This article originally appeared in the Summer 2018 issue of The Illinois Shooter
A front-page article in the Sunday, May 6, 2018, issue of the Galesburg Register‑Mail from the Associated Press (AP) titled “Arming adults in schools risky,” sub‑headed, “AP review indicates putting guns in the hands of teachers, campus officers can have own set of consequences.” The AP is not noted for unbiased reporting, and this item is just another example. This piece is designed to mislead readers. The AP would rather have a little sign on the door saying “gun‑free zone” as the sole deterrent to gun violence in schools.
What was the source for AP’s data? It was the biased, nonproﬁt Gun Violence Archive that found 30 reported “mishaps” involving ﬁrearms that were brought into schools by authorized persons. As a result of these incidents, the Gun Violence Archive reported that three students were injured when an officer accidentally ﬁred a weapon into a ceiling. The injuries were the result of the students being hit by falling debris from the ceiling. Not a single incident reported by the Gun Violence Archive involved a student being shot.
The same day the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC), in an article titled “Armed teachers become a reality in Georgia,” was more balanced in its reporting. It included input from some who favored arming the teachers and others who did not. I often advise that analyzing news is not just a matter of reading what is reported but also what is left out. AJC included both sides of the issue while AP certainly did not.
The AJC reported that Georgia passed legislation authoriz- Face the Truth About Gun Control by Charlie Gruner ing teachers and some others to be armed in schools. Some local school boards are considering doing so. The AJC referenced a Washington Post report. Since Columbine (1999) there have been 213 schools, and over 210,000 students exposed to acts of gun violence. This year alone thirteen schools experienced shootings.
Gun control advocates advise calling the police in shooting situations. Remember the timings involved in these incidents. By the time police arrived at the recent shooting in Galesburg, the perpetrator had already left the scene, and a woman was dead. Even in the big cities, such as Chicago, police response still depends on logistical issues like time of day, the location of officers on duty, incidents that they may be handling, and tragic. In rural areas, like Knox County and most of the rest of Illinois, sheriffs’ department offcers may take a half hour or more to arrive at the scene for the same reasons listed above. Reports are that mass shooters ﬁnish in about ten minutes. If help doesn’t arrive for another twenty or more minutes, there’s nothing that can be done by way of prevention. It’s trite but true: When seconds count, the police are just minutes away. The fault is not with the police or the sheriff. They cannot be everywhere, and they can’t get to anywhere in their jurisdiction in just seconds. Unless, of course, every law‑abiding citizen is armed, deputized, and prepared to defend other law‑abiding citizens.
Also on Sunday, USA Today reported on shootings in Chicago. In the seven-day period from Monday, April 30, through Sunday, May 6, there were at least 84 shootings with nine fatalities. Between Friday and Sunday, there were 41 people shot in the city. Chicago has the most restrictive gun laws in the state and is among the most restrictive in the country. In the two years of 2016 and 2017, there were 1,400 homicides according to police. Think about those numbers. That means there are about two homicides, on average, every single day.
Gun control hasn’t worked; it has made matters worse. Chicago is an example. “Gun‑free” zones, especially in schools are another. We can pretend that banning certain types of weapons or putting up signs designating an area as “gun free” will protect us, but it never has.
Banning various styles of arms has been tried and found to be completely ineffective. Misleading the public is just a scare tactic. The AR in AR‑15 does not mean Assault Riﬂe. It stands for the company that ﬁrst made the AR‑15—Armalite, of Geneseo, Illinois, just a little north of here. Saying that the AR‑15 serves no useful purpose in hunting is just untrue. In fact, it has become a tool of choice, especially with some among of the younger generation of hunters.
We can blame the NRA, a defender of the Second Amendment, a strong proponent of law and order, and a great provider of training and training material for ﬁrearm safety. Liberals choose to dismiss the NRA as a money machine that can buy elections. The money comes from us—its millions of members.
The logical choice is to arm teachers and school officials. That won’t solve all problems, but it should act as a deterrent. If it doesn’t work, we can still go back to the other ideas that don’t work.
Charlie Gruner lives in Knoxville, Illinois.