Reviews | Arming teachers: an erroneous “solution”

For the editor:

Re “Armed. And Ready to Teach Kindergarten” (front page, July 31):

As a parent of school-aged children and an American citizen with common-sense values, I am deeply troubled by this article. Create a school rapid response force of poorly trained and most likely underprepared and timid teachers, administrators and janitors to do what nearly 400 law enforcement officials armed with high-capacity automatic rifles couldn’t make Uvalde seem rather wacky and misguided.

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

Evidence shows that positive results from such tactics in mass shootings are extremely rare. And so, again, we ignore the elephant in the room (hundreds of millions of guns, lax gun laws, the NRA lobby) and instead legislate safeguards for innocent people, we obediently and quietly give a teacher a 24-hour certification and a Glock, which unless it’s in the hands of an expert weapons handler, essentially becomes a pea shooter against a maniac armed with an automatic rifle.

Insane gun laws that allow such frequent mass shootings are now masked by stupid and poorly thought out “solutions” in this once great country.

Timothy Payner
Media, Pa.

For 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 to make it acceptable for teachers to carry and possibly use a loaded gun?

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

Barbara Segal
Berkeley, California.

For the editor:

Rather than terrified teachers feeling compelled to learn how to use a gun for their own safety and that of the children in their care, why don’t teachers simply refuse to go to school until these semi-automatic rifles are completely banned and off the streets?

Teachers taught on Zoom during a plague; they can do it again during this current plague.

Lisbeth S. Fried
Ann Arbour, Mich.

Giving guns to civilians with minimal training and experience is a national disaster in the making. The lives of our children, young adults, teachers and administrators deserve a more thoughtful and careful response to the epidemic of school shootings. Non-reckless and reckless policies.

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

For the editor:

Regarding “Putin performs for Russia and Ukraine is the stage”, by Peter Pomerantsev (Sunday opinion, 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 saying “Never take garbage out of the hut”.

Russians will never acknowledge or commemorate their self-inflicted pain because they refuse to present their failures and shortcomings to the outside world. The Russians believe this would risk allowing outsiders to exploit these vulnerabilities.

Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader, remains reviled in Russian society for his embrace of glasnost, which would have allowed public debate and scrutiny of Russian failures over the years and which traditionalists have opposed.

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.

For the editor:

When will the media call Vladimir Putin what he is: the Hitler of the 21st century? The sooner the better, because this identification could reach Russian citizens who are the subject of propaganda.

CJ Hoppin
Peaks Island, Maine

For the editor:

In “Republican Governors Quietly Delivering Results” (Sunday Opinion, July 31), Liz Mair tries to prove Republican competence by handpicking economic data that she says favors Republican-led states. But Democrats could also point to data to support Democratic government competence.

Just one example: Among the states with the highest Covid death rates, the top six are led by Republican governors.

Governor effectiveness is measured by more than just hand-picked data.

Richie Feder
philadelphia cream

For the editor:

This essay presents an interesting contrast to an Upshot article from the day before, “Ragged Safety Net Is Weaker in States That Ban Abortion.” Three of the Republican governors of whom Liz Mair is most acclaimed — Greg Abbott, Doug Ducey and Asa Hutchinson — chair states that have some of the nation’s worst records on child poverty and maternal mortality.

Was the price paid for the lower taxes and other policies they put in place worth it?

Ellen S. Hirsch
New York

For the editor:

Regarding “”The Final Straw”: Flooding Washes Away Kentucky Coal Country Stalwarts” (news article, August 5):

Reading this story about Kentuckians is heartbreaking. Living this story must be more than heartbreaking. Death, destruction and lack of resources are a living nightmare.

It is insidious that coal production which has damaged the health of people and the surrounding countryside has contributed to an unstable climate which causes such heavy rains and severe flooding. Unfortunately, these climatic events will continue to destabilize communities if global warming continues to worsen.

Lives and livelihoods must be saved in Eastern Kentucky. Beyond cleaning, 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 alleviate the climate crisis. We have a lot to do, but we can do it!

Sally Courtright
Albany, NY
The author is a retired science teacher.

For the editor:

Regarding “The Fight Doctors” (Science Times, August 2):

In opposing the expansion of mixed martial arts, Senator John McCain – not the squeamish type – described their fights as the equivalent of “human cockfighting”. The current omnipresence of this “sport” is another indicator of the moral decline of our society.

Doug Brin