Emma Gonzalez, a survivor of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, was interviewed by 60 Minutes and wasted no time in rebuking the idea of training and/or arming school teachers to help protect students in the event of an attack by an active shooter crisis. She told the news program’s Sharyn Alfonsi that arming teachers was a “stupid” idea, because what if the teacher is shot by the gunman? And what becomes of the firearm that was held by the now incapacitated teacher? Should a student then become responsible for acting?
Teenager Emma Gonzalez flat-out told Sharyn Alfonsi during a segment of CBS’ 60 Minutes that arming teachers in a classroom was “stupid,” and, when asked why pointed out an inconsistency in budgetary priority with regard to the political reaction to the mass shooting at the Parkland school.
“First of all,” she said, “they have — Douglas ran out of paper for, like, two weeks in the school year, and now all a sudden they have $400 million to pay for teachers to get trained to arm themselves? Really? Really? If you have — if you’re a teacher and you have a gun, do you keep it in a lockbox or do you carry it on your person? If the teacher dies and the — and a student who’s a good student is able to get the gun, are they now held responsible to shoot the student who’s come into the door? I’m not happy with that.”
As for the arming of teachers inside the classroom, a recent Gallup poll found that 73 percent of teachers themselves were opposed to it, with 63 percent “strongly opposed.” Asked for stopping potential mass shootings, 71 percent questioned the effectiveness of arming teachers, with 47 of those responding they did not believe armed teachers would be effective at all in decreasing the number of victims. The survey also noted that 58 percent of teacher respondents found that arming teachers would make schools less safe. Another 22 percent felt schools would remain about as safe as they are now, even if teachers and other school staffers were armed.
The mass shooting at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School left 17 dead, 14 of whom were students. Seventeen more people were wounded. A lone gunman, 19-year-old Nikolas Jacob Cruz, was subsequently arrested and charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder.
Since the Parkland shooting, Gonzalez and a number of her fellow students have become gun control activists, appearing on talk shows and news programs throughout the U.S. She took on National Rifle Association (NRA) spokesperson Dan Loesch during a CNN town hall meeting (per Real Clear Politics) a week after the shooting, asking her repeatedly her personal opinion on whether it should be more difficult to purchase automatic weapons and devices that potentially make those weapons more deadly. Loesch kept referring to the NRA’s position (that she admittedly represented), which she maintained has been pushing for focusing on background checks disallowing the selling of firearms to mentally challenged people.
Before Loesch’s words, Emma Gonzalez told her that she and her fellow Parkland activists would “support your (Loesch’s) two children in the way that you will not.”