I don’t have anything in particular to say in response to the massacre in Newtown, CT. The usual folks are making the usual arguments, of course. Many are suggesting that teachers and principals should be packing heat. Unless you’re going to make combat training part of teacher certification, that sounds like a bad idea. Having more guns in schools does not sound like a recipe for increased safety. From the other side, it just seems obvious to me that certain forms of weaponry, automatic weapons and enormous ammunition clips for example, are so inherently dangerous and serve no function other than the killing of human beings that private citizens should not be allowed to own them. The second amendment counts for something, but we should recall that it was written at a time when muskets and bayonets were the most powerful weapons around.
I would, however, direct you to two important posts over at Pharyngula. In the first, Chris Clarke writes:
I’ve known quite a few grade school teachers over the years. Until 2009, I was married to one. And I realized as I was thinking about Soto that there’s not a single one of those grade school teachers I’ve known, my ex- emphatically included, who I could imagine doing anything but jumping between the gunman and his or her students.
I know that’s an argument from incredulity. I know teachers are human beings, and human beings freeze up when they’re frightened. But I’ve also seen the sacrifices grade school teachers make on days the media don’t notice. Over and over, day in and day out, with no hope of any relief outside of leaving the job.
And for this they get to be one of the most denigrated groups of professionals in the United States, targeted every single goddamn year for one “reform” after another, vouchers from the fundies and charter schools from the liberals, forced by law to take every spark of individuality and interest out of their curricula and then blamed when their students lose interest, resented their pensions and their health care by people who then blame them when their kids turn out to be apathetic.
Exactly right, and well said. Go read the rest of the post.
Meanwhile, P. Z. Myers rounds up statements from the religious ghouls, who served up the typical tripe about how this is what happens when you take God out of schools. Typical is this statement from James Dobson:
I am going to give you my honest opinion: I think we have turned our back on the Scripture and on God Almighty and I think he has allowed judgment to fall upon us.
Charming God they worship. He did not allow judgment to fall upon “us.” He allowed it to fall on a group of young children and the adults trying to protect them. Apparently it’s not enough for God to settle up with apostates in the afterlife. He has to allow children to be murdered in this one.