OK, a few days ago I used this space to say we need a few good Texas schoolhouse shootouts to settle the question of whether teachers should be armed, and maybe now I should concede that I didn't exactly make that point in the most mature way possible. Right now people at my house, if they are reading this, are muttering, "Surprise, surprise."
But since then somebody who knows what he is talking about did make the point the right way. Yesterday, reiterating a similar speech we reported last February, DISD police Chief Craig Miller told the North Texas Crime Commission -- a private club of influential law enforcement suck-ups -- he does not favor arming school teachers under the so-called "Protection of Texas Children Act," a new law signed by Governor Oops last month in a Republican attempt to suck votes from the bodies of young shooting victims.
Ummm ... are we mature yet?
But don't listen to me. I'm a newspaper guy. The one kind of experience I really do have in this area is based on decades of sitting around newsrooms listening to journalists debate the particulars of police-involved shootings. In other words, I know quite a bit more than the average person about what it's like when people who have absolutely no idea what they're talking about get together to talk about this stuff.
See also: - Dallas ISD is Proposing $4.5 Million in Security Upgrades in Response to Sandy Hook - How Will Guns in Classrooms Work? We May Need to Shoot a Few Teachers to Find Out. Really. For example, you always have some dude who covers chess or something and spends his spare time cultivating Venus fly traps, who wants to act it out in the newsroom like it's a school play:
"All right, now I'm the cop. I'm standing over here when the drunk PCP mob closes in around me and tries to grab my gun. The half-naked tattoo lady with the umbrella is over there. So why, instead of pulling my gun, would I not grab the half-naked lady's umbrella and use it as a sword?" (Prances around newsroom doing very bad Pirates of the Caribbean 5 sword fight imitation.)
That's where these ideas come from, in fact. It's all fantasy he-man/she-man role-playing by people who have never been there and have no idea what it takes. Part of good recruitment protocol for law enforcement agencies is guarding against, vetting and rooting out just that very kind of personality so it never gets a badge and God forbid a gun. The last guy in the world you want to give a badge to is John Wayne.
I am not a reflexive cop-sniffer. I have worked on several stories in my life that turned out to be bad cop shootings by bad cops. No operation as vast as law enforcement, working in a constant fog of war, is ever going to be without serious breakdowns and failures. But generally speaking when you look at the Dallas Police Department over time, you have to conclude that we have a dedicated, highly trained, very professional force with a cadre of excellence at its core.
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Craig Miller went to the school district after a long distinguished career at the Dallas Police Department. One of the first things he did when he got to the school district was propose common sense security measures like peep-holes in the doors of portable classrooms -- things he knew from long experience would do a lot more to protect children than putting a loaded Glock in the math teacher's desk drawer.
He told the crime commission yesterday -- they're a good outfit, so I apologize already for calling them whatever I called them a minute ago -- he told the crime commission that the training provided under Governor Oops' new law is inadequate to turn a teacher into a police officer. Miller has been saying from the beginning that if you need a police officer, you need a police officer. Of course, that means you have to pay a police officer.
Governor Oops' law is merely an effort on his part to posture on this issue and make himself look like John Wayne without having to pay for it. That doesn't even come close to protecting children. What it is instead is an effort to exploit school shootings like Newtown for cheap votes.
Really. Take it from me: Don't take it from me. Take it from Chief Miller. He actually does know what he's talking about.