Shoot Hooligans, Not Hoops

Half-serious suggestions.
April 25 1999 3:30 AM

Shoot Hooligans, Not Hoops

Stop school violence: Arm school kids.

Littleton. Springfield. Paducah. Pearl. Jonesboro. Our once-safe schools have become slaughterhouses, our children sitting ducks for any pot-smoking, Marilyn Manson-listening, trench-coated deviant with a grievance.

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President Clinton and his Democrat allies will undoubtedly exploit the tragedy of Littleton to push for still more restrictions on the constitutional right to bear arms. Any day now, you should expect to hear Clinton and lackeys proposing to expand "gun-free school zones," the supposedly "safe" areas around schools where guns are banned. (Given recent history, perhaps they should be called "school-free gun zones.")

It's time to recognize the naiveté of such legislation, a foolishness that has turned our schools into killing grounds. National Rifle Association President Charlton Heston wisely declared this week that the presence of an armed guard might have saved the lives of Columbine High School students. And Gov. Jesse Ventura pointed out that the presence of "someone who was armed" could have "stabilized" the situation. As usual, Moses and the Body were on target, but they didn't go far enough. As it turns out, there was a security guard at Columbine, but a single, lightly armed person is not sufficient deterrence. American schools don't just need several armed security guards or even armed teachers. They need armed students. Immediately, before another student fires another shot, Congress should pass the Right To Carry Concealed Weapons in the Classroom Act of 1999.

There is no disputing: When guns in the classroom are outlawed, only outlaws in the classroom have guns. President Clinton calls our gun-free schools "safe zones," but this is a perverted idea of safety: Law-abiding students are defenseless while predatory juvenile delinquents, armed to the teeth, are free to roam. Why do you think Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold chose Columbine High for murder? Because they knew their victims would be unarmed! But they would not have dared to invade that school had they known they would be confronted by well-trained, well-prepared, and well-armed classmates. Studies have proven that society is safer when law-abiding citizens carry concealed weapons. Our schools will be, too.

Not every student has to carry a concealed weapon. It is, of course, a matter of personal choice. But any child who is willing--whether she's 18 or 15 or even 8--should be free to arm herself and walk the halls of her school without fear. If our teens and pre-teens are old enough to kill--and the schoolyard massacres have proved that--they're certainly old enough to defend themselves. Let's put classroom safety in the hands--and the holsters--of those who need it most.

David Plotz is Slate's editor at large. He's the author of The Genius Factory and Good Book.