Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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Letters to the Editor

January 30, 2013

Arming school teachers with guns won’t work

The proposal by the NRA and Virginia’s Gov. Bob McDonnell to arm school teachers is a knee jerk reaction and novice idea that would destabilize school safety and put all children in harms reach. Putting firearms in the hands of ill trained school or security personnel would only create more problems. There is absolutely no safe direction to fire a weapon in a school filled with children. Whoever is behind the trigger needs to have extensive training in dealing with life or death situations.

If someone does decide to put armed personnel in schools it should be none other than well trained police officers. They receive extensive ongoing and evolving training that encompasses many types of potentially deadly situations. I’m sure that right now there are highly educated people studying all of the mass shootings to gain a better understanding and develop procedures to better protect our schools and elsewhere.

Police are trained to de-escalate situations and use deadly force only as a last result. There is simply no way to train a handful of school personnel or security guards in a short class for them to adequately deal with the potential problems that may arise at schools.

Thirty years ago we had plenty of guns and people with mental problems. But, we did not have individuals, males in particular, who wanted to harm other people, especially innocent children. Instead of putting more firepower in the equation we need to look in the mirror and do some soul searching and find out what is causing this outrageous behavior.

No place in our country is safe from violence anymore. Guns however, just seem to be the choice instruments of destruction because they are plentiful, fairly easy to obtain, and can quickly do a tremendous amount of carnage.

When I watch all of the news coverage of these incidents, I get a sense that no one has a clue on how to deal with these problems. From brain surgeons and psychiatrists to our legislators, they are all dumbfounded! Instead of treating the symptoms by creating more gun laws or going down the dangerous path of deciding who is mentally incompetent, we should be looking at our culture. Be it some sort of social interface, or possibly a physical exposure to some substance that is causing a chemical imbalance in our brains. We need to find out what has changed over the past 30 years.

Perhaps we should start with our schools. Instead of metal detectors and guns everywhere making them like harsh intimidating prisons in which kids fear for their lives, schools should have a warm loving environment conducive for learning. Then our children could once again learn to love and have respect for others without all of the bullying and violence.

I would also like to mention that firearms are not allowed on the inside of Virginia prisons.

Bobby McCall

Cedar Bluff, Va.

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