Of Peace and Love and Bullets

Christianity – A religion of peace, love and… Wait a minute. What is wrong with this statement?

Screencap of armed teacher sign

Arkansas Christian Academy in Bryant, Arkansas posted this sign in front of its building, which reads “Staff is armed and trained, any attempt to harm children will be met with deadly force.”

OK, maybe I misread the transcript of the Newsy story, so I went to the original source, Fox News. There it was in black and white. It is also in the Huffington Post and reported on CBS News.

I wonder about Pastor Perry Black who claims that his is faithful to the church’s teaching in the academy. “We’re a church, we’re about loving people… and I don’t understand why any politician or anyone — any loving, caring adult — would have a problem with providing protection to small children.”

OK, I can see that. But arming his teachers?  We show love and peace by openly threatening just about anyone who comes in contact of the children? Does this mean a parent disciplining his child for running out in the street unsupervised will be shot on sight?

The Huffington’s Steve Siebold seems to think that arming teachers is a result of the critical thinking process. He wrote, “Arming our teachers and training them how to properly use a firearm will translate to less heinous acts. We can’t have another Columbine or another Sandy Hook.”

Guns 1

He concluded, “…critical thinking suggests that we all exercise our second amendment rights, arm our teachers and school officials to ensure the safety of our children, voice our support and keep a close eye on anti-gun crusaders who want to make our decisions for us… arming teachers is the only practical solution.”

Really? His own example disproved his premise. He wrote,

“Just this week (August 20, 2013) outside Atlanta it almost happened again when Michael Brandon Hill allegedly walked into Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy with an AK-47 and enough ammunition to takeout half the school. Luckily, Antoinette Tuff, who works in the front office of the school, was able to talk Hill down.” (Underscore added)

Ms. Tuff was armed with her own ability to stay composed, speak and listen to Hill in order to calm the situation where no one was injured.

The tongue is certainly mightier than the sword, or in this case an AK-47.

More guns mean more people hurt in any shooting incident. We know that police who are asked to put their lives on the line, who are training in street “combat,” cannot hit their target with great precision if at all. So how can someone who is simply trained for a conceal and carry permit be expected to shoot with deadly accuracy?

The only conclusion based on critical thinking is not to put more weapons in the hands of teachers but to train them in negotiation skills that can be used without creating a greater threat to the innocent.

Is this Christian academy demonstrating to its student body the teachings of Christ? I certainly do not believe so. In fact, I believe arming teachers in any school, public or private, sends the wrong message to the student body. Jesus of Nazareth taught his disciples to turn the other cheek, to love one’s neighbors and to forgive. That is what Ms. Tuff did.

Critical thinking, therefore, would indicate not to arm the teaches with 9mm Glocks, but to arm them with language and argument to defuse the situation.

No one in Columbine or Sandy Hook could have save the students killed or injured if armed. Things happened too quickly and the shooters were of mindset that even if confronted with an armed teacher, deaths would have occurred. There is no logic to say otherwise.

Will arming a teacher reduce the number of students killed or injured? Maybe so, but there will still be deaths and wounded. Who is to say that one or more fatalities would not be the result of an errant shot by a teacher “protecting” the students?

Rev. Black and others of his ilk are only promoting violence, not peace; shoot another before he shoots at you. Does this really represent the Christian ethic of peace and love? 


About David Rosman

David is the winner of the Missouri Press Foundation's "Best Columnist" in 2013 (First Place) and 2014 (Second Place), the 2016 Harold Riback Award for excellence in writing, and the winner of the 2007 Interactive Media Award for excellence in editing.
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