Armed teachers could have foiled Newtown shooter

Across the country people are asking why did this terrible thing happen and what could we have done to prevent it? Unfortunately, there is no good answers to those questions. We can point fingers and cast blame, but ultimately bad people sometimes do bad things and tragedies such as the Newtown shootings are no one's fault but the killers themselves.

That has not stopped people from suggesting all manners of quick-fixes to the problem. There is a lot of talk about mental health issues. "We should increase access to care," it is said. "We should remove the stigma associated with mental health issues so that people will not avoid the care they need."

While I don't think those are bad ideas, they alone will not fix the problem.

Even with increased capacity for helping people with mental illness, some will avoid or refuse care. Some will slip through the system. And some people are not mentally ill, they are just evil. No amount of treatment, therapy, or legislation can change them. Sooner or later someone else will decide to go on another rampage like this, and there is nothing we can do to prevent it.

Some are proposing renewed renewing the federal ban on assault weapons. Such proposals have nothing to do with Newtown, and everything to do with political grandstanding. None of the guns used by the Newtown shooter would have been banned under the expired federal law.

Those now calling for renewing the ban on assault weapons are just vultures who have been waiting for an opportunity to push their preconceived anti-gun agenda.

Calls for other types of increased gun control are also misguided. The gunman in Newtown was too young to legally own guns. He stole the ones he used. He transported them illegally. He brought them onto school grounds illegally. Any more gun laws would have been just more words on paper to him, and of no help to his victims.

Even if guns were completely banned, some criminals would doubtless manage to keep theirs; if we could magically make all the guns in the world disappear that still wouldn't remove the malice from the hearts of those who commit this kind of atrocity.

But we can stop it.

Historically, mass murders end in one of three ways. The killer gets bored or runs out of targets and leaves the scene or kills himself. The police arrive and confront the killer. Or someone one of the would-be victims on-site produces a weapon of their own and confronts the killer. That last scenario results in the fewest number of fatalities by far.

I'm not suggesting handing out guns to all teachers. But if certain teachers and administrators are so inclined and can be trained and vetted, we should allow them the means to defend themselves and the children entrusted to their care. Better that than herding our children into "defenseless victim zones" and hoping for the best.

Peter Bagnell, Bowie

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