Gun-Happy Indiana Republicans All Set To Help Teachers Lock And Load In Class!
We had another regularly scheduled mass shooting this week in Michigan, so it's depressing to see Indiana Republicans respond to gun violence like an Onion headline.
Tuesday, the Indiana House overwhelmingly passed a bill providing state funding to train teachers who carry guns in classrooms. (All the "no" votes came from Democrats.) Republicans seem to think teachers are a bunch of anti-American "woke" socialist groomers who should also carry a gun while indoctrinating our kids in neo-Marxism. Maybe they think that's less a concern in deep-red Indiana, but the Mike Pence-founded group, Advancing American Freedom, has vowed to "combat the Radical Left’s indoctrination of children in Iowa." What "Radical Left" in Iowa? There's like four guys.
The bill's author, Rep. Jim Lucas, said on the House floor, "This is just a standardized [training] format that the state will pay for." He’s reportedly said the bill is a response to deadly mass school shootings nationwide, but that's a very stupid thing to say. Maybe he was misquoted.
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You'd think this foolishness about arming teachers would've ended after the school massacre in Uvalde, Texas. Actual trained officers botched the response, and while the average teacher could've done better than those bozos, there's still a tremendous amount of liability regarding pulling out a gun and firing during an active shooter event. God forbid a teacher accidentally shoots or fatally injures a student or another faculty member. They aren't cops who enjoy qualified immunity.
More than a decade after Sandy Hook and this is what we're doing.
\u201cA survivor of the 2012 Sandy Hook elementary school shooting is a student at Michigan State University https://t.co/SQqKwUkkzh\n\n\u201d— philip lewis (@philip lewis) 1676385774
Rep. Tonya Pfaff, a Democrat from Terre Haute, taught math for almost three decades. She has legitimate concerns that teachers' guns could be stolen or used in small disagreements. These are both ongoing issues outside of school.
“School protection officers have jobs to protect the school, and I appreciate that,” she said yesterday. “They protect, I teach algebra. There’s no reason to switch.”
Indiana Capital Chronicle reports:
School corporations can get one matching grant annually from the Indiana Secured School Fund for their security programs. House Bill 1177 would allow an additional grant for specialized firearms instruction.
The measure also would authorize state dollars for counseling services for students, teachers, school staff and employees in the event of a school shooting.
Lucas stressed that teachers can choose whether they want to carry a gun in class, but this raises other questions: What happens if parents demand that their students are assigned to teachers with weapons? What happens the first time there's a school shooting and students die in a classroom where the teacher wasn't armed?
The armed teacher training program would include a whopping 40 hours of training in firearm safety and use. It's based on the we're sure impressive training law enforcement officials currently receive, though I'd hope it's more than just 40 hours. It takes longer to binge-watch Netflix's "The Crown."
Democratic state Rep. Victoria Garcia Wilburn suggested a better solution would be to “properly fund” school resource officers, rather than “arm teachers.” And perhaps the best solution, I think, is reducing the absurdly easy access to guns. Indiana's gun laws are a bad joke with no universal background checks, gun owner licensing, large capacity magazine ban, or even a waiting period.
But Indian Republicans won't address the actual problem. They'll just add to it.
“This is not a guarantee. I can’t predict the future,” Lucas said. “The purpose of this bill is to provide those that want it [with] a tool to be able to make a last-ditch effort” to protect themselves and students.
"I can't predict the future" is what people say who've made bad decisions anyone can predict will end badly. Teachers under assault during a school shooting, whipping out their guns in desperation, trying to remember that 40 hours of training from a few years ago. What could go wrong, other than everything?
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."