Do we want teachers or armed guards?

By ED HOWARDStatehouse CorrespondentThe Nebraska Press Association LINCOLN – Lawmakers are talking about whether teachers should be authorized to carry guns at school. What should the rest of us be talking about? What does it say about us when a teacher goes into a classroom, armed like an undercover cop going to a drug buy? What does it say about us when such a thing is even a legitimate topic for discussion? And if you were a kid, what would you think of school if you knew the person talking to you about Lewis and Clark was toting a Smith & Wesson under his jacket, just in case? If you were a kid with virtually any sense, you would think that you might be in a pretty dangerous place. It’s the sort of thing that can interfere with one’s concentration. The view from here this week consists of a question: Let’s say the state decides teachers, administrators and security personnel at schools can be authorized by local school boards to carry guns. What happens after some kid takes a gun away from one of those people and uses it on himself or others? Sooner or later it would happen, and you know it. What then? We will consider making it a crime for anyone to take, or try to take, a firearm from a school employee who is authorized to carry same. And then what? It is often the case that lawmakers enact measures intended to protect us from the symptoms of larger problems. For example: We regulate water and air standards because some people pollute. Dealing with the pollution itself is another matter. We can enact laws intended to protect children and school personnel from kids who would do them deadly harm. What do we do about the fact that there may be so many of those kids that we arm teachers as though they were guarding prisoners, rather than tending to children? And does the answer lie with policymakers, or parents?