In "There's a Reason They Choose Schools", the author, Timothy Wheeler, suggests schools have fallen victim to violent shootings because they are gun-free zones and if students and administrators were allowed to carry concealed weapons, the number of shootings would be drastically reduced. Gun rights and laws have always been a controversial subject in this country, but since the recent shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, the topic has been pushed to the forefront. Many states are currently in the process of considering bills that would allow teachers and students to carry weapons. However, is arming college students and kindergarten teachers really the answer to keeping our children safe at school? Many other options exist and should be explored before such drastic measures such as arming teachers and students are instituted.
Wheelers stance on the matter of allowing teachers and students to carry concealed guns arise from various shooting incidents that happened in America. From Cleveland's Success Tech Academy to Virginia Tech to Nickel Mines in Pennsylvania – all of which were perpetrated by students who knew the schools were gun-free zones. He further adds that adults committed some of the crimes such as what happened to a Los Angeles Jewish Day Care Center in 1999. With these incidents, Wheeler forms a strong and vivid position on how guns are the answer to our children's safety in school. He may have the support of some college students who staged a peaceful rally in support of teachers and students carrying concealed firearms. But are guns really the solution? Would it really solve the problem?
What strikes me about the article is how much emphasis is placed on the use of guns as the root cause of violent behavior, and yet, not much was said about the possible relation to psychological factors. The youths of today belong to a new generation of kids who have a different view when it comes to exacting revenge (Simpson) towards people who have wronged them. Most of the time, these youths are said to be the silent type of students, the happy-go-lucky kind of person, or those who are generally not the kind of individuals people would think are capable of carrying out such actions. I strongly believe that much of these are related to a mental problem that was not detected during the individual's growing up years. Thus, I think, it is highly important to take into consideration the general psychological profile of these perpetrators. What could have pushed them to turn their backs against their friends and shoot at unsuspecting victims? Was the impulse to shoot people borne out of anger? Was it a cry for help or attention on the part of the perpetrators?
Logically speaking, the shootings are heavy on the heart and the mind, and I would say that the first thing that would come to people's minds is to fight back and avenge the victim and the family. I also felt the same thing, but I cannot imagine going to school or allowing my future children to attend a school where guns are everywhere, although concealed in places unknown to students, as I can only imagine pranksters doing everything to locate these guns. Are they inside the teacher's locked desk?
Inside the faculty room? In the principal's office? While Wheeler and his supporters may feel strongly about the issue, what should not be forgotten is the perpetrators are people, too, who are victims of their own doing. They probably had no way to express their anger and frustrations, and for whatever reason, something inside them just ticked and pushed them to commit the heinous crimes.
Wheeler points out that a "no guns policy" did not hinder Cho Seung-Hui from attacking students in campus, that naysayers of gun control issues repeatedly forget how the policy has not saved the victims from the assailants, and that the usual first-responders are those armed with guns. While these references are true, it still does not guarantee that arming school personnel and students with guns will indeed save schoolchildren from these kinds of situations. Teachers are not adequately trained to handle guns and scenarios such as what happened to the schools (Hanford). In addition, I think that with this solution, the more we are instilling in the minds of the youth the old saying, "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" – that through guns, any gun-wielding individual can be apprehended with the use of another gun.
Through all the facts that Wheeler presented, my views on not allowing students and school personnel to carry concealed firearms in school has not changed. I still oppose the proposition because I believe that there are other means to solve the issue. For one, I believe that it is a mental problem and that it is an epidemic (Simpson) that the government and society must address. By educating the youths about guns, its effects on victims and perpetrators, the psychological aspects of handling guns, the behavioral changes it brings, and the illusions of power that comes along with it, the youths will become more aware about the dangers that guns bring. In addition, I have recently come across an article that mentioned how a Tennessee Marine father stood by the gates of his children's school "to create a presence of reassurance and safety for the students, teachers, and the parents" (Williams). If only government hires veterans to guard the schools instead of arming students and teachers in schools, then students' fears about guns inside the campus will be alleviated, in addition to generating jobs for the unemployed veterans.
Hanford, Desiree, J. "Does Concealed Carry Make Sense in Schools and On Campus." Web. 8 Feb 2013. < http://www.facilitiesnet.com/educationalfacilities/article/Does-Concealed-Carry-Make-Sense-In-Schools-And-On-Campus--10070>
Simpson, Stan. "Gun Violence Requires Focus on Young." Web. 8 Feb 2013.
Williams, Denise. "The Sandy Hook Initiative." Web. 9 Feb 2013. < http://www.chicagonow.com/uncommon-sense/2012/12/guns-and-schools-concealed-carry-veterans-unemployment-121812/>