Read Case Study 8.4 “Have Gun, Will Travel….to Work’
Answer the following questions in your post: Questions 2, 3 and 4 at the end of the Case. For question 4, since it is being debated at the state and federal levels, answer it in relation to schools and teachers. Question 4 could be as follows:
A school could choose, if it wished, to allow teachers to bring guns not only into the parking lot but also into the school itself. Are there ever circumstances in which doing so might be reasonable? Or would the presence of guns automatically violate the rights of students or other teachers to be guaranteed a safe learning environment? Feel free to comment on other aspects of having controlled guns in schools.
- In your view, do employees have either a moral or a legal right to park cars with guns in them in the company parking lot? If so, what about the property rights and safety concerns of employers? If employees don’t have this right, would it be good policy for companies to allow them stow guns in their cars anyway? Do companies have good grounds for being concerned about weapons in their parking lots?
I think the area needs to be considered, and company policy should dictate the work environment. If an employee is on company grounds, and they do not allow guns, then no. If the company says it’s okay to have a gun for travel safety and they can secure the parking lot, then that is the companies will. I used to live in a rural area in Northern California, and my commute was ten miles of winding, mountain roads. As a woman traveling alone, without a cell phone signal, it could have been dangerous for me if my truck happened to break down. I carried a handgun in my truck for my personal safety and am trained in its use. In fact, knowing that I was a city girl, my employer suggested that I have one for my own protection. My employer also had guns in the store, and I did not feel uneasy or threatened at all. I was in the country and everyone I knew up there carried guns, it was common, nobody made a big deal out of it. We had nine employees in this general/hardware store. I would have been more concerned about someone coming into the store to commit robbery and using a gun on us. In the three years that I worked there, nobody attempted a robbery, I felt safer at work there. In the SF Bay Area, I was involved in some instances where my store got robbed and I did not feel safe there. When you work retail, the potential for robbery is a real danger, especially in a large city like Oakland, it’s not a safe place to be. I would not have had a gun in my car that was parked in Oakland. Cars were broken into all the time, so a gun could not have been secured. We had a security guard that walked us to our cars if we wanted, and I did that. I did not worry about my commute since I was less than a mile from the freeway and I knew the bad areas where I should not drive.
- Do you agree with the NRA that if companies ban guns from their parking lots, this restriction would “take a wrecking ball to the Second Amendment’ or nullify the right of people to have weapons for self-defense? Explain why or why not. In your view, have gun advocates been guilty of politicizing this issue? Do you think state legislatures are right to get involved, or should the matter be left to companies and employees to settle?
Again, I think this depends on the area, rural or urban. Individual companies should have the right to dictate their own policies since they are ultimately legally responsible for anything that happens on their own property. However, if guns are not allowed, and someone feels threatened walking to their car, then the company has a responsibility to keep their employees as safe as possible. My store in Oakland provided a security guard as an escort and most of the women I worked with asked for protection since our store had the highest crime rate. Government involvement in gun laws do not allow for considerations of the area, rural or urban. The two cultures are radically different, and one law concerning guns does not fit all circumstances. Every state has their own gun laws and if you choose to live in that state, then the laws should be respected. The gun laws in my state prohibit me from open carry, and when I move, it will be to a place where I can protect myself.
- A schoolcould choose, if it wished, to allow teachersto bring guns not only into the parking lot but also into the school itself. Are there ever circumstances in which doing so might be reasonable? Or would the presence of guns automatically violate the rights of students or other teachers to be guaranteed a safe learning environment? Feel free to comment on other aspects of having controlled guns in schools.
Many of my personal friends are teachers in elementary schools in California. I asked them on Facebook to personally message me their thoughts on guns on the classroom. I asked for private messaging because my range of friends go from very liberal to very conservative and I did not want a heated public debate on my wall. I wanted to hear only from the teachers that are in the classroom and they respected that. Due to the recent school shootings, training is being provided for all school personnel in how to handle a shooter situation. One friend completed her training last week. She was told in training that in all the school shootings, that the actual shooting is over within 5 minutes or less. The length of time for the Sandy Hook shootings was 3 ½ minutes. If guns were in the classroom, there would not be adequate time for a teacher to hide the children and retrieve a gun since it must be secured to keep the children safe. At her training, a game plan not involving firearms was put into place, a way to protect the children and themselves. She does not think that guns should be allowed in the classroom. This is an individual who goes to the shooting range for target shooting. She is not anti-gun for private citizens, just not in the schools. “Another point that came from the training is that all these mass shootings were not the result of bullying but that the shooters were all psychopaths.’ (Direct quote).
Another teacher told me a gun in the classroom is an accident waiting to happen. Teachers are hired to teach and that having a gun in the classroom would stress her out because she would always be afraid that the gun was not 100% secure. The classroom environment would be unsafe for students and teachers with a gun, she said guns have no place in the classroom. Her daughter, also a teacher in California, recently completed her training and believes that guns should be not be in the classroom.
Another friends response is from a retired California teacher now living in Fairbanks. She wonders why there are more shootings in urban areas as opposed to rural. After researching statistics on school shootings in Alaska as compared to the rest of the US, she saw that there are far fewer shootings in Alaska where guns are more prevalent. Her granddaughter attends public school in Fairbanks where the class size is 20-25 students per classroom. When my friend taught in a low income, urban area in California, the class size was 32-37 students per classroom. She wonders if overcrowding affects humans the same way it does rodents in mice studies where they cannibalize each other. This is something to consider if overcrowding does indeed create psychopathic behavior, I had not thought of that. Her vote is for no guns in the classroom. She suggests that there are already procedures in place to protect the children and staff. She would feel unsafe knowing that there were guns on campus. “I am one of those who say to politicians, rather than spend money on weapons and military training, please spend money on lower class sizes, arts and music programs, and on basic classroom supplies so us teachers don’t have to buy them ourselves.’ (Direct quote).
Now for my personal opinions on school shootings. After the Columbine tragedy, the music of Marilyn Manson was blamed for negatively influencing the high school shooters as well as violent video games. This accusation had a great impact on his career. His concerts were protested by Christians and his income suffered. It came out two years later, that the shooters didn’t even like his music, never even listened to him. In the movie, Bowling for Columbine’, Manson was interviewed and was asked what would he say if he could talk to the kids at Columbine? He said that he wouldn’t say a word, just listen to what they had to say. This is something that nobody did. The issue I have with school shootings are not about the guns, bullying, music, or violent video games. I believe it is about the lack of adequate mental health treatment. The school shooting in Parkland, Florida by Nikolas Cruz was especially heartbreaking. Authorities and many people in his life saw signs of serious mental problems yet took no action. Nobody listened to him.
Ovalle, David. “Florida School Shooting Suspect Was Ex-Student Who Was Flagged as Threat.’ Miamiherald, Miami Herald, www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/broward/article200126034.html.
yamayurikai. Interview with Marilyn Manson – Bowling for Columbine. 20 Nov. 2009, www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrHFB2KP8fc. Accessed 26 Mar. 2018.