Ever since the Newtown massacre, I’ve had disturbing image of Mr. Preston, my high school English teacher, toting a Glock. Mr. Preston was a spindly, tight-lipped man who once told me I was the best French student in his English class. His compliment launched my writing career, though it did not escape me that I was also the only French student in his class. Mr. Preston was known to have bad reactions if his class was unruly. He would yell, harangue and occasionally throw blackboard erasers at his pupils. He once drew three large Xs with an indelible Magic Marker on the forehead of a particularly rambunctious teen.
This has led me to wonder about the obscene proposal put forth by the National Rifle Association that teachers and principals should be armed while at work. I use the word obscene selectively. Until recently, I thought it connoted some sort of offensiveness, with sexual overtones. Now I see it as better defined by the Encarta Dictionary: disgusting and morally offensive, especially through an apparent total disregard for others' rights or natural justice.
Enough etymology, I have several questions for Wayne LaPierre, head of the NRA.
- Who decides which teachers/administrators will be selected? Will it be voluntary or mandatory? Will it be included in their résumés?
- Who screens the teachers and roots out the pederasts, molesters and the potentially violent?
- Who trains these newly armed persons; who pays them, buys guns for them. (Here, a suggestion: Let the NRA and the gun manufacturer pay for all of the above. Let them also be responsible for the inevitable lawsuits, hospitalizations, funeral costs, psychological treatment and any other negative outcome of putting so many more weapons in people’s hands.)
- Where will the weapons be kept during the school day? Will there be a gun locker in every classroom or a sort of armory closet in the hallway? Or will the teachers keep them in their desk drawers next to the cheese and cracker treats and the breath mints? Might they simply wear the guns in holsters during classroom hours?
- Do the teachers/administrators take the guns home at night? Will they be given gun safes for their homes?
- Will every school have an armed guard during off-hours and vacation days to deter would be gun thieves? Because make no mistake, there will be gun thieves.
- And what kind of weapons are talking about anyway? Assault rifles, automatics, single shots or sawed-off shotguns?
- What will be the protocol? Shoot first, ask questions later? Try to reason with the assailant as others draw a bead on him?
- Will they be shooting to kill or merely to wound?
- And of course, will the official shooter benefit from Good Samaritan laws? This is bound to be a hotly contested issue.
So those are the first 10 questions. There will be more.
And now for a request. Mr. LaPierre, on behalf of millions of French people, I respectfully request you change your name to something less Gallic sounding. You’re giving a bad name to a nation that long ago realized that guns do indeed kill people, and frankly, we want nothing to do with you.