Telegraph Poll: Should public school teachers in Vermont be armed in school?

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  1. Tim Roper says:

    It seems that you might be jumping to some pretty extensive conclusions about me, Robert. That is assuming it is I to whom you are referring below. Let me tell you a little about my own motivations and associations.

    I am a gun owner and have been for 47 years. I’ve never pointed a gun at a human, never mind shot at anyone, and I hope I’m never in a position where I’m forced to do so. That said, if I’m in danger great bodily harm, or of losing my life at the hands of someone, I will not hesitate to do so.

    I am no longer a member of the NRA. That changed on a night 20 some odd years ago, when Wayne LaPierre called my home to solicit a donation and we had a conversation about what positions he believed I should take in regard to supporting his association with regard to lobbying our congress. At the end of that conversation I resigned my life membership, as I came to understand what his agenda was (is) and what an absolute jerk he was toward me and my personal positions during that conversation. He is not a good person, in my opinion.

    I don’t own any guns that look like a military assault rifle. That said, given the policies and actions of our current administration in Washington, I’m beginning to consider the purchase of a rifle that would afford me higher capability in a combat situation, for if things continue on the current trajectory, I fear that the ultimate meltdown of our society is inevitable and we might very well be in a fight for the future of our nation.

    I grew up with the Viet Nam war and the widespread protests against it’s injustice on the nightly news. I watched the civil rights protests and the horrific police and military response to that, as well as to the anti-war protesters. Remember Kent State? I do. It happened on May 4th, 1970. I turned 13 years old that month and I’ll never forget it.

    I am a veteran of the US Air Force, where I learned a great deal about how our military functions, spends taxpayer money and more importantly, looks forward to the next conflict.

    I was raised by a single mom who taught history and government at an inner city high school. She once crossed through police lines during a time of civil unrest in the neighborhood where her school was located, because she’d made a commitment to chaperone the chorus on a trip to another part of the state that day. Mom taught me well, that discrimination should not be tolerated, that all people are indeed created equally and that we should treat them as such.

    I am a student of human nature, an amateur historian and naturalist, a father of two well adjusted adult children who are self sufficient and well regarded by those who interact with them. I’m a leader in my chosen profession and a mentor to those on my staff.

    I do not make rash statements, nor do I speak from places where I am ignorant. I’ll ask a question now. Why wasn’t the mighty US military able to defeat their less capable enemies in Viet Nam, or in the middle east? How did the inferior military of colonial America defeat the superior capabilities of the British military? It’s because a people who are fighting for what they believe is right will not lay down their arms, even in the face of an overwhelming force.

    While I sincerely hope it never again comes to that in America, I am unwilling to give up the right that the wise founders wrote into our constitution during their struggle against an unjust and tyrannical power. They did all they could to afford the citizens the upper hand with regard to controlling our government. We have a responsibility to future generations to uphold and protect our constitution, even those parts of it which may put us at risk in certain instances. Please consider that bigger picture as we work together to solve the conditions which have lead to making a few American men believe that mass murder is somehow going to heal their injured psyches. It will be a long road to create meaningful change, just as it’s been a long road that’s lead us to where we are today, but with unified resolve we can effect change, if cooler heads are allowed to prevail.

    Thanks for reading.

  2. Robert Nied says:

    Many gun rights folks are quick to bring up the need to stand up to a tyrannical government as justification for an armed citizenry.

    Never mind that a garage full of AR-15s is utterly useless against a targeted drone attack and scores of massed and camouflaged “militia men” with hunting rifles are trivial fodder for a single fighter plane, what would be the tipping point to bring NRA members to the streets of Washington? The government is currently in the process of dismantling social programs, shifting wealth from the middle class to the wealthy, ending environmental protections, engaging in voter suppression, taking away healthcare and selling of public lands to oil and gas interests.

    Isn’t that tyranny? Yet, we don’t see the NRA stoking the fires of rebellion. Let’s face it. The 1791 notion of armed citizens revolting and ousting the federal government is as realistic as people flying through the air Matrix-style to defeat their martial arts opponents. Those who parrot the nonsense about government tyranny as justification for more guns are being disingenuous. They should just be honest and just say they really like guns and stop making excuses that insult everyone’s intelligence.

  3. Tim Roper says:

    Just some food for thought here.

    The real intent of the 2nd amendment is to provide “we the people” with the power to restrain a tyrannical government. In order to do that the people need to have their own arms so that they can form local “militia” forces if needed. This is supported by writings of the framers themselves.

    Under the current administration, the practicality of ensuring “we the people’s” right to bear arms should be more evident than at any other time in our history. While I’m extremely upset by mass murder, or any murder, I think it’s important to work to find solutions that do not further weaken our ability to stand up en force, should the need to do so become unavoidable. We must frame our own thinking using the same big picture thinking that the framers used to create our amazing constitution.

    So, should a teacher have the right to bear arms if they so choose? Yes, As long as they meet specific guidelines for the security of their firearm while on campus and complete periodic training as provided by local, or state law enforcement agencies. While I don’t think this is the answer to the problem we’re discussing, it could certainly be a deterrent if a potential perpetrator knows there’s a good possibility of his receiving return fire.

    The longer term answers are more complex than flipping a single switch, be that banning guns that look a certain way, or arming our teachers. We need to dig more deeply into the psychology that creates a mindset in someone that makes them believe mass murder is a good idea. That’s harder to do, but until we do, this horrific problem is not going to go away so let’s start asking some different questions.

  4. KD Zuppinger says:

    No. No. No and no again. Besides it being a money grab for gun sellers and unimaginative and lazy thinking from lawmakers, no one gets in to teaching to be a police or security officer.

    Gun violence is a sickness reflective of the deeper issues in our society. Until we fix those nothing we do will stop this craziness from continuing.

  5. Bob DePino says:

    I love the comment by Mr Nied about “inventing” statistics.

    Here are the FBI statistics for Vermont and Hawaii since 1999.

    Try explaining how I invented these statistics.
    There are a few years where Vermont had more than Hawaii, but how did Vermont have ZERO in 2009 if we are SO dangerous? Hawaii has NEVER had 0.

    1999 HAWAII 43 22
    1999 VERMONT 17 7

    2000 HAWAII 33 7
    2000 VERMONT 10 4

    2001 HAWAII 31 7
    2001 VERMONT 7 6

    2002 HAWAII 23 10
    2002 VERMONT 13 10

    2003 HAWAII 22 8
    2003 VERMONT 14 8

    2004 HAWAII 31 6
    2004 VERMONT 16 3

    2005 HAWAII 20 2
    2005 VERMONT 8 5

    2006 HAWAII 21 7
    2006 VERMONT 12 7

    2007 HAWAII 12 3
    2007 VERMONT 12 9

    2008 HAWAII 25 11
    2008 VERMONT 17 8

    2009 HAWAII 21 8
    2009 VERMONT 7 0

    2010 HAWAII 24 7
    2010 VERMONT 7 2

    2011 HAWAII 7 1
    2011 VERMONT 8 4

    2012 HAWAII 13 3
    2012 VERMONT 8 2

    2013 HAWAII 9 6
    2013 VERMONT 9 5

    2014 HAWAII 5 1
    2014 VERMONT 6

    2015 HAWAII 19 4
    2015 VERMONT 10 8

    2016 HAWAII 35 19
    2016 VERMONT 14 6

    Looks like Mr Nied is using Everytown statistics, not FBI data.

  6. I am appalled that so many respondents here actually believe teachers should have guns. More guns is never the answer.

    There are thousands of schools in the U.S., and school shootings only occur in a handful of them each year. The odds alone don’t justify arming teachers, who are just as human as anyone else. What if a disgruntled student steals a gun from a teacher? What if a teacher is having a really bad day? What if the teacher loses the gun? And who’s going to pay for all this?

    There is no legitimate scientific research suggesting that anything pro-gun people believe is true. The good guy with a gun does not exist. Guns are used for defense and protection between 0.01 and 0.03 percent in any given year, according to the FBI. The average shooting in the U.S., after suicides, is “law-abiding gun owners” getting angry and blowing someone away, usually a friend or relative.

    There is a reason every other developed country in the world has a strong and strict national gun control policy and the U.S. doesn’t. Gun control works, and every single day we see the need for it over and over again.

    Because Vermont’s gun laws are so lax, a mass shooting here is just a matter of time. We should act to prevent that.

  7. Robert Nied says:

    It has become endemic in the Internet age for people to invent statistics to support their position. The comments for this poll underscore that unfortunate fact. Mr. Depino states for example that Vermont has “the lowest numbers of firearm murders in the nation.” That is untrue. That honor goes to Hawaii, according to the FBI crime statistics. Furthermore, Vermont is not even in the top ten of states with the least number of firearm murders per capita. Mr. Depino also states that Vermont has the lowest number of violent crimes in the nation. That statement is also false according to the FBI. Finally, Mr. Depino shares with many others the belief that “gun free zones” attract killers who would otherwise be deterred by an armed presence. In reality, the vast majority of mass murders in recent history has taken place despite the presence of armed guards or armed law enforcement in close proximity. The notion of arming teachers is equivalent of throwing something shiny across the floor and watching people chase it. While we debate the ludicrous idea of turning teachers into SWAT teams we take our eye off the real issue of military weapons in the hands of sociopaths, large capacity magazines designed for mass killing and a porous background check system which provides little diligence. We should at least stick to the facts when we try to debate this important issue.

  8. Bob DePino says:

    There is no “epidemic” of firearm crimes.
    FBI statistics prove a 40% decrease since the 1990s.
    Vermont has the lowest numbers of firearm murders in the nation.
    Vermont has the lowest number of violent crime in the nation.
    Vermont is the inconvenient truth against the civilian disarmament movement.
    Our laws have been the least restrictive and yet we are often the SAFEST state in the nation.
    Funny how the TOP THREE SAFEST STATES in the nation ALL have UNRESTRICTED CARRY of firearms by citizens… Hmmmm.
    The media and gun control activists the problem with firearm crime.
    Stop LYING about what is really happening.
    Stop giving KILLERS their “fifteen minutes of fame.”
    No, you won’t, because it’s good for business.
    End “Gun Free Zones” because they ATTRACT KILLERS.
    No, you won’t, because it’s good for your agenda.
    Arm and train school faculty to ACTUALLY defend our kids.
    No, you won’t, because it would prove you have been wrong since 1990.
    Which is the beginning of the rise in school shootings.
    But, you already know that.
    You’ve become accustomed to your own rhetoric.

  9. Eddie Cutler says:

    Other states have done this. Utah has had this in effect for over 4 years and we do have a solution to how to do it here. It also has a chilling effect because the animals that do thin kind of thing always look for soft targets AKA gun free zones. In Pauduk Kentucky it was actually a vice principal who stopped the killer. The church in Texas was stopped by 2 armed individuals We also know in rural Vermont the police response is 20 to 30 minutes. Just last summer the guy in Burlington was who was using a machete was stopped by an armed individual. The list goes on and on. When crimes happen who do you call! You call the police not because they have a badge its because they have a firearm. Lots of other states are also looking into this kind of law.

  10. Robert Joseph says:

    Flawed poll. I doubt any of us think that teachers should be “the first line of defense”. An armed teacher would be the last resort, however a much better option than hiding behind a desk with a book covering your face.

  11. Brent Whitman says:

    Robert Nied, your assertions that “more guns equals more gun violence” and that bad guys with guns aren’t stopped by good guys with guns are in complete opposition of the indisputable statistics (since you want to talk statistics) of the mass shootings in this country that currently have every gun control supporter calling for more gun control laws. The statistics show that practically every single mass shooting that has occurred in this country within the last few decades has occurred in liberal Democrat imposed “gun free zones.”

    The fact is that the shooters in each case chose those sites because they knew they were soft targets where they would be the only ones armed, which ensured their abilities to inflict maximum casualties with minimum risk and resistance to themselves. Please explain to me in your infinite anti-gun, feel good wisdom how these statistics support your assertions that good guys with guns don’t stop bad guys with guns and more guns automatically equals more gun violence.

  12. Barre Pinske says:

    We have no choice it’s defend yourself or die. There is no better remedy to a potential problem than preparation. The kid in Florida was seen approaching the school all anyone there could do was warn people until help arrived.. An armed trained person at the school could have taken him out problem solved. Kids in a class room are like fish in a barrel enough is enough it’s time to get tough.

  13. Nathan David says:

    There is a HUGE difference between the poll question of “should they be armed” and some who are replying in the vein of “should they be ALLOWED to be armed”.

    My vote was NO because of the way the question was worded. I stand by it.

    If it was rephrased as “should they be ALLOWED to be armed” my vote would be YES! However, it should not be that simple – if ALLOWED, there should be deeper checks done, proof of current training (annually) and a safe way to implement it.

  14. Liz Mason says:

    No Vermonter should be denied their RIGHT to self defense. Properly trained school staff should be allowed to protect their own lives.

  15. Robert Nied says:

    “Mike” and others would have us believe that Vermont is safe because a large number of Vermont residents are armed. The facts do not support that contention. Of the ten states with the most guns per capita (of which Vermont is not one), 6 are also the states with the most gun deaths per capita. So statistically the exact opposite is true. More guns means more gun deaths. Those who like guns embrace fantasies like “good guys with guns stop bad guys with guns” and shooters would not shoot if they knew someone was armed because the truth is inconvenient and the statistics are not in their favor. As to who defines “rational” I would defer to the parents who experienced the horrific tragedy of losing their children to gun violence to make that judgement.

  16. Jon says:

    Teachers have enough on their plates already?! Are you serious? An option to be proactive and possibly lesson the loss of life or stop it all together and you’d rather they say on their hands and get shot? To what end? Further your stance on gun control (eradication)? This is absurd at best and down right nefarious in my opinion.

  17. Mike says:

    @Robert Nied…. A rational society? Who is to define rational? You? The police? The government? Democrats? Republicans? Progressives? Every one would define rational differently. Rational: based on or in accordance with reason or logic. Want your kids to have well being? Teach them it! Teach them self-control! Teach them to loathe violence.

    But teach them to be prepared for it. And stop this safe space crap they teach in schools. Let the teachers teach. But stop the teachers from interpreting everything in a liberal/progressive anti-rural mindset. And your kids do in fact have a codified inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

    It seems they left well-being out of that one. Similarly, our right to bear arms is clear as well. Just as your right to free speech is. But you might want to consider this, your inalienable rights are upheld by our inalienable right to bear arms. That’s how we got to be America. And that’s how we’ve managed to remain America. Your Utopian society does not exist, anywhere in the world. Now don’t get me wrong, I do value the well-being of your kids, my kids, everyone’s kids.

    Our approach to ensuring that well-being are quite a juxtaposition. Whereas you’d prefer the safe space mentality that has destroyed our education system as well as society. I prefer to ensure the well-being of those I care about through vigilance, preparedness, and overwhelming threat of return fire.

    Rare is the criminal who will shoot knowing they will be shot back at. Hence Vermont being consistently the safest State in America.

  18. Justin Turco says:

    Most employees already have a lot on their plates. I know I do when I’m working. When real trouble starts, all priority’s change and people need to be able to eliminate the danger.

    If it’s actually a serious job that teachers already have then this is not a great big step and would finally give them the tools to fix the crazy person that has and will continue to be with us.

    Teachers who are willing should definitely have the option to be armed. Put a special desk in their room with a built in gun safe.

    All teachers have the same desk. No students know who has a gun and who doesn’t. Only the owner of the desk has access. If they were being forced to open it under duress they could have an alarm button to push for assistance.

  19. Kelly Capen says:

    I think teachers have enough on their plates! Yet if the poll read Should public school teachers in VT ( be allowed) to be armed in school the poll may look very different

  20. Brian Heybyrne says:


    Our rights are not privledges.

  21. Robert Nied says:

    A rational society does not respond to an epidemic of gun violence by increasing the number of guns, nor does it expect parents to send their children off to a militarized school preparing for pitched gun battles in the hallways. A rational society addresses the actual problem and treats the well being of its kids as an inalienable right and the possession of guns as a privilege to be judiciously controlled in the best interest of everyone.

  22. Brad Benedict says:


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