At first, the likelihood of a teacher-militia seemed far-fetched, but educators are so exhausted and bereft that we’re starting to consider almost anything. I’m probably not the only teacher, after viewing images of Uvalde, to Google through tears, “How can I keep my classroom safe?” Now, I’m being targeted by digital advertisements urging me to “harden” it.
This rhetoric of “hardening” is an expression of America’s continued enthrallment to a John Wayne-style masculinity, the same attitude that undergirds the N.R.A.’s favorite maxim, “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
Fear renders us vulnerable to this rhetoric. The program FASTER Saves Lives, (an acronym for “Faculty & Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response”) is run by a pro-gun group called the Buckeye Firearms Foundation, and it offers free training “so schools are no longer ‘victim zones.’” …