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February 24, 2018

Parkland: arming teachers

After the shooting in Charleston in 2015, I posted a link to this article, entitled "Your Brain in a Shootout: Guns, Fear and Flawed Instincts."

In the piece, which appeared in Time magazine in 2013, former police officer Jim Glennon shares his experience of being involved in an actual shootout. Glennon was a police-academy trainer, and discusses the effects the stress of a shootout can have on perception and the human mind. His conclusion was that even police lack sufficient training to function proficiently in such a situation, and therefore hopes for the English teacher are rather low.

With suggestions being made by President Trump and others to arm teachers in response to the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida, this article helps to cut through the cowboy-movie rhetoric that is now standard after a mass shooting.

The United States has a unique gun-violence problem (see statistics here and here). And the problem is being discussed by some, correctly, as a public-health crisis. Though gun violence is the result of multiple factors, gun-control legislation can—as the data bear out—help improve the situation. And any improvement greater than zero is worth pursuing.

My generation (I was born in 1972) and the Baby Boomers excel at criticizing millennials. The criticism is unfounded and requires considerable nerve given the track record of those two demographics. Instead, we should be listening very closely to this country's young people, especially if gun violence is an actual priority and not just an occasion to sound virile and protect the impulses of the increasingly vicious NRA.

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