A new Gallup survey revealed this week that 18 percent of America’s teachers would be willing to carry guns in school buildings, a fact that runs against the grain for a majority of educators, but might be typical of any group in which there is a small percentage of people who step forward for any task.
It may affirm an adage that there are three kinds of people: Those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who wonder what happened.
It is not as though school shootings are an everyday occurrence, because according to NPR, that is simply not the case despite rhetoric in recent days about the “epidemic of gun violence.” Here’s what NPR reported Thursday:
“The Parkland shooting last month has energized student activists, who are angry and frustrated over gun violence. But it’s also contributed to the impression that school shootings are a growing epidemic in America.
“In truth, they’re not.”
To back that up, NPR spoke with James Alan Fox, a criminology professor at Northeastern University “who has studied the phenomenon of mass murder since the 1980s.” According to Fox, who worked with doctoral student Emma Fridel, there is an average of about one multiple-victim school shooting per year.
Here’s something else the NPR story revealed: “Second, the overall number of gunshot victims at schools is also down. According to Fox’s numbers, back in the 1992-93 school year, about 0.55 students per million were shot and killed; in 2014-15, that rate was closer to 0.15 per million.”
But is arming teachers a bad thing? According to 73 percent of teachers responding to the Gallup poll, it is a bad idea. On the other hand, 20 percent of responding teachers “strongly or somewhat favor” special training that would enable them to carry a gun in school.
Fifty-eight percent of teachers, according to Gallup, think armed teachers would make schools less safe, while 20 percent think schools would be safer and 22 percent don’t believe it would make a difference.
Another Gallup revelation is that 29 percent of teachers think that arming them or their colleagues would be “very or somewhat effective in limiting the number of victims of a school shooting” while 71 percent disagree.
Since the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Valentine’s Day, opinions about guns in schools have been flying around social media and the mainstream press. Students have become involved, and many conservative commentators believe they have been manipulated to push for gun control.