Arming teachers and students: a bad idea

I have one word for those who think that arming the average teacher or college student – or other law-abiding citizen – would lead to a safer society: Zimmerman.

As a volunteer neighborhood security patrol, George Zimmerman did not have professional law enforcement training. He may have been knowledgeable about the mechanics and safety aspects of gun usage. He may have been a good marksman. But what about the emotion and stress of encountering a stranger at night, one who appears or acts in a threatening manner? George Zimmerman was scared. Trayvon Martin, in Zimmerman’s view, acted as a threat. Martin is now dead. I have no doubt that Zimmerman strongly regrets his actions.

Background checks and instruction in safe gun handling should be required elements of a rational gun licensing program. But law-enforcement-level training in unexpected situational behavior is not practical on a wide scale, but is just as critical if increased gun ownership is expected to increase the safety of the public. Without that training, the opposite will be true, with many more “accidental” shootings of people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time, facing a scared citizen with a legal weapon and acting in some “official” capacity.

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