Of course, some reporters have connected (some of) the dots. The liberal Texas Observer, for one, did recently make the point that day-to-day gun violence takes more lives than high profile-rampages. And when the governor said he favored improved mental health service to head off mass shootings, Dallas Morning News reporter Robert Garrett pointed out that Texas ranks 49th out of 50 states in spending on mental health care. But a Feb. 2 article in the Austin American-Statesman discusses ways in which proposed regulations could fall short in stopping mass killings, without noting, again, that most firearm deaths do not result from high-profile rampages. In San Antonio, the Express-News has editorialized against arming teachers as just a bad idea, but its news coverage is similar to the rest.
Editors and reporters need to see beyond the narrow gun debate as defined by what legislators say on any given day or propose in Austin, and ask big-picture, common sense questions. There’s a lot of ground to cover, but on the particular subject of the guns-for-teachers proposals, these questions include: How safe are schools, really, as a place to put weapons? Are teachers really qualified to defend 30 people? How do you safeguard guns on campus from a few bad apples? Why not hire more cops? Is the teacher screening program working well if some districts are not compliant? Is the Legislature overlooking obvious concerns or inconvenient data?
Or how about this one: Teachers with guns. Really?
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