With recent school shootings, both in Marshall County and Florida, several have called for select teachers to be armed in schools to better protect the student body. Even Kentucky lawmakers are sponsoring a bill to this end (here). While this may be a good move, it can also be hazardous.
Last Tuesday I was with Leadership Murray, and our entire day was themed Law Enforcement and First Responders. We ate lunch at the local F.O.P. lodge and afterward took part in Field Arms Training Simulator, which is a realistic set of scenarios where you act as the officer in situations that may require deadly force in a split second. A few of us had scenarios where active shooters were present in schools, and I was in one scene where there was an active shooter in a church.
The church where I, playing the police officer, responded was laid out much like Glendale Road. I entered the front doors to the sounds of gunfire and screaming, with people running toward me to get out of danger. Of course, as this was happening my senses were highly alert as I brandished the firearm—trying hard to be careful to not fire on a civilian. As I entered the vestibule, I could see the shooter toward the front of the auditorium (sanctuary) firing. I lifted my firearm to discharge my weapon using deadly force when all of a sudden a bystander appeared from behind the wall freezing in front of me. I nearly fired on him, but he stated he was trying to escape with his hands raised. In the simulator, it’s so realistic that you give verbal commands as if you’re in real life, so I was hollering for him to run and get out of my way, and I fired on the suspect eventually killing the active shooter.
I’ve grown up around guns my whole life. We hunted, and my grandfather, uncle, and cousin are police officers. We grew up on a family farm around one another, so gun safety was paramount. What worries me about teachers having weapons is that they’re adequately trained to respond to active shooter scenarios. While I was working in situations through a make-believe simulator, my heart was pounding, I was anxious, and had to act in a split second. I would imagine if such were real life, the stress would only increase. The people I shot in the simulator were not real people, but make-believe. Had this been a real thing, I can just imagine how hard it would have been. Giving teachers permission to brandish firearms may deter school shooters, but those teachers have to be prepared to respond in active shooter situations where people are screaming, the sound of gunfire echoes in the distance, and there is a likelihood that the wrong person could be shot.