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Dec 27, 201207:58 AMBlaska's Bring It!

with David Blaska

Why don’t our liberal policymakers trust our teachers with guns?

Why don’t our liberal policymakers trust our teachers with guns?

(page 1 of 2)

First things: hope everyone had a great Christmas.

The squire and chatelaine of the Stately Manor certainly did. They were guests at Mike-boy and Peg’s even-more-stately manor located deep within Grandma’s Woods in the wilds of Sun Prairie, an agricultural region northeast of the Emerald City. Does anything make Christmas more merry than family, snow-covered forest, and chocolate martinis?

The Lovely Lisa and Number One Son experienced a beautiful Christmas Eve at Christ Presbyterian Church. Christmas morning they roused the Squire from a deep slumber (caused by the chocolate martinis). The three of us gifted each other with sundry non-essential consumer goods under the tree. (The little bubble lights, they’re not bubbling.)

Our tree is all of two feet high, virgin aluminum. Much less stressful, that tree. No longer must the indentured servants dodge wary neighbors to forage for a suitable pine, spruce, or fir. Post-Christmas cleanup is nil.

The Stately Manor, gaily decorated for Christmas

Now, back to recent tragedy and cold public policy.

Do we trust our teachers with our children? Why, I believe we do. They spend more “quality time” with children than many parents. As much as many of us (including liberals like Davis Guggenheim and the late Steve Jobs) hate how teachers unions reward the lowest common denominator, we respect teachers themselves. Good teachers love children. They protect children. But liberals can’t trust them to defend their own lives or those of their students.

The state of Wisconsin trusts adults aged 21 and over to conceal a handgun on their person if they have taken training, have not been convicted of a felony, have not been adjudged mentally ill, and are not subject to a restraining order. But not teachers in a school. Can’t be trusted.

Please tell me how that makes sense. Please tell me you don’t believe that a sign on a wall can stop a madman.

I disagree with the National Rifle Association (Stop the Presses!) that our schools should hire armed guards. There’s little enough money to support education as it is. (See: Obama, economic recession.) The good news, we don’t need to.

Allow local school districts to decide

We already have responsible, law-abiding adults trained in the use of firearms at our schools. They already own their own guns. These upstanding citizens are called teachers and administrators, librarians, counselors, custodians, and office staff.

Allow them to defend themselves and their charges, discreetly but effectively. The Blaska Plan to amend Wisconsin Statute 948.605 would cost taxpayers not one dime.

  • School personnel would not be required to carry a weapon; they need only to be permitted (in both senses of the word) to do so if they are licensed to do so.
  • No other CCW permit-holders would be allowed to carry a weapon on school grounds – only school personnel.
  • The school district could require that school employees who choose to arm themselves self-identify to each school principal as part of its security plan. Those names would be confidential outside the principal’s office but the public would have the right to know how many (the number), if any, are so recorded.
  • The choice to carry a concealed weapon imposes no obligation to act nor any liability for having acted or not acted.
  • School districts could choose to opt out. The Blaska Policy Research Werkes and Tanning Salon (due to a recent merger) is all about choice. I’m betting at least one of the 430-some school districts in the state will choose to try it; others would follow.

I’m scared; guns are icky

“It’s not something the department supports,” the spokesman for the Department of Public Instruction, Patrick Gasper, told this blog. Now, there’s a surprise!

Madison school board member Ed Hughes was apoplectic.

Encouraging licensed employees to carry guns in Madison schools is, hands down, the worst idea for improving our schools I have heard in 2012. If you write me with the same suggestion in two weeks, it will be, hands down, the worst idea I will hear in 2013.

Nicely done, Ed. The gaily decorated halls of the Stately Manor reverberated with wails of laughter at that one. But if Ed has an idea for improving the safety of our schools or if he’s satisfied with the status quo, he’s not sharing.

Each of Madison’s high schools has a police officer assigned to it; they’re the only ones allowed by state law to carry a weapon in a Wisconsin school. The other 78 schools rarely see a cop.

I asked a spate of local elected officials if Madison Police should make schools part of routine neighborhood patrols and whether they trust school personnel to carry concealed weapons if they have undergone the requisite training/background check, etc., under Wisconsin statute.

Mayor Paul Soglin was his usual surly self:

Funny, this email was not addressed to the two people who are in the best position to answer – the Police Chief and the Superintendent of Schools.

Blaska responded:

Or, it is possible that a separate email was sent to those potentates? For the record, I did email Joel Despain, the department’s spokesman. I presume he speaks for the chief. [As for the schools superintendent] I would hope he would follow the dictates of the elected board members. His job is to administer their broad policies.

So, in that, your analogy is false. You are an elected official; the current acting [schools] super is not. You’ve got the bully pulpit, Mayor Paul. You haven’t been shy about using it in the past. Use it now. Plus, you have the police.

The Madison Police Department’s Joel DeSpain was much more civil. He said the schools maintain 30 unarmed civilian security assistants at high schools and middle schools. Patrols have been assigned to Kennedy Elementary “after someone, again, left live ammunition on the playground [last] week.” Here’s guessing that the someone was not a teacher.

“As for whether the MPD would take a position on having armed school personnel, that would be something for our command staff to deliberate.” Fair enough.

Old to new | New to old
Comments, page 1 of 2 1 2 Next »
Dec 27, 2012 09:10 am
 Posted by  Fritzderkat

Dittos on volunteer school staffers with guns--well trained in safety, marksmanship and crisis management, especially this sort of crisis; that is, if the board could find any in Madison who aren't petrified with fear and apprehension over the very thought of it.

Dec 27, 2012 09:52 am
 Posted by  Larry Kaufmann

What, no link to the Spanish mega-brothel? I'm very disappointed.

Dec 28, 2012 09:32 am
 Posted by  David Blaska

200 teachers take Utah classes in the concealed carry of firearms. Fail to get clearance from Ed Hughes.

Dec 29, 2012 12:56 am
 Posted by  ssquared

Mark Belling made a point Thursday that I thought was phenomenal.

The Aurora Colorado movie shooter had a selection of 14 theaters within 20 minutes of where he lived showing "The Black Knight".

He chose the only one with a "no guns" policy posted as you entered.

As for our local liberals and media, they are too busy justifying David Gregory for violating DC law about multi bullet clips and the Goracle for Anthropogenic Global Warming to ever take a bite of reality.

Dec 31, 2012 11:15 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

As a liberal who support gun rights, I'm not completely opposed to this idea. But again, it fails to address the root causes of the problem: it is far too easy for individuals to access firearms in this country, period. It takes more effort to get a car with a valid title!

Also, with Walker and company badmouthing teachers and cutting their pay and benefits, is it really fair to expect teachers to take on the additional role of armed protector of students, even if it's voluntary? And just how many teachers are willing and able to do this?

Also, a car bomb threat in Spain hardly qualifies as empirical evidence that the U.S. is not wracked with violence. How about some solid statistics instead?

Dec 31, 2012 11:42 am
 Posted by  uwbiz96

The superintendent of Madison's public schools is a she, not a he. Jane Belmore is her name. Surprised you didn't know that.

Dec 31, 2012 04:18 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

All I can say is: UNBELIEVABLE. I can't believe the above posts are from sane people, not to mention Mr. Blaska's column. What kind of example is arming people telling young children? Guns are the answer? Unbelievable.

Jan 1, 2013 12:41 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

In keeping with my above post, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Jan. 1, 2013 edition features a column by Philip Chard. He states it better than me:
"We need more conservative gun control not because it will keep all weapons out of the hands of psychopaths and the dangerously mentally ill - it won't - but because it shapes the collective psyche of our culture. And that, in turn, shapes how we behave."
You are welcome to read more at:

Jan 2, 2013 08:52 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

David Blaska is a "meat head"

Jan 2, 2013 06:15 pm
 Posted by  ssquared

My question to poster "Anonymous" using Caps for UNBELIEVABLE is did you lose your testostorine or were you born without any?

When the bad guy comes to your front door, will the your comment be
"Welcome, help yourself to my wealth and family"?

Oh by the way, say off State Street on Friday and Saturday and early Sundy morning FOREVER!

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About This Blog

Raised on a farm near Sun Prairie, David Blaska is a recovering liberal who spent 18 years in daily newspapers, including 12 at The Capital Times in Madison as a reporter and editor. He served Gov. Tommy Thompson as acting press secretary in 1998 and is a veteran and survivor of 19 years in state government. He served 12 years on the Dane County Board of Supervisors. From December 2007 to November 2011 he wrote the consistently popular "Blaska's Blog" for Isthmus online's "The Daily Page" until, he says, the intolerant liberals ran him off. He blogs from Madison.

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