The headlines over the past week have been awful. Unfortunately, that isn’t just because of the shooting in Parkland, Florida, but also because of President Trump’s reactions to the shooting.
Despite the idiocy of Trump, though, I am so impressed by the many Parkland teens who are standing up and advocating for stricter gun laws. Emma Gonzalez showed such passion in her speech:
She even confronted a spokeswoman from the NRA who was evading her question about banning bump stocks and semi-automatic weapons. She brought up the fact that Trump was the one who helped to repeal a law that made it more difficult for people with mental illnesses to purchase guns. She is adamant that the laws become stricter.
But while the students fight for tougher gun laws, President Trump does the opposite. His solution is to arm teachers.
Initially, there was outcry from numerous sources upon hearing Trump’s idea, so he later followed up prior comments by explaining that he doesn’t mean that any teacher should be given a gun. Instead, it should be teachers with military backgrounds.
He cited random, fake statistics, saying that 10% of teachers in one school might fit the situation while 40% in another school would. Now, I don’t know what schools are like in the south, but I can promise you that here in New Jersey, we don’t have too many ex-military teachers. I can think of two in my entire high school. Does he really believe there are schools where 40% of the teachers used to be in the military?
He even made a comment about coaches being good candidates to be trained with weapons because they have experience in that sort of thing. Excuse me, Mr. President, but our coaches are mainly teachers. They aren’t ex-military. Why is a coach more likely to be equipped to handle a gun? We have a problem with fake news these days, which is no surprise considering our own president spreads his own fake news.
Then he suggested giving special bonus money to the teachers who are armed. He said that “teachers love bonuses.” Trump speaks as if we’re children. “Teachers love bonuses.” I mean, isn’t that true of anyone, really? Who isn’t happy to receive a bonus at their job? He just always has such a condescending attitude.
I would rather forego the bonus than have that sort of power in my hands, and I know that many teachers agree with me. Police officers are highly trained with their weapons, yet they still shoot and kill innocent bystanders from time to time. Has Trump considered how likely that is to happen in a school, especially in a chaotic moment like a mass shooting?
He said that it takes about 8 minutes for the police to arrive at a school shooting and the shootings have only lasted for 3 minutes on average. Hypothetically speaking, let’s say 5 teachers in my school are carrying concealed weapons. What is the chance that one of the five of them will be less than a three minute’s walk away? And if they are, how likely is it that they will kill the criminal without accidentally taking an innocent life?
Then, who will be there to protect the teachers when lawsuits arise? Will legislators protect them from accidentally killing an innocent student? And even if they could be protected financially, who is going to protect the guilt that they will likely face forever?
Trump suggests that teachers take a training course and then revisit the course once every six to twelve months, but who will pay for it? A man posed that question to him yesterday and he completely evaded the question, making it sound like that shouldn’t be a reason to turn down his idea since it’s so crucial for the safety of our children.
But that is exactly what continues to happen with education in America; laws are passed, but they lack funding. Schools sometimes need to fire teachers in order to find the funds to comply with government mandates. Trump keeps saying that this will be “basically free” to the schools. I don’t think he understands what the word free means.
The courses to learn gun safety and shooting accuracy will cost money. The purchase of guns and ammunition will cost money. And the bonuses he says the teachers should be given will also cost money. So even if people agree with his idea, it’s financially disastrous to education. We would lose teachers so that a select few teachers could carry guns. I’m not even going to get into our failing education system, but I would prefer tax dollars to be spent on improving education, not purchasing weapons.
Trump reminds me of a child who makes reactive, impulsive decisions without considering them fully. School shooting? Uh…let’s arm teachers. Oh, people think that’s dangerous? Okay…uh…we’ll only arm a select few who have a military background. Where will money come from? Shoot…haven’t considered that one…well, if you love your kids you’ll find the money. Yea…that’s the answer.
How is this our president? How do people still support him? He sounds like a rambling fool.
Trump said this about the shooting in Florida: “A teacher would have shot the hell out of him before he knew what happened. These teachers love their students. And these teachers are talented with weaponry and with guns. And I’d rather have somebody that loves their students and wants to protect their students than somebody standing outside that doesn’t know anybody and doesn’t know the students and frankly, for whatever reason, decided not to go in even though he heard lots of shots being fired.”
So a teacher would have shot him as a result of their love for their students? A+B does not equal C here. Teachers loving their students has no correlation to being able to shoot a criminal before he could kill more students. There is zero causation between the two. I love my students; therefore, if trained, I could “shoot the hell” out of any perpetrator? No, that’s not how it works.
Cruz had an automatic weapon. What will a teacher have, a handgun? Does Trump honestly believe that one teacher with a handgun could have prevented all of that?
He made that comment after learning about the armed officer who was outside of the high school and who never entered. His response about that was that “A security guard doesn’t know the children, doesn’t love the children. This man standing outside of the school the other day doesn’t love the children, probably doesn’t know the children. The teachers love their children. They love their pupils.”
First off, I’m an English teacher, and I cannot get over Trump’s repetitive, elementary sentence structure. He loves to repeat key words and short sentences. But him saying that we love our students while security guards don’t has no evidence or support. Trump’s rhetoric is that of a child. Yet some people still side with him? I just don’t understand. I feel like I’m living in the twilight zone.
He is so completely off base and out of touch with reality. He even made a comment that “now is no longer the time for political correctness.” That insinuates that he was previously being politically correct, but I can’t remember one instance when we held back from spewing insults at someone.
Trump likes finding scapegoats. Immigrants, Muslims, it doesn’t really matter. He needs someone to blame. In this case, it’s the officer. Now I don’t know the situation surrounding that officer. I don’t know why he didn’t enter the building, but I’m sure that he is carrying some guilt right now.
He was also pointing the finger at California today, since California won’t go along with some of Trump’s ideas. He started talking about the gang MS-13, and how those people aren’t even human beings; they’re animals.
MS-13 has nothing to do with this school shooting. Yes, they actually are human beings. No, that should not even be part of the conversation, but because he can point a finger, he will.
Trump pointing fingers is not helping anything. And neither is his plan to arm teachers.
I miss the compassion we saw from President Obama following mass shootings like the one in Sandy Hook. He appeared visually upset, tears streaming down his face as he discussed the events. Families felt incredibly touched by his kind words to them when they met in private. I don’t know how Trump reacted privately, but on camera, no matter the situation, he always has that smug grin plastered on his face. It’s revolting, really.
I’m curious what changes are going to be passed by lawmakers in the upcoming months. All I know is that, as a high school teacher, the last thing that I want is a bunch of my coworkers armed with guns. That is not the answer.
Anyway…I really like this editorial that was posted in the New York Times: