Teachers Are Not Soldiers

Two weeks ago, I published a conversation with an old friend about the possibilities for curbing gun violence following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, an incident that left 17 teachers and students dead. Many other students, despite being wounded and traumatized, have stepped forward to lead a social movement to curb gun violence that has encouraged corporations like Delta Airlines and Hertz to stop offering discounts to NRA members. Dick’s Sporting Goods has pulled assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines off the shelves and from its website, (a move pioneered by Walmart in 2015, when that corporation stopped selling handguns and high capacity magazines) and has announced a new policy of restricting gun sales to people over the age of 21.  

Another solution, one that has been proposed repeatedly, is to put more guns in schools, a move overwhelmingly rejected by the National Education Association. Back in 2009, my colleagues and I experienced a campus shooting too: a Wesleyan University student was murdered at point-blank range. Below, I discuss the reasons why I decided not to buy a gun.

A version of this essay was originally published at The Chronicle of Higher Education on December 17, 2012.

In only a matter of a few decades, the National Rifle Association has managed to persuade the American policy apparatus that the only answer to rampant gun violence is for innocent civilians to be armed themselves. Recently, Jeffrey Goldberg argued in The Atlantic that gun control has become just another liberal utopian fantasy — like welfare, good public education, and affordable housing — waiting to expire in the face of new realities. In an article so full of bad research and logical fallacies that I don’t understand why James Bennet allowed it to be printed know where to begin the critique, Goldberg maintained that because “it’s too late” to retract the millions of guns already in circulation, it’s time for the rest of us to lock n’ load.

For the rest of this article, published at Public Seminar on February 28 2018, click here.

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