Responding to a column about arming teachers, James Marsh writes:
“In the end it comes down to the simple fact that we—every American citizen—is letting civil life (and discourse) slip away bit by bit. Once gone how much can we ever hope to regain?
“I taught for 35 years in public schools. When the first chain link fences went up almost overnight & around virtually every school I was aware at first of only a vague discomfort. Something didn’t make sense. Then it dawned that those barriers sent a subtle & universal message of unwelcome at the very places we should all feel freest & safest to flock to–at any time.
“When all the bollards, posts and barriers went up around public buildings and formerly open spaces following 9/11 it was another blow. Most public places are now populated liberally with armed guards of one sort or another as well. While visiting South America decades ago the thing that felt least civil was the heavily armed police and military presence in every public space.
“You are right, arming teachers and administrators is asking for other kinds of tragic accidents. The real tragedy is that such behavior drives one more nail in the coffin of civility which many Americans seem dead set on killing off entirely in the name of “personal security”.”
Some people can’t handle civilian life without gunning up. That is their right. But society should not surrender its unarmed spheres because of the need of the subgroup for enhanced security.