“I’ve been shot in combat. And as a veteran, I’m telling you: allowing teachers to be armed is an asinine idea.”
On Tuesday, CharlotteFive.com published a great piece written by an Army combat veteran, who says that arming teachers is a very bad idea. Matt Martin was shot in combat. And he believes that giving teachers guns would result in more innocent lives lost.
“Defending children is a must, but putting a firearm in the hands of even the most trained teacher isn’t the answer. Anyone suggesting this solution has clearly never experienced a situation like the one seen in Parkland because it oversimplifies the complexity of an active shooter situation, especially in close-quarters. It is not as easy as a “good guy with a gun stopping a bad guy with a gun.””
“I ask that you take a few minutes to understand my perspective and why I feel strongly about this matter. Before recently moving to Charlotte, I served for three and half years as an Army infantryman, stationed at Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks, Alaska, and I deployed to Afghanistan’s Kandahar Province in 2011. By the time my tour was over, I left a place that claimed two members from my company, cost six others at least one limb, wounded over 25 percent of our total force, and left me with shrapnel in my face and a bullet hole in my left thigh. When I saw the news flash of another school shooting I couldn’t help but think of the firefights I had been involved in and how these students and teachers just encountered their own version of Afghanistan.”
Martin says that the fear and chaos felt by the students and teachers at Stoneman Douglas High School was the same thing that he and his fellow soldiers felt in Afghanistan.
““Martin! MARTIN!” is still audible in my mind six and half years later. I turned and saw three members of my platoon pinned down in the field behind me. Their screams still clear as day, as they called for help. A routine patrol in the Panjwa’i District had turned into an ambush, with us taking fire from three enemy positions, some as close as 20 yards (the distance of a pitcher’s mound to home plate). I, along with some of my fellow soldiers, began to return suppressive fire. Just as the first man safely reached us, the feeling of Arnold Schwarzenegger swinging a sledgehammer into my leg rushed over my body. That’s what being shot by a high-powered assault rifle felt like to me.”
After Martin was shot, a medic rushed to help. But, in the chaos, the medic who trained for that moment for at least an entire year froze. Another medic had to be called in to help.
“Now, I share this story not to draw attention to my actions during this firefight or as a condemnation of the medic. I simply want to illustrate how even the best trained members of the military react differently when bullets start flying. Someone shooting at you, specifically trying to kill you, is probably the most terrifying life event a person could ever experience.”
“Regardless of training, you don’t know how people will respond in life and death situations until the moment comes. You don’t know how people will react when they hear gunshots. You don’t know how people will react when the person next to them is shot. You don’t know how a person will respond when their task is shooting someone they know or taught. You just don’t know.”
“Few people actually run towards gunfire. Most search for cover. Some can’t function. Fight or flight. Adrenaline floods your body. Time doesn’t exist. Your heart beats outside of your chest. Fine motor skills stop working. People urinate and defecate themselves. Good luck holding steady aim at a moving target. Even the simplest of tasks, such as reloading can become difficult. Your hands shake for hours afterward. It’s chaotic on a level that is beyond comprehension until you experience it.”
Martin points out that there are many things that could go wrong if teachers were armed. And he asks some very valid questions.
“There are what ifs on top of what ifs. What if during the chaos of an active shooter situation a teacher shoots an innocent student? Are we willing to accept this as a society? What if the teacher is shot (a very likely scenario)? What if the shooter knows exactly who the armed teachers on campus are? What if on a regular day a teacher goes to break up a fight in the hallway and the firearm is accidentally discharged?”
“My goal here is to bring the reality of the situation to the forefront. Politicians who are blasé about the complexity and rigorous training required for these types of engagements and who underestimate the physical, physiological and psychological toll a combat environment brings to those involved, should be forced to place themselves in these types of simulations.”
“Ultimately, I’m saddened by the fact that we’ve reached a point where people in this country want teachers to arm themselves as moonlight deputies. I don’t have all the answers, but I’m confident that arming teachers isn’t the answer—now or ever.”