This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
History, it is said, always repeats. First as tragedy, later as farce.
The folks at Westbrook Elementary School in Taylorsville can thank their lucky stars that, in their case, the farce came first. It is just a question of when and, in gun-happy Utah, where the tragedy will come.
Thursday, a sixth-grade teacher was in a faculty restroom, girding herself for another day in the classroom. Her own hand gun, which she is legally allowed to have on school property because she holds a concealed carry permit, discharged, apparently by accident, wounding her in the leg.
Other members of the faculty came to her aid and she was whisked away to a nearby hospital. She was treated and released. No one else was harmed and, we are told, it is possible that none of the school's students was even aware of the incident as it happened.
Talk about dodging a bullet.
This incident should, but probably won't, bring home to all responsible parties in this state parents, teachers, school administrators and state lawmakers that a school is no place for firearms of any type, unless they are firmly secured in the holster of a trained and sworn law enforcement officer.
People who think it makes a school safer to allow teachers, administrators, janitors and lunch room ladies to pack heat on campus have watched waaaay too many James Bond movies.
The chances of such weapons being used to take down a Columbine-style attacker are, while something more than zero, cosmically less than the likelihood that they will go off by accident, fall into the hands of an angry or suicidal student or somehow play a key part in an playground dispute, lovers' quarrel, custody-fight confrontation or other situation that, absent a firearm, would have ended without bloodshed.
Carrying a concealed weapon onto the property of a school in Utah is legal for two reasons: One, people are understandably frightened of the kind of attack that left 20 children and six adults dead two years ago at the Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut and want to do something anything to stop the next one.
Two, no politician who wants to keep his or her job in Utah dares stand up against the Second Amendment fundamentalists who have so much political clout here. Even requiring some real firearms training for a concealed carry permit is more that the Legislature is willing to do.
It is emotion, not logic, that allows guns onto school campuses. The emotion that will follow the first accidental shooting of an innocent child will be great, too. It's only a matter of time.