By the time a 17-year-old gunman had finished his wild shooting spree at a school near Stuttgart, Germany, this week, at least nine young pupils and three teachers lay dead. Only after fleeing the scene, with the police in hot pursuit, and a final shootout with authorities, was the attacker finally killed.
Could an armed teacher have made a difference? Of course. Surely a teacher with a gun in the hand would have been better than a cop on the phone. The incident proves what has long been known: The only person who can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun – nobody else will be of much help.
Police cannot personally protect every person in a nation and can only clean up the mess after a crime has taken place.
Instant response to a life-threatening situation is always best, as “the clean up team” remains just that – “the clean up team.” The police cannot be everywhere, all the time, to protect you.
Of course, there are disadvantages in having firearms in a society. But consider the fact that these are far outweighed by the advantages.
When last did you hear of a multiple-victim shooting taking place on a firearm range, in a police station or at a gun show, or wherever many firearms are found anywhere in the world? You haven’t. That’s because criminals prefer unarmed victims, or soft targets. No wonder they love gun control – it makes their work so much easier and their working environment much safer.
In Israel, teachers and parents who serve as school aids are armed with semi-automatic firearms whenever they are on school grounds. Since the country adopted this policy in the 1970s, attacks by gunmen at Israeli schools have become non-existent.
In 2004 Thailand adopted a similar approach to ensure the safety of its schoolchildren.
On April 27, 2004, Associated Press reported, “Interior Minister Bhokin Bhalakula ordered provincial governors to give teachers licences to buy guns if they wanted to, even though it would mean bringing firearms into the classrooms when the region’s 925 schools re-opened on May 17, after two months of summer holiday.”
The report stated that though Thailand’s government was extremely hostile to gun ownership in general, it recognized that teachers ought to be in a position to safeguard themselves and their students.
After the latest attack, German politicians will probably react the same way they did after previous attacks. After Germany’s worst school massacre of 2002 in Erfurt, when an armed ex-pupil shot dead 17 people and again in 2006, when an 18-year-old pupil in Emsdetten shot and injured dozens of people, German authorities tightened the country’s gun control laws.
Maybe it’s time that German politicians learn from Israel and Thailand. The policy of arming schoolteachers might be seen as politically incorrect, but is the surest way to save the lives of innocent children and teachers.
If we want to stop these senseless killing sprees at our schools, we have to arm those who are in the best position to do anything about them – the teachers themselves.