Kerr: Want to end school shootings? Let's just arm the kids

When did the National Rifle Association become such a bunch of wimps?

During their convention in Texas just days after the horrific massacre at a nearby elementary school, advocates called for arming teachers and increasing police presence in classrooms. But as they say, go big or go home.

D. Allan Kerr
D. Allan Kerr

The answer to bring mass shootings in our schools to an end is right there in front of us, but no one wants to say it. So, I will.

It’s time to arm the kids themselves. If the answer to gun violence is more guns, it’s really the most logical solution.

Now, we have to be reasonable about this. We obviously don’t want kindergartners running around shooting each other accidentally with their tiny fingers, so we would have to establish a rational age requirement. Say, maybe 10 years old. I mean, that’s the age when kids should be familiar with guns anyway if they’re going to grow up in the USA.

Kids could report to their classroom in the morning, recite their Pledge of Allegiance, and then be issued their gun for the day. Just before the final bell, they would turn their weapon back in to their teacher to be safely locked away until the following morning. These aren’t toys, after all – they’re to be solely for defense purposes.

I initially thought Uzi submachine guns for each student made the most sense due to their sheer firepower against any would-be attacker, but figured that might be a little TOO much firepower for the younger ones to handle. Then I reasoned they should at least have AR-15 semi-automatic rifles, since this seems to be the weapon of choice for some of the more infamous mass shootings we’ve experienced.

But an AR-15, bulky as it is, wouldn’t really be that practical for younger students who are also carrying schoolbooks, backpacks and the like. So the more logical choice would be a simple handgun, like maybe a Glock 9 mm, which would be more compact and far easier for students to carry between classes. What they would lose in individual capacity would be more than compensated by the accessibility of a 9 mm. In other words, imagine some would-be mass shooter bursting into a classroom only to be faced almost instantly by the barrels of at least 15 to 20 handguns.

Naturally. the children would have to be trained in the use of their weapon. Target practice on the school shooting range could be incorporated into their regular Physical Education classes. In fact, we might have to just overhaul the entire PE curriculum. Dodgeball and badminton should be replaced by significantly more proactive active shooter drills and hand-to-hand combat training.

I know more cautious types will complain arming students – or even just teachers for that matter – may create the opportunity for additional crossfire casualties, but that’s where these exercises come in. Just think – we could wind up with an entire nation of little mini-Rambos.

As for kids under the age of ten who would be too young to carry weapons in school – because that would be plain silly – we would probably have to construct watchtowers and high barbed-wire fences, like the kind they had in World War II concentration camps. Smaller schools might not have the resources to fund additional security, but in those situations we could have older students man the towers. And then maybe we can bring back the Uzis.

Think about it -- high school kids could volunteer to protect younger students as part of their training or community service. They might even earn credits through a sort of work study program, if they want to work as prison guards or in similar fields after graduating.

I know these all sound like bold steps, but it’s time for bold action. Honestly, I’m surprised I haven’t heard anyone else propose such a brilliant plan yet.

Even Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, one of the powerhouse intellects of our age, has only gone so far as recommending we close more doors and add more security guards at schools. The NRA has been pushing to arm teachers for at least a decade, rather than the students who are typically targeted in these attacks.

Pretty wimpy approaches, if you ask me. How are kids going to learn to look after themselves if we keep coddling them?

And maybe arming the populace should be extended to other institutions as well. Just as in days of yore when we had a smoking and non-smoking section in restaurants and other venues, maybe we’ll have “carrying” and “non-carrying” sections in the future. There was a time I wouldn’t have foreseen armed parishioners becoming commonplace in places of worship, but as churches have been targeted almost as much as public schools in recent years, it was the inevitable solution.

Honestly, what today could be more star-spangled American than the sight of young people marching into Sunday School with a Bible in one hand and a 9mm in the other?

D. Allan Kerr is a journalist and author who lives in Kittery, Maine.

This article originally appeared on Portsmouth Herald: Kerr: Want to end school shootings? Let's just arm the kids