I’ve been pretty silent when it comes to the gun debate raging across the land.
There are two primary reasons for this.
First, I don’t own a firearm and have not pulled the trigger on anything more powerful than a BB gun in over 30 years. And that was just squirrel hunting with some friends in the woods of northern Platte County with an old .410 shotgun my grandpa gave me. Second, I can honestly say that I have never felt as if I needed a gun. Call me lucky.
At any rate, I’m certainly not very educated when it comes to guns nor am I passionate about owning one, so my viewpoint is no doubt one-sided.
This has allowed me to view a lot of the gun rhetoric I hear — from those both in favor of gun control and those opposed to it — in much the same way that I view abortion rhetoric. That is, it’s a highly-divisive subject that I’m probably not going to change anyone’s mind about.
Throw in the fact that much of what I hear is just plain silly, and it makes it easy for me to leave the gun discussion to others.
For instance, there are some folks who believe that President Barack Obama (and every president preceding him that has ever uttered the words “gun control,” including GOP hero Ronald Reagan, who backed the 1994 ban of assault weapons that Congress allowed to expire in 2004) wants to knock down doors of hunters nationwide and take their deer rifles.
And then there are folks who say that because the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution states, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed,” that Americans are guaranteed by law the right to own weapons whose only purpose is to kill other living things at a high rate of speed.
That’s silly, too.
And what of those who say we should ban guns, period, of all kinds. That would only make sense if there weren’t bad guys with guns out there — and we know that’s never going to be the case — so that is sillier still.
So, in the wake of the horrific school shooting in Newtown, Conn., when I first heard a few months ago that some gun rights advocates were suggesting that we arm our teachers, my first reaction was... that’s silly.
The answer to gun violence is more guns? In classrooms, which are one of the last true “gun-free zones?” Teachers with a .357 Magnum in a shoulder holster while they are scribbling the day’s spelling words on a first-grade classroom blackboard? That would never happen, right?
It may still be silly, but it’s now law, at least in South Dakota, where Gov. Dennis Daugaard last week signed a bill allowing the state’s school districts to arm teachers and other personnel with guns.
According to the story by the Associated Press, the new law will go into effect July 1, despite opposition from several representatives of state school boards, administrators and teachers who said “… the measure could make schools more dangerous, lead to accidental shootings and put guns in the hands of people who are not adequately trained to shoot in emergency situations.”
Sounds like common sense to me.
Not to be deterred, South Dakota State Rep. Scott Craig, a Republican, rebuked the voices of sanity and sponsored the bill. Scott defiantly said he has received messages from a “growing number of school board members and administrators” who back it.
This next excerpt from the story is important, at least I thought so: “Craig also said rural districts do not have the money to hire full-time law officers, so they are interested in arming teachers or volunteers.”
Hiring full-time officers is one thing — many, many school districts employ former and current policemen as school resource officers. These folks are trained how to use firearms, both in practical and crisis situations. Many have had to use their firearms in dangerous situations.
My guess is that the majority of public school teachers have not had to fire a gun in a crisis situation. And I don’t care how many lessons one takes at the firing range or sits through in a classroom, that’s not the same as drawing your weapon on an armed intruder and shooting that person before the intruder shoots you or others.
And aside from all that, do we really want our elementary students in a learning environment where it’s OK if everybody is packing?
That’s my opinion and I want to hear yours — specifically, I would like to hear from some local school teachers and administrators out there on this subject. Email me at editor@plattecountycitizen, call me at 858-5154 or Facebook me. MAD MARCH OF HOOPS BEGINS NEXT WEEK This means, of course, that you had better sharpen not only your pencils (unless you’re confident enough to use pens) but your prognostication skills, because the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament gets under way March 21. And right along with it begins our annual Mad March of Hoops Bracket Contest.
Check out the big color ad on page A5 directly across the way from my smiling mug for all the details. What you need to remember is this: First place wins $100, second place wins $50 and every entrant who scores more points than yours truly wins a free one-year subscription. And here’s the most important thing: deadline for entry is 11 a.m. March 21.
I will list my tourney predictions in print on this page next week and I hope to see yours flooding into The Citizen office next week as well.
TIME FOR SPRING SPORTS Also on tap for next week is our annual Springs Sports Outlook, the only publication in Platte County to feature pics, previews and schedules for all Platte County, West Platte, North Platte, Park Hill and Park Hill South spring sports teams.
We will also begin our April 2 election preview coverage, so make sure you check us out next week. Thanks for reading.Lee Stubbs is owner/editor of The Citizen. He may be reached by e-mail at editor@plattecountycitizen. com or by calling 858-5154. Follow him on Twitter @leejstubbs.