Only halfway into 2018, America has already been the victim of several mass school shootings. On January 23, a fifteen-year-old in Kentucky opened fire in his school’s lobby, killing 2 and injuring 14. Not even a month later, on Valentine’s Day, a nineteen-year-old in Florida massacred 17 and injured as many others after pulling a fire alarm. And most recently, on May 18, a seventeen-year-old in Texas targeted a couple of art classrooms, murdering 10 and injuring 13. In fact, since the infamous, seemingly catalytic Columbine (Colorado) shooting of 1999—the turn of the millennium—thirty-nine out of our fifty states have experienced some type of school shooting. It goes without saying that we as a nation have a problem.
At the heart of that problem are guns. And their being at the heart is itself the problem: Guns are so beloved by Americans that they’re willing to turn a blind eye to gun violence. Yet imagining an America out of love with guns would be like imagining an America out of love with football. The unfortunate reality is that guns aren’t going anywhere. Sadly, everyone knows that it’s just a matter of time before they have to hear about the next school shooting and corresponding death toll. Precisely for that reason, it’s imperative that we start fighting back, and ironically the best way to do that is by fighting fire with fire—with guns. It’s as they say, after all: If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.
I agree with the recently proposed solution of equipping teachers with guns. However, I say we take it one step further: We should eradicate any and all age restrictions for guns and likewise equip all of our students—barring those who have been classified “emotionally disturbed,” of course—with guns.
By also equipping students with guns, we would make our schools exponentially safer. It would logically follow, given that good guys with guns would far outnumber, and therefore outpower, any bad guys with guns. This would undoubtedly lead any bad guy to think twice about committing a school shooting and instead consider just committing regular suicide, as was fortunately the case on February 20—post Parkland—when a thirteen-year-old boy carrying a backpack heavy not with books but rather ammunition apparently had a change of heart and instead of opening fire simply shot himself in a bathroom stall early that morning. (However, had he been forced to consider that his classmates would be armed, he would’ve just killed himself at home and left his parents to clean up his mess and not wasted our tax dollars or his school’s time.) And the best part about also equipping students with guns would be that, in a classroom full of guns, the guns would get used, but they would never actually be fired, as the mere fact that everybody’s concealing a gun would force everyone to self-police. It’s the perfect bipartisan compromise.
However, should a bad guy decide, against all reason, to go through with a shooting, teachers, with the help of students, could demobilize that bad guy more efficiently. Think about it: If only teachers are equipped with guns, every time a school shooting occurs, there will be a delayed “response time,” seeing as how a teacher’s gun would necessarily be locked away for safety purposes, and this in turn will lead to unnecessary deaths. Our aim as a great nation shouldn’t be merely to minimize the number of deaths but rather to maximize one’s chances of survival. As Americans, we have a right to life, liberty, and justice, after all, and the right, by virtue of the second amendment, to bear arms in order to ensure the protection of these rights. (And it’s worth noting that the second amendment doesn’t discriminate against age.)
Not only could teachers and students as a class prevent any unnecessary deaths—collateral damage aside—they could bond with each other in the process. It would be like killing two birds with one shotgun, as a favorable outcome in itself would constitute a learning experience. How could it not? By implementing this 21st century approach to domestic terrorism, our teachers and, by extension, our nation would be truly teaching our kids initiative. We would be instilling in our misguided millennial youth the invaluableness of being proactive. There’s a reason they say power flows through the barrel of a gun. This does not only have to be a matter of safety; it could simultaneously serve as a means to empower the next generation. Imagine for a second that little Peter single handedly prevents a daytime massacre. How alive would he feel? How lauded would he be? How many friend requests would he get? Little Peter would instantaneously be exalted to “war hero” status and awarded all the honors thereto pertaining. Now imagine that little Peter, little Amy, and Mr(s). Smith, in whatever scenario imaginable, collectively prevent a daytime massacre. BAM!—instant lesson in teamwork.
And for our high school seniors taking American government, there’s yet another lesson to be learned—one in justice. All too often these bad guys capitalize on the number of lives they take by using semiautomatic weapons, only to then take their own, and by doing so indirectly escape justice. These domestic terrorists commit mass murder with impunity! And they don’t just maim our sons and daughters and mothers and fathers; they ruin our very infrastructures for survivors, creating shock waves that leave our entire nation perpetually shell shocked. By equipping not only our teachers but also our students with guns, we would be taking power away from bad guys and putting agency in the hands of good guys who could then instantly carry out death sentences, ensuring that no school shooter goes unpunished and that all parents get justice for their kids and that all teachers’ kids get justice for their parents.
Granted, killing someone who planned on dying anyway doesn’t constitute true justice. However, we have to keep in mind that that would just be the case at first. Eventually, students would become so good at reacting to a school shooting that it would be considered more of a reflex. They will have had so much target practice, the classroom essentially having doubled as a shooting range, that they would simply have to think of disarming/demobilizing somebody and it would be so. And then we could truly bring domestic terrorists to justice, which would also serve as poetic justice if they’re sentenced to life in prison where they’d be subjected to daily battery by guards and prisoners alike, or conversely, for those who attempt to abscond—as did the Parkland shooter—if they’re sentenced to death by firing squad. These legal ramifications would definitely also set a precedent that would further deter any would-be school shooter.
I know what you’re thinking: But what about those caught in the crossfire? Well, let me put your mind at ease by saying, They get shot…but they don’t die. They don’t even get seriously hurt. We have to remember that, while it may not currently be legal for minors to conceal-carry firearms, there is no law that says they, or teachers, can’t wear bulletproof vests. These we can easily introduce into our schools’ dress code today, something we should’ve done a long time ago. At least this way students won’t be complete sitting ducks while waiting for Congress to pass anti-gun control legislation. And I’m sure they wouldn’t be opposed to this new “uniform.” A teacher myself, I can attest to the way students now subconsciously wear their backpacks as if they were actual bulletproof vests, which is to say on their fronts. So a transition to real bulletproof vests would be a smooth one. All this to say that if worst came to worst and a shooting occurred, which, as I’ve already made clear, simply wouldn’t be the case, the entire class would be doubly prepared for it. But in the getting-struck-by-lightning unlikelihood that a student got shot, the injury would amount to a paintball bruise, and regardless, we all know that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. And if by some twist of fate, even with all of these safeguards in place, someone happened to die, it would without question be considered God’s will, and that person would forever be remembered as a second amendment martyr.
However, let me reassure you, this is really next to impossible. Thanks to first-person shooter video games, kids are natural shots long before they ever feel the weight of a gun. Of course, not everybody’s suited to carry a handgun, but that’s the beauty of guns; they come in all shapes and sizes. For those who don’t like the fit of a handgun, there are sawed off shotguns, and for those who don’t like shotguns there are AK-47’s. And, in the future, once it’s proven how effective guns in the classroom are, students will be permitted to carry other weapons that better suit them: The school’s star pitcher will get to keep grenades in his belt loops, the pensive pyromaniac will get to wear a flamethrower in place of a backpack, and that one incorrigible kid who, it would seem, is allergic to guns, will get to hold the fire extinguisher. With this level of artillery, even a mentally-ill person would be crazy to attempt a school shooting.
Indeed, we must give our students the tools they need to be successful. And everyone knows that two hands are better than one, so no one can argue that three arms aren’t better than two, that an armed village isn’t safer from an intruder than a defenseless one. It’s high time that we return to the days of the Wild West when guns were the law and everyone held the law in their hands, to the good old days when gun owners practiced self-discipline, to the golden era when school shootings were unheard of.
By taking definitive action now and equipping our classrooms with guns, we can prevent any future Virginia Tech (Virginia) where 32 were massacred, 25 were wounded, any future Sandy Hook (Connecticut) where 26 were massacred, 20 were first graders, any future Columbine. We can go back to leaving our school doors unlocked. We can reawaken the dormant patriotism in our classrooms, and once again make both our teachers and our students happy to rise to pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
(Feature photo by Fibonacci Blue)