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.