Guns at school
Sat, 29 May 1999 17:30:25 -0700

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.

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.

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 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?