NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- On the bright side, Arkansas does not have a stand-your-ground law.But how long do you think it will take before some variation of one of the following happens in a Clarksville, Ark. school? A teacher feels "threatened" by a student and pulls the gun on the pupil just to defuse the perceived threat. Or the school employee cannot restrain him or herself and blows the kid's brains out in front of a classroom full of terrified children. Or maybe, in self-defense, students wrestle a firearm away from the teacher who pulled it. Or there's a meeting between school officials and the parents of a child receiving disciplinary action. Disagreement ensues. Things get intense. A packing assistant principal pulls out her heat. I could go on with the "ors" all day long, but, mark my words, all hell will break loose in Clarksville, Ark., or one of the other places around the nation who think the best way to respond to school shootings is to arm teachers and other employees with guns after fifty-some odd hours of training. Like New Life Baptist Church & Academy in Albuquerque, N.M. HBO's fantastic series "VICE" featured the "Academy" earlier this year. I highly recommend that episode. It's well done. And it supports the judgment that any parent who would want their child in that sort of "learning environment" has a screw or two loose. Talk about the end justifying the means. We all want to keep our kids safe, but scaring them to death is probably a counterproductive parenting technique to get there. Now let me be clear. I am not one of these ardent anti-gun cats. If I had my choice, I would prefer fewer guns, not proliferation into my child's school. But, on the issue of guns in general, I don't have a strong opinion one way or the other. Before last November, the closest I ever came to a gun was when I got pulled over by a police officer. The things have always terrified me. Sort of like cocaine. Would never touch the stuff, but like swords and knives, I never had a problem with alcohol or marijuana.
So when I went to visit with TheStreet contributor Robert Weinstein last year in Wisconsin, I was a bit nervous when he asked me if I wanted to go "shooting." The guy has an arsenal. But the more I saw how Bob handles his weapons, the more at ease I became. Once we arrived at the shooting range -- before I even picked up, loaded or took my first shot with a gun -- all apprehension ceased. I agree with the pro-gun crowd; there's probably no place safer place than the range.
Everybody there clearly takes what their weapons can do seriously. In fact, as an overly cautious person myself, I even thought some of the safety measures these folks took were overly cautious. They tell you that they're "hot" multiple times before they shoot and make sure you're not "hot" repeatedly before they head out to retrieve their targets. That said, I'm not a big fan of intuitive, knee-jerk reactions. Granted, if you've been directly touched by one, you might take a different perspective, but school shootings are relatively uncommon. I would take better traffic control at crosswalks near my kid's school over her music instructor carrying a pistol in her skirt. I have thought about this issue a lot more recently. I live in Santa Monica, where all public schools were locked down for three hours a couple of months ago because an unstable individual decided to (allegedly) kill his father and brother before going on a somewhat erratic, but deadly and certainly terrifying shooting spree. He just so happened to end up at the local community college; that wasn't his target despite the media's repeated characterization of the event as a "school shooting." While I knew my child was not in danger, I was anxious and unsettled. After all, there's an elementary school across the street from the community college and we live just a stone's throw or two from the area. So I walked over to my daughter's school and hung out across the street. Unarmed, I thought if somebody who shouldn't be in that school tries to get in they'll have to do it over my dead body. Other Dads (and Moms) had the same idea.
All ended well. The lockdown ended as nothing more than the district's decision to exercise an abundance of caution in the wake of recent events. The whole ordeal -- as it was happening -- shook up my child. I understand she cried for the entire three hours. However, once it was over, she was fine and ready to head back to school the next day for, much to her pleasure, another "normal" day. I'll tell you this -- if the district decided to provide "intensive training" to a few dozen employees over the next week (8 hours a day over 7 days maybe) and have them return to school grounds armed with pistols, my daughter's anxiety would have been through the roof. She would not have been able to articulate her fears past a very basic level: I just don't want to be in that type of environment. And that's what it comes down to for me. If you want a free society that resembles something calm, cool and collected, you have to be willing to make sacrifices. At the same time, you have to be unwilling to screw with the fragile emotional states of elementary and high school kids. Ask yourself what type of environment you want your kids growing up in? I would rather they learn to live with the anxiety none of us can escape or quite explain. That someday, like everybody else in the world, there's the chance they'll be caught up in -- or maybe even victim to -- a random act of violence. I don't want my child growing up in an environment where everyday she and the people around her are trained to defend against something that has a remote chance of happening. This isn't an earthquake drill. It's telling your kids that we answer violence with more violence. It's telling your kids that violence is about guns -- who has them, who doesn't and how they use them. What we're dealing with is not about guns. It's about mental health and emotions. If we put more time into training the people who care for our children on these issues, over time, we'll decrease the chances of all random hell breaking loose in Arkansas, Newtown, Santa Monica or any other place, USA. Follow @rocco_thestreet -- Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.