In US, gun shots, but not vaccine shots

By Mitchell Blatt
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, March 15, 2022
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A student on a school bus wears a mask, New York, March 7, 2022. [Photo/]

A new law in the U.S. state of Texas forces schools to allow any and all teachers to bring guns on school grounds. The law also encourages parishioners to bring guns to church. The United States has long been known for its fanatical gun culture, and among the 50 states, Texas is one of the craziest.

With the new law, some schools are going farther than just allowing teachers to bring guns; they are actively encouraging teachers to do so. Micah Lewis, superintendent of schools in Grand Saline, a small town of 3,000 in northeastern Texas, said he thinks teachers can stop a school shooting: "One of the guardians said to me, 'Can you believe that we're at this point?' When I went into education 30 years ago, I never thought this would happen."

How dangerous must gun-filled America have to be for politicians and public education officials to suggest that teachers need guns to protect themselves from guns? Ironically, the proposed solution admits the scale of the problem. 

More than 16,000 people were murdered in the United States in 2021. That's a rate of five per 100,000, which is five times higher than the murder rate of Germany, eight times higher than South Korea, and 25 times higher than Singapore.

Guns are the problem. How is it going to help to give more guns to poorly-trained, unlicensed individuals? Is it an admission of the failure of American policing to essentially treat teachers as police officers?

Some schools are taking a more limited approach, allowing teachers to keep their weapons in the glove compartment of their cars but not bring them into school. That raises a whole new set of questions. If there really was a violent attack on the school – as happen again and again in America – how would having a gun in the parking lot help?

Moreover, the fact that criminals know teachers might have guns in their parked cars could encourage a spate of auto robberies. According to Five Thirty Eight, a data journalism outlet, "Theft is another major way that guns move to the illegal market." The city of Philadelphia alone reported 1,244 guns stolen from individuals in 2020. Parked cars are just sitting ducks asking for gang members to rob them and add more guns to the streets.

School shootings are a uniquely American problem. According to the Center for Homeland Defense and Security, 42 students and faculty were killed at schools across the U.S. in 2021, and 151 were wounded. Consider that was a year in which most of the schools were closed due to coronavirus.

And the coronavirus pandemic continues – with American students crowded inside without masks. Some governors, like Florida's Ron DeSantis, are even trying to prevent kids from getting vaccinated. 

The very schools that are pushing teachers to bring guns and put their lives on the line are also the conservative schools that are least likely to take precautions to protect teachers and students from the deadly pandemic. Did these school administrators take math classes? They have done a poor job assessing risk.

True, dozens of kids dying from mass shootings each year in the U.S. are indeed dozens more than in almost any other country. But the overall risk of a mass shooting is still low in real terms – much lower than the risk of dying from coronavirus.

The CDC reported that over 1,000 children aged 0 to 18 have died of coronavirus. That means the coronavirus is more than 10 times more likely to kill a kid than a bullet. But Texas (and some other states) took the unprecedented step of arming teachers to try to fight violent shooters, while doing less than nothing to protect kids from the virus. 

Mitchell Blatt is a columnist with For more information please visit:

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