Letter: Arming teachers not necessarily a bad idea if done right

Letter: Arming teachers not necessarily a bad idea if done right

David Madden’s Guest Commentary, “Arming teachers no way to stop school shootings,” in The Westerly Sun on Thursday, Feb. 22, on the arming of classroom teachers, lays out his concerns for the drawbacks of such a solution. I happen to disagree with most of his concerns but it is important for all of us to evaluate the topic and come up with a better solution. We must find a mechanism that will stop these school shootings.

Mr. Madden’s first point is that teachers with guns going against a school attacker would have difficulty hitting their target due to the mayhem and limits on accuracy. I agree. But even though there is mayhem, someone must engage the attacker. I propose offering willing teachers to have access to the use of a shotgun pistol, such as the Taurus Judge, a four shot revolver that uses a .410 gauge shotgun shell, or a small .22-caliber pistol that uses .22-caliber long rifle bullets that contain shot instead of a slug. Such pistols produce a spray of pellets about 2 feet wide at about 50 feet. Without requiring accuracy, these weapons can disable a shooter from a distance. If several teachers with such weapons were positioned behind or to the side of a school attacker (or when he was reloading), their shots could quickly disable the attacker.

Why arm teachers, why not allow the police to arrive and secure the scene? Teachers are already at the scene of the attack and for them it is either kill (disable) or be killed, quite an incentive to do something. In this context, I agree with Mr. Madden that teachers with guns at the scene of the attack run the risk of being shot accidentally by police securing the scene. Perhaps, students with cellphones at the scene could guide police via the police dispatcher.

For those of you who are appalled at having guns in a school, please consider a non-lethal approach. I could imagine certain teachers and even responsible students having access to (with training) stun guns, narrow beam stroboscopic lights, ultrasonic guns, or semi-automatic paint guns. Such weapons have their limitations but if many defenders have access to them, they could overwhelm an attacker.

I’m appalled at these shootings and want nothing better than to find a solution that stops them. My background is that of a science and math teacher for about 20 years, both stateside and abroad in the Congo. In my high school years I was a member of our YMCA rifle team for four years. If I were to teach again, I would be willing to carry a weapon to stop a school attacker but such a stance is not for everyone and those who do volunteer should not require monetary compensation. Each school, district and state should do what works best or them in this matter. Our job as citizens is to dialogue until we find a solution. What is your opinion?

Mac Richardson



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