun. About 10 years ago I had the chance to fire a pistol on a friend's property, shooting at empty soda cans. I was surprised at how accurately I could hit them, given my poor eyesight. I could relate to people enjoying shooting a handgun. But I keep coming back to the thought that guns make everything permenant. I have in my lifetime punched one or two people in the nose and been punched in the mouth once or twice myself. We are all here to tell the tale a little wiser for the experience. Who knows what would have happened if I, or they, had access to a gun. Now to the numbers:
Doing an internet search I found some published data on handgun deaths per 100,000 people in the US. (Just the "top twenty" states, not all fifty, according to CBSNews). Using 2011 Census data, in just those twenty states we can expect 12,426 people to lose their lives due to hand gun violence this year.
That's 4 times the number of people we lost on 9-11. And I'll bet we do close to that every year.
Since Columbine we have had to practice crisis drills and lock down procedures along with our fire drills. Lock downs can be really stressful on the students. I once had one of mine ask what would happen to her if there was a gunman loose in our school. I told her I wouldn't let anything happen to her. Then I had to do some real soul searching. My response pacified my student. I made a very bold statement. Would I be willing to back it up? I thought of my own children and the professionals who teach them. I would hope thay would do the same for my girls. So then the answer was easy. Yes, I guess I would. I would take a bullet for my students.
The question I want answered is Why on earth should I even have to ask myself that question? - I teach middle school math for God's sake!