Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s juxtaposition of “teachers” with “militia” got me thinking a bit today.
So, I looked up the term “militia.” Here is what I found:
A military force that is raised from the civil population to supplement a regular army in an emergency; a military force that engages in rebel or terrorist activities, typically in opposition to a regular army; all able-bodied civilians eligible by law for military service.
This morning, Patrick — a conservative Republican — said on ABC News’s “This Week” that “teachers are part of a well-run militia.”
Actually, the way I read the definition that I found, they are nothing of the kind. They aren’t military, or paramilitary.
Patrick’s statement was in response to questions about the Santa Fe High School massacre that killed 10 people — eight of whom were students. Patrick wants school teachers to be armed. That is a wrong-headed answer to the scourge of gun violence in our public schools.
The U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment speaks of a “well-regulated militia.” I cannot find — no matter how hard I look — any link whatsoever between the founders’ intent in crafting that clause to the idea that militia includes public school teachers.
Teachers are hired to educate. They aren’t hired to take up arms, even in an emergency. We “regulate” militias because we ask our military reservists, for example, to perform functions for which they are trained. Do we train teachers to set up perimeters around our schools and then stand guard with loaded weapons?
No. Teachers enter their profession exclusively to be positive influences on our children, to educate and occasionally nurture them.
So, let’s stop this loose talk about arming teachers. And for crying out loud, let’s also implore at least one high-profile Texas politician — Lt. Gov. Patrick — to stop equating teachers with militia.