Ever since Tony Cornish decided to pass along the wingnuts’ favored “arm the teachers” talking point, conjured up in reaction to the horrific shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, I was wondering how Sally Jo Sorensen over at Bluestem Prairie (from whence the above graphic comes) would react.
Now I know, and it is glorious.
Seems that the key argument state representative Cornish uses to defend his cherished talking point is that the Israelis allegedly arm their teachers. Sally Jo went and did some digging, and it seems that there’s a lot less to that talking point than meets the eye:
The “Israeli teachers carry guns and there’s no problem” tale (variation: “All Israeli teachers are required to carry”) is so common right now that it’s hard to track down whether or not the example is true or not. Bluestem looked into the question and found some interesting answers.
First, when we examined the sources of the claim about packing Israeli school teachers, we generally found that those making these assertions passed around the same set of links and articles that eventually traced back to articles posted between 1999 and 2002. With each spree shooting, the example was repeated, but not examined anew.
There are a couple recent examples online in the last couple of days where writers familiar with Israel say that the claim’s a weak one. Most send readers to this post, Are Israeli Teachers Armed?–crossposted at various venues. Ron Cantor, the writer is aligned with messianic Judaism–no dirty hippie–and the column is turning up on mostly conservative Christan sites. Take with a grain of salt.
So how do the Israelis guard their schools? With paid armed guards, as they’re done since 1991, as Ms. Sorensen notes.
Furthermore, Sally Jo goes on to point out that unlike in the US, most Israelis have mandatory stints in the armed forces, where they are required to learn how to use guns and use them properly.