Should Chapman professors be armed?

Some faculty are concerned about police confusing an armed professor for a school shooter.

The Chapman community is divided on whether faculty should be armed.

President Trump has advocated for arming teachers as a precautionary measure for preventing school shootings. His statements have sparked controversy across the country.

“I don’t think adding more guns to the situation is helpful,” said professor Jill Dunham, department of science and technology, “there is too much risk involved.”

She lists the potential for misfiring as a main concern of hers. Firearms accounted for 489 accidental deaths and 15,928 unintentional non-lethal injuries in the United States during 2015, according to the CDC and the National Firearm Survey.

Professor Dunham points out that even among trained professionals there have been incidents of misfiring.

Even police officers aren’t above a misfire or two. Only a few weeks ago, an officer in Chicago accidentally shot himself in the leg, according to the article titled “Off-duty officer injured after accidentally shooting himself,” from WGN9.

Some faculty are concerned about police confusing an armed professor for a school shooter.

“If there was an active shooter, the SWAT teams from Orange and Orange County would be coming in, and they have no idea who is a professor or not and would most likely put that professor in grave danger,” said Rev. Nancy Brink, director of church relations at Chapman.

Police involvement in potentially high stake situations have resulted in innocent deaths.

Anthony Finch, 28, was killed about four months ago after a fake 911 call was made. It is claimed that there was a hostage situation in the Finch household. Police arrived at the residence and once unarmed, Finch opened the front door he was shot, CNN reported.

Many students don’t think that teachers should incur these risks.

“That’s not what they signed up for. Their job is to educate enrich and motivate students,” said Jasmine Lee, a junior communication studies major.

Others, such as sophomore television writing and production major Jade Michaels, reject an armed teacher policy.

“I don’t see violence as the correct solution to violence,” Michaels said.

Tighter gun control and banning assault rifles are Michaels’ and Lee’s preferred methods to prevent school shootings, though not all students agree.

“Nothing stands in the way of school shooters from harming students in an unarmed institution,” said Charlie Liu, a sophomore computer science major.

“If teachers aren’t going to be armed then what’s going to help us. Students can’t be armed, right?” Liu said.

According to the school website, Chapman does prohibit its students from possessing firearms on campus.

Though, lives have been saved on other campuses with the help of firearms.

CNN describes one situation in the article, “Lone resource officer’s quick action stopped the Maryland school shooter within seconds,” in which an assailant fatally shot one and injured another student, but was subdued under the gunfire of resource officer, Blaine Gaskill.

Because of him the tragedy’s scale did not escalate to something much worse.

Despite the concerns of many, “this is a problem that we shouldn’t be as worried about as we are,” said Keith Hankins, a philosophy professor at Chapman.

“School shootings are extremely rare,” Hankins said.

The United States was home to 77.1 million students in 2015. That year, 14 were killed and 28 injured in school shootings, excluding accidental firings and suicides, according to records from Everytown, a gun control advocacy group.

Students had a 0.00005 percent chance of being harmed in a school shooting in 2015.

Information from Everytown reveals that there was less risk in 2017. Even with the steady growth of the United States’ student population, there were only 23 injuries intentionally caused with guns that year, six of which were fatal.

“It’s good to think about ways of making them less likely, but not every way of making them less likely is actually going to be effective,” Hankins said.

Julien Khvang

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