President Donald Trump, along with numerous politicians supported by the NRA and supportive of expansive gun rights, is advocating in the wake of the Parkland school shooting for more teachers to carry firearms. This extremely rational proposal to provide career educators with the means to kill their charges is a welcome relief from the reactionary anti-gun rhetoric of students claiming a non-existent constitutional right not to be murdered with weapons of war, notably the AR-15 assault rifle. The problem with the call to provide weapons and training to teachers is that it does not go far enough. Do teachers need guns? Of course, but they also need broadswords, katanas, and halberds.
The problem with concealed carry weapons in a school context is that they don’t sufficiently haunt the dreams of students. It’s one thing for a student to have a vague sense that their teacher might have a pistol in an ankle holster. It’s another thing for a student to hear the scrape of metal on linoleum as a fifth-grade gym teacher drags a five-foot claymore across the cafeteria. If we want to sufficiently intimidate students going forward, it will be important to show them the contents of the armory.
Many will argue that the cost of employing full-time blacksmiths is too steep for public schools, many of which are actively gutting arts programs. But can we really afford to not forge razor-sharp blades in the dragon’s breath of furnaces roaring beneath America’s high school gymnasia? Surely not. Does having these sorts of weapons, designed expressly to tear through human flesh, near emotionally unstable teenager present a problem? It would be disingenuous not to admit that it’s a cause for concern. Still, it’s undeniably important for these kids to understand what life is really like.
There are those that might claim the lack of a clear plan for training teachers in the use of ballistas presents an impossible hurdle. That’s insulting to our educational community. The truth is that if you know enough to teach middle school math, you know enough to use a massive piece of tension based weaponry to shoot large projectiles ideal for siege warfare.
If teachers feel reluctant about operating machines of death, we should be sensitive to that and help them find new careers tilling the fields or picking up the plague dead.
At the end of the day, kids should always feel safe in school, whether they are playing on the battlements, shooting arrows through the slits in the barbican, or peeking out through the murder holes that have become a standard kindergarten defensive feature. At the same time, it’s important to understand that educational institutions need to have clear priorities. Unfortunately, it’s not possible for public school teachers to focus solely on training for battle or improving their pikesmanship. We must keep in mind that, while teachers definitely should be ready to spill blood at close quarters in the castle keep, they will also likely need books.
This is why we recommend the mass distribution of spell books. We must assure that, should children with well-documented emotional issues left untreated not be destroyed by our fiercest librarians, teachers are ready to cast magical death curses.
Editor’s Note: Just in case it is not sufficiently clear, the article above was a sarcastic riff. While school shooting aren’t a laughing matter in any way, the easiest way to push back on the now mainstreamed notion of arming teachers with guns is to reconsider that proposal with other weapons in mind. The rhetoric around guns often assumes that they are reliable and efficient weapons in trained hands. This is simply not true. Honestly, swords would probably be safer.