It’s not the first lesson to be learned about gun control in the aftermath of the Florida Legislature voting to arm teachers — but it’s a particularly meaningful one.
Sean Simpson, a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School chemistry teacher who volunteered to be one of the armed, went to use the men’s restroom at the Deerfield Beach Pier on Sunday.
By the time Simpson realized he had left his loaded 9mm Glock in a stall, a drunken homeless man had already picked it up — and fired it.
Luckily, Joseph Spataro only hit a wall, but he could have easily killed someone.
Luckily, Simpson was able to wrestle away the gun from Spataro, who was charged with trespassing and firing a weapon while intoxicated.
Simpson, however, didn’t get away from the incident scot-free. He too was arrested and charged with failing to safely store a firearm, a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of 60 days in jail. He posted a $250 cash bond and was released.
Let that sink in. This teacher is now facing a criminal charge — and that’s exactly what other teachers agreeing to arm themselves would be facing if they mishandled their guns in school, too.
Looks like it didn’t take long for the “armed good guy” theory of school safety to be debunked.
Still think it’s a good idea to arm teachers who are overloaded with the responsibilities of long days of teaching, grading, and preparing lessons? Not to mention unrelenting administrative paperwork and meetings — when one can’t even handle his gun properly on a leisurely weekend?
Thanks to the good judgment of Superintendent Robert Runcie and the Broward School Board, who rejected the Legislature’s NRA-happy plan to arm teachers, the traumatized high school isn’t being used as a laboratory to implement that asinine idea. The only good thing in the Florida lawmakers’ attempt to arm teachers is that it left it up to the districts to make the final decision. Miami-Dade County also rejected it.
Clear backpacks, identity badges hanging from students’ necks, and fencing are intrusive enough security measures.
The issue of armed school personnel should be put to bed forever.
Think that a police department like Broward’s, which failed to adequately deal with one armed man — Nikolas Cruz and his AR-15 — will be able to handle a school shooting when they have no idea who — of all the adults potentially armed on campus — is the shooter?
The day after the Parkland shooting, a Broward Sheriff’s deputy responding to a call of a possible shooter at North Broward Preparatory School accidentally shot himself in the leg. There was no shooter at the school. The deputy's round ended up being the only real shot fired. But the terror students and teachers lived through on lockdown was made even worse by the discharge of the gun.
Instead of legislating to arm more civilians, the Legislature might have focused on dedicating more resources to improving the level of law enforcement training. Broward could certainly use it.
Instead of spending money to arm teachers, pay them more, hire more of them to lessen outrageous workloads, and invest in school supplies so that they don’t run out of copier paper.
Accidental gun shootings happen to confident gun owners a lot more often than people think..
We only hear the stories when a gun causes damage, like the South Florida father who was teaching his teenage daughter gun safety a couple of years ago and ended up shooting her. Or the grandmother in Tampa who carried a gun for protection, except it ended up in the hands of a granddaughter, who went into her purse looking for candy and ended up shooting herself.
Sean Simpson, by most accounts a responsible gun owner, couldn’t control his own gun on a beautiful Sunday. It won’t be any easier in the sprawling school packed with 3,300 students where he teaches and where 17 students and faculty were killed on Feb. 14.
Simpson, 43, continues to teach at Douglas and school authorities are not expected to take any professional action against him. He is a supporter of the student activists fighting for gun control and traveled with them to Washington, D.C., on March 24 for the March For Our Lives. He told Channel 10 that he cannot comment on the case.
So there you go, Florida lawmakers.
Even before your directive to arm teachers is implemented, it’s already falling apart.