Within a few days of my arrival to the USA, terrible news shook the world. It was the fatal shooting of 20 young children at a school in Connecticut, the very State that I live in. As horrible as the news was to digest, even more disturbing was the debate on gun control. Should this even be a topic for debate? Why should anyone in civil society keep semi-automatic weapons at home? They must be banned or at least strictly controlled…or so I thought.
The debate however threw up some odd, if not amusing answers. “Self-defense” topped the list. Guess the proponents of this theory have not heard about iron grills or alarms or any such security systems for houses. Also if one is so paranoid about burglary, why not choose smaller but safer abodes like apartments. And if caught off-guard on roads, you will anyways not have time to fire back. “Hunting” was another interesting reason. But, aren’t there many other non-fatal sports that human race can play and enjoy?
The strangest argument came next. The school tragedy could have been avoided if the teachers were armed. So, until now, it was the outside world that posed a threat. Soon, danger will loom large in the classroom itself. I said this argument was strange because I thought it would be dismissed as illogical by policy makers. But I was wrong!!! My second shock attack came with the prescribed medicine. The Governor of South Dakota, a Midwestern State in USA, has reportedly passed a bill allowing teachers to arm themselves. The news was unbelievable. When world over educators are talking about disarming teachers of a simple stick (‘chhadi’ as we call it in India), here they are being equipped with sophisticated arms…no matter what the purpose.
What if some cranky teacher decides to use it on a misbehaved child? How can parents trust their wards at the hands of armed teachers? Reportedly, those allowed to carry weapons will have to undergo a training program. But teachers are civilians and you can’t ignore the possibility of someone firing accidentally. Besides, teachers are in too close a proximity to children, unlike police or security personnel.
Tragedies like the school firing can be avoided only by significantly restricting access to guns and not by arming the unarmed. If less people possess guns the lesser the instances of shooting. Untill that happens, schools can consider installing metal detectors and other improved security systems, or frisking outsiders at school entrances. Schools should stay safe abodes of knowledge and not become mini battlefields.
…Here’s wishing President Obama good luck for successfully passing gun control regulations.