In the 1990s, public-school educators did not think or need to say, “We are not warriors, we are teachers.” No one talked about how to “shelter in place” in the classroom, inside door locks were non-existent, shooting drill practices never occurred and training in “critical incident debriefing” wasn’t necessary.

During that time, as a community-college counselor, I regularly met with the brother of a student at the college who committed suicide after murdering four strangers at a local gym. A couple of months after the incident, his brother made an academic advising appointment with me, but we both knew his future was inalterably changed.

Two years later, I counseled the spouse of a teacher at a nearby high school who was unable to save a student’s life during a school shooting that killed another student and wounded 18 others. His wife said her husband’s grief and guilt, months after the crisis, still profoundly affected the functioning of the whole family,

The repercussions of each school gun death extend out to every member of a family and educational setting, as well as to heartbroken friends and strangers struggling to provide comfort. The possibility of gun-toting teachers inadvertently hitting innocent students in a gun melee is not going to make things better, let alone safer.

The NRA solution, currently backed by Donald Trump, is to expand the number of people involved in gun violence and its aftermath. Rather than continue to enhance the profit margin of the NRA, the president and Republican politicians must do their duty to protect and serve the country. Students should not have to fight to enact commonsense gun control and teachers should not have to use guns to defend them.

At noon Saturday, March 24, Idyllwild Indivisible will participate in the March for Our Lives. The event will begin at noon, next to the town monument. It is an opportunity for all of us to be peaceful warriors in the battle against gun violence in America.

Mary MacLaren Rider



  1. For thought:
    How would you feel if schools had a goal to have 1 in 10 teachers to be a black belt in karate, and 2 in 10 teachers to be at least yellow belt rank in karate? that’s still pretty badass, but you hope that when the students get really annoying, the black belt teacher is not going to turn into a HongKong Cinema street fighters and judo chop the disruptive students…

    In the 1990s, a black belt person in California was supposed to register as a lethal weapon with their local police department. I’m thinking the 1980s had a lot of bruce lee, karate kid and Van Dam movies that everyone was certain that those type of people were the big threat to society and had to be registered and tracked for their kungfu super powers.