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Stossel: Armed Teachers

Are armed teachers a solution to school shootings?

President Trump says one solution to school shootings is to allow teachers to be armed.

He was mocked for that, but John Stossel says it's a reasonable idea. Hundreds of schools already allow it.

Keene Independent School District in Texas embraces the idea. Its superintendent, Ricky Stephens, tells Stossel: "We know our staff and our teachers are gonna go [to a shooting]—do we want them to go with a pencil or go with a pistol?"

People worry armed teachers will do more harm than good, but Stossel could find only one case of harm to a student. One teacher mistakenly shot at the ceiling and a student was slightly injured by falling debris.

On the other hand, armed teachers have stopped school shootings. An assistant principal held a school shooter at gunpoint until police arrived.

Teachers at Keene saw how, during the Florida school shooting, the security guard waited outside. "It made me mad," says one teacher who brings a gun to school. "We have to have a fighting chance if something should happen!"

Keene's program goes further than Stossel would. Instead of just letting teachers with concealed-carry permits bring their weapons to school, Keene buys selected teachers guns and pays them a $50 monthly bonus for carrying. The school also requires those teachers to get 80 hours of training, and then 40 hours each year after that.

Stossel says at least Keene's policy is less expensive than what his hometown does. New York City pays 5,000 police officers to patrol city schools.

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The views expressed in this video are solely those of John Stossel, his independent production company, Stossel Productions, and the people he interviews. The claims and opinions set forth in the video and accompanying text are not necessarily those of Reason.

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  • brady949||

    The counterpoint here is pretty much every teacher you ever had.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    If we paid teachers more we would probably get better teachers.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Can we really ever pay them enough?

  • Crusty Juggler||

    No.

  • Paloma||

    Well certainly more than we pay professional athletes who just throw a ball into a basket. I mean, how hard can that be compared to teaching?

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    If we arm teachers, there will be even more cases of hot female teachers raping innocent teenage boys.

  • I can't even||

    Maybe the young men will learn to keep their mouths shut!

  • jelabarre||

    The wet dream of many teenage boys. Granted, some of them may dream of the hot *male* teachers (not that there's anything wrong with that, as long as the teachers aren't actually following through).

  • DrZ||

    If we paid teachers more based on merit we would have better teachers. Just paying all teachers more is meaningless.

  • Marty Feldman's Eyes||

    The counterpoint here is pretty much every teacher you ever had

    "A teacher from the Florida high school where 17 people were shot dead two months ago has been arrested after leaving his gun in a public toilet."

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-43733755

  • SQRLSY One||

    I have been known to play with my gun in a pubic toilet... But I have never left it behind, or in anyone else's behind!

    No gun left behind, has always been my motto!

  • Cy||

    Rural school districts for me, most of my teachers were smart classy people. Lucky me.

  • ||

    The counterpoint to that is its not an issue in all the states that already allow this. We have thousands of teachers and staff carrying, and they are doing fine.

  • Iheartskeet||

    Actually, I think nearly every school shooting has had at least one selfless teacher give up his/her life either defending students or ushering them to safety. It would only take one armed teacher to stop most of these.

  • Paloma||

    True. And perhaps a few more who simply dived under a desk.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    "Solution" is not a good word, since the real problem lies deeper in society. But responsible adults ought not to be interfered with when trying to defend themselves or innocent children in their charge.

    If the argument is that teachers aren't responsible enough to handle firearms, how can you argue that they're responsible enough to teach and care for children? The latter is a far more difficult and important task.

  • Dixon Sider Woodchipper||

    Furthermore, teaching and caring for children is their daily task. Defending them from a school shooting is an extremely slim possibility.

  • Ecoli||

    True. Just as extremely slim a possibility that any kid will be involved in a shooting at school.

  • Jerryskids||

    I thought that this was a general tenet of libertarianism, that you can address a problem but you can't really "solve" it. There's always trade-offs to be made and unintended consequences to deal with that make it critical to do cost/benefit analyses both before and after a plan of action is enacted. Of course, we all know the statists' inevitable response to a failure to solve a problem: obviously the failure proves we need to give the government more money and more power. If you jump off the roof and flap your arms hard enough, you can fly like a bird. Splatting on the ground is proof that you weren't flapping your arms hard enough.

  • Rich||

    If the argument is that teachers aren't responsible enough to handle firearms, how can you argue that they're responsible enough to teach and care for children?

    Or to vote?

  • Bearded Spock||

    If we are going to allow teachers to carry guns, it should be something more concealable and practical than a chrome Deagle.

  • Iheartskeet||

    The imagery associated with gun articles always makes me chuckle. Its apparent that few graphic designers have firearms knowledge, and so they just grab whatever stock pic is out there thats a gun-like image. We're lucky they didn't use a Luger or some other impractical rarity.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    they just grab whatever stock pic is out there thats a gun-like image

    +1 gun shaped Pop Tart

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Yeah, but few things look as cool as a chrome plated Desert Eagle.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    I'm ashamed to say I loved that movie.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Pro tip: Dogma is a great hook up movie, but not if it is followed by The Accused.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Well, you never know when a teacher is going to need to shoot the engine block out of a heavy truck.

  • Iheartskeet||

    Superb article. Bravo !

    Even if we just allowed CC on campuses, and skipped the "buy teachers guns" stuff, it would be a huge improvement.

  • sage||

    No. The solution is to ban schools.

  • DajjaI||

    Yep. Let the states decide. Also, the problem with school violence is that the students keep going on these witch hunts against their autistic and homeschool peers. And guess what you find when you go on a witch hunt? Instead they need to round up the kids and drag them to school with them and set up a book group for the sobbing mommas (or crime ring or something to keep them out of trouble). Also, autism hysteria has reached peak derp.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Keene's program goes further than Stossel would. Instead of just letting teachers with concealed-carry permits bring their weapons to school, Keene buys selected teachers guns and pays them a $50 monthly bonus for carrying. The school also requires those teachers to get 80 hours of training, and then 40 hours each year after that.

    Yeah, I'm with Stoss

    Keene's idea is another government growth program costing taxpayers a small fortune when simply allowing citizens to defend themselves would suffice.

    An additional week of paid training every year? Fuck that.

    (Oh, sorry, that's 1.14 weeks for a public school teacher)

  • Crusty Juggler||

    I'm with Stoss

    He's not going to fuck you, bro.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    When Francisco says "Let's Toss The Stoss!," he is not advocating kicking Stossel out of Reason.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Mustache ride?

  • Cy||

    It's almost as famous as he is.

  • ||

    Yeah, at 1:30 he says "If you go there with nothing, then you have no chance of stopping anything."

    Reality suggests otherwise, The Waffle House shooter was stopped by a single, unarmed man. Gabby Gifford's shooter was stopped by a group of unarmed people.

    We don't need to hand people guns but it's a disgusting cowardice that takes tools away from the heroes brave enough to confront these evils at the breach.

  • silver.||

    Certainly that's all just sugar to make the medicine go down. A couple guns for each school would be a trivial expense compared to all of the other waste. My city left $500,000 in computers in a warehouse for four years until an outside auditor found them, at which time they were obsolete.

    I'd also prefer that the teachers who choose to carry use whatever firearm they feel most comfortable with.

    I do like the training requirement, though. It doesn't have to all be tactical training, just required range time would be sufficient. I think most folks who carry don't go to the range every month like they should. Hell, apparently even cops routinely go months or even a year without firing a round.

  • jelabarre||

    My city left $500,000 in computers in a warehouse for four years until an outside auditor found them, at which time they were obsolete.

    They're only obsolete if you try to run MSWindows on them. They'd have been fine for Linux, but that would require some competence on the school's behalf, and we know how likely *that* is.

  • JFree||

    Keene's idea is another government growth program costing taxpayers a small fortune when simply allowing citizens to defend themselves would suffice.

    Why on gawds green earth do people nowadays think 'the militia' (and that's all Keene's idea is) is some damn boondoggle? Or that mere ownership/possession of a gun somehow renders them competent to win a gunfight against someone who has prepared their assault? Or that mere possession of a gun will do anything to improve the skill of not merely defending one's self but also defending those around you who may not be able to defend themselves?

    It's like Americans are now the stupidest fucking people on the planet. Citizens self-organizing to defend themselves is the fucking point of a militia. It is a capability that stays with people after they have completed basic/unit training re militia (like eg if some of them become teachers later). It doesn't even require ongoing/permanent unit training assuming that a large enough %age of any random group of adults has actually had the training/discipline in the first place.

    It is CHEAPER than every fucking 'defense' alternative - by MAGNITUDES. And militia can also be compensated by tax credits rather than cash.

    But it sure as fuck doesn't occur by magic. And nothing is as willfully stupid as believing that it does.

  • Bruce D||

    I agree completely. A well-regulated (well disciplined and trained and respectful) militia is indeed necessary to the security of a FREE state. There's no reason why 6 months of basic training and AIT can't be squeezed into preK - 12, age appropriate. As a condition of receiving a "free" education one would have to complete militia training to graduate.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    More guns certainly don't make me feel safer.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Good thing you like being scared.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Fear boners are the best boners.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    What about shame boners?

  • Sometimes a Great Notion||

    Like all things involving education, this should be done at local level and the feds should remain neutral.

  • Ahaz||

    Really!? We already have supposedly trained professional police that have clearly demonstrated the inability to have the judgement to know when to use deadly force. Know we want to give teachers the same authority. That's insane!

  • LiveNLetLive||

    The police operate in a complex environment where they are concerned with a broad range of conduct.
    Armed teachers should be trained to address only violent crime that is imminently dangerous to the life or limb of innocent parties.
    My personal standard is the clear presence of an imminent unlawful threat of death or great bodily injury to me or another innocent person is a situation I reserve the option to address in the absence of police. Anything else is a cop question.
    That is the standard for an armed teacher to get involved. One or two additional victims maybe injured while the teacher makes that determination but that is better than waiting another 10 minutes for a cop.
    Pre-Columbine the standard police response was wait for SWAT and a trained negotiator. Do you propose to go back to that?
    Pre-9/11 the standard airline hijacking response was submit. Not anymore.
    Your irrational fear of select volunteers trained in how to carry discretely and respond appropriately is the same as going back to one of those other "standard" responses.

  • Bruce D||

    Good point. The armed teacher would only be engaged in direct self-defense in one's immediate vicinity, not necessarily to move in and enter a situation as a peace officer would. It obviates the problem of a peace officer standing down out of fear for "officer safety". The armed teacher doesn't have the opportunity to "stand down" rather would be trapped but at least have an actual "fighting chance", especially since the perp's location is obvious but the armed teacher's position may not be.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    This is something that looks good on paper but would fall apart in the real world. Think about the average education major today, who they tend to vote for, and the circumstances in which they live. While armed teachers might work fine in a rural environment where most people are raised around guns anyway (and in these places, a school shooting is even more unlikely than in the suburban middle class schools that they typically take place due to social conformity and high trust), most urban/suburban teachers are soft as cotton and steeped in critical theory, so any effort by school districts to authorize arming them would be undermined from the start. Most of these teachers shouldn't be trusted with a super-soaker, much less an actual firearm.

  • Cy||

    I think you perception is skewed by the requirement for everyone in city environments to carry concealed. You literally don't 'see' it because everyone is hiding it. There are a lot more pro-2nd people in the cities than the media would like you to believe. This would be another step in the right direction by eliminating 'no go zones' for law abiding citizens to carry. It's a commonly used public place that anyone carrying won't have to be inconvenienced every day by.

  • LarryA||

    This is something that looks good on paper but would fall apart in the real world.
    Except it isn't. In Texas about one out of every seven districts has faculty carry, with almost no problems.

    Think about the average education major today, who they tend to vote for, and the circumstances in which they live.
    Average teachers aren't going to be carrying. The schools ask for volunteers, so they get a self-selected group of people who are capable.
    Besides, urban schools aren't the ones arming faculty. Big city districts tend to have a district police force.

    While armed teachers might work fine in a rural environment where most people are raised around guns anyway
    Teachers move around. Rural-raised college graduates relocate to cities for the excitement, or because that's where their spouse finds a job, and city teachers relocate to rural areas.

    Most of these teachers shouldn't be trusted with a super-soaker, much less an actual firearm.
    This has not been my experience. Teachers and school administrators I have trained have been as competent at shooting, and more than competent in learning laws and related subjects.

  • Half-Virtue, Half-Vice||

    I'm all for it!

    The flip-side is more cops in school, but cops only know how to arrest and body slam kids who act out. They really only need to be there for one awful contingency but when they are in the building they end up being sought by teachers to be disciplinarians for the bad kids -- something that the teachers themselves should be in charge of for sake of the kids.

  • Sigivald||

    Why is it always a Desert Eagle?

  • jelabarre||

    Why is it always a Desert Eagle?

    Because the Desert Eagle always looks cooler?

  • Michael Hihn||

    If teachers are thought to be armed ... who will be shot first? (Armed or not)
    duh

  • BigT||

    And the problem with that is.....?

  • Vincent Milburn||

    Think of the... adults?

  • Half-Virtue, Half-Vice||

    Teachers are often the first person shot in school shootings.

  • LiveNLetLive||

    So what? There is no evidence unarmed teachers are exempt from being shot first now. So how is a potentially armed teacher in a worse condition. Also, In history demonstrates these mass murderers go to gun free zones so they can be in control. Usually, when credible defensive force arrives the innocent stop dying. A uniformed cop, being readily identified, is in much easier to avoid or more vulnerable than an unidentifiable armed teacher.

  • Bruce D||

    Happens anyway.

  • johngray0||

    In ALL US schools there are 10 shooting deaths per year. Why can't a leader say this obvious: This is not a big deal so chill on both sides. 1000% more students are killed cycling to school. I think even more kids drown in bathtubs than killed in school shootings. If we really care about saving student lives, there are probably 50 things more deadly things to tackle.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Stop using logic where politics and sheep are concerned.

    "Let me ease your feelz by spending other people's money, eroding their liberty and, at the same time, increasing my power."

  • LiveNLetLive||

    I don't care that other risks are greater. The question is why can no teacher be trusted after training to be equipped to defend their students? Are teachers that much less stable than police?

  • Deep Lurker||

    1. We've seen this show before. Remember the whining and yowling about the idea of letting airline pilots be armed, after 9/11?

    2. Letting teachers be armed isn't a perfect solution, because there are no perfect solutions. It's still a better solution than almost any other proposal out there.

    3. Requiring teachers to be armed (as opposed to allowing them) would be a bad idea, in my opinion. And I say that as the sort of extreme RKBA type who believes we should seriously consider the idea of legally allowing the children to have guns in school.

    4. Or we could abolish public schools. No schools; no school shootings, in addition to all the other benefits that would flow from no longer subjecting nearly all the children in this country to institutionalized child abuse.

  • ||

    3. Requiring teachers to be armed (as opposed to allowing them) would be a bad idea, in my opinion. And I say that as the sort of extreme RKBA type who believes we should seriously consider the idea of legally allowing the children to have guns in school.

    Requiring them to be armed with guns is a bad idea. Going around once a year and asking them "A student has started shooting people outside your classroom, your room is empty and you have a chance to stop them, what do you do?" and making sure they at least have a pencil to jab in the shooter's neck or a can of mace to blind them isn't a bad idea.

  • JFree||

    We've seen this show before. Remember the whining and yowling about the idea of letting airline pilots be armed, after 9/11?

    9/11 is what made me realize how incompetent we are since the advent of a volunteer standing army. We now view everything related to our defense as the job of 'specialists'. Those who are the loudest about the 2A also tend to view everyone around them as the enemy.

    Standing army was completely incompetent that day - and will always be so v asymmetric warfare.

    The passengers on the PA plane were able to quickly self-organize - but the only 'previously acquired skill' they possessed was being on sports teams in HS. The shoe and underwear bombers were also overcome by self-organizing passengers but those were lone-wolf attacks. One guy in first class on a Boston plane had military experience (Israeli?) but alone he was quickly eliminated.

    How much different if after 9/11, someone had said - the best solution is to overcome fear by training EVERYONE for different 'unexpected situations' that might require self-organizing. Instead it was - go shopping, we'll strip search everyone at airports, don't worry your pretty vacant heads.

  • Vincent Milburn||

    Arming pilots makes complete sense to me as you are already putting your life in the pilot's hands.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Armed soldiers would be a much better idea.

  • LarryA||

    Military training stresses killing people and blowing up things, which is not what is needed.

    Neither military nor law enforcement training or philosophy is relevant to civilian self-defense.

  • BigT||

    Arm the wimpiest kids in the class. That way you stop bullying and school shootings at the same time! A two-fer.

  • Flinch||

    The gang bangers are armed in LA. I notice a columbine type incident is generally never attempted there.

  • Ecoli||

    Arm the drama club, and the AV club. Do schools still have those?

  • jelabarre||

    Arm the drama club, and the AV club. Do schools still have those?

    I laugh when people think the kids in the AV department were all the wimps and geeks. In my HS (rural area, late 70's) they were more the troublemakers. And the equipment was perfectly safe, because no one dared mess with *their* turf. *Outside* of school, their hobbies included B&E.

  • Peter||

    IIRC Israel armed it's teachers in response to terror attacks on school children. Afterwards the only major incident was when the teachers were asked to disarm out of respect for a peace monument they were visiting on a field trip.
    You can guess how that turned out when they did.

  • Flinch||

    Caliber doesn't matter at close range. Aim does.

  • Longtobefree||

    When you can jam the muzzle into the perp's gut, only pulling the trigger matters

  • mchughjj||

    I appreciate John Stossel's take on most things. Normally, he backs up with data things we shouldn't worry about. He wouldn't dare try on this subject. The idea that there would be less gun violence if we had more guns in the hands of the 'good guys' is based on nothing but a love by some for guns. The US has a deplorable record with gun violence and the most lax gun laws in the world.

    I don't own a gun and don't want to take guns away from responsible owners, BUT suggesting that arming teachers is a positive step towards stopping school massacres is not just hare-brained...it makes the libertarian brand appear to be a collection of nuts.

  • LarryA||

    Except that where faculty carry being tried, it's working, at least in the sense that faculty are carrying and not causing any problems. Do you have data showing the opposite?

    U.S. "gun violence" as well as all criminal violence has been steadily dropping since 1993 (check the FBI statistics), even as gun ownership has soared and the number of people with licenses to carry has exceeded 16,000,000. Most U.S. "gun violence" is concentrated in certain neighborhoods of cities where legal ownership of firearms is limited, not in rural areas where gun ownership is prevalent.

  • Longtobefree||

    What a concept. Respecting the constitutional rights of a teacher. Whodathunkit?

  • BlueStarDragon||

    Personally why do we still have schools now anyway. We should start encouraging parents to have their kids learn on the internet like some colleges do and their are free high school levels classes already out their like Khan academy. That will also save money from building 25 million dollars schools, not counting money save in not paying a lot of teachers, busing, heating and electricity.

  • MaleMatters||

    To the extent you can, put yourself in the mind of someone intent on killing en mass at a school.

    You know all the teachers are armed, and there are alert guards everywhere walking around and peering around.

    So what do you do? You put away your AK-15 and you....

    See:

    "Gun Control and Mass Killers"
    https://relevantmatters.wordpress.com/
    2016/06/30/rush-draft-why-gun-
    control-fails-against-mass-killers/

    Join the links and delete the spaces.

    "People respond to incentives," the authors of "Superfreakonomics" write, "although not necessarily in ways that are predictable or manifest. Therefore, one of the most powerful laws in the universe is the law of unintended consequences."

  • Michael Cook||

    Back in 1981 I was an "armed" teacher in the Bering Strait School District in a tiny native fishing village, in a sense. In my unlocked office I had the school Biathlon rifles and ammo, as well as the .22 handguns that students who had been out fishing before class would leave with me as they arrived.

    Of course, in my own high school days in Montana it was not unusual for pickup trucks in the student parking lot to have rifle racks in them with rifles in place. My mild-mannered Latin teacher proudly brought his new hunting rifle to class to show it off to his 4th year students.

    Also my Senior year our school had entertainers and exotic/inspirational lecturers in for special performances in the gum. This was part of some government program to keep Montanans from feeling too removed from civilization in the days when TV was still in its infancy (we had one channel.) Marlin firearms sent us a man in a wheelchair who set up a small steel bullet trap at one end of the basketball court and then rolled himself out to the midcourt line.

    In the front of that trap a student balanced a row of aspirins on a flat board. Then the marksman, who had been paralyzed from childhood polio, popped those aspirin one by one with his Marlin rifle. He related how he had laboriously learned to use new muscles in his arms after polio.

  • Lester224||

    Remembering the weirdness of some of my high school teachers. I'm glad they didn't carry guns.

  • LiveNLetLive||

    Are you saying that there were no sane, sensible teachers in your High School?

  • LiveNLetLive||

    Why are people so afraid to offer identified, vetted, volunteers the means to defend themselves and their students?

  • TxJack 112||

    Number of school districts in Texas that permit teachers to carry firearms - 100. Number of school shootings in Texas - 0. Enough said.

  • LifeStrategies||

    When you're taught WHAT to think, rather than HOW to think by the strongly socialist education system, then having such irrational ideas about the right to defend yourself may be inevitable.

    Do the gun-grabbers understand that they're denying teachers the right to defend themselves and their students? Does anyone believe that his grand-mother/mother/sister/girl-friend does NOT have the right to defend herself from being attacked?

    This suggests a major improvement - instead use the term "right to defend yourself from attack" rather than "the 2nd Amendment". In the wonderful TED explanation of the most effective method to persuade someone to a different point of view:

    1 - tell them WHY it would benefit them, next

    2 - explain HOW it would do so, and last

    3 - tell them WHAT you're suggesting would give them these benefits

    http://www.ted.com/talks/simon.....n#t-141293

    The order is crucial, and the ongoing battle about WHAT - protecting the 2nd Amendment, the unfortunate focus on WHAT rather than WHY - explains why so many people don't understand the value of guns, although many if not most presumably believe in the right to defend themselves. Or even if they are willing to be assaulted, they don't deny their loved ones the right to defend themselves...

    If you trust your teachers enough to educate your kid, then you also trust them to defend your kid from a school shooter.

  • LEAPGuyAZ||

    MEDIA PLEASE STOP Hyping the School Shootings..

    The statistical likelihood of any given public school student being killed by a gun, in school, on any given day since 1999 was roughly 1 in 614,000,000. And since the 1990s, shootings at schools have been getting less common.

    Link goo.gl/8tz8BA

  • Wayne R||

    Arming teachers will only increase the incidence of accidental discharges due to handling the of the gun and students getting there hands on it because it is either misplaced, put in a desk or in a purse. The probability of a firearm discharge increases with every gun in the school. Consider this, Police on a firing range hit their targets about 80% of the time, but when engaged with a criminal they hit their targets only about 18% of the time and they are highly trained. A teacher will hit more innocent students than shooters because they will be scared to death when that eventuality ever occurs.

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