Saturday, September 13, 2014
However, here in Salt Lake County, every few months something a few minutes from my home seems to be plastered all over CNN. Sometimes good, more often bad, and occasionally just plain moronic.
This week was a particular facepalm for me because it involved a teacher. In fact, it is disturbing how many stories come out about Utah teachers behaving badly. My theory on why Utah gets the high distribution of dimwitted teachers is this: Utah has THE lowest per pupil spending in America. We are even lower than the territory of Puerto Rico. In addition, we also have a legislature that is completely hostile to teachers. So combine low pay with often less than quality working conditions... and the pool of applicants gets thin. We have some amazing teachers, I work with some of the best, but Utah also scrapes the bottom of the barrel to fill classrooms. As such, you would be hard pressed to find in other states the kind of bizarre behavior you occasionally find here in Utah.
Utah is a Right-Wing reactionary state. Back when the Sandy Hook situation went down, our legislature decided that teachers should be allowed to carry concealed weapons in school. So with 3 hours of instruction, and a couple hundred dollars spent at Walmart, a teacher could now have their six shooter join them in class time with the kiddies.
Why three hours of class time is simply not sufficient should be apparent... but again, we are a Right-Wing state and ideology often trumps reality. Let me step into another context to demonstrate. I am presently helping my 16 year old daughter learn to drive. I had forgotten that driving is actually a very complex venture. Watching my daughter try to multitask all of the varied inputs brings a fresh perspective. As a new driver, she over-reacts and under-reacts. She needs me there to help her multi-task, interpret the inputs, tell her when to turn, slow down, speed up, etc. If I were to let her drive now without guidance, she would most likely be in a fender-bender or worse within the week. She is wicked clever and sharp as a tack - she does not lack intelligence or capability. She just needs supervised experience in these early stages.
Think of that in reference to guns. I bet if I talked to a cop or a person in the armed services, they would describe to me the myriad of hours spent on becoming proficient with a gun. Training upon training. Compare that to three hours of community classwork, afterwhich you get to carry a concealed weapon. Like the new driver, someone new with a gun is going to be a hazard to everyone around them. Why do we think allowing such a person to carry a gun in school is a good idea?
I am sure our CCW teacher, who made national news this week, carried her gun with good intentions. Pumped up with NRA slogans like, "The only thing that stops a bad person with a gun is a good person with a gun!" she probably day-dreamed of saving all of her students from the bad guy.
Instead, she blew apart a toilet when going to the bathroom, and was sent to the hospital with porcelain fragments. What happened to her was pure math... and as a school teacher she should have known this. It was always statistically much more likely that she would shoot herself, a child, or some other bystander than take out a bad guy.
There is a great scene in the movie Glory where Matthew Broderick's character is commanding the first black soldiers in the Civil War. The men and their Sergeant are commending themselves at what good shots they are with their guns. Broderick demonstrates that being a good shot has nothing to do with combat. He pulls aside one of the men and tells him to reload his weapon. As the soldier attempts to re-load, Broderick screams at him to load and fire faster, while firing a pistol repeatedly near the soldier's ear. The man's hands shake so violently, he can no longer hold his weapon. (Scoot ahead to one minute thirty three seconds).
It is political childishness and conceit that allows Utah to think that anyone without police or military training should be allowed to carry a gun in our schools.
Posted by Andrew at 11:53 AM