Commentary: Arming teachers is not a solution

I am glad to see that people have responded to Chuck Cassity's Jan. 10 letter to the Forum "Commentary: It's time to arm school personnel," and I would like to add my response to his letter.

Unlike Cassity, I am not a great fan of solving multi-faceted problems by addressing just one of the factors, and I don't think it is worth responding to each questionable statement in his letter. Instead, what I would like to do is highlight some of his unwritten assumptions.

First of all, Cassity assumes that the people (could be more than one shooter) committing these mass shootings are thinking normally. They are not. The people committing mass shootings are not thinking straight and probably are mentally ill.

So thinking that they would logically and consciously choose a gun-free zone to commit their shooting is unlikely. They have lost their ability to tell right from wrong and are going to do their deed despite the potential consequences.

However, if people think Cassity's assumption is correct, does anyone want to try an inexpensive solution of just putting up a sign that says, "Teachers are Armed" to prevent a mass shooting at a school? I think not, because his assumption is false.

Second, there is the assumption that the teachers can do three things at once — find or draw their gun, get their students to safety, and also find the shooter or shooters that may be in another part of the school. This last action may mean that they have to leave their students. Keep in mind that because many of these shootings have been done in less than a minute, the teacher would have to do all this very quickly.

Third, he assumes that only one teacher at a time would have a gun drawn. So if two or more teachers with guns drawn were on the same scene, they would need to be able to identify the shooter or shooters from all the teachers in an instant. If there is confusion, the wrong people may be shot. Also, when police arrive, they too would need to be able to identify the armed teachers from the shooter(s). This would be difficult unless they were wearing "Good Guy with a Gun" T-shirts and the real shooters were not.

As a country, I think we need to accept the fact that maintaining the 2nd Amendment and still protecting the public from the misuse of guns is going to cost us some money. Not only will we need to pass and enforce new laws that address the contributing factors of mental illness, assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, considering there are so many guns already in the public's hands, I think we will need to make a significant investment to improve the security of our schools in several ways. However, arming teachers is not one of them.

CHARLES MOONEY is a resident of Costa Mesa.

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