Teachers, parents and students opposed to the St. Helens School Board's decision to lift a gun ban in their district rallied outside the city's high school on Monday. (Shane Dixon Kavanaugh/The Oregonian)

“I wouldn’t expect a teacher to be prepared to use a gun for the same reason I wouldn’t expect a police officer to teach advanced chemistry.” – Sam Chapman quoted in Rattled St. Helens residents criticize school board’s lifting of gun ban [via oregonlive.com]

102 Responses to Quote of the Day: It’s Not Rocket Science Edition

    • Apparently, he thinks teachers are so irresponsible that those who are not prepared to use a gun are going to bring one anyway.

      • He also apparently thinks that teachers today are qualified to teach anything. As far as I can tell, kids today are getting pumped out of the school system knowing less and less than they did the year before.

  1. So police are the only ones that can use a tool of their trade? I guess I’ll tell my wife I can’t use a hammer because I’m not a builder/carpenter, and we can’t drive to work because were not bus drivers.

    • Funny how many of us are good at more than one thing. I happen to be able to teach any high school science course and still be decent at running and gunning… Funny that.

    • You’d be surprised how common that attitude tends to be. “We’ll just hire a man to do this task that looks somewhat difficult on its face but is actually stone simple when one sets upon it and which i could easily knock out in an afternoon had i the fortitude to get at it.”

    • I think they’d be rather surprised to see how easy it is to raise a pistol at a doorway when a madman is about to enter to take your life and then pull the trigger multiple times when on center mass. Survival is natural, what they preach is not natural. If they were in that situation they’d feel how unnatural it actually is, but they’re standing on the outside thinking it’s unnatural to engage in a James Bond type of gunfight. I don’t think teachers should go out as hunter-killers to neutralize any threat in the building, they would still shelter in place, but they wouldn’t be sitting ducks in their shelter. The fallacy used here is that teachers would replace police for all police duties, and that’s not the plan outlined by the NRA or by anyone else. Ignorance and emotion is their platform.

      I would really like to speak to some of those people face to face and have them explain to me how teachers are not intelligent enough or have enough training to raise a pistol at a doorway 10 feet away and pull the trigger.

      • They are obviously trying to come up with any reason to justify their unreasonable hoplophobia. Actually, I believe one of the basic definitions of any phobia is “an unreasonable fear of…” and so it CANNOT be justified.

        They are correct, however, that a cop should not be teaching advanced high school courses they are not trained for and high school teachers should not be expected to do what police officers do each and every day. However, the day to day actions of being a cop are often varied and complex. They train before doing it and they improve their skills further by doing it every day. It is an advanced skill set. Chemistry teachers (Breaking Bad, anyone) also have to know and practice and train on complex subjects and chemical interactions, AND how to teach those things to young minds full of mush.

        But, adding just the right amount of cream and/or sugar to your coffee is ALSO a chemical experiment, and we let cops do that every day. Cops often pour Liquid Plumber into their drains at home, without professional supervision. I suspect a lot of them add Ph adjusting chemicals to neutralize potent acids in their stomachs on a fairly regular basis. We do not expect them to have McGuiver’s knowledge of the rest of the possibilities. By the same token, taking out a pistol and shooting back at someone coming through the restricted doorway into your classroom is an extremely narrow and simple skill that almost anyone can learn and master in a very short amount of time – they DO NOT have to own the entire police officer skill set to get that one action right.

    • Every day we have police performing some chemistry to test a suspected drug. Every day we have school teachers preaching about why the weapons they know little about are bad. So what does expertise in chemistry or weapons have to do with the issue? Nada. Teaching as a profession is like Manhattan as a jurisdiction. They want a world completely safe in which to continue their scams. Teachers when on strike seem very capable of violence, and of harming the children until a pay raise is approved. Bankers don’t want guns in Manhattan, but are more than willing to nuke the entire country just to keep a leveraged securitization fraud going. “Where you stand depends on where you sit” …at the moment.

  2. Of course they wouldn’t be prepared if they haven’t trained…weekly training at the range should be mandatory!!!

      • I’m fine with mandatory training as a requirement for employment (or to take on certain responsibilities while on the job). That’s different than mandatory training to exercise a right as a private citizen.

        If you don’t want to take the training, you have the freedom of choice to not apply for that job.

        • How is it discrimination? Mandatory training is required to get a teaching certificate before you can become a teacher. Mandatory first aid/CPR training is required to become a lifeguard. Mandatory CDL training is required to become a bus driver. As long as the training is freely available, it’s not discrimination.

          You’re free to choose the profession that requires training that you’re willing to take. Or don’t, and work from home doing whatever you want.

          If you want to carry a gun on the job (or more specifically FOR your job), your employer sets the requirements to allow that to happen.

        • @mark Your natural right to self defense shouldn’t be contingent upon anything mandatory especially in a so called gun free zone. If the training is available, then great but it shouldn’t be a requirement.

        • Mark, what you seem to be glossing over is that the teachers aren’t being given the job of armed security.

        • @Gun_Chris Thanks, that’s what I am getting at. Your chosen profession should not require you to train outside of a job that specifically requires you to use a gun i.e. soldier, police officer, etc.

        • Their job as a teacher doesn’t require firearms training, but if they want to be armed while on-the-clock, it is their employer’s right to create the conditions for which that is acceptable. If an employer wants to allow anyone to carry with no training, I’m fine with that. If an employer wants to require weekly training, I’m fine with that, too.

          If the teacher is not fine with that, they can either not accept the responsibility of carrying a gun on school property, quit (and carry a gun while they look for another job), or try to convince their employer to change the requirements.

          Schools are tricky, because they can be considered public property, but I’m approaching this as a private property rights issue.

          Your rights as a citizen CAN be voluntarily given up if you CHOOSE to accept the conditions. I’m not allowed to discuss confidential projects with anyone outside my company, but I’m not claiming that my First Amendment rights are being violated, because if I want to reveal these projects, all I have to do is not work here anymore. Your argument is about WANTS, which are not covered in the Constitution.

        • To add a bit (couldn’t edit that last comment for some reason):

          I don’t necessarily think the public school should be able to dictate what a non-employee can do while they are in a place that non-employees are allowed to be. If parents have CCW’s they should be allowed to carry on site.

          Also, I don’t agree with 1000′ radius gun free zones, as that may overlap property that doesn’t belong to the school, and thus they should have no right to dictate what can/can’t be done on that property.

        • While I am a strictly “Constitutional Carry” guy, I have to agree that an employer has the right to set employee qualifications including being qualified to carry a weapon in their workplace. If they want to take the risk, and their employees are willing to accept the risk, of making their location a Gun-free/Target Rich zone, that is up to all of the people involved and is a free association outside of the 2A, since you do NOT have to go there.

          That said, I think it makes much more sense as a security measure to demand a premises be “Gun Free” except if you have a CCW permit AND qualify according to your employer’s standards. If this includes weekly or monthly continuing education, I would choose that over being unarmed and unemployed.

          Several years ago I worked in an eight story building prominently signed at the entrance “No firearms of any description are allowed on these premises!” It pissed me off and even made me a little nervous, but I was married, kid, mortgaged and $40k a year was too good to walk away from. If they had told me, “With a Washington state CPL and a Defensive Pistol Use certificate from the Firearms Academy of Seattle you can carry your pistol at work,” I would have JUMPED at that AND paid for the course myself. They had set the other professional standards I had to meet in order to perform the job they hired me for, why should they not have the right to set that standard as well?

    • Weekly range training would exceed the requirements for most police 52 times over (once a year vs once a week) and the military requirement for firearms proficiency by a similar number. First, understand how little the police and military train with firearms, then understand that their training with them is minimal because the deployment and use of a firearm is a relatively simple task.

      Most IPSC and IDPA competitors don’t shoot weekly either except perhaps at the highest levels of competition. Are we attempting to train auxiliary personnel to react effectively to the off chance that they are needed as armed security or to create HSLD operators capable of reacting to any threat, real or perceived that could possibly ever be encountered?

      I submit that with 4 hours a week of dedicated, focused training, replicated over the course of a single year, you could turn out a better trained force than any SWAT team and most if not all non special forces military personnel for responding to an armed threat. Furthermore, given that we want them to respond to that threat under very limited circumstances, by week 15 or 20 we could have them doing force on force training in the actual structure where they work. By week 30 or 40 these would be such highly trained personnel that with sufficient ammunition and arms, and given that the full staff of the school were so trained, they could handily repulse most light infantry units in the world consisting of less than 100 fighting personnel.

      Given the long careers of many teachers, and given that we advanced their training curriculum based on their competence with the previous training, by year 5 they would in fact be a light infantry/special operation force to be reckoned with the world over within the scope of defending their specific building. GSG and Spetznas would be afraid to attempt to enter their school with less than a company unless they could prep it with artillery and/or an airstrike.

      So lets be serious, 8-16 hours of initial training and perhaps 4 hours twice a year to practice and qualify should be plenty to develop and maintain the needed skills.

  3. Why not? Is the only activity in the teachers life, teaching? The teacher is expected to do all the other necessities of life, managing their finances, maintaining their household, negotiating traffic, interacting with their social circle, being an active member of their community.

    If all a teacher can do is teach, then maybe you got an idiot savant on your staff.

  4. Guns are SOOOO easy to use that any child can pick one up and instantly become the bringer of death for 1,000’s of people… but we don’t want teachers to have guns because it’s so difficult to use them.

    • Teachers don’t like to talk about that topic lest we find out the kids actually run the show. Yes, the kids usually are smarter than the teachers. Good teachers are rare, most are just going through the motions for 40 years after they get tenure.

  5. better yet, let’s rearrange all of the chairs in the classroom and put these idiots kids closest to the door . . . . I mean, if it is no big deal, what is the issue?

    • Not to brag, but then yes.
      I would hope that we all have more than one talent but…
      RV: with electrical (120AC, 12VDC), Hydraulics, refrigeration, LP Gas, Water pumps, slide outs, AC, furnace
      House: Complete rewire, from service entrance to outlets, windows, roofing, residing, soffits, Bathroom currently down to studs, Pb, electrical, drywall, tiling, tub, furnace B-vent, flooring,
      Car: Brakes, differential, replacement, exhaust work, tune ups etc.
      Job: Computer data analyst and GIS
      Edu: BS Economics, with study of Comp Sci, Art history, Physics, Geology, Photography
      Parent: Raised two college degreed children

      Guns: rifle, pistol, DB Shotgun, BB gun.(love my XD40)

      WE ARE ALL NOT ONE DIMENSIONAL!
      Although I do only have one arm.

      Reason for post,
      I see the same talents in my son, a High School History teacher who shoots better than I do but can’t even have his gun out in the parking lot.

  6. To me that’s like saying “I wouldn’t expect a teacher to be prepared to use a gun any more than I’d expect a teacher to be prepared to use a fire extinguisher.”

    Balderdash.

  7. Isn’t the whole point of “education” to learn?! This person is saying that a teacher lacks the ability to learn? Nice. I don’t think I want that teacher teaching my kids.

  8. It’s very Orwellian… you have your defined role, you do your defined role then you go to sleep, wake up, do your defined role, lather, rinse, repeat.

  9. If a police officer knew advanced chemistry, there’s no reason he couldn’t teach it, just like if a teacher is responsible and good with a gun, there’s no reason they shouldn’t use it to defend others.

    • This. I mean, isn’t the whole point of his profession to give others the knowledge that he has? The supposition on his part that a cop couldn’t learn chemistry is ridiculous. And, I mean, probably true. But still ridiculous.

    • I would trust just about any street cop’s knowledge of advanced chemistry before I trusted their knowledge of firearms, on the spot.

    • Indeed. I’d have no problem teaching advanced chemistry at the high school level, hunting deer, using a fire extinguisher or arresting a drunk driver. The most interesting people I know in this world have training in multiple area of life.

      (I do not know the Dos Equis “Most interesting man in the world” guy, but I bet I could drink that olde dude under the table. )

  10. A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

    -Robert A. Heinlein

  11. Which streets were they trolling for these drones? It looks like the residents should be boiling the tap water a bit more often……

  12. As a certified teacher in three states, of kids from 5th grade through college, police officers, lawyers and judges; who has also held an NRA personal protection and gun safety instructor certification since 1991. I can only reply to Mr. Chapman: ‘HUH?”

  13. I find it disturbing that the public seems to perceive the use of guns as a primary, really the primary job function of a police officer. Law enforcement is a minefield of protocols, procedures, legalities, psychology, forensics, etc. Most of a lawman’s job-related expertise must necessarily lie outside the realm of firearm combat by the routine nature of day-to-day operations.

  14. High School “advanced” chemistry is not very advanced. Most cops have College level educations and very well could teach high school level advanced chemistry. Its not as if high schools teachers are doing so great a job of it in most cases.

  15. Is every teacher teaching Advanced Chemistry? Is that the expectation? I sure there are police officers who could. I do know many gun toting Marines and Soldiers who could (and often do) teach American and European History, Political Science, and even Advanced Chemistry, Physics, or Biology. That kind of statement obviously didn’t come from someone who teaches logic as part your standard mathematics curriculum or philosophy studies. That quote is just inane, disrespectful, and unjustified.

  16. Because you know, teachers teach people, that’s their job.

    And you know, cops shoot people, that’s their job.

    Err, wait a minute ….

  17. “A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.” — Robert Heinlein

  18. Teaching chemistry (well) involves mastery. Picking up a gun and doing a yeoman’s job of delaying or neutralizing a threat-either through violence, the threat of violence, or just being a bigger speedbump to let more kids escape, is no more difficult that playing pick-up basketball.

    • Yeah, hey Rahm, hows that Safe Passage thing working out? Play any pick up basketball at 11 at the corner park lately?

  19. I suppose they would object to a teacher performing first aid on their child as well, since they are not a doctor.
    Better to let them bleed or go into shock from a bee sting while waiting for a professional to arrive.

  20. OK, I’m a teacher, I do teach advanced chemistry and I am prepared to use a gun.

    Maybe Mr. Chapman should realize that some teachers do know more than one thing.

    • It’s a simultaneous insult to both cops and teachers. The irony is that the statement was meant to be witty, but reveals ignorance.

      • Actually, the statement reveals quite a lot about the educational bureaucracy in this country.

        Educrats are obsessed with credentials, not knowledge. People in education and academia are positively obsessed with credentials. People with PhD’s in a subject are considered to be “experts,” despite a complete lack of any real-world experience in their subject area, or anything else for that matter.

        I’ve learned and forgotten more mathematics than most any high school teacher will ever know, have tutored all manner of kids in advanced math… but because I don’t have a teaching credential, I’m not competent to teach math. Never mind that most teachers are “scared” of math and are utterly incompetent in the subject, never mind teaching the subject. They have a credential, I don’t, and that means that they’re the person allowed to teach.

  21. What if it’s a Narc Squad officer? I bet their chemistry knowledge would put most high school teachers to shame.

  22. Right, so dying, cowering before a threat, is better than the potential for successful defense?

    I guess I’ll just let my house burn down because I’m not a firefighter and am not trained in the skillful use of a fire extinguisher.

  23. It’s worth repeating that nobody’s asking teachers to go head-to-head against a professional fighting man. In fact I have yet to find a school shooting where the assailant fits that description, either currently or formerly. Most often, they are current or recent students, disaffected youths with little to no training.

  24. You trust a teacher to go through years of education and then place a children’s life in his or her hands. But you won’t trust them to go to 3-6 months of weapons training for the same reason?

    • Between 20% and a third of public high school teachers are teaching at least one course whose subject in which they do not have either an undergraduate major or even a minor; especially in mathematics classes. If her hypothetical advanced chemistry teacher can manage to teach, well, advanced chemistry, then maybe such things aren’t so tricky after all and they can readily pick up rudimentary firearms proficiency.

  25. They seem to be laboring under the delusion that police officers are experts at firearm use. Shooting a 2 foot wide target at 20 feet and being given ten rounds to do it with doesn’t exactly show any expertise with firearms. Don’t get me wrong. Former military and those who pursue firearms outside of their work have experience and knowledge…but most cops are not great with firearms. I’m a bean counter for a career and I’m better with firearms than some police officers…and a police officer is the one who told me this.

  26. I know it’s not specifically about teachers, but this quote by Roosevelt somehow came to mind…

    “The great body of our citizens shoot less as times goes on. We should encourage rifle practice among schoolboys, and indeed among all classes, as well as in the military services by every means in our power. Thus, and not otherwise, may we be able to assist in preserving peace in the world… The first step – in the direction of preparation to avert war if possible, and to be fit for war if it should come – is to teach men to shoot!”

    And I was a damn fine chemistry tutor once upon a time. I was told that I was better than the regular teacher.

  27. Considering that the overwhelming number of DGU’s don’t even entail an actual discharge of the self defense firearm, the question becomes less “Can you operate the firearm?” and more of just “Can you hold up a firearm?” Hell, many DGU’s go no further than blading up and staring down the oncoming ne’er-do-well. And that doesn’t even count the encounters that never even take place due to deterrence.

    Of course, one shouldn’t carry unless one has at least a modicum of proficiency. Still, the idea that only Seal Team Six is competent to rock a Glock and the rest of us are utter simpletons incapable of effectively deploying a sidearm is absurd in the extreme.

    • You know, any other day of the week (especially if that day is during collective bargaining negotiations), these oh so put upon public school teachers brag/whine about how they have to wear soooo many hats in their jobs. They’re not just teachers, their job means they’re also de facto counselors, mediators, project managers, actors, bailiffs, I.T. managers, detectives, coaches, you name it.

      Yet, all of a sudden, when it comes to some teachers possibly volunteering for additional training to serve as a potential life saving, last line of defense, then oh….my…….God! All of a sudden the hue and cry is “Damn it, Jim! I’m a teacher, not a spec op!!”

      • So you are saying an institution based on seniority rather than merit has in it a majority of people who are afraid to take responsibility for themselves and are threatened by their peers who are willing to?

  28. Another jackass who hates gun culture so much that dead children in schools are preferable to live ammo. Fvck him and the horse he rode in under.

  29. This type of thinking shouldnt be a surprise to anyone who knows the truth about the average educator of recent years. I personally know of two acquaintances who nearly failed math and science (intro college courses mind you, not anything advanced) who are now teaching high school chemistry and middle school algebra. No longer are the people who are knowledgeable and passionate about teaching others becoming educators, its the people who are mediocre students who dont see themselves as a worker bee in a cubicle. I actually worry that the vast majority of teachers from recent years ARENT smart enough to properly carry and/or use a gun.

  30. Maybe I missed the news that day, but when was the last time someone was killed because he didn’t have a chemistry textbook?

  31. In my high school, we had a math teacher who was a state marine/highway cop.

    He taught pre-calc and calc.

  32. I don’t expect every high school teacher to carry a gun. I do expect that those who are willing and able be allowed to carry and protect themselves and those around them.

    Public safety doesn’t rely on everyone being armed. It relies on enough people being armed that there is a general expectation that someone might be in any place where a reasonable number of people are gathered.

  33. So, does this mean that since I have worked in LE and currently
    teach AP Physics I would be okay? Or does it have to be
    Advanced Chemistry?

    I’d like to find out Mr. Chapman is qualified for either teaching or
    carrying a firearm. Something tells me no.

  34. Just look at the people in the picture. Every one of them is a Low Information Voter. You can see the ignorance in their faces and the way they’re dressed. They get ALL of their information and ALL of their opinions from main-stream TV.

  35. Whats wrong with a revolver in a safe that a few trained and willing school officials can get to if there is a problem?

  36. This teacher just needs to understand that some of the very people he is teaching will some day be the ones that join the police force or military or worse they maybe the one that comes to school with a gun to kill him and the other children. Education is the best answer.

  37. I would probably have a lot of difficulty teaching advanced chemistry. But I have the ability and knowledge of when to use a fire extinguisher that depends on that chemistry.

    Guns are not the difficult part of being a police officer. By the time you’re at the level of using a gun, things actually start getting simpler (is this guy a threat to someone’s life?), though not necessarily ‘easier.’ It’s the legal issues, paperwork, investigation, communicating, and politics that’ll get you first.

  38. ” I wouldn’t expect a teacher to be prepared to use a gun for the same reason I wouldn’t expect a police officer to teach advanced chemistry.”

    ?? I don’t get it. So a teacher can’t learn to use a gun and a police officer can’t learn chemistry? I think we should call this the “can’t learn anything” argument.

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