By Brett F.

The massacre of twenty students and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14th of last year is a tragedy of immeasurable proportions.  The events on that day were heartbreaking, incomprehensible, and difficult to even watch on news updates throughout the day. There are few tragedies that are as devastating as those which involve the loss of innocent children. The Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacre shook the nation and ignited a national conversation about school safety and gun control in general. Unfortunately, these two topics (school safety and gun control) have absolutely nothing to do with one another . . .

In fact it is very dangerous to pair the two as it ties emotions to the gun control debate rather than logic and cold hard facts. As humans, we want tangible solutions to problems especially in the aftermath of tragedy. It is a beautiful quality of humanity. It is so important, though, to not let emotion or ulterior political/personal motives trump intellect when searching for those solutions. Always keep “I” over “E” or intellect over emotion.

Let me introduce myself. My name is Brett and I was born and raised in Connecticut for the first 19 years of my life. I then moved to Florida where I finished my schooling to become an elementary school teacher. I have now taught at the same elementary school in Palm Beach County for the last nine years. In those nine years I have taught first, second, and fifth grade. I absolutely love my job and my students and, though both come with challenges, they also bring me a lot of happiness. Every day is different and new. I feel fulfilled and there is nothing I would rather be doing as a career.

In addition to my love for teaching, I have a love and passion for guns. I have owned and shot a number of different handguns, rifles, and shotguns. I own two of the guns used in the Newtown shooting including a black sporting rifle in the AR15 configuration with standard capacity 30 round magazines that were made for that particular weapon. In addition to enjoying my guns for sporting purposes, I also depend on them for my personal protection and that includes the AR15. For Adam Lanza, these same guns were used for evil. For me, they are used for enjoyment and the protection of me and the ones I love.  My guns are metal and plastic.  Inanimate objects.  Neither evil or good.

Gun control advocates and gun grabbing politicians frequently paint all gun owners and supporters of an unchangeable 2nd Amendment in the same light. It is one of the tactics used and supported by the mainstream media. If all gun owners are viewed as paranoid, backwoods, irresponsible, uneducated people, then it works to their advantage.  Unfortunately, for them, this is not the case.

We are a very educated lot. Gun control advocates and  the mainstream media do their best to keep people like myself out of the debate.  They do not want voices like mine heard.  I am an educated and dedicated elementary school teacher. I love the students I teach. I also am passionate about guns and the 2nd Amendment which protects my right to own them. The 2nd Amendment and the Constitution as a whole is not a changing, growing document with time or events.  It is the foundation of a free country. It remains through triumph or tragedy.

As an elementary school teacher, former Connecticut resident and student, and passionate gun owner I certainly have reflected deeply on the heartbreaking events of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. How could someone be so devoid of emotion? What could have prevented this tragedy? Is there anything that we could do at my school to better protect our students from violence?

Some of my questions were from a teacher’s point of view and some were questions that most people have asked including parents, children, law enforcement officers, and politicians. At my school we have procedures in place when there is a threat on or near campus. We lock our classroom doors, turn off the lights, close the blinds, and cover the glass on the door with a curtain or paper.

Like Sandy Hook Elementary, my school has a front office entrance which remains locked and there is a call box and a camera. Anyone who wants to enter the front entrance of the school must be buzzed in by a secretary. There are cameras in multiple places around campus and those cameras are being monitored in the front office. We have a phone that immediately calls the police in the event of an emergency. All in all, I feel very safe at my school and feel we have done the best we can to protect our students.

With that being said, is there always a chance that tragedy could strike? Absolutely. We are not educating our students in a locked down prison facility that is impenetrable. We have an eight foot high fence going around our campus perimeter but, if someone wanted to get in, they could climb over. We may have a camera and call box at the front door but the glass is not bulletproof just as it wasn’t at Sandy Hook. It would be nice to have an officer on duty everyday but the district budget could never afford that and even a full time officer wouldn’t guarantee tragedy couldn’t strike.

So what then is the all encompassing answer? The truth is, there is none. As educators and parents we must do our best to protect our children and give them a safe environment to learn and grow up, but we never will be able to predict and prevent everything that could arise. Irrational and emotional gun control measures would not have prevented the tragedy in Newtown and they will not prevent future tragedy. An educated, fact-based, honest look will show that school safety and national gun control are two issues that have little if anything to do with each other.

Regardless of the venue or those effected, evil will occur. At times we will be able to prevent it and at other times we honestly will not. In Keystones of Thought, Austin O’Malley said, “The hardest fact in the world to accept is the inevitable mixture of evil with good in all things.”

My heart goes out to all the teachers, children, and families who were devastated by the tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary School last December. As a teacher, I love and protect the students under my care. As a gun owner, and more importantly an American, I love the freedoms I have had my entire life because of the Constitution of the United States. The removal of those freedoms, under the guise of an altruistic motive to protect children, is not only a lie but a grave danger to the free country those children will inherit.

I am a teacher. I am a gun owner. I support school safety and the right to keep and bear arms! Two VERY different issues!

24 Responses to FNS-9 Contest Entry: A Teacher’s Take on Gun Control

  1. a tragedy of immeasurable proportions.

    Actually, it was a tragedy of measurable proportions: 28 dead, 26 of them innocents. If the gungrabbers get their way, that would be a tragedy of immeasurable proportions. We won’t be able to measure the number of dead, nor will we be able to quantify the loss of freedom.

  2. Good article, but mentioning the value of concealed carry for teachers and staff would have made it better. Heck, government agents use concealed carry to protect the president’s children, and that has worked out well. Lanza wouldn’t have done much damage against a dozen armed secret service agents. Unfortunately, those ideas don’t pass muster against the “guns are bad, and have no place in school” mentality that has gripped this nation. Most parents and teachers still have confidence in the Gun Free Zone concept.

    There is no perfect answer for the Adam Lanzas of this world, but immediately returning accurate fire is pretty damn close. That’s my plan.

    • The Adam Lanzas of the world don’t wait to get shot, or even shot at. They eat their own gun barrels the instant they see, hear or smell a gun in the hands of a “good guy.” It’s the punks’ last chance to feel like they’re in control.

      Immediately returning accurate fire might not even be necessary, but I would rather have the spree shooter die at the hands of a good guy than by their own. Call it spite if you want. Or justice.

  3. Very well written. Thanks for your perspective as both a teacher and a gun owner/2A supporter. I agree that there is no sure cure for evil or tragedy. It is a part of the human element and the nature of existence, and anyone that thinks it can be legislated away is delusional and probably an unprepared future victim of the things that they refuse to acknowledge.

  4. Kinda off topic, but still on subject…..

    But why not allow school employees to carry Tasers?

    It’s better than nothing and would give them a 15 ft standoff range with the C2 model.

    Just wondering.

    • The idea behind a Taser is to cause TMI (total neuro-muscular incapacitation). Being hit with both probes feels like being electrocuted, and causes maximum contraction of skeletal muscles. This causes several tactical issues:

      1. The force if the muscular contractions can cause the probes to become dislodged, and therefore ineffective (like when I got shot).

      2. A person holding a firearm, who is shot by a Taser, will likely pull the trigger due to TMI.

      3. The C2, M26, and X26 are single shot, the X2 two, and the X3 holds three.
      The X2 and X3 (I believe) require flipping a switch to activate the additional shots.

      There are more, but you get the idea.

      • Still better than being unarmed no?

        I mean I would rather fire a taser and some fool than throw a book. And even after it’s fired it’s still an effective contact weapon.

        • Good points, however, I’d take my own gun(s) against an armed assailant any day. A Taser is the better choice against an unarmed and or uncooperative suspect as a last resort.

  5. well said… I always wonder about the sheeple that release their children into the world and expect other people to guarantee their safety, and they package them up all nice and neat for easy acquisition. Not that I am any better… Until high school, I was unsure what the security arrangements were for my children. At least from that point on, I was certain my children had armed protection while attending high school. I totally agree with Massad Ayoob. If you don’t want to home school your children, and thus do your duty and protect your own propagated DNA, then we all should at least look into the Israeli model of school protection.

    p.s. thank you for your service to our children.

  6. Growing up in Southeast Iowa in a farming community in the early 1960’s a “gun free zone” had no meaning to us. Our teacher, 9 – 12th grades, had a rifle in a large wooden stand-up gun case in the classroom which she used to shoot rabbits and squirrels on her way home at the end of the day. Also, once a month we were allowed to bring our guns to school, place them in the gun case, then we would have shooting safety and target practice/competition after school. All of the children from K-12 were taught gun safety and the proper usage by our teacher. Every student had to learn it without exception. We were told that if we didn’t like guns then we could decide not to use them after we graduated, but as long as we were in school we were required to learn how to hold them and use them safely.

    Today, if a teacher or child brings their gun to school they would be put in jail for several years. This is a very sad evolution to our nation’s laws and efforts to curb crime and mass killings.

  7. When you build a fence around something, a building say, you are building one of two things.
    1: a fence to keep a bad thing out or 2: a fence to keep bad a thing in.
    In the case of a prison, we attempt to distill the bad out of our society and concentrate them within a defensible perimeter of containment. Outside of that containment we should know that the bad still resides. Our laws prescribe a consequence for their violation but they are not really useful as a preventative measure. After a bad or evil act, we boil off the bad molecule and deposit in the prison container.
    We attempt to protect the wide open space of our country by this process, It is the best we can do. When we want to protect the precious, like banks and as in Brett’s essay about schools, we can see that we can put a fence around the building, higher security doors and cameras to warn us of a threat. Those security measures give the interior defenders time to prepare. Yes, if teachers and staff were armed it would be nearly impossible for a spree killer to exact the toll accomplished at Sandy Hook. It is strategic and tactical madness to not concentrate your security efforts on a small and precise perimeter with physical barriers and armed defenders. The problem is surgically addressed..
    No that is not strategy that our congress in Washington wishes to peruse. They are trying to surround the entire nation with a fence made of disarmament laws with no real protection of anything.
    In a truly free society we should only build fences around those that we know will do us harm and around those innocents that we wish to protect from evil doers who are unknown. Between those two fences is where freedom lives.
    A fence should only be a hindrance to the bad, whether it be a physical or legal one.

  8. Brett, as a fellow gun owner and elementary school teacher, I agree with many of your thoughts. Glad to see another fellow educator speaking out!

  9. I too am a gun owner and teacher here in Ct. I live @ 25 miles fro SH and though this was a great tragedy care must be taken to make sure students are educated in safety. I have extensive military background we do lock down drills several times a year and students are made aware of the issues. Gun grabbers will use anything that gives them leverage and will forget anything that doesn`t suit their cause………I believe teachers should have an opportunity to have gun classes upon request and educated in firearms. It won`t prevent the next shooting, but it would give teachers a better understanding of guns…..many teachers shy away from them because of the reputation attached to them.

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