THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 483, August 31, 2008
"Freedom is the basic necessity of life"
Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise
Recently the Harrold, Texas Independent School District announced a policy permitting some teachers to bring concealed handguns on campus. both supporters and opponents of gun rights hailed this as an expansion of gun rights. My first reaction, on reading the whole thing, was to be more cautious. It was that some that got to me. To qualify the teacher had to have a concealed carry permit, pass additional classes in crisis management and get the school board's permission. That last condition sets off my alarm bells.
The first two conditions are pretty much required by law (or more correctly, expensive lawsuits). However, I worry about whom various school boards and principals will extend this privilege to. I did not say right, a right is something you do without requiring permission. This policy did not offer to respect the right of teachers to arm themselves to carry out their moral right and responsibility to defend themselves and their students. It offers to grant permission to some but not all teachers who have concealed carry licenses and pass crisis management classes to carry concealed weapons at the board's leisure.
Maybe it's because I've seen the type of authoritarian petty jerks that frequently end up on school boards. Maybe it's because I've seen some of the authoritarian jerks that frequently become teachers. People who are inclined to value submission to authority over intelligence, who are more concerned over obedience to dress codes than mastery of math and language. Teachers who can't exercise legitimate authority without blowing a minor command into a call for a security guard. And I'm concerned who will receive and who will be denied permission to be armed on campus from the Harrold school board and others who adopt similar policies. Will it be all who qualify or a select crew of fascistic jerks who are given permission to come on campus armed?
Will those of us teachers (Assuming my district adopts a similar policy) who are armed simply be exercising our right to protect ourselves and students in an emergency or will we have armed security guard added to our duties? Will those of us who refuse to be one more corps of jackbooted thugs be eased out of our profession?
Allow me to reiterate, I am not speaking about respecting the right of teachers (and even most students) to arm themselves for self defense and even exercising that right on campus. I am concerned that a policy to allow some teachers to be on campus armed with special permission is a step towards turning public schools into boot camps for creating a bunch of little fascists.
Of course it doesn't have to be this way. The policy adopted by the Harrold school board could be the first baby step towards respecting the right of all teachers and all but the very small minority of violently psychotic students the law requires we mainstream into the schools to exercise their rights to self defense and carrying the tools of self defense. It can be a major victory for freedom.
But it can also be a small step back by authoritarian tyrants to get a better position to make better war against freedom. It's up to us make sure that this policy is a blow for, and not against, freedom. And we can do this by treating it as a good start, not a final victory.