January 2, 2013 | Back to: Opinion

Should teachers be armed?

I’m a teacher. The question I pose to you is blunt and uncomfortable: If a crazed gunman entered your child’s school, would you want me to kill him?

Statistically most campus killers are young males in their teens.

I’ve been asking myself: Would I kill a gunman attempting to murder your child?

Don’t be enraged by my self-questioning: The killer may only be 13.

I’ve taken 13-year-old students to mental health.

One boy, six years later, drugged and violently raped young girls. He said, “I want to be like John Wayne Gacy and Jeffrey Dahmer.”

I believed him. He wasn’t lying. He’s still in prison – I think.

Would you expect me to kill an armed 13 year old?

Do you hold me accountable for your child’s school safety?

Former students of mine have killed kids. Most used guns. Others used cars. Some used drugs. One used a knife, another an aerosol can.

I haven’t aimed a gun at a person, nor do I want to.

I received my first gun 40 years ago at age 10.

At 11, I would ride my bike to the river with a hundred rounds of ammunition. The thought of killing someone never crossed my mind.

I’ve only one experience with guns and human blood. I used my index finger to plug a stranger’s self-inflicted gunshot wound. He shot himself with a stolen gun. I heard he lived.

Thank God I lack firsthand knowledge of the psychological trauma associated with aiming a gun at someone and pulling the trigger.

I’m a sportsman. I know the power of gunpowder and lead.

A rational human mind can’t wrap itself around hurting a kid.

Which is why I ask myself; Could I kill a kid trying to shoot your child?

Police officers train to prevail and save lives in armed scenarios.

Teachers drill to duck and cover. I’m not trained to neutralize human threats. I’ve no formal tactical weapons experience.

I can shoot.

I’m versed in common sense. During school intruder drills, I think about how to keep your child alive.

I follow protocol and lock my classroom door, calm my students and draw the drapes. I’d run the kids to safety.

Police emergency response time to our campus would most likely be measured in hurried minutes.

Could I kill a shooter blasting his way through my locked door or busted window?

Would I kill an armed intruder?

It’s against the law for California teachers to pack a weapon on campus. I don’t have a concealed weapon permit.

My defensive classroom weapons are a 12-inch ruler, a pair of scissors and a cell phone. Some days I carry a 2-inch pocketknife.

Police officers may carry semi-automatic pistols on campus. Armed mall security agents patrol retail outlets amid hundreds of teenage shoppers. Bank security officers tote guns, as do armored car drivers.

The president, and his kids, have armed Secret Service Agents.

The U.S. Department of Defense 2013 defense budget request is $613 billion.

Commander-in-chief of the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II stated in Japanese: “You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass.”

Americans are unabashed about spending on weapons and training to keep us free.

Precious commodities are worthy of protecting — usually with a gun.

Nothing’s more precious than America’s children — nothing!

There are upwards of 270,000,000 guns in America.

In 2011, public schools employed about 3.3 million teachers and 222,810 school administrators in 13,600 school districts.

This fall over 49.8 million students enrolled in public elementary and secondary schools.

America has somewhere in the neighborhood of 800,000 armed law enforcement sheriff and patrol officers to protect schools and 257 million Americans at work and home.

People feel safer when police are near. Is it the uniform, the training or the gun?

Teachers selected for FBI training, law enforcement screening and psychological testing with the public’s blessing could kill murders aiming at your children.

Do you know a teacher you’d trust to kill a murderer?

Would I kill a gunman trying to murder your child? Yes.

Could I kill a gunman trying to murder your child? Unarmed – I’ll try. Armed – yes.

I leave you with a most unpleasant question, the nearly unimaginable reality of a statistical improbability: If a crazed gunman busts into your child’s school, do you want me to kill him?

Ty Pelfrey is a teacher in California.

Nothing’s more precious than America’s children — nothing!

other voices
Ty Pelfrey


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The Union Updated Jun 6, 2013 11:42PM Published Jan 2, 2013 09:22PM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.