The target of House Bill 55

By Naomi Klouda
Future case scenario: An English teacher at a high school near you decides to take training that allows him to be certified to carry. A principal at a nearby elementary school can also take the training, newly allowed by a bill signed into law in the Alaska Legislature.
Students catch wind of the information. It’s printed in the local newspapers that various teachers and administrators took up the idea for greater protection of their students should a troubled person attack the school with an automatic weapon.
What do students feel about with this knowledge? Some may feel safer, but others might worry about the what-ifs. What if someone brings a BB gun to school or is found with a squirt gun that looks real? Such things fool trained, experienced officers. But now the teacher-turned-police will be entrusted to decide if this incident constitutes a school threat.
Among the other toiling conflicts, the student may take on a distrust or fear — or get distracted from learning, knowing there is a concealed gun somewhere in the classroom.
The idea of being certified and armed is to empower that person to make a split-second decision on what constitutes a threat. Brought up on television shows featuring crime and a preoccupation with gun violence, many students might start packing new fears along with their books into the classroom.
Granted, we tend to implicitly trust those in our schools. They are a dedicated lot, possessing a special tenderness for young people. It is doubtful any of them even want to become guardians toting guns.
Yet, problems and inner conflict that could ensue if Anchorage Rep. Bob Lynn’s proposal passes hang like a warning.
Among the prefiled legislative bills to be taken up is House Bill 55. It would allow schools to write policies for teachers and other permanent school employees to carry concealed weapons on school grounds “for defensive use.” It stipulates that each Alaska school district would be allowed to authorize permanent district staff to carry concealed weapons. Lynn said he felt such a policy was best left to local districts to decide. On the face of it, this bill seems hasty and ill-thought out. It reacts to the extreme tragedies our country has recently seen in Arizona in 2011, Colorado last summer and Newtown last month.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, speaking on the topic of gun control last week before a Kenai group, said it’s not guns or preparedness that is our problem. It goes deeper. She would rather see more funding toward mental health counseling in the schools.
There’s good sense in that observation. If it’s true – and we think it is – that some troubled people go off on rampages, we need to think about arming our parents, teachers and principals with another skill: How to spot a troubled soul.

Feeling the hatred

By Sean Pearson
After covering Homer High School sports for almost a decade now, I assumed I had seen just about everything. I hadn’t. As a change of pace, I chose to shoot photos at Homer’s hockey game against Wasilla on Saturday from the Warriors’ bench.
The hatred for the Mariners was palpable. I know hockey is a rough sport. Wasilla racked up 14 penalties against Homer, spending 28 minutes of the game in the penalty box. I understand the concept of having pride in your school, but thought it came in the form of pep rallies and bonfires. I get that emotions run high in athletic competitions, with adrenalin flooding the brain and body.
What I don’t understand is the unwarranted stream of profanity, name-calling and personal insults. The Wasilla bench was warned about its profanity by game officials, but the team just laughed it off. Even their coach ridiculed the referees, throwing in a little profanity of his own.
Where did such hatred come from and why is it still being referred to as “competition?”
Mainstream media will tell you the anger and hatred does not come from movies or TV. The gaming industry promotes and sells violent first-person shooter games full of blood and gore, but they deny any ill affects on the youth that play these games. And the music industry certainly doesn’t think it should be held accountable for angry, hate-mongering songs. It’s all free speech and one of our constitutional rights.
So is the right to bear arms. And, while I fully support the concept and entitlement to free speech, as well as the right to carry a gun, where do we draw the line? How many more young people have to die before we stop and look at what kind of anger and hatred we, as a society, are hurling at them on an hourly basis?

Contact the writer
Posted by on Jan 16th, 2013 and filed under Point of View. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed

Like us on Facebook