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 "Students in the halls of Clarksville High School. Sixteen district staff members, including a janitor, carry guns." (courtesy

TTAG gets dozens of emails a day directing us to news stories about guns. (Thank you.) In most cases, we get links to anti-gun diatribes and heavily slanted news reports. Sometimes the polemics and “new stories” are so contemptuous of gun rights you can here distant echoes of the Nazis’ pre-war propaganda. Sometimes the bias is subtle; such as a willful reluctance to examine the antis’ stats with anything approaching scientific rigor. And sometimes the reporters are just plain ignorant. AR-15 shotgun anyone? Occasionally we get links to stories where readers were surprised and delighted to discover than a normally gun rights-antagonistic press gets it right. This is one of those cases. Well, almost . . .

The slim, black 9-millimeter handguns that the school superintendent David Hopkins selected for his teachers here weigh about a pound and slip easily into a pocket. Sixteen people, including the janitor and a kindergarten teacher, wear them to school every day.

Although state law prohibits guns on campus, Mr. Hopkins found a way around it.

Like rural educators who are quietly doing the same thing in a handful of other states, Mr. Hopkins has formulated a security plan that relies on a patchwork of concealed-weapons laws, special law enforcement regulations and local school board policies to arm teachers.

Without money to hire security guards for the five schools he oversees, giving teachers nearly 60 hours of training and their own guns seemed like the only reasonable, economical way to protect the 2,500 public school students in this small town in the Ozark foothills.

“Realistically, when you look at a person coming to your door right there with a firearm, you’ve got to have a plan,” Mr. Hopkins said. “If you have a better one, tell me.”

Fair enough, I say. New York Times scribe Kim Severson’s article Guns at School? goes on to give a factual report on the efforts of schools around the country to arm their teachers and administrators  to cope with an active shooter scenario; including the not-so-surprising surprising fact that plenty of teachers in plenty of places have been carrying a gun at work for years.

There’s no mention of any parent, teacher or school-official-related negligent discharge, brandishing charge, stolen gun report or teacher-going-psycho in Severson’s piece because . . . there hasn’t been one. Not that I know of, and I blog seven days a week and have thousands of eyes and ears (as above).

So we get a highly informative, well-balanced, non-hysterical story about guns in schools. I was just about to shout huzzah when . . .

“The idea that a single relatively untrained teacher is going to bring this person who is heavily armed down is a stretch,” said Mark Glaze, the director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns. “The idea is to keep the guns from the hands of the shooter.”

Those who have spent their lives in the classroom have similar concerns.

“No teacher that I know of could ever receive enough training,” said Steve Gunter, a retired history teacher in Bentonville, Ark.

“If I had a gun in my room with some of these students where I taught? They’d get it from me and shoot me,” he said. “They’d say, ‘Mr. Gunter, you gave me an F? Here’s your F.’ ”

The anti-gun bile tacked onto the end of this otherwise stellar report is straight out of journalism 101: How to Hide Your Bias from Your Readers Without Really Trying. Let the side you favor have the last word, as that’s what readers are most likely to remember. Whether the last four paragraphs were added at the behest of Severson’s editors or the writer doesn’t matter. It’s perfectly shameful shading.

It’s also a perfect example of how all the logic and reason in the world cannot defeat the civilian disarmament complex. As long as they get to wave the bloody shirt—a ridiculous entirely make-believe shirt in this case—gun rights advocates will be wrong-footed. Again, I reckon we need to be more vivid, direct and emotional in our defense of gun rights. Except for this article, of course.

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    • Calling the NYT a “asshat rag” is degrading insult to asshat rag’s everywhere. Please be more careful in the future.

  1. Let’s see. I know teachers who have military experience in combat arms. I find it interesting that according to MAIG that once they take off their uniform they become untrained.

    • “No teacher that I know of could ever receive enough training.” So what does that say about the police–or is training more effective for LEO and a waste of time for everyone else? Logic, anyone? And what does this say about his qualifications to teach history? Doesn’t seem to know the subject all that well.

      And the MAG guy–why the assumption that the intruder will be “heavily armed?” And what difference does it make? Last I knew, you can only shoot one (maybe two) guns at a time. And a nine millimeter to the noggin, or a couple center mass, will stop an intruder, no matter how “heavily armed.”

  2. MAIG has a vested interestin seeing bloody school massacres. Why would a journalist interested in unbiased reporting even talk to them?

  3. The victimhood mentality inherently assumes that said individual is untrained in firearm use, so projection assumes everyone is therefore too untrained to operate a firearm.

    In fact, there are teachers who can out shoot police officers.

  4. MAIG probably considers police to have “enough training.” What they leave out is how little training that is. An avid recreational shooter could easily shoot more in a year than an NYPD cop shoots in a decade. A serious competitor could easily shoot a career’s worth.

    Just because they don’t the Government Seal of Approval doesn’t mean they can’t shoot.

    • Agreed. Firearms training is expensive. Most police departments have to train a lot of officers, and they often make compromises on where they spend their dollars. Many police departments are more motivated to investigate and convict than protect and serve. Training dollars tend to go to training them for their perceived primary mission — taking reports, investigating crime, and getting a conviction. The police officers with the best firearms skills are typically the officers who self-train. Funny, but I know far more about firearms, tactics, and the laws governing its usage in self defense today than I knew as a LEO two decades ago. I make a heck of a lot more money today as a Software Architect than I had working for the government, and as you can imagine, I have a great deal more time and money today to spend on self-training. Admittedly, I am much more motivated today than back then. Today, I find self-training an incredibly fun hobby, a great way to exercise and socialize with like minded folk, a way to help reduce legal costs should I need to defend myself, and unlike my early 20’s before I found out that I was mortal, I find that self-training is essential to staying alive in a potentially bad situation.

  5. “No teacher that I know of could ever receive enough training,” said Steve Gunter, a retired history teacher in Bentonville, Ark.

    So teachers think so lowly of their profession that they think teachers are too dumb to learn. Anyone too dumb to learn how to safely use a gun is someone too dumb to be teaching children.

    • Not to mention, a lot of them have 3 months per year out of the classroom. Seems like they’d have more time for training than most of us.

    • I read serious posts by one teacher after Newtown last year where she stated she would refuse to learn how to use a fire extinguisher because that’s not what her job is! Her ONLY job in a fire is to get kids out of the room, with no consideration to other potential tools/solutions to a given problem…

      Same mentality as our worthy Mr. Gunter…

  6. “No teacher that I know of could ever receive enough training,” said Steve Gunter, a retired history teacher in Bentonville, Ark.

    “If I had a gun in my room with some of these students where I taught? They’d get it from me and shoot me,” he said. “They’d say, ‘Mr. Gunter, you gave me an F? Here’s your F.’ ”

    I’m really sorry you’re a wuss.

    • Bentonville, AR is still fairly small-town. It’s growing due to Wally-World wanting offices for the companies they talked into moving production to China, and do business with, at their beck and call.

      Population of Bentonville, AR in 2011 was about 36K. Since this retired teacher doesn’t mention where he retired from, it is assumed Bentonville. I do not hear anything really about school violence at all in the local news for North West Arkansas (where Bentonville is.) This teacher has got to be a paranoid hoplophobe, OR was so hard on his classes that he’s afraid of retaliation.

      • Most authoritarians *are* affraid of retaliation because they know it would be just.

        Not saying that giving a deserved F is authoritatian… Just saying hoplophobes in general are authoritarians.

    • I bet they were taking the pencils out of your desk, Mr. Gunter, and stabbing you with them almost everyday.

      What about the sharp scissors that every student had easy access to in your desk? Did they cut you to shreds?

      And the books in their bookbags, I wonder how many times you and every other teacher were getting slammed in the face with a big book or dictionary?

      So much danger lurking everywhere, everyday. How can we live according to the logic of ignorant fools?

  7. Sure, teachers are capable of defending themselves and their students — just as long as there’s time for a grade level team meeting and a consultation with the Principal and union rep.

  8. “The idea that a single relatively untrained teacher is going to bring this person who is heavily armed down is a stretch,”

    “The idea that a single totally unarmed teacher is going to convince this person who is heavily armed to stop shooting is a stretch.” There, fixed it.

  9. We couldn’t expect anything less from the NY Has No Times to tell the truth now could we.
    As RF points out.
    The Times would never print a good story without the bullshit ending.

  10. Funny the NYT didn’t seek the opinion of the NRA. They have far more experience with firearms than the hoplophobic MAIG. The NYT are all “Oooh get it away from me”. They sound like teenage girls.

  11. So, the enemy of the good, is the perfect.
    Since we don’t have a SEAL Team 6 member in every class room in the country, then we should then do nothing.
    It is a logical fallacy:
    Principium tertii exclusi (law of excluded middle) that for any proposition, either that proposition is true, or its negation is true, no middle ground.
    Par for course for the agenda driven NYT.

  12. I resent the majority of police officers gun-handling skills being equated with NYPD (and even among them there are exceptions, like Jim Cirillo)….

  13. The point about the student taking the gun is a legitimate concern. If the students know every teacher is carrying, you will then know who to bash over the head to snag a weapon. There are plenty of opportunities for a teacher to catch a textbook to the noodle. I would be interested in how they would be trained to handle that situation. On the flip-side, what if a teacher shoots a student who is attempting to take the gun away?

    • Randall:
      It’s call “concealed carry” & the object of the exercise is so the bad guys do not know who is carrying & who is not. So the teachers who choose not to carry get some of the benefits of those that do. Besides, I have seen nowhere contemplating arming all teachers. Typically it’s somewhere between 25% to 10% of the teachers that volunteer to do so. No one is required to carry if they do not want to & then only after a fair amount of training.

    • While I suspect you’re trolling, I’ll take a swing: Give me one example, Randall, of a school aged person who has ambushed a police officer for the purpose of obtaining his weapons, just one. Everyone knows they have guns and know just who to hit over the head to get them. What you’re suggesting is so absurd and furthermore unheard of as to be a waste of breath arguing over. The one-in-a-trillion chance of this occurring doesn’t inform us in any way what the relative value of arming teacher might be.

      • I am not trolling. The guy above just mentioned that not all teachers would be armed, so you won’t exactly know your target. I have seen gangs of kids attack students and teachers in my high school. We had a full out riot where adult family members showed up at the school to join the fight. So a student attacking a teacher and taking their gun could happen where I came from. You can’t plug your ears and ignore the possibility.

        • Thanks for your input.
          Like nearly everything else, we must consider individual scenarios on their own merits. While your school has had violence issues between students and teachers, very few (relatively speaking) others do; we should not prohibit everyone from the right to carry because in some situations it is not the best option.
          Perhaps a violent school would benefit from a large number of armed teachers, just as a crime-ridden neighborhood tends to benefit from having a cop on every corner.
          On a different note, concealed should mean concealed; if I can spend an evening (or several dozen) with my girlfriend without her realizing that I’m carrying, surely a teacher can keep it quiet from their students.

        • I can plug my ears and ignore sheer ignorance. In fact, I make a habit of it. I asked for an example of a student attacking a police officer for the purpose of obtaining their weapons and you offer a general melee that I doubt resulted in any serious injury, and which wasn’t focused upon weapon acquisition.

          What you offer is simply an example of why teachers ought to be allowed to go armed; they could be attacked by students and or parents.

          On the disarming issue: I seriously doubt that arming teachers make them more likely to be attacked. In fact, not knowing if a particular teacher was armed or if other teachers who are armed might come to their aid, I’m going to go with the thugs and moronic parents surrounding your school will cool their passions rather than attacking teachers.

          Frankly anyone who doesn’t, student or parent, is open season under the law anyway. Someone attacking another for the purpose of obtaining their deadly weapon with which to commit homicide presents themselves as a victim of justifiable homicide.

          You have yet to offer any reason why teachers ought not be armed, but you’ve managed to provide a few more reasons why they ought to be.

          Are you a high school student yourself?

  14. There is an additional fallacy (and possibly many more) in the screed above that hasn’t been pointed out yet. How can it be that the teacher with inadequate training is worse off than the shooter, who presumably isn’t a police officer, and thus in by their own logic is also inadequately trained?

    Further, this is all smoke and mirrors to cover the obvious conclusion that teacher(s) with some training and some guns have a far better chance against a mass shooter, regardless of his training or armament, than teacher(s) with no guns and no training.

    It also completely ignores the deterrent effect of concealed carry in general: When you don’t know who might be armed where and when, then the only reasonable assumption is that someone is armed everywhere always. This tends to have a damping effect on various sorts of crime and criminals.

    We’ve already seen that mass shooters prefer gun free zones, and that most are not stopped until they encounter armed opposition. We know that schools are popular targets for mass shootings. Ergo, schools need to be capable of immediate armed resistance.

    We protect banks, armored cars and other money storage and transit venues with armed guards but balk at protecting children with the same vigor? That is a hideously evil situation that requires immediate remedy, and anyone advocating against it deserves whatever demonizing vitriol one might heap upon them. Obvious ‘anyone who doesn’t want teachers to be armed wants children to be murdered’ is the distilled emotional arguing point.

    As for this nonsense about teachers going postal on their students, a teacher so inclined could easily bring a gun in violation of the GFZ with which to perpetrate such a crime just as any 3rd party mass shooter could, it’s absurd to suggest that by already being armed the risk of a professional educator suddenly deciding to commit murder goes up.

    To students taking guns away from teachers: Never minding my contention that a teacher ought to be armed not only with a pistol but also Taser, baton and OC spray in any class room where it seems likely that students may attempt to physically over power and obtain firearms from their teacher.
    This is absurd on its face. First, with concealed carry it seems unlikely the student(s) would know which teacher to attack for the purpose of obtaining firearms. . . wait. . . this one is just so absurd I can’t keep a straight face while attempting to explain how absurd it is. Anyone who legitimately fears this scenario is both a fool and a coward, and anyone who espouses it without believing it is a liar and a fraud. It’s not necessary to respond seriously to something this ridiculous.

    Forget the logic and reason. . .I’m going to go with “If you don’t want teachers to be armed you want children to be murdered” and just yell it louder and more often than the fools shout whatever imbecilic objection they have to the most elegant solution for the problem of school security. Then we’ll hope those on the sidelines go decide that since they don’t want children to be murdered they must want teachers to be armed. That’s how it works in the US these days, right?

  15. “If I had a gun in my room with some of these students where I taught? They’d get it from me and shoot me,” he said.

    If his students really wanted to murder him, why haven’t they stabbed him or made him fall from a tall height? They’re around knives in the kitchen every night, but a gun within arms reach would enable them to act upon the murderous rage they’re just barely holding in? Who is this guy to accuse us of being paranoid and misanthropic?

  16. Walther PPS. Nice choice. Still, why issue a standard firearm, especially one that costs $500+? Does the school have an armourer?

  17. These dumbshits act like they will be exempted somehow if they are unarmed. These chickenshit mass shooters arent exactly SWAT officers or ‘Operators’… You either:
    A) Have a gun, 60 hours of training and a fighting chance
    B) A Cell phone, a 10 minute wait and allot of crying and praying before you die anyway… unarmed.

  18. I’m a cardiologist, parent, , CCH, and NRA member.

    Few people can doubt the success of the American Heart Association training first responders to perform CPR or to use an AED to save a life. I have myself done CPR and mouth to mouth outside hospital – strangely no one asked to see my BLS card, ACLS card, or board certifications.

    Where is there another right now better model or option than trained armed first responders in gun free zones – given that herding sheep to the pens day after day and expecting a long term different outcome is an answer no sane person can find acceptable?

    When government takes a Right back from The People – with the pretext of increasing safety – yet demonstrably failing repetively – how can such action be justified?

    I’m left to wonder what schools have been following an armed first responder program and how can their model(s) be spread? Is indeed the NRA pursuing such a training model to offer beyond the basic firearms course? Why not have the NRA really lead on this issue?

    Truely then can we say – this model has this deterrent and success factor for this capital outlay…

  19. QUOTE: [“If I had a gun in my room with some of these students where I taught? They’d get it from me and shoot me,” he said. “They’d say, ‘Mr. Gunter, you gave me an F? Here’s your F.’ ”}

    Sounds like a terrible teacher to me. If any of my students ever fail a test / project and receive a bad grade, they know perfectly well the reason why they got that mark. They might be unhappy about it, but I’m confident enough in the positive relationships that I’ve built with my kids that nobody would ever kill me over a bad grade… in fact, 9 out of 10 my students, kids from “the ghetto”, would be motivated to work harder (I allow all my students to re-take any failed test within a week).

    But on the topic of this school district buying guns AND training their staff – bravo! I hope the program is an outstanding success.

  20. Do you really care about the children? Maybe you should take some course on your own? Pistols, Batons, even assault ink pens (They make some nifty ones with Titanium cores that take a licking and can still write) Improvise, adapt, well you get the picture.

  21. I have a master’s degree in history, and I teach high school social studies. I also am an NRA certified firearm instructor, chief range safety officer, and CHL instructor. On top of that I compete in 3 gun and trap and skeet. I have competed against LEOs at many 3 gun events and beat them in the rankings. Having a college education and being proficient in firearms are not mutually exclusive. However, being anti gun and being able to think objectively without projecting your own shortcomings on others apparently is.


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