The Nevada System of Higher Education wants to arm their faculty. That’s insane. We have rare instances of students going on a shooting spree; I don’t see how turning the classroom into a firefight is going to stop that, and I also have a suspicion that any homicidal maniacs will henceforth simply put “shoot the professor” first on their to-do list. The other concern: how often has this happened at your university?
- Dishevelled, out-of-breath student bursts into the room in the middle of class — he overslept.
- Angry student storms into your office, red in the face and furious about his exam.
- Walking across the campus late at night, a dark figure steps out from behind a building and raises his hand … to say hello.
Those kinds of events are routine, and don’t bother me at all. But let’s foster a climate of fear of our murderous students, slip a firearm into our pockets, and wait. It won’t happen often, but all it will take is one jittery professor and one deadly incident, and try to imagine your university dealing with the parents. And that kind of hasty stupidity is going to be more common than the “vicious gunman foiled by hail of professorial bullets” story, I’m sure. It’s trading one unlikely danger for a more common one, and it isn’t even going to stop the problem — lone gunmen violating a school must expect to end up dead, and if it’s in a gunfight, all the greater the glory.
At the very least, it’s going to send the message to our students that they’d better not make any sudden moves around their lethal professors. It’s a violation of the trust they should have in us, so no, rather than arming myself, I think I’d rather call the police if there is a violent threat … that’s better than becoming a klutzy threat all on my own. My job is to teach, not play Bruce Willis.