Re: Guns at school

Joe E. Dees (
Sun, 30 May 1999 21:17:15 -0500

Date sent:      	Sat, 29 May 1999 17:30:25 -0700
Subject:        	Guns at school
Send reply to:

> A fantasy which I can't help considering is of a fully armed Columbine
> High School. When the boys enter and begin shooting up the room, there
> is panic and several people are hit, but at least some of the kids draw
> their own weapons and either shoot the attackers or at least drive them
> from the building. The net result is that many lives are saved.
But several are killed, which would not be the case if NO kids had guns in school (let's talk about universal installation of metal detectors in school entrances - it would sure cost the taxpayers less than paying for all those guns).
> Imagine that there was a private school which had a policy of allowing or
> even requiring all students to carry loaded handguns at all times. The
> students would be trained in gun safety, the guns would be provided for
> those who could not afford them as they enter the school, etc.
The cost would be several orders of magnitude more than a metal detector at the entrance, manned by a brace of armed guards.
> What do you think would be the effects of such a policy? High school
> boys are notoriously wild, immature, hot-tempered and prone to fighting
> and violence. If they were armed, would the daily minor fistfights become
> gun battles? Would students, not sufficiently mature to consider the
> long term effects of their actions, misuse the power of their weapons
> and lead to even greater violence?
I think a lot of people would get shot. How many kids out there would do what Harris and Klebold did if they could, but just can't get their hands on the gund to do it with? If you hand them the guns, nothing is stopping them any more; certainly not the fear of death, which is irrelevant to kids who have already decided to "go out in a blaze of glory" as Harris put it in his letter, and embark on a bloody homicide/suicide mission in which they vow that they will "never be taken alive."
> I think the conventional wisdom is that they would. Arming high school
> students would be like giving a hand grenade to a six year old. The
> result would be tragedy at a scale that would make Littleton look like
> Sesame Street.
> And I think the conventional wisdom is correct in this case. If I had
> the option of sending my kids to a school which had newly opened and was
> going to operate under this philosophy, I would not do so. I would not
> knowingly put my kids into a situation where they were surrounded on all
> sides by guns, and any hot-tempered argument could instantly flare into
> deadly gunfire.
> Does anyone here think differently? Does anyone believe so strongly in
> the civilizing nature of firearms that they think supplying them to high
> school kids as in this scenario would actually decrease violence?
Not me.
> Hal