Teacher Training: Ready, Aim, Shoot


Visitors pay their respects at a memorial outside Robb Elementary School created to honor the victims killed in last week’s school shooting, Friday, June 3, 2022, in Uvalde, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

My brother has only shot a gun once in his life. He had had the gun for a day when he killed himself. He left a thank you note for the guy from the police department who processed his application quickly and no questions asked. He had made up his mind to die but needed the gun to do so. He was not alone. Each year, approximately 25,000 people in the United States commit suicide like him.

Others die by firearm, but not by choice. Since 1999, starting with Columbine, 185 children, teachers and others have died from rabies and madman’s bullets. After a school shooting, the country is in mourning for about four days, according to polls. Then the details of the murder fade, if not disappear, from memory and worry.

But there’s an empty chamber that’s more dangerous than my brother’s gun or a loaded AK-47. It’s the space between the ears of those who propose a cop in every elementary school or armed teachers to protect children from harm or death. (Senators who talk about the local option, like Sen. Chuck Grassley, are dodging the question, looking for votes, not a solution. It’s a loophole.)

There are 87,498 elementary schools in our country and a guard at the front door of each of them is unlikely to save a single life. Even a restless shooter can shoot accurately from a football field. The guard must learn to quack as an alarm. It is a sitting duck and unlikely to deter a deranged assassin.

What about arming the teachers? There are more than 3 million in elementary schools. Arming them all with a 9mm. or a .45 would cost $900 million, maybe more. I would add the price of the cases. A gun locked away in a desk drawer isn’t much of a deterrent, and one left on a desk is a deadly toy for a child who thinks it’s a toy. A ready firearm requires an absurd holster or chain around your neck.

According to the gun lobby and captive Conservative senators, critics have the Second Amendment right to kill while they prevent the government (a four-letter word) from taking power? If it was a danger, these weapons could be a solution. But there is not and it is not.

When was the last time the tyrannical federal government stopped by your house to tyrannize you. How was it? No one can really describe it because it has never happened and there is absolutely no reason to believe it will. Feds are no problem, guns everywhere are. Every day in our country, 12 children die from a gun fired by a family member, themselves or possibly someone they know. It is their right to the second amendment. Uvalde’s killer was too young to legally buy cigarettes or liquor in Texas, but buying a gun was easy and OK.

There is no way to completely stop the killing at school. We all know that. But doing nothing, relaxing the laws or babbling about the local option is an invitation to continue the carnage.

There is a Columbine or Uvalde in Iowa like everywhere in our country. Let’s not wait for our four days of mourning.

Norman Sherman of Coralville has worked extensively in politics, including as Vice President Hubert Humphrey’s press secretary, and is the author of a memoir “From Nowhere to Somewhere.”

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