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School is not place for guns

Published February 09. 2013 09:02AM

Dear Editor:

The letter is in response to Gene Duffy and Chuck Bridgen giving "kudos" to the Tamaqua School Board. REALLY??

When I read all this hoopla concerning the idea of bringing a loaded hand gun into a school building: my first thought was "Oh my God NO.

I've taught on every level in a school, as well as, a part time professor at a local college teaching Intro to Psych. I also grew up in a hunting family, where I not only was exposed to all kinds of hunting rifles, but I learned to use them, hand guns, Bowie knives and bow and arrows. I would never think of mixing the two of attempt to train a teacher to handle a loaded handgun in front of students.

Lets just say the school board goes ahead and purchases a handgun for a teacher. Now the teacher needs to take about a year to learn the respect, empty and load safely, clean and get his/her sight on the handgun. Whose name is it going to be registered and will he/she have it locked in their classroom desk or closet? Now let's say the teacher has the handgun locked in his/hers classroom closet. One day they are teaching and hear an announcement that a gunman is in the hallway. The teacher with the handgun first needs to take care of the safety of his/her class. Seconds are ticking by, then he/she needs to unlock the area with the handgun. I hope that he/she has a protective vest on, or as they walk into the hallway they have to have a "shoot out at the ok corral." Shooter will have a semi-automatic and teacher will be killed. Then the gunman will proceed to enter his/her classroom and kill the students.

This has been just one of 100 ways I can think of a teacher with a loaded handgun in school. Maybe what we need to do is to look at the safety of our school buildings? Walk around your buildings, elementary, middle, senior and outdoor portable classrooms.

Do you have metal doors with a buzzer and intercom system? Do you have glass doors? That's a big problem. The doors at Newtown were metal-locked doors, but a glass panel on each side. The shooter used the butt of his assault rifle to break the glass on the sides of the door, reach in and push the bar down on the inside to gain entry.

Unfortunately, many schools around Carbon County have glass doors. The better to shoot through.

Next, check your ground floor classroom windows. Can someone crawl in them?

If someone really wants to kill, they could lay in the woods nearby and with a scope on a rifle, just wipe out an entire ground floor of classes.

Or, what would stop a shooter from killing students as they practice outside for football, track, field hockey or cheer leading.

After you take care of all the safety problems with your building, I would highly suggest employing a security guard for every one of your buildings within each district.

You know what they say in the old west, "head them off at the pass!!" In other words stop the intruder before he even reaches the front door. Your security guard could walk around the grounds, check cars in the parking lot, and question anyone coming onto the property before they even get out of the car.

The other problem is mental illness. Nearly 97 percent of mass murders in this country have been completed by a person with a mental illness. For example, Charles Manson, schizophrenic; Son of Sam, schizophrenic; West Virginia Tech, schizophrenic; Zodiac Killer, schizophrenic; Movie Theater Killer, schizophrenic; Shooter in Arizona, Schizophrenic; Newtown Shooter, some form of mental illness.

Several years ago our government along with the AMA (American Medical Association) decided that mental illness patients have rights and decided to unlock all mental institutions and allow them to roam free all over the country. Most ended up as homeless people and off their medication.

Schizophrenia is a difficult mental disorder. Most schizophrenics hear voices that tell them to harm or kill themselves or others.

It's inherited, every one in 100 people are schizophrenic, and they believe they are cured when they take their medication, in that stops the voices. There is no cure and they need medication forever.

I use to conduct a group of schizophrenics once a week when I was a psychotherapist at an out patient mental health facility. Just to observe the weekly struggle of on and off their psychotropic medication was just one of the many problems.

So I truly wish the best to any school district that makes the attempt to make their school buildings safe. Please do not use the idea of a loaded handgun near your students.

Corrie Miller,

Jim Thorpe

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