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Columbine survivor becomes legislator, introduces bill to arm teachers in classrooms

Gun rights

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(NaturalNews) When the bell for first period sounded the morning of April 20, 1999, the day started like any other at Columbine High School in the Colorado town of the same name. But by the end of the day, the "Columbine Massacre" would be seared into the minds of tens of millions of Americans.

But none more so than those who lived through it.

On that day, two students -- seniors Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold -- murdered 12 students and a teacher and wounded an additional 21 others, before taking their own lives shortly before noon.

It was a well-planned and complicated ambush. According to published reports of the time, the pair also detonated a fire bomb to divert firefighters, planted propane tanks converted to bombs in the school's cafeteria, set up 99 other explosive devices and planted explosives in cars.

It became the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history, and after authorities managed to weed through the evidence, they discovered that, for some reason, Harris and Klebold wanted to emulate in death and destruction the Oklahoma City bombing that had occurred nearly four years to the day earlier.

Policymakers, lawmakers and parents wrung their hands and a nationwide debate over several issues -- increased gun control laws, violent movies, bullying, high school cliques -- began. Perhaps none was so shrill as the call for more gun control, which then-President Bill Clinton and Democrats had made an issue of during his first term with a ban on so-called "assault weapons."

But one of the survivors of that horrific attack -- now a state legislator in Colorado -- has taken a different approach. He thinks the best way to prevent future massacres in schools is to allow teachers to be trained and armed, a tactic he says would have likely resulted in far fewer deaths more than a dozen years ago.

The right to protect themselves

Rep. Patrick Neville, a Republican from Castle Rock, has recently introduced legislation that, if passed and signed into law, would allow teachers with concealed carry permits to carry firearms inside Colorado public schools.

"This bill will allow honest law-abiding citizens to carry a concealed firearm for protection if they choose to," Neville said, as reported by The Hill, a newspaper that covers Congress' daily activities. "But most importantly, it will give them the right to be equipped to defend our children from the most dangerous situations."

His legislation is a very long shot in a Democrat-controlled House, but if legislators from any party were serious about improving safety on primary school campuses, they would give his legislation a fair look.

After all, he was actually in Columbine High on that fateful day.

Opponents of his bill offer a well-worn (and, in some parts of the world, discredited) argument; they say letting teachers carry guns in schools will only multiply the carnage in an active shooter situation, though most of these same opponents don't make that argument for keeping armed police officers out of schools.

Neville discounts that. He says such policies only ensure that more students and teachers will become "sitting targets for criminals."

"As was the case in 1999, criminals aren't deterred by a flashy sign on the door," Neville said, as reported by The Hill. "The only thing that is going to stop murderers intent on doing harm is to give good people the legal authority to carry a gun to protect themselves and our children."

"Our teachers and faculty were heroic in so many ways that day," he continued. "That's why I truly believe had some of them had the legal authority to be armed, more of my friends would still be alive today."

Pakistani authorities see it Neville's way.

As reported by The Associated Press, when Pakistani Taliban militants stormed a school in December, killing 150 students and teachers, no one was in a position to fight them because no one in the school had a weapon.

Be a sheepdog, not a sheep

That changed in the aftermath of the horrific slaughter:

Government authorities in Pakistan's northwest frontier have given permission for teachers to carry concealed firearms in response to the Dec. 16 attack in Peshawar that became one of the deadliest terrorist strikes in Pakistani history. Many educators reject the idea of arming teachers as reckless and counterproductive, reflecting the kind of arguments in U.S. school systems overshadowed by their own occasional mass shootings.

But for teachers like 37-year-old Tabinda, going to work unarmed no longer feels like an option. She and 10 other female teachers at the Frontier College for Women are taking pride in their newfound marksmanship with handguns, and plan to carry them to help protect their students aged 16 to 21.

Increasingly, there are two schools of thought, especially in the U.S.: There is one school preaching and teaching that victimhood is preferable to, and even honorable than, self-defense. However, there is another school of thought acknowledging that life is a risk, but that we owe it to ourselves and those whom we are charged with protecting to be sheepdogs against the wolves.






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