Arming teachers?

It may be that President Trump’s plan for keeping American students safe from gunmen is the right one, or at least the only immediately realistic one. Armed teachers and armed guards in schools is a scary thought from this distance but has anyone else got a better answer?

Trump possibly shares his fellow countrymen’s possessive attitude to guns. But even if he is against guns he would not be silly enough to consider disarmament a realistic option.

Yes, regulations about buying guns could be toughened up but not all mass killers have criminal records. And how exactly would mental health records be made available? Never mind the threat posed by people with anti-social personalities, which some authorities consider to be a mental disorder. I do not share that view.

In any case, violent, anti social personality traits seem to be widespread in certain parts of America. But even for many of the National Rifle Association’s membership there will be those   who are not in the least violent yet believe owning a gun is a legitimate and necessary right. And sadly it is becoming increasingly evident that for Americans the sense of security gained from having a gun handy is easy to understand.

But the views of pro and anti gun lobbies may already be irrelevant.  Even in the unlikely event of the Democrats and Republicans agreeing to strict gun regulations with sufficient teeth to make a difference how would it be enforced? There are already groups who see themselves as the last of the ‘real American’ pioneers. These extremists would jump for joy at the opportunity to become freedom fighters.  It seems to me that guerrilla warfare in America is a simmering threat that authorities are well aware of.

The challenge of changing attitudes to guns is daunting. Look how difficult it has been trying to change attitudes to homosexuality. We are not even there yet with sexism. However, I believe there is a possibility of enlightenment on the distant horizon but it will come from small communities grieving the mass killing of their children. In those circumstances it could be realistic for small communities to ban guns within their boundaries or regulate them so strictly that people feel safe without them.

It only takes one such community to make others consider the notion. Perhaps we in our small country could also consider that option before it is too late.

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Chris Horan

Chris is a former social worker, probation officer and Family Court counsellor, living in Hawea in the South Island.