Randy Speck

Superintendent , Madison District Public Schools

This conversation is closed.

Should parents, teachers and other personnel be able to carry a concealed weapon in a school?

Recently, legislation was passed in Michigan that gives people the ability to carry a concealed weapon in a school, hospital, church and other open areas (stadiums, shopping malls,etc.). Proponents say the legislation requires those carrying a license to have increased training and that this law would increase public safety. Opponents, say adding the opportunity for an increase in weapons in places that should be the most safe, such as schools, hospitals and churches is a bad idea will lead to something tragic.

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    Dec 17 2012: Randy, always good to talk to you. My first impression is no. Only personnel who are assigned weapons as a basic part of their job should enter with a weapon. A two hour class in weapons safety is not comparable to years of training that makes stress a part of the equation. Even as a law enforcement agent ... the lone ranger philosophy is stupid ... report the event, do what is safe and reasonable, control what you can as preventative measures, and wait for help.

    The opinion of a psych is that we should not make the big news deal we do ... we show people in panic ... seriens whailing ... people screaming and running .. He believes that this makes the shooter feel powerful .. then the media announces his name and that is instant fame to the world (in his eyes) ... perhaps the way these things are approached need to be examined ... and yes the media involvement examined also.

    I have been in some meetings with parents and was glad that they were not armed ... but it answered a lot of questions about their childs behavior.

    Have a good one. Bob.
    • Dec 17 2012: I absolutely agree with you Bob, I know that doesn't happen often, but here's a +1 from me.
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        Dec 18 2012: John, I'll frame it .... thanks. Bob.
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      Dec 19 2012: Dear Robert,

      If my memory serves me, you are a veteran of war, have served as a law enforcement officer, and corrections officer. Your knowledge, experience and well articulated comment are appreciated.
    • Dec 19 2012: That is exactly what happened in CT and it worked with very mixed and sad results. If the internet reports are true (CNN included) it took the police 20 minutes to arrive after the first call was received, for a school shooting in a small town. Think about that. A lone gunman armed to the teeth and shooting in an elementary school and it took the police 20 minutes to get there.

      Am I faulting the police? Absolutely not. But we delude ourselves if we think that waiting for help is the best thing. If so, then we are reducing people's options to a simple lottery and we should say 'do what is safe, reasonable, wait for help and pray your number is not up'

      In these types of tragedies a lone ranger could have potentially bought some time. Or not, who knows, that is the point of prevention.
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        Dec 19 2012: Mercuro Chrome,
        I think anyone deludes him/herself by believeing that a" lone ranger" could potentially buy time. I'm sure you know that some guns that are available, have a high RPM (rounds per minute)? Some assault rifles fire at a rate of 460-900 RPM. Submachine guns and machine pistols fire at a rate of 1,000-12,000 RPM. A lot of damage could potentially be done BEFORE a "lone ranger" even got notification. I believe the shooter in CT had shot himself before the police arrived? He/she could end his/her own life at any time after killing a lot of other people, and before the "lone ranger" arrived. I agree with your suggestion to do what is safe and reasonable. We will not solve a gun issue by bringing more guns into the scene. Those who want to kill, will simply get more advanced faster killing guns, which are availabe.
        • Dec 20 2012: Colleen. A lot of damage was done in CT because the shooter had a big capacity semi auto weapon and because the police response was slow. It's a combination of factors that made this massacre possible. We must reassess our thinking about this before it continues to happen. I am for gun control of specific weapons but I do not believe it is a panacea. for example, strictly speaking this killer used an illegally acquired weapon. He chose to go to a place where he knew he would be unopposed. He chose to target our children and we are choosing to see the gun as the only problem. That is a mistake. Until we reassess our views on gun free zones these tragedies will continue to happen.

          On your rounds per minute comment, here is some enlightenment for you. I own a handgun (surprise!) and it has got a low capacity magazine 6+1 shots. The last time I went target shooting I was there for 40 minutes (months ago) I had two magazines preloaded and bought 100 rounds at the range. I was able to fire all those rounds within 30 minutes while stopping to reload the magazines. 100 shots in 30 mins with a small gun, small capacity magazine. That is essentially 3 RPM taking my time. Using the same weapon the CT monster could have squeezed out 60 shots before the police could have arrived, enough for two per victim.

          You say let's not solve a gun issue by bringing more guns... I propose it is not a gun issue alone. This is becoming a cultural staple of the USA and must be looked at from multiple angles.
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        Dec 20 2012: I and many of my friends are school teachers. None of us want to wield leathal force. If we were comfortable with it we probably would have become cops or joined the army. How many teachers would leave the profession if weapons training became a requirement? If me and my friends are any indication, all of them.
        • Dec 20 2012: I never said it should become a requirement. I said volunteer. There is plenty of people that are first aid / CPR volunteers that are not doctors or intended to be ones. I understand none of you want to wield lethal force but if you wanted to you should not be stopped. By definition the evil ones will not follow any rules, so don't think for a second rules will protect you.

          Thank you for taking care of our children.
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          Dec 20 2012: As a former first responder on a rescue squad, carrying and using a gun was NOT my job. If I was spending time using a gun, I would not have been saving the lives in danger, which WAS my job.
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        Dec 20 2012: mercuro, Only in Hollywood does a "lone Ranger" exist. Granted every once and a while you hear about someone saving others ... and that is great ... but the reason they are heroes is that they defied all odds and everyone escaped danger. That person put both their life and the life of others in danger and got lucky.

        When a police team enters a building it is a coordinated effort to neutralize the situation and to "save" as many as possiable. If you were armed and in the hallway you would be considered a target. Let the pros handle it.

        Remember everything has an expiration date .. even mercuchrome was replaced by providone Iodine.

        All the best. Bob.
        • Dec 20 2012: Thanks Bob. You attack my lone ranger concept (poor choice of words on my part) as a Hollywood fantasy but offer another one in response. Reality is that these sick people choose to attack places that are by definition gun-free zones. You don't see these guys going Terminator-style on a Police department. You see them attacking schools, job places and malls, or gun-free areas. Why? because they know they can do so unopposed. Also, you don't see the police responding, as in Hollywood, almost immediately and in full SWAT gear, jumping out of choppers as soon as the first shot rings out. In turn, it takes 10, 15, 20 minutes.

          The reality is that the police is indeed prepared to deal with these guys but they are seldom there when needed and are too slow to respond. So what do you suggest? Hide, close door and wait. Basically bury your head in the sand and pray those gunshots are walking away... might as well invoke the holy spirit or a Jedy mind trick (some Hollywood for ya).

          For this debate to be truly about safety, all the facts must be on the table: long guns, purchase loopholes, police response, mental illness and gun-free areas reassessment.

          Wake up and smell the coffee Bob. If you are old enough to know mercurochrome you are old enough to know better, evil has to be confronted, not appeased.
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        Dec 20 2012: Yes Mercuro Chrome, as I understand it, the CT shooter had some automatic weapons. It's the only way he could have gotten 12 rounds into one little body so fast.

        To the best of my understanding, the CT shooter did NOT have any illegally acquired weapons. His mother, who worked at the school, bought the guns legally, she said to protect herself and her home.

        The shooter chose to go to that school because his mother was there, and I'm sure you know that he shot her too.

        I totally agree with you that we need to reassess our views, and to do that, it helps to have accurate information.

        You didn't actually "enlighten" me regarding RPM. I've had two law enforcement officers in my family, lots of soldiers, lots of hunters, and I used to shoot skeet. I am a little bit familier with guns.

        I am NOT seeing the gun as the only problem, and of course it is not simply a gun issue, which is why I keep saying we need to address the underlying issues. Do you read the comment thread before you argue? If not,it might help you participate with accurate information in the future.

        I will quote your wise words..."all facts must be on the table", and "wake up and smell the collee"
        Bob is a trained combat soldier, law enforcement, and corrections officer. Not only is he older, he is wiser as well:>)
        • Dec 20 2012: Colleen,

          The shooter did not have automatic weapons, semi-autos is what he had, one shot per trigger squeeze. He did not do this 'so fast', he had 20 minutes. My enlightening example was to point out to you that even with a small 'slow' gun he would have had time time to put two rounds per victim. Go ahead, ask your friends if 20 minutes make a difference with a small gun, that Colleen in an unopposed shooting situation is an eternity.

          Also the guns were registered to the mom, not the shooter. If I get a gun that is not registered to me I am committing a crime. If the mom gave the guns to him then she committed a crime. Either way, he did not acquire those guns legally.

          You said "we will not solve a gun issue by bringing more guns into the scene" your words. Spell out the underlying issues and put them into the debate.

          As a rule I don't trust anyone that likes cats, but I am sure Bob is a wise guy. However, the argument of training goes out the window by just looking at the issue from the vantage point of the shooters. None of these guys are ex-cops, ex-military or weapons-trained and are able to do a lot of damage. Letting a threat like that go unchecked is a major mistake that will continue to claim lives.
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        Dec 20 2012: Mercuro Chrome!

        What the heck is your point??? Two rounds per child....12 rounds per child.....it ALL KILLS!!!

        I ask you again....would you like your two little children in the cross-fire of teachers, staff, rescue personel and a killer?

        The topic of this debate is:
        "Should parents, teachers and other personnel be able to carry a concealed weapon in a school?"
        That is the topic, and that is what I am addressing on this comment thread, at this time.
        • Dec 21 2012: Colleen,

          No need to get worked up. Clouds your judgement.

          Yes, teachers should be allowed (not forced) to carry a concealed weapon. Your question is a narrow minded one. No parent wants its child close to any shooting, but given the option of defending children versus passively praying for luck, I rather go with the former.

          Is it potentially messy? Sure. A tragedy is a tragedy. But letting those sick psychos dictate the terms is a moral disgrace.
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        Dec 21 2012: Mercuro Chrome,
        I am not "worked up", nor am I making any judgement, so there is nothing to get clouded. I was trying to have a reasonable discussion, which takes two people.

        I do not agree that teachers should be allowed to carry a concealed weapon. I believe that practice would only cause more tragedies.

        My question regarding the safety of children IS NOT narrow minded. It is well thought out, and backed by relevant information.

        I have not noticed ANYONE on this comment thread suggesting "praying for luck", and your suggestion is not at all about "defending children", it is about teachers, staff, emergency responders and "lone rangers" (as you say) carrying guns under the guise of "protecting chidlren".

        NO ONE on this discussion thread has mentioned letting "those sick psychos dictate the terms", and several participants have offered suggestions which seem more reasonable, responsible, and more safe, which is the important part.
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    Dec 15 2012: The "Guns Kill People" premise is correct in that the gun carried by the teacher will kill the psycho freak bent on slaughtering her students. Murders are ALWAYS comitted by people. Never once has a gun been charged with, or found guilty of, a crime. If we trust teachers with our kids we should trust them with guns. In a better society we wouldn't be discussing this, but the reality checks are coming more frequently.
    • Dec 15 2012: There have been many shootings in places which allowed concealed weapons and where statistically speaking one or more armed vigilantes should have been present or nearby (such as the one where Kathy Gifford got shot or the shooting in Connecticut yesterday), yet I have never heard of a vigilante shooting the attacker. It always ends with the attacker committing suicide or getting shot by the police.

      In the real world the teacher (or a parent or former student) is much more likely to go postal on the school himself than shooting an outside attacker and even if the school gets attacked he is more likely to flee or freeze up than to fight back and if he does fight back he's likely to engage in friendly fire (this gets progressively worse as more people in the school start shooting as well and in the fray nobody knows who's who, even an experienced soldier would have difficulties because there's no squad structure, chain of command, uniforms or radio communication and the positions of friendlies are mostly unknown, friendlies are poorly trained and there are a lot of civilians in the way). You really need some serious training to effectively fight an armed attacker and not shoot a bunch of innocent people in the process, setting the bar high enough for this means the vast majority of parents and teacher will fail the training, which negates the premise and anger those who fail and the NRA, who will in turn exert political influence to lower the bar because we all know it's not really about security but about suburban men who need to compensate for something, they just want to carry a gun.
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        Dec 15 2012: As usual, I see you have it all figured out Mr. Smith. In your imaginary world an armed citizen is called a vigilante. Also in Smithland the former hostess of Live with Regis and Kathy Lee "got shot". And let's not forget that all suburban (but not urban?) men who own a firearm are compensating for something by carrying a gun. Thank you for the brief, but revealing, tour of your universe. Stop by the real world anytime you're in the neighborhood. PS-- Grab a copy of The American Rifleman magazine and read the feature called "The Armed Citizen". You can confirm the accounts as each is source referenced, if you're into facts.
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          Dec 16 2012: I like that Smithland, do you mind if I borrow that?
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          Dec 16 2012: The guns belonged to a teacher. The shooter was a teachers son. I assume he would have just shot the teachers first as he would have known they were armed.
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        Dec 15 2012: You offer some good points John,
        Bringing more guns into the scene does not solve the underlying issue of why some people want to shoot other people. In fact, it only complicates the issue, as you insightfully state. With the possibility of teachers, parents, and "others" armed, a situation could get even more dangerous...as you say...it gets progressively worse as more people start shooting...nobody knows who's who...inexperienced...poorly trained...frightened...confused...people in the way....chaos!!! As you say, even an experienced soldier or trained law enforcement officer would have difficulties with the situation.

        I find it interesting that as a former trained, experienced soldier, you advocate this idea. You perceive an article in American Rifleman magazine as confirmation that this is a good idea?
        Think about your experience my friend, and ask yourself if you honestly want a bunch of citizens (good intentioned or not) armed with weapons in our schools?

        In the event that you think I am just a silly woman with a silly idea, I'll tell you that I have LOTS of friends and family who are hunters and I used to shoot skeet. I do not have anything against people using guns for sport. A gun is a tool that needs to be respected and one who carries a gun needs to be well trained.
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          Dec 16 2012: I find it interesting to learn that you find my opinion interesting.I assure you my assessment of you does not include the adjective "silly". I guess by "this idea" you think I advocate distributing loaded guns to every teacher. I am saddened to see that you think I am given to idiotic, absurd ideas. Please don't associate me with anyone who advocates such lunacy.
          The magazine feature is not a one-time article. It is featured every month and is EXACTLY what you describe, a real-world, factual expression of the soundness of the idea of citizens being armed and knowing how to use those arms to stop fearsome aggressors.
          The only people I want armed in our schools are the professional educators who are willing to be trained and armed to protect children from this ever increasing problem. I DO NOT advocate arming people who are untrained and/or do not respect, or accept, the grave responsibility that goes with firearm ownership. Be well young lady!
        • Dec 17 2012: "You offer some good points John,"

          Well, I truly believe a special forces soldier would say things along the same line (I say special forces soldier because most ordinary soldiers either never get into a firefight or only so few times that they don't really learn anything from it).

          "I do not have anything against people using guns for sport."

          I think it's cruel and pathetic (the animal doesn't stand a chance so where exactly is the "sport" in it?), but to each their own I guess, but those kids in Connecticut weren't killed with a hunting rifle. An assault rifle ban combined with European style training requirements and ban on concealed carrying would make the mass killings a lot less deadly and common and that's the approach I advocate, which I want Edward to know that I'm not advocating a ban on all guns.

          "The only people I want armed in our schools are the professional educators who are willing to be trained and armed to protect children from this ever increasing problem."

          That would have to be some pretty hefty training that most teachers won't be able to pass and the few that do won't make much of a difference because even the most hardened delta or navy seal would have difficulties handling a school shooting.
      • Dec 16 2012: John Smith, Yes, an armed response from a protective group of teachers is not likely to resemble a movie-scripted & polished enactment.

        However let's consider two possible thoughts from an attacker: 1) "1-2-3 dead, La-dee-da... 4-5-6 dead, (all unarmed, of course, thank-you-very-much). 7-8-9-10-11 dead, no problem whatsoever, skip over here ... dead, dead, and dead."
        2) "Oh *&%# they're shooting back AT ME!? Maybe I'll slow-down on this assault a little! Maybe I won't get as many kills as I was hoping for. ...Maybe this was a bad idea."
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          Dec 16 2012: That is a possibility Steve. Do you want to count on that? Do you want to arm teachers and school staff who may not be well trained to carry a gun? Do you want to depend on the attacker being willing and able to think rationally at the time s/he is doing what s/he set out to do? All those in the system would probably KNOW that teachers and staff were armed. How do you thiink that might affect some folks WITHIN the system who are already a little unstable? This idea is bringing weapons into the environment....weapons that may kill those who carry them? Where did the guns come from that were used for the recent attack? The mother bought them to protect herself and her home? Where is she now?
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          Dec 16 2012: You just shoot the teachers first. If teachers were armed he would know about it and alter his plan to suit.
        • Dec 17 2012: "You just shoot the teachers first. If teachers were armed he would know about it and alter his plan to suit."

          Exactly, worse still, the shooter is likely no stranger to the staff, so it might take a while before they figure out who he is. It's the same with murders and rapes: you may think that having guns in your home and turning your home into a fortress would increase protection but it won't, people are most likely to be killed or raped by family members or (ex)-lovers, and you won't see it coming. Having guns in the house just saves the perp the trouble of getting one him/herself and living in a bunker makes it harder for the neighbors to notice something's going on and for the police to help you.
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        Dec 17 2012: Hey John,
        Response to YOUR comment which begins...""You offer some good points John,"

        I think we're on the same page with the issue of guns in school?

        I took us a little off track with mentioning guns for sport...
        You write..."
        "I think it's cruel and pathetic (the animal doesn't stand a chance so where exactly is the "sport" in it?)"
        I eat meat....an animal.
        I'd rather see a good hunter put the animal down fast, rather than some of the things that go on in slaughter houses. The hunters I know use the meat to feed their families, use the hides, etc. The hunters I know track the animals for miles in the mountain forests... in the animal's territory....that is the "sport" for them. It IS NOT sporting to shoot an animal grazing by the side of the road, or shooting cows, horses or their buddies because the stupid person who thinks s/he is a hunter doesnt's even know what s/he is shooting at!

        Very few intentional killings of people are done with sport (hunting, trap, skeet) rifles, as you mention. I agree that we should ban the import, manufacture and sale of assault rifles, saturday night specials, and all guns that are used primarily to kill people.
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      Dec 17 2012: Dear Edward,
      I find it interesting that you find my interest in your comment interesting:>)

      Thanks Edward...I'm glad you do not think I am "silly". You often get huffy and condescending when I do not agree with you.....I was getting ready for ya!!! LOL!

      I am not associating you with anyone else Edward.....simply reading your comments, which stand alone.
      Most professional educators I know are over worked as it is, and usually cannot find time to do the regular necessary things that go along with being a professional educator. I cannot imagine many of them willing to take the time and energy needed for weapons training and maintenance. I don't agree with you that guns should be brought into schools.

      I thought we already established that I am not a "young lady". Based on information I've seen, I'm your age, and it seems silly to continue calling me something that I am not.
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      Dec 17 2012: Edward,
      I was going to let this go by, and decided not to.

      You write..."The magazine feature is not a one-time article. It is featured every month and is EXACTLY what you describe, a real-world, factual expression of the soundness of the idea of citizens being armed and knowing how to use those arms to stop fearsome aggressors."

      You are trying to twist comments again to "fit" YOUR argument, and it is not very interesting or appealing.
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        Dec 17 2012: Again we agree completely. . . our brief exchange is (again) completely void of interest or appeal. Bye bye!
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          Dec 19 2012: Thanks for the confirmation Edward:>)
  • Dec 14 2012: IMO, that is the job of the police.

    For reasons that I do not understand, we seem to think we can have security cheaply. If we need better security in these places, put the police in there and increase taxes to pay for them. A school teacher or principal should not be expected to carry a weapon.
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    Dec 17 2012: There is no doubt a commonality with all of us having opinions and contributing to the conversation...we all want safety...we all want safe places. Schools, hospitals, churches should be places that are the most safe. I suspect if the Connecticut shooting had taken place at a hospital, the conversation might center around doctor's carrying guns for protection.

    Can we really prevent the unthinkable? Crisis management plans are by definition, plans to manage something that has happened. When you hear stories coming out of Sandy Hook Elementary, you hear of teachers doing what they are trained to do...protect those children. Have the doors locked, get them into a corner or closet as far away from the door as possible, keep the children quiet and calm and wait for the police to get there. I hear and understand the side of the debate that says "what if teachers or someone in the building has a gun, they could prevent this." In my mind, as a school Superintendent, it is hard for me to see that working in any possible way. I would respectfully respond by saying that the teacher's role in that crisis is to protect those innocent children and keep them as safe as possible. If they are worried about getting their gun out of the desk drawer, the focus that is lost for that one second, may contribute to even greater harm.

    It's not a perfect solution...is there a perfect solution to preventing "crazy" and "evil." If so, please let me in on it as I comb through our emergency plans to find any gap that may exist.
    • Dec 19 2012: Randy, what about the notion of first aid or emergency responders? I don't necessarily agree with all of Mr. Long's points but on that one he has got somewhat of a point. You will not prevent the next school shooting, but you can thwart it. If you have one or two designated volunteer responders that could potentially have access to a weapon in case of an emergency you could potentially delay the shooter until police shows up. Their identities could be kept in secret and only disclosed in advance to the police department. I am not advocating to arm all faculty but to be honest with you it is delusional to think this won't continue to happen, these events are almost clamored by the media for all the wrong reasons. Sex and Blood sells...
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        Dec 20 2012: M C,

        Who's going to be administering to those who are wounded, while the rescue workers are firing guns? If it is kept a secret, how are all the teachers and staff that you would like to see packing a gun, going to know who is who? Would you honestly like to see your two little children in that cross-fire? Think about it.
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    Dec 17 2012: Hi Randy,
    I have expressed my feelings regarding your topic, and since security is the primary reason for wanting, or not wanting guns in schools, I would like to offer an alternative, which is already used in many schools.

    Several years ago, we had a very similar situation in a near-by community. The son of a teacher was angry with his mother, entered the school building, and shot her, as well as several other people including a friend of mine who was a WONDERFUL teacher and ALWAYS engaged with the children in her class. She was simply standing in the front of her class, doing her thing when the young man went on a rampage.

    Right after that incident, several schools in the area, including the one in my community, installed security systems. Nobody can get into the school without a badge. If a person does not have a badge to enter, they must identify themselves, and the door will be opened by someone in the main office.....or not. To me, this seems like a much better idea, then everyone carrying a gun. As I wrote in another comment...violence does not stop violence....bringing more guns onto the scene does not solve the underlying issues, and simply "normalizes" the weapon, the situation, and the behavior.

    It seems like we have evolved enough as thoughtful, feeling, intelligent human beings, to realize that what we've done in the past does not work (violence to stop violence, more guns to stop the killing of people with guns). We have technology (security systems) which we can use for protection, rather than bringing more guns into schools.
  • Steve C

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    Dec 17 2012: Colleen, I think they'll have enough sense to slow an assault if they're getting return-fire! (If they don't have that much sense, they'll get shot.)
    I think it's a better course than doing nothing, 'policing'/scanning schools, or disarming a generally-protective populace.
    Yes it brings weapons on-site, not "great," but the attacker's weapon came from the outside and there were 20-some already dead before the "professional guns" even got there; unacceptable!
    Make it voluntary, so if teachers aren't well-trained, they don't have to have that on their back.
    (I'm doubting the "chaos" theory, it would only take a few students running by before one was able to ID the gunner. You see two gunmen, one is shooting randomly & the other is aiming at the first; or a teacher sees another teacher with a gun while hearing another gun firing...)
    If a potential attacker knows teachers are armed, that may prevent an attack outright! Or at least it puts (a major) wall in the way; a locked door is a minor wall, but better than nothing.
    For those "within the system who are already a little unstable..." I would hope there are enough people around to see early danger-signs.

    Where is the mother? I'd say she's the victim of a bullied, and medicated, young man. (And where is the father?)

    @Peter & John:
    In-home murders & rapes are usually 1-on-1. Teachers usually travel in packs. And maybe these armed-teachers are not obvious.
    "shoot the teachers first." Easy to type. More difficult to pull-off - especially if they're armed as well. Any and all alterations would each be like a wall, as mentioned above; each alteration being a retrograde waste of time and energy = more lives saved.
    It may also "take awhile" for cops to get on scene, geared-up, up-to-speed, coordinated, etc.

    The cops have guns. The soldiers have guns. It seems that people who are expected to be effective at protecting others against guns, have guns.

    Thank you Randy for the question. May you keep your schools safe!!
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      Dec 17 2012: Hi Steve,
      I'm not advocating doing nothing. I suggest dealing with the underlying issues, rather than bringing more guns on site. Violence does not stop violence. I do not believe that more guns on site will stop the killing with guns. It simply "normalizes" the weapon, the situation, and the behavior.
      • Dec 24 2012: "I'm not advocating doing nothing. [I should've known that.] I suggest dealing with the underlying issues,"
        Me too! (So what do you think are the underlying issues: a fiat doller, 8 new foreign wars, illicit drugs, licit drugs, Satan? [but answering that would be off-topic. Never-mind.])
        I read a book long ago that talked about martial arts. It said that one could see a fight coming when two angry people were staring at each other, and that a fight was pretty much just the end of the confrontation. Then again, we're not talking about merely violence; we're talking about murders. If it takes violence to stop murders-in-progress, is that wrong?
        A lone gunman went in taking lives; why can't a Lone Ranger protect those lives?
        These teachers can be our Minute-Men! (And beat the cops by twenty-minutes!)
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          Dec 25 2012: Oh my goodness Steve....the underlying issues are many, which I'm sure you know.

          One of the first things that could be done to make our schools a little more safe, is security systems. As I mentioned in another comment on this thread, we had a similar situation in a nearby town years ago. Although not as big an event because of the numbers of people killed and injured, it was a young man, who was angry at his girlfriend's mom, who worked at the school, so he shot several people at the school, including the person he was angry at. The basic idea of the situation was similar, and innocent people who happened to be in his path were shot.

          Right after that, a security system was installed in our school, and students, teachers and staff need a badge to enter. All other visitors are required to identify themselves before the doors will be unlocked for them from the office. It seems like a simple and effective safety measure, that can be utilized fairly quickly in schools.

          Then there is the issue of bullying, which we need to continue to address.
          I believe many of the violent video games "normalize" shooting people, and that could be addressed....many issues need to be addressed, and those are additional topics for us to look at.

          I do not believe that violence ever stopes violence. Murder does not stop murder. If we do what we've always done, we get what we've always gotten. Is shooting people, stopping the shooting of people? Or is that behavior increasing? The only thing that is happening, is that the guns are becoming much more effective for killing. Is that what we want to continue to do?

          My perception is that teachers don't want to be "minute-men"....they want to be teachers.
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    Dec 17 2012: I would respectfully invite Tedsters to come to Australia for a holiday to experience what it's like to live in a country so devoid of firearms that a single death from a gunshot makes national news for a week. It may give you an alternative vision for what safe society entails.
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      Dec 17 2012: I would love to see the Southern Cross. Thanks for the invite. Australia is devoid of firearms? That requires some verification. . . . .http://www.gunpolicy.org/firearms/region/australia
      It looks like you have lots of guns there but people don't use them to kill other people if what you say about the rarity of gun related crime is correct. We have lots of guns here in the US and, like you Australians, most of us do not use them to commit crimes. Guns are not the problem. Insane people running free is the problem. Do you have homocidal people running free in Australia?
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        Dec 17 2012: The only guns that can be legally owned by a private citizen are either single shot or bolt action long weapons or target pistols. If you own a weapon you must store it in a locked safe or leave it at the gun range in their safe. The only people with automatic pistols are the police and licensed security guards, they must leave their weapon at work in the safe when not on duty. The majority of gun crime in Australia is between Biker gangs as they have a code of silence so it makes it hard to prosecute. Outside that area the vast majority of violent crime in Australia involves knives or baseball bats etc. Probably because if you rob a store with an illegal firearm it doubles your sentence as you get firearm charges on top of the armed robbery.
        This graph illustrates the change in weapons used in homocides since gun laws were introduced. There has also been a general drop in the numbers of homocides per population in the same period
        As you can see the number of incidents has dropped even though the population has increased over the same period
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          Dec 18 2012: Thanks for the links and the insight. There are conflicting reports about the lasting effects of your gun ban. I have read some reports that say crime is up and others, like yours, that say it is down. I tend to believe your links. I expect to see you ban knives there soon.
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        Dec 18 2012: Funny you should mention knives. It is also illegal to have a knife concealed on your person. That one came in about 10 years ago I think. I think there has been some increase in assaults but with the lack of firearms and knives etc. the majority of assaults over here are done with fists. While I don't particularly want to get beat up it's preferable to shot or stabbed.
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          Dec 18 2012: Really, are all those murders the result of fist fights? You may want to outlaw the act of making a fist. You know, Mr. Lindsay, the 2nd Amendment is as much about the citizenry being armed as a countermeasure to ANY force (even the government itself) trying to deride the Constitution. Disarming the populace has always been a priority for the takeover of a nation. Experts like Hitler; Amin; Stalin; Castro; Mao; Pol Pot; Qadaffi; and Kim Jog-il all agree that gun control is essential. That's just historical fact sir.
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        Dec 19 2012: I think perhaps we don't have the same level of concern about the government here because under our system the prime minister can't mobilise the armed forces without aagreement from both houses of parliament.At the moment we don't have a clear majority in either house and the balance of power is held by independants in the lower house and a minor party in the upper house. Plus the chief of defence isn't appointed by the current PM they get the one from the previous PM and the appointment is made on the recomendations of the ministers to the governor general and is on a three year cycle which is independant to the electoral cycle. Plus we distrust all politicians equally so you've only got to make one goof and you get kicked out at the next election over here. As an indicator of the esteem with which we hold our politicians I can't think of one statue or monument to a single past or present PM. There are however many statues of footballers and cricket players. Go Figure.
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          Dec 19 2012: Why does anyone get into politics there? Not bad for a bunch of English castaways! :-) I truly admire Australia, except for the gun control and the cities. Let me know if you get rid of both of those. I want to carry a side arm and walk the dusty streets of a town like Alice!
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      Dec 17 2012: It is a good vision and goal Peter:>)
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    Dec 16 2012: Yes
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    Dec 16 2012: I'm not an expert, so I would probably defer to an expert. My opinion based on my life-experience would be that allowing personnel to carry a weapon might create problems, but it would solve more.
  • Dec 16 2012: Okinawa had a crime wave - Americans did the crime. Allegedly there are plenty of guns someplace as an Air Force armory lost a large number of them. Still no locl crime wave. Maybe American society is now a little sick?
  • Dec 15 2012: What is our goal? I would say that the goal is to keep our children safe while in school. The threat is the nut cases, people who are so defective that they set out to deliberately kill innocent children who have no connection with the culprit whatsoever. If we take all the guns away from the public, these nut cases will find another weapon. A molotov cocktail can be devastating in an enclosed area like a classroom. Poison bombs can be made from household products with no special training or equipment, and at much less expense than a gun. And of course there all sorts of explosives. Guns are a convenient weapon, and the weapon of choice in the USA, largely for historical reasons. It is very tempting to just get rid of guns, but it would not keep these nut cases in check.

    Keeping our children safe will require people on site who are trained to spot potential assailants and stop them. Anything short of this will not work.

    Expecting educational professionals to take on this additional duty is expecting too much.

    In addition, we should also employ scanner technology. The scanners should be at least 30 meters from the school doors and there should be enough of them, in separate locations, so that there is never a crowd of children waiting around them, presenting an inviting target.

    Cheap security does not exist.
    • Dec 16 2012: (I think your first half was "well-argued")
      But, "Expecting educational professionals to take on this additional duty is expecting too much." This surprised me! I think that 97 out-of 100 gun-wielding teachers would have been out in the hallway SWAT-style - ready to take this shooter down, (two of the others would have remained in a barricaded classroom with the students behind them.)
      And I highly doubt that scanner tech is helping at all. I think it eats at their self-esteem & puts the emphasis on technology itself instead of human relationships and cultural strength.
      (And the threat is not just the nutcases http://www.cchrint.org/2011/12/19/canadian-judge-rules-antidepressants-like-prozac-can-cause-children-to-commit-murder/ )
      • Dec 16 2012: I would not necessarily be against a teacher voluntarily having a gun (with proper training and supervision), I just do not think it should be a requirement of the job.

        However, having guns on the school premises, in the hands of people who are not in uniform, complicates the situation. The good guys, including police responding to the threat, must differentiate the good guys from the bad guys, and a wrong decision could be fatal. This is an entirely different situation that would require careful management.

        IMO, another factor that should be considered is the size of our schools. It seems that they keep growing bigger, supposedly a means of lowering the cost per pupil. I think this is a mistake for many reasons, and security is one of them.
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    Dec 15 2012: I dont think guns should be as common as writing materials in schools. School security staff could have guns, not teachers.
    Schools should be schools; preparation for school should not be same as in a war zone.
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      Dec 17 2012: With all respect Mr. Anjorin, I can think of no more violent a war zone than Sandy Hook Elementary School last Friday morning. God help those families and friends who have begun to experience a never-ending sorrow.
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    Dec 14 2012: They say peopel kill people not Guns which I strongly disagree with. Weapons of any kind is certainly not necessary in an institution that educates within civil societies. Look what happened today...

    The need to buy, carry and use a gun at free will within social environment at an individuals instincts only indicates the failure of social structure and instigates a breakdown of formal systems of law and civil obdience. Next thing pending is perhaps police waiting outside a school for the gun battle to end between teachers and students over a disagreement so that they can go in and collect the remaining survivors.
  • Dec 14 2012: Pardon Me Mr Superintendent

    I would like to know how many Parents, Teachers, and "other" Personnel ......you would have to have in an Elementary School to have prevented this?


    secondly.....why would you choose that option rather then choose one that would begin to address the enormous Karmic Energy Imbalance within the Society of United State of America?

    For some strange reason you seem to think that carrying weapons in a "concealed" fashion is somehow a positive deterrent! I believe that is one more step in the Growing National Mental Insecurities ...and not to be smiled about.
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      Dec 14 2012: I don't think you should assume the superintendent poses this question because he supports guns in schools. I think most school employees and administrators would like to see guns kept as far away as possible from children.
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      Dec 15 2012: "Karmic Energy Imbalance"? The swath of slaughter carved-out in Sandy Creek was the result of "KEI"? Really? I think we should continue looking for the root cause of this oft repeated horror.
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      Dec 15 2012: Ed,

      I do not support guns in schools...not at all. I began posing this debate because of a new law being passed in Michigan that gives the people the ability to carry concealed weapons in schools. Not long after, the events in Connecticut took place.
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        Dec 17 2012: Why do you bring that up? No one's personal stance of this issue matters. Whether you favor or oppose the question does not effect the exchange of opinions and ideas. Are you implying some association between the new law in your state and the nightmare in Connecticut? Thank you, and watch over those kids!
      • Dec 17 2012: Randy

        Trusting this finds you and yours well.

        In closing off here, and reflecting of the Newtown Memorial Service of this ev.

        ......I in my heart feel that the Representative of the "New Hope Church" covered the essence most completely when he pointed out that it is not the 20 + 7 we must be praying for ...because they are in good hands ...it is most important to direct hope/presence to those here in material / earthy form and bring presence within it.

        Perhaps(hopefully) the Rep of the Roman Catholic Church was also effective in his directness... when he said ...Paraphrasing here ..."we must move from a Culture of Death to a Culture of Life"

        I did not what to imply your support of guns ....only that it is the Presence state of all involved which will calm a potential conflict ..and nothing else (weapons or no weapons)

        I wish You and Yours a JOY-filled and Safe.... Holiday Season, and Future

        Be Well Be Present

  • Dec 28 2012: I was in education for close to 30 years. I have taught all over the country. I have taught to extreme demographics, from the most rich in the country to the absolute poorest. I have taught in urban settings. I have a Ph.D. in education and post doctoral work in cognitive and educational psychology, as well as in educational leadership. I also have served as a worship minister, have done service work with at-risk children, and, when younger, worked with police as a security guard for Wells Fargo and in a major metro mall.
    I am not trying to persuade by authority, however, I write about myself because I think my experience might entitle me to have something to say about the issue.
    1. There is something to be said, from a moral - or at least ethical - perspective, when giving in to the fatalistic idea that guns are needed to protect us from one another even places that are supposed to be the among the most safe in our society.
    2. From a practical perspective, having teachers - who have gone to school to teach and not to act as police or paramilitary - carry concealed weapons affects our children's world view in a negative way. We are teaching our children that the only way to feel safe is to be packing - not what I want to teach MY children.
    3. From a practical perspective, do you think that a teacher carrying a handgun, under the stress of any situation similar to what recently happened, is going to be very effective against a fully armed and possibly armored gunman or gunmen?

    Malls and other open public places,, possibly. Schools, churches and other places of traditional haven from the world, absolutely not. Let us keep some of these places to the peace lovers of the world, and to the dreamers of dreams, and to the hope in the mystery of faith that passes all understanding..
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    Dec 20 2012: "Israel doesn’t have school shootings.
    Here’s a picture of a school in Israel; it’s not a “gun-free” zone"
    No it's a war zone
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    Dec 20 2012: Scroll down to "Israel doesn’t have school shootings."

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    Dec 17 2012: And if Australia is too far, come on up to Canada...
    • Dec 17 2012: Lets think twice about that Please!!!! Proximity to USA and its media is a DIRECT factor contributing to this insanity!!

      for example....

      "Advocates of greater regulation point to the fact that the US has 3.2 firearms homicides per 100,000 population compared with 1.6 for Canada, 1.0 for Australia and 0.1 for England and Wales, according to a 2012 report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime."
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    Dec 15 2012: This is the news story that made me think of this debate. After this story was aired, the terrible events in Connecticut took place. Not long after that, The Governor of Michigan said these events "give pause" to signing a bill that gives people the ability to carry concealed weapons in a school or church.


    Thank you all for contributing
  • Dec 14 2012: "Should parents, teachers and other personnel be able to carry a concealed weapon in a school?

    Proponents say the legislation requires those carrying a license to have increased training"

    What kind of training? Shooting beer cans in the backyard or ranger school? It'll probably be closer to the former seeing as law enforcement professionals are already carrying weapons in these places, they'll also have to make the training easy enough for the gung ho fat dumb rednecks, who need big guns to compensate for something, to pass, and the people pushing for this armament are gun nuts who'd rather see 20 amateurs walking around with guns than 5 professionals. At least it's not all bad: when the shooting starts the untrained rednecks will readily shoot each other in crossfire and clean up the gene pool in the process.

    Sometimes I'm so glad I live on the Eastern side of the pond...

    Speaking of the devil, today there were two armed assaults (one with a gun, the other with a knife) against elementary schools, one in the United States (where anyone can get guns, even military ones) and one in China (where you a civilian can only possess a hunting rifle and needs a hunting permit and training): the result: at least 26 (plus the shooter) dead and several wounded (of which at least 3 are in serious danger) in the American school, 0 dead in the Chinese school (there are 22 wounded of which only 2 are in serious danger). In the American school the police finally ended the killing when it shot dead the attacker, this happened in a town of 27.560 people in a state with few gun laws, I guess all the local self-appointed vigilantes were busy fighting crime elsewhere and therefore could not arrive at the scene before the police did (which took 10 minutes).