(My Opinion Response)
As I read the article from the Los Angeles Times I could not resist posting my own comments regarding this author’s ridiculous claims. During my reading I could not help but wonder if the entire piece was meant to be a joke. The author, Daniel Akst, proposes the extreme idea that children should be sent to school with firearms for their own protection. To think that a kindergartner is mature and equipped enough to handle a gun that is capable of killing is a thought that never even crossed my mind because I see it as entirely too absurd. The author suggests that a child should not be able to move onto the next grade if they do not pass a firearms safety test. He proceeds to compare the ‘armed self-defense’ requirement to, say, a math requirement. A math requirement is something that will be beneficial to a child’s future. The entire purpose of attending school is to grow as a thinker and an intellectual for the mere goal of obtaining a gratifying and influential job. Children are the future brains of this country; they will be the ones to discover new technologies and medicines that will benefit everyone on this earth. For people to say teaching a child how to use a violent weapon bears the same importance as teaching a child exceptional math and science skills is something that will never sit right with me.
I am almost 20 years old and I would consider myself a very mature young woman. However, I would be lying if I said I was completely done maturing. I still get angry at minuscule things and I still act in ways that I sometimes regret after my fury. Like I said I am 20 years old and I still cannot control my emotions the way I, perhaps, should. Expecting a 5 year old to be capable of controlling their emotions is an absurd hope. Children throw tantrums where they may hit their sibling or throw a toy at a friend that is bothering them. I do not care how mature one might think children are, handing kids lethal weapons will never go without severe consequences. All it takes is one child to get angry with another at the lunch table before a weapon, capable of killing, is pulled. And then what? Every single child and adult in that lunchroom and school is now in danger. You see, it may be nice in theory to have firearm knowledge instilled in children, but the terrible negative outcomes outweigh the positives by a landslide.
I am fully aware that there is a huge, growing problem at hand in regards to gun violence in schools. I just do not think supplying our youth with weapons will promote anything but more violence and detrimental harm to others. The only maybe-ever-so-slightly promising proposal Daniel Akst makes is the possibility of teachers being equipped with firearms. Teachers go through an extensive background check to obtain their positions already, but with weapons being around children a more thorough check will undoubtedly be needed. I think it would be a necessity to make the background checks a more frequent occurrence, along with psychiatric evaluations and recommendations/interviews from family, friends, neighbors, etc. Intense, in-depth training in regards to weaponry use would be crucial, as well, with the implementation of firearms in the hands of teachers. With all of the necessary precautions that comes with the notion of teachers bearing a gun, I can see a large amount of prospective teachers change their career path. It will turn into a job similar to applying for an FBI position with the extensive research that goes into each applicant because, after all, you can never be too careful when it comes to children’s safety.
I may have slightly agreed with Akst’s proposal of teachers with weapons, but if it were up to me I still do not agree that weapons should ever be allowed within school parameters. School is a place for learning and it should absolutely be kept that way. There are plenty of other precautions that can be taken before amounting to the extreme idea of handing out firearms to young children.