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Arming teachers … and lawyers

The newest firearms proposal in Sacramento is arming principals, teachers and even janitors at public schools as a deterrent to violence. Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, a San Bernardino County Republican, called for “school marshals,” modeled on the federal government’s air marshals, the armed, undercover police who travel on random commercial airline flights. In keeping with the undercover aspect of the program, Donnelly would carve an exemption in state public records laws and keep secret the identities of school employees who have concealed-weapons permits.

Here are my questions:

There’s the obvious – thinking back to my days in school, which of my teachers would I have trusted with a firearm? More to the point, perhaps, who wouldn’t I trust?

In the here and now, who will decide which teachers should be armed? And who shouldn’t?

When someone gets denied a permit, and it will happen, what happens then? A union grievance? Arbitration? An administrative law proceeding? A lawsuit?

If it gets as far as litigation, what about the secrecy promises? As a matter of constitutional law, courts are open to the public. And the public is entitled to know what’s being spent on litigation involving public employees, right?

Who’s liable if a teacher, ahem, goes postal?

And what’s the liability if a teacher is denied a permit and there’s a shooting in that teacher’s school or their classroom? If the victims include the teacher?

If this bill goes anywhere – and it won’t – these issues will come up unless, prior to arming the teachers, someone takes Shakespeare too literally: “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”

– Jim Sweeney





15 Responses to “Arming teachers … and lawyers”

  1. Dan Drummond Sr says:

    @Follower
    You should ask a woman about that. It’s her choice.

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  2. David J. Spencer says:

    “If this bill goes anywhere–and it won’t….”

    Whew on that!!

    During the Columbine episode the Police waited for the SWAT Team to show up before taking action. In the meantime, the shooters continued shooting, resulting in even more casualties.

    The new Police tactic is to neutralize the shooter as quickly as possible, whether by one officer or ten; to run, at a dead gallop, towards the gunfire and take the shooter down.

    Will armed school employees like teachers and janitors embrace this new tactic? Will they run towards the gunfire?

    Like in the Infantry?

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  3. Follower says:

    @DD Sr
    That’s a pretty cool site! Do you have one like that showing abortions?

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  4. Ricardo Sorentino says:

    RE: – “In the 50 days since Newtown, 1526 people have died in America from gunshots.”

    Let’s get all the facts out there… how many people have died from drug overdoses or alcoholism, or automobile accidents, or smoking… since Newtown.

    Todays tragedy is an ex-police officer killing another police officer… wait… this just in… Obama signs an executive order: no police officer will be allowed to carry a weapon while on or off duty… film at 11:00…

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  5. Dan Drummond Sr says:

    In the 50 days since Newtown, 1526 people have died in America from gunshots.
    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/crime/2012/12/gun_death_tally_every_american_gun_death_since_newtown_sandy_hook_shooting.html
    You can read about each death by clicking on a body icon, then clicking on the source.

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  6. brown act Jack says:

    Heck, it is very simple to handle the problem All registered voters should get a concealed weapon permit to allow them to protect themselves from criminals.
    After all, more damage is done by bad voting then by guns, is it not?

    You can not restrict a registered voter from voting without cause, so you should not restrict the voter from carrying without cause.

    Both are bill of rights rules , are they not?

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  7. Caller says:

    Instead of arming people who have no business carrying a weapon, it would be much easier to spend $50K to put an armed security guard in the school.

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  8. j galt says:

    Rest in peace Barney. You were a loyal dog and well loved by your family!

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  9. j galt says:

    The Newtown board of education has voted to put armed guards in schools , they have sided with the NRA.

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  10. John says:

    There is also a correlation between the number of people killed by cars in accidents, whether they are caused by inattention, medical emergencies, DUI’s, road/weather conditions, mechanical condition of the vehicle, you name it, but as many have pointed out no one, politician or citizen is calling for a ban or tighter control. Certainly tighter vehicle control would help? You odds of getting seriously injured or killed in an auto accident are significantly better than those of winning EITHER the Lotto or Fantasy Five, so trying to make this into a staistics and probability proof is ridiculous. Do we need to have teachers or anyone else armed in our schools? Most likely the answer is no, but politicians want points and legislation that can go on the books and cost little, versus finding ways to identify the mentally unstable who may commit violence and attempt to help them. That would cost money, the voters don’tike that, and no politican wants to risk not getting re-elected. Plain and simple!

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  11. michael koepf says:

    It’s sad that Mockingbird’s brother killed himself, but as professionals point out: for people seriously intent on suicide, it’s not whether or not they want to do it, but how they will do it. If a firearm isn’t available they move on to the next choice: poison; pills; gravity; fast moving vehicles or sharp instruments. What is hypocritically interesting about our current gun debate is that, one, it did not suddenly appear, and, two, in America gun deaths are demographically distributed. Death by gunfire (usually unregistered pistols) is the highest cause of death amongst black teenagers and it is also a leading cause of death amongst young, male Hispanics. By comparison the murder rate within the American Caucasian and Asian population from young to old is as low as some small, European countries with tough fire arm restrictions. When over 500 African Americans in Chicago (a city with strict gun control) were killed last year, liberal editors, pundits, and even President Obama didn’t say a peep. Then, with the horrific Newton shootings, the utopian press; progressives, and the Democrat party suddenly waxed frantic to impose new and draconian restrictions on legal gun owners. If it doesn’t smack of racism (by ignoring the impact of the deaths of young Black Americans) it certainly smacks of folly.

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  12. Graeme Wellington says:

    An uncle of one of the Sandy Hook victims is making a couple of proposals that make some sense and have the virtue of directly addressing the actual problem.

    First, he recommends a mandatory reporting law which would require anyone with knowledge of an impending crime involving guns or bombs to notify authorities within 24 hours.

    His other recommendation is a “Firearm Safekeeping Law” which would make it a misdemeanor, or possibly a felony, to store guns in such a way that they could fall into the hands of someone with a mental illness. The proposed law is written so that it only applies in a case where a mentally ill or violent person actually does obtain the weapon, not where they merely could have.

    Here’s a link to the whole proposal. I hope our lawmakers look at stuff like this instead of what they are proposing.

    http://media.nbcbayarea.com/documents/Pozner%20Family%20Memorandum.pdf

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  13. Reality Check says:

    One of the many things worth knowing in life is not to confuse correlation with causation.

    When it became fairly common to assign “resource” officers at high schools, I shook my head in regret at one more sign that times were changing, and not for the better. The idea that armed police might be needed at elementary schools is hardly welcome.

    One interesting state: The growth in the percentage of households with a gun is fastest among people who identify as Democrats. There is nothing smarter than a liberal who has been mugged, and now also one who fears mugging.

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  14. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    There is a direct correlation between the number of guns in this country and the violence from guns. Probability (the math of odds, luck, and chance) predicts this. The probability (odds) of winning the Fantasy Five is significantly better than winning the Lotto. I’d like the odds of gun violence to be more like the odds of the Lotto than the Fantasy Five, and then death by gun would be rare. Suicides and accidental deaths are added into this equation plus weapons of mass destruction (assault weaponry), the odds go up even higher. It’s like the odds of being struck by lightning. The odds show that everyone has a chance of being struck by lightning. Your odds go up if you are stupid enough to be in a field under a tree during a thunderstorm or on the roof fixing your antenna (when we had antennas!). It’s like asking for it. THE MORE GUNS THE HIGHER THE PROBABILITY YOU WILL DIE BY GUNSHOT. There is no denying math, people. It speaks volumes.

    A note on suicides. Guns are a convenient quick death. My brother would be alive today if he hadn’t had the 22 rifle in his closet. I remember hearing an interview with a man who tried to commit suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. He said halfway down he changed his mind and he was so glad he survived. He views life from a different angle now.

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  15. michael koepf says:

    In Henry the Sixth, the line: “the first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers” is spoken by an arch criminal (Dick) who is part of Jack Cade’s gang. Cade is a murderous pretender to the throne. Shakespeare had little love for lawyers as is evidenced in other works. However, in this scene, the line is meant as an gross and ironic exaggeration, for in the flowing scene Cade and Dick are shown to have total disregard for all the law themselves when they’re responsible for murdering an innocent man in an attempt to replace the king with an ill-begotten utopian state where money doesn’t matter and the drinks are nearly free. Thus, the line quoted is more about the contrast between a lawyer’s interpretations of law (as well as that of criminal’s) and justice itself. The line is uttered by an evil man to heighten irony; thus, if used by, say, a modern, utopian journalist on any issue of gun law, it’s doubly ironic in as much as it’s a sad misappropriation of Shakespeare’s words.

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