Last week's fatal shooting in Parkland, Florida took 17 people's lives and has catapulted a group of teen survivors into advocating for gun reform.
After receiving a veritable amount of online backlash, Trump clarified on Thursday that he "never said give teachers guns" but instead considered the "possibility of giving concealed guns to gun adept teachers." Which is still technically giving teachers guns.
Regardless of whether Trump originally proposed we should give teachers guns, or that we should "consider giving concealed guns to adept teachers," his proposal has brought on backlash far and wide.
But perhaps the most notable rebuttal came from Brandon Friedman, who served as an Army infantry officer during conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.
In an op-ed published in NY Daily News Thursday, Friedman wrote about the complexities of being under fire, and how even the most thoroughly trained combat experts often freeze up.
"Arming educators is a terrible idea for a whole host of reasons, but I want to hone in on a crucial one: the fiction that arming teachers means they’ll be able to stop an armed attacker. We hear this over and over. In speaking Wednesday, the President said, 'If the coach had a firearm in his locker when he ran at this guy he would have shot and that would be the end of it. Unfortunately you just can’t make that assumption. It’s not as easy as it looks on TV."
Friedman went on to emphasize the fact that firstly, teachers are not educated or qualified to be in battle. Secondly, even the most thoroughly trained veterans can panic or freeze up when confronted with the realities of gun fire. Thirdly, there have been notable number of past shootings that were not successfully prevented by armed staff.
"There were armed guards at Columbine, the Pulse nightclub and in Las Vegas at the time of the massacre. At Parkland too. Time and again, armed civilians or security guards are out-maneuvered, out-gunned and too inexperienced. It’s difficult for a rational person to reach a state where they can go toe-to-toe with an armed psychopath who has nothing to lose. I was professionally trained and still almost blew it at the moment of truth. If armed security guards often don’t stop shootings, teachers have no chance."
Training or not, when it comes down to it, the way you handle a weapon during a time of emergency is a deeply psychological issue, Friedman wrote. And while qualifications help, adding more guns to the equation does not guarantee a healthy psychological reaction.
"Instructing a teacher in how to use a gun does very little. Guns aren’t magical objects that turn a person into a skilled warrior, no matter how proficient one is at marksmanship. Gun fighting is less about the weapon and more about a state of mind. It’s about will. The will to assert yourself over — and kill — your armed adversary who wants to kill you."
In conclusion, Friedman echoed the desires of the Parkland shooting survivors themselves, and said stricter gun laws is the safest, most obvious solution to America's epidemic of gun violence.
"Rather than arming teachers to shoot back, the more obvious solution is to prohibit the sale and ownership of weapons like the AR-15. And hopefully we will. Soon," Friedman finished.