Thursday, August 28

Readin' Ritin' and Remingtons

A school district in Texas (where else?) has recently decided to allow teachers to carry concealed weapons on school grounds. (Link to full article.)

The district superintendent, David Thweatt, says the move is a proactive protection measure. He adds "Country people are take-care-of-yourself people. They are not under the illusion that the police are there to protect them."

But the police are here to protect the population. That's their purpose. Does Mr. Thweatt also not trust the local fire department to respond to a fire, nor the local paramedics to respond to a health emergency?

I could somewhat understand (but still disagree with) this move if there were gang-activity or some other history of violence in the area. But Harrold, TX has only 268 residents and hardly any violent crime. Wilbarger County has 14,000 residents and recorded 702 criminal incidents in 2000 and only 9 of those can be considered violent. The sole high school has only 100 students. So, what or who is Mr. Thweatt protecting his district from?

Mr. Thweatt says that this decision had been discussed internally within the school board for 2 years. Evidently, they considered other non-lethal measures including tranquilizer guns, beanbag guns, tasers, mace and armed security guards but found each was inadequte. "We devil-advocated it to death," says Mr. Thweatt.

From the articles, I've read Mr. Thweatt never clearly identifies the enemy he is "protecting" his schools from. But that enemy must be the students themselves since it is students who have been both the victims and assailants in most schools shootings.

So, this school district has chosen to spend its time and money on lethal weapons aimed at school children. They and Mr. Thweatt ignored the opportunity to try and determine what provokes a child to murder. They chose to arm their staff rather add security personnel. And I expect they will choose to "shoot first and ask questions later" should some incident occur.

Unfortunatley, this is yet another instance of a scared person taking matters into his/her own hands. That rarely plays out well. I hope that Harrold, TX will be remembered as just a quirky place where teachers carry guns and does not become yet another town on this list:
  • Pearl, MS
  • Fort Gibson, OK
  • Conyers, GA
  • Red Lake, MN
  • Moses Lake, WA
  • Oxnard, CA
  • Littleton, CO
  • ....

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