Liz Soares, in her March 1 column “No choice but to talk about the unthinkable,” spoke from the heart about gun issues in our local schools. She wrote that right now she is ambivalent about giving teachers the choice to be armed. She said she would feel safer knowing colleagues would be armed while in the building.

I thank her for saying she needs to think more about it. Let me share some research to help her think this through.

In a column by combat veteran Matt Martin, who was wounded in Afghanistan, he states: “Allowing teachers to be armed is an asinine idea.”

“We are expecting teachers, even with training, to perfectly handle (school shootings). I say perfectly because anything less could mean even more tragedy and death. This isn’t a movie where bullets always miss the hero. These teachers aren’t action stars. These are average people, who more likely than not, have never come close to experiencing anything like this.”

Another veteran, an Army captain deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, said, “Learning to fight, how to stand your ground when an aggressor is trying to kill you, that’s not something that comes naturally to people. Learning how to fight takes training-military training. So in order to teach, now you have to be a soldier? That’s insane.”

Yet another veteran says, “I would never bring a weapon into a classroom. The presence of a firearm is always an invitation to violence. Weapons have no place in a learning environment.”

I ask Soares, does she think an educator could live with themselves if they added to the carnage of a school shooting? To accidentally kill one of their precious students?

One last piece, this from a teacher: “I am a teacher. I will not carry a weapon in a classroom. I will sacrifice my life, if need be, as other teachers have done, on behalf of my students, but I will not kill … I am a teacher, an educator, and I will not become a instrument of violence.”

Soares writes that she could not accept a requirement that teachers carry firearms. She says she would probably move to Canada if any such law came to pass. I know this Canada statement is made in passing and that she would not leave her kids, as 99.9 percent of them do not have this option and would remain in the weaponized school that she would be leaving behind. She loves and cares for them as certainly as does my wife, who teaches the little ones at Gilbert.

Soares writes that she is angry that our children are at risk. She writes that she is afraid.

I share these feelings, but am not ambivalent. I wholeheartedly hope and believe I have shown that guns in schools are a very bad choice.

Richard B. Clement is a resident of Pittston.

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