opinion | Arming teachers: a misguided ‘solution’

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To the editor:

Re “Armed. And ready to teach kindergarten” (front page, July 31):

As a parent of school-aged children and a sane American citizen, I am deeply troubled by this article. Creating a rapid response force for schools of ill-trained and most likely ill-prepared and timid teachers, administrators and janitors to do what nearly 400 law enforcement officers armed with high-capacity automatic rifles couldn’t do in Uvalde seems rather preposterous and misleading.

It’s as if the proverbial “good guy with a gun” is now the new tactic deployed to act where trained officials so blatantly and tragically failed.

There is some evidence that successful results of such tactics in mass shooting events are extremely rare. And so we again ignore the elephant in the room (hundreds of millions of guns, lax gun laws, the NRA lobby) and instead of making laws for the innocent, we meekly and quietly give a teacher a 24 hour certification and a Glock, which, unless owned by an expert arms dealer, essentially becomes a pea shooter against a maniac armed with an automatic rifle.

Insane gun laws that allow such frequent mass shootings are now shrouded in stupid and ill-conceived “solutions” in this once great country.

Timothy Paynter
Media, Dad.

To the editor:

As a retired elementary school teacher, I felt a mixture of disbelief and horror after reading this article! What is wrong with our country that makes it acceptable for teachers to carry and potentially use a loaded weapon?

Classrooms are places where the environment must be safe and comfortable for learning. Will having educators ready to shoot create the atmosphere we want for our kids?

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Barbara Segal
Berkeley, California.

To the editor:

Instead of terrified teachers who feel compelled to learn how to handle a weapon for their own safety and the safety of the children in their care, why don’t teachers just refuse to go to school until these semi-automatic guns are completely banned? and be off the street?

Teachers taught via Zoom during one plague; they can do it again during this current plague.

Lisbeth S. Fried
Ann Arbor, Mich.

Giving firearms to civilians with minimal training and experience is a nationwide disaster in the making. The lives of our children, young adults, teachers and administrators deserve a more thoughtful, careful response to the school shooting epidemic. No reckless, shoot-from-the-hip policy.

Victor Caliman
Kings Park, New York
The writer is a former teacher and principal.

To the editor:

Re “Putin performs for Russia, and Ukraine is the stage”, by Peter Pomerantsev (opinion Sunday, July 31):

Mr Pomerantsev’s excellent analysis of President Vladimir Putin’s manipulation of the Russian “cycle of humiliation and aggression” reminds me of the Russian people who said, “Never drag garbage outside the hut.”

The Russians will never recognize or remember their self-inflicted pain because they refuse to present their failures and shortcomings to the outside world. Russians believe there would be a risk that foreigners could exploit such vulnerabilities.

Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader, continues to be vilified in Russian society for his adoption of glasnost, which would have enabled public debate and scrutiny of Russia’s failures over the years and which the traditionalists opposed.

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Melvin A. Goodman
Bethesda, Md.
The writer, a former CIA Russia analyst, is a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy in Washington and an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University.

To the editor:

When will the media label Vladimir Putin as who he is: the 21st century Hitler? The sooner the better, because that identification could reach the propagated Russian citizens.

CJ Hoppin
Peaks Island, Maine

To the editor:

In “Republican Governors Are Quietly Delivering Results” (opinion Sunday, July 31), Liz Mair tries to prove Republican prowess by selecting economic data she says favors Republican-governed states. But Democrats could similarly reference data to support Democratic government competence.

Just one example: Of the states with the highest rates of Covid deaths, the top six are led by Republican governors.

Gubernatorial effectiveness is measured by much more than just some plucked data.

Richie Feder
Philadelphia

To the editor:

This essay is an interesting contrast to an Upshot article from the day before, “Ragged Safety Net is weaker in states that prohibit abortion.” Three of the Republican governors Liz Mair most compliments — Greg Abbott, Doug Ducey and Asa Hutchinson — head states that have some of the worst child poverty and maternal mortality records in the country.

Has the price paid for the lower taxes and other policies they introduced been worth it?

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Ellen S. Hirsch
New York

To the editor:

On “‘The Final Straw’: Floods Wash Away Kentucky Coal Country Stalwarts” (news article, Aug. 5:):

Reading this story about Kentuckians is heartbreaking. The life of this story must be beyond heartbreaking. Death, destruction and lack of resources are a living nightmare.

It is insidious that the coal production that adversely affected the health of the people and the surrounding countryside contributed to an unstable climate causing such heavy rainfall and severe flooding. Unfortunately, these climate events will continue to destabilize communities as global warming continues to rage.

Lives and livelihoods need to be saved in eastern Kentucky. In addition to cleaning up, these people need jobs, housing, medical services, and good schools. Land damaged by coal mining must be saved.

Our fellow Americans need help and we as a nation must answer their call. And we need to pass legislation to mitigate the climate crisis. We have a lot on our plate, but we can do this!

Sally Courtright
Albany, New York
The writer is a retired physics teacher.

To the editor:

On “The Fight Doctors” (Science Times, Aug. 2):

In opposing the expansion of mixed martial arts, Senator John McCain — not exactly the prudish kind — described their attacks as the equivalent of “human cockfighting.” The current ubiquity of this “sport” is yet another signpost into the moral decay of our society.

Doug Brin
Brooklyn

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