On Wednesday afternoon, Donald Trump sat down with students, teachers, and parents from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, as well as families affected by past school shootings, in what was billed as a “listening session.”
With a couple of exceptions, most of the conversation during the event was focused overwhelmingly on the notion of “school safety.” (“I don’t think we need to turn schools into prisons, but...” one typical contribution began.) It was a clear sign that the White House—and, presumably, Republicans in Congress—will move quickly to make school safety, and not gun control, the center of the debate going forward.
One idea Trump especially loved? Arming teachers.
Trump argued that we need “concealed carry for teachers and for people of that type of talent” because “if you had a teacher who was adept at firearms, they could very well end the attack very quickly.”
This is a ridiculous proposal on a number of levels. The job of a teacher is to teach, not to protect children from shootings. More guns in schools will only create more risk and danger. Trump’s argument—one that has gained popularity in recent years, in large part thanks to the NRA—is an obvious distraction from the obvious the fact that we need gun control.
But because of the GOP’s refusal to consider any type of legislation that would actually address this problem (just yesterday, Florida’s legislature voted down a motion to hear a bill banning assault rifles), it’s likely that we’ll just see our schools become more and more militarized instead—which would be a disaster.
As if to emphasize this, the sheriff of Broward County, where the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School, took place, announced that he was ramping up the militarization of all of the schools in his jurisdiction just as Trump’s event was wrapping up.