As you know, in the wake of the recent shootings in Connecticut, a strong call for gun control has emerged. The White House Petition calling on the Obama Administration to introduce gun control legislation (see previous post) has now garnered more than 120,000 signatures.
But this being a free country with freedom of expression and all that good stuff, there are also many who have advocated the opposite response to this tragedy. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) said earlier today on Fox News that we need to have an open-minded conversation on guns and gun control, and that "having more guns, rather than fewer, would help protect citizens in future situations like the Newtown, Conn., school shooting." Gohmert further remarks, "Every mass killing of more than three people in recent history has been in a place where guns were prohibited... They choose this place, they know no one will be armed." (for a more detailed report of his remarks, see this)
In addition, there is also a parallel petition on the White House website for "a gun in every classroom... to arm every teacher and principal to defend themselves and their students during an attack."
Nice. The logic of these folks seems to be this: Guns kill people. Many people have been killed by guns. So to prevent more people from being killed by guns, we need... more guns! Interesting logic. But if we follow this line of reasoning to its logical conclusion, it'll only be a matter of time before we start giving guns to first-graders too. Seriously, why not? Why leave the defense of these precious children to teachers and principals who may or may not know what they are doing? Why not "empower" kids to defend themselves directly? Try imagining a world in which guns are as ubiquitous among first-graders as cell-phones are today...
I don't want to go there. I'm guessing you don't either. Or if you have already gone there, i.e. the image of first-graders carrying guns to school has already formed in your head because of what I just said, well, my apologies. But I'm guessing we really don't want to go there. At least not willingly.
Besides the almost certain escalation of violence that will accompany the introduction of guns among teachers and students in classrooms, here is something else worth considering: There has never been a time period or civilization worthy of the name in which teachers and students have sat facing each other in a place of learning while carrying weapons, concealed or otherwise. The process of learning is a process in which the teacher and student are engaged in the common goal of passing on and advancing human knowledge and wisdom. Such a process requires respect among both parties based on deep trust in each other. How deep can this trust be if the student is aware that the teacher possesses a weapon with which she can kill in the space of a breath, and vice versa?
Something to think about, no?
In the meantime, if you miss the regular non-preachy, non-moralizing voice of Yoga in the Dragon's Den, well, it'll be back soon (hopefully).