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January 03, 2013

Armed Teacher Training Program launches in 15 states; ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws = increase in homicides

Posted in: Crime

These two stories are real signs of the screwed-up times.


Boy, this is a bad idea on so many levels – teachers are already in high-stress positions — imagine dealing with middle-school-age, hormone-racing kids all day for one thing. Add on the responsibility of being in charge of your firearm, to keep it safeguarded yet accessible on the chance someone is going to come in randomly guns-ablazing? It sounds like a recipe for disaster to me, but apparently we’ve got states ready to go forward with this “plan” to address gun massacres in schools. (Think Progress):

 In Ohio, the Buckeye Firearms Foundation, along with a group called the Tactical Defense Institute, is crafting a curriculum specifically designed for teachers and school staff. A local Fox affiliate has details on who is signing up– they report that more than one third of the applicants are women, and that “more than half of the applicants work in high schools”:

As of Wednesday, the Armed Teacher Training Program has attracted more than 600 applicants from several states including Ohio, Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and West Virginia.

…“No one will be forced to be armed if they choose not to. The strategy is the same as ordinary concealed carry. No one will ever know who is or is not armed. Those who seek to do harm in schools should be met with armed resistance, even before law enforcement shows up. Over time, schools will no longer be considered easy, risk-free targets.

Some reax from my Facebook page:

But if you’re concerned that your kids may get caught in the crossfire, how about sending them off to school with right-sized bullet proof  clothing! Miguel Caballero’s garment business in Bogota, Colombia is producing them. Carolina Ballesteros, director of research and development explained that the bulletproof togs are not designed for everyday use — teachers are to hand them out when needed (hmm, if a gunman blasts in, will there be enough time to “suit up”?):

The new line is tailored for kids aged 8 to 16, with prices ranging from $200 to $400, depending on the garment and its size.

…The company makes uniforms for security forces and suits for public figures in many countries, she said.

“Three royal families in the Middle East are customers of ours. We made a bullet-proof kimono for the American actor Steven Seagal. Our experience is beyond question,” Ballesteros said.

In other gun life in America news, a study (PDF) on the impact of “Stand Your Ground”  laws on homicide rates (imagine all kinds of awful scenarios with armed teachers in classrooms when the predictable tragedy occurs) reveals interesting stats. Shankar Vedantam and David Schultz report at NPR:

“These laws lower the cost of using lethal force,” says Mark Hoekstra, an economist with Texas A&M University who examined stand your ground laws. “Our study finds that, as a result, you get more of it.” As to whether the laws reduce crime — by creating a deterrence for criminals — he says, “we find no evidence of any deterrence effect over that same time period.”

Hoekstra obtained this result by comparing the homicide rate in states before and after they passed the laws. He also compared states with the laws to states without the laws.

We find that there are 500 to 700 more homicides per year across the 23 states as a result of the laws,” he said. There are about 14,000 homicides annually in the United States as a whole.

The fact that more people are being killed doesn’t automatically mean the law isn’t working. Hoekstra says there are at least three possible explanations.

“It could be that these are self-defense killings,” he said. “On the other hand, the increase could be driven by an escalation of violence by criminals. Or it could be an escalation of violence in otherwise nonviolent situations.”

Homicides go up when you, the gun owner, feel that you’re the “good guy” using it against the “bad guy.” The problem is that the other guy also thinks they are the “good guy” and you’re the threat. And apparently it’s easier under “Stand Your Ground” to feel justified in using deadly force rather than say, deciding to enter into a fistfight.

Ah, yes, American instant gratification to end annoyances like the jerk in front of you at Little Caesars who’s complaining on the wait for his pizza by shooting the jackwad. How do we 1) get the focus on this cultural acceptance of lethal violence as near-first resort to conflict resolution and escalating tempers, and 2) stop this pathetic meme that if everyone is armed (with nearly zero regulation as the NRA suggests) we’ll all be safer.

Teachers, schools and school districts — are you ready for the other bit of contemporary-Americana  – liability and litigation?


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