Letter: Fund mental health needs, not guns for teachers

January 3, 2013

I was dismayed to see Rep. Stanley Cox’s response to the shootings in Newtown, Conn., was to advocate arming teachers. Our teachers and administrators by disposition and by training are nurturers and protectors of our children. Putting guns in the hands of these folks does not ensure they would actually be able to draw on and kill another human being.

Beyond that, the logistics are horrendous. Will we have shotguns stored under the desks; will there be pistols in desk drawers? How do we ensure the safety of all our students when there are loaded guns in their classrooms?  How do we ensure that those folks with the guns will use them appropriately? As we found out in the Fort Hood shootings, even hundreds of fully trained and armed soldiers were unable to respond to stop the killing of 13 and wounding of 29 more. Would a school principal be able to do better?

USA Today reported that there is a shooting like this, on the average, every two weeks. Instead of arming our teachers, we should spend the money and the effort to adequately fund treatment and prevention of mental health disorders.

Traditionally, the Republican Party in Missouri has resisted efforts to expand medical funding, including funding for mental health treatment. I would suggest that spending more to keep our citizens healthy would be a better expenditure of our money than spending on guns for teachers.

Steve Cain

Manufacturing management