Saturday, October 20, 2007

Teachers, Guns and Schools

Safety comes from the ability of people free of malice and hostile intent to stop those individuals intent on harm. It is not a hard concept. Two recent articles on guns and the safety of students question why some people don’t understand what safety means.

Teachers Packing Heat? Good intentions do not necessarily make good rules. What counts is whether the laws ultimately save lives. Unfortunately, too many gun laws primarily disarm law-abiding citizens, not criminals. Banning guns from schools seems like the obvious way to keep children safe. But a teacher, Shirley Katz, in Medford, Oregon, is proposing the exact opposite and is stirring up debate across the nation.

The benefit from concealed handguns on multiple-victim public shootings is particularly large. Examining all the multiple-victim public shootings in the United States from 1977 to 1999 shows that on average, states that adopt right-to-carry laws experience a 60% drop in the rates at which the attacks occur, and a 78% drop in the rates at which people are killed or injured from such attacks.

For multiple-victim shootings, the biggest factor determining the amount of harm is the length of time between when an attack starts and when someone with a gun can stop the attack. The longer the delay, the more are harmed.

There’s A Reason They Choose Schools: It is encouraging that college students themselves have a much better grasp on reality than their politically correct elders. During the week of October 22-26 Students For Concealed Carry On Campus will stage a nationwide “empty holster” demonstration (peaceful, of course) in support of their cause.

School officials typically base violence-prevention policies on irrational fears more than real-world analysis of what works. But which is more horrible, the massacre that timid bureaucrats fear might happen when a few good guys (and gals) carry guns on campus, or the one that actually did happen despite Virginia Tech’s progressive violence-prevention policy? Can there really be any more debate?

Being harmless does not protect you from being harmed. Wishing the world is a safe place won’t make it so. It’s amazing how far politics has drifted away from common sense.