I am 83 years old and remember a little about world war 11. This so-called president that we have reminds me of...

Many better solutions than arming teachers

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South Florida area high school graduate Becky Van Horn, 24, who now lives in Breckenridge, Colo., holds a sign to remember her late coach Chris Hixon, who was killed in the shooting shooting in Parkland, Florida last month, during a National School Walkout Day protest Wednesday, March 14, in Frisco, Colo. School students participated in a nationwide rally for 17-minutes, one minute for each student killed in the recent school shooting. (Hugh Carey/Summit Daily News via AP)

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Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The notion of arming public school teachers has come around again, from some of the usual suspects in the General Assembly.

This idea was floated last year but got nowhere, even when Republicans had super-majorities in both houses of the legislature.

State Schools Superintendent Mark Johnson, a Republican who’s no liberal snowflake, thinks it’s a bad idea. So do two-thirds to three-quarters of North Carolina teachers, depending on which poll you pick.

The latest version, in the state Senate, has the kicker that teachers who agree to pack heat — up to 3,000 of them statewide — would get a 5 percent increase in their paychecks.

The gun-packing teachers — officially “teacher resource officers” — would be required to have training similar to a sheriff’s deputy and would have the same powers as a regular law enforcement officer, including arrest, while on the school grounds.

Anyone who knows how an ordinary school works — as opposed, say, to a Bruce Willis movie — can see all sorts of ways this can go wrong.

The teacher resource officers won’t wear uniforms. So, in the event of an “active shooter incident,” it’s hard to say how a police officer, arriving on the scene, could tell an armed teacher from an armed intruder.

In the event of an incident, it’s not guaranteed the armed teachers would be armed. (They’d have the option of keeping their pieces in a locked safe on premises. How long would it take to run and fetch it?)

The possibilities of accident or theft are all too easy to imagine.

And it’s not as if schools are without security. North Carolina sheriff’s departments and other agencies station more than 1,000 trained officers — known as school resource officers — on campuses already. We support adding more of these positions.

More guns do not mean more security. They mean more gunfire and more things that could go wrong.

We think the N.C. Association of Educators and other teachers’ groups are right. Instead of spending money on arming teachers, we would do well to hire more school nurses, counselors and psychologists. They could do a much better job of spotting and helping troubled youths before some of them show up at school with assault weapons.

We also endorse the idea of proactively forming smaller school communities, especially at the high school level. Robert Smith, a UNCW professor, made the argument in a Nov. 18 op-ed, “A Step We Should Take to Curb School Violence.”

Smith says many students are currently “lost in the crowd” in large high schools and would benefit from closer relationships with “a caring adult and student connections within a group.”

Such connections, Smith writes, could reduce the likelihood of students resorting to violence, and also improve the chance that someone contemplating violence would be discovered.

That is the type of solution we should be pursuing, not giving teachers guns. That’s an arms race that will do no one any good.

The Daily News of Jacksonville


Humans of Greenville


Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.


July 04, 2019

As the story goes, our Founding Fathers declared their independence from their mother country 243 years ago today, that the “united colonies are, and of right, ought to be free and Independent States; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown.”

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June 10, 2019

As the election results became clear in 2016, financial markets rose amid a surge of economic optimism. That surge continued for two years as Donald Trump and Republicans pursued a pro-growth agenda of tax reform, deregulation and encouraging domestic energy production. But with Democrats now…

June 08, 2019

Keith Cox served the residents of Virginia Beach in the public utilities department for 12 years.

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June 04, 2019

Give Harry Smith credit for being willing to do his homework and change his mind.

Smith, the usually outspoken and politically conservative chairman of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors, emerged from a recent board meeting and told reporters that his thinking about what to do…

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June 03, 2019

Vice President Mike Pence came to Charlotte this week for a 2020 Republican National Convention kickoff event. The visit was a reminder of the discomfort many feel in this progressive city about the 2020 RNC — an uneasiness so deep that Mayor Vi Lyles said last summer that she wouldn’t…

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June 01, 2019

A state budget is a spending plan, but the proposal the state Senate’s Republican majority presented Tuesday is better described as an anti-spending plan. It is an unalloyed version of Senate leader Phil Berger’s iron-rule of government: Cut taxes and spend the absolute minimum. If…

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May 28, 2019

Around the turn of the last century, the steel magnate Andrew Carnegie paid to build 1,689 libraries across the United States. Many are still in use, celebrated as monumental works of philanthropy.

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May 27, 2019

If you’re a member of the LGBTQ community — or perhaps anyone who has lived in North Carolina the past decade — you were probably surprised to learn that Thom Tillis is a “pro-LGBTQ Republican.”

It’s true, according to the American Unity Fund, a conservative gay…

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May 25, 2019

Want to understand how the tariffs on China work? Don’t take President Donald Trump’s word for it.

Here’s what he’s had to say. We’ll follow with why he’s wrong, who really pays and who really suffers (hint, it’s not China or Trump).

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May 21, 2019

Our planet is on life support.

That’s the dire message from a landmark United Nations report that found one million species of plants and animals — out of a total of eight million — are at risk of extinction as the result of human actions.

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