David Frum

12.17.12

Conservatives, Let's Not Arm Teachers

Alan Jacobs pushes back against proposals to provide teachers with firearms.

I could write a very long blog post listing what’s wrong with the plan to arm teachers, especially the various unintended consequences that would spring from such a policy implemented nationwide. We can be absolutely sure that within a few years more people would be killed by teachers who fired their weapons accidentally or in misplaced anger or fear, or by students who stole their teachers’ guns, than have ever been killed in school massacres like those in Newtown and Columbine.

But what troubles me most about this suggestion — and the general More Guns approach to social ills — is the absolute abandonment of civil society it represents. It gives up on the rule of law in favor of a Hobbesian “war of every man against every man” in which we no longer have genuine neighbors, only potential enemies. You may trust your neighbor for now — but you have high-powered recourse if he ever acts wrongly.

This blog has covered the morally serious argument for more guns, but what is there in a society if we cannot provide a basic assurance of security to those living in peaceful cooperation with the law? A government that cannot provide assurance of security - one that is willing to say "protect yourselves. Good luck!" - is one that fails the basic purpose of the social contract. We have many ills in our society. Giving up on each other in favor of quite literal "armies of one" is not the answer.