A Woman's Observations
Edna K. Wooley
SOME THINGS WE DON'T WANT.There seems to be a universal passion, just now, to use the public schools and public school children for all sorts of new things.
The latest use of school children is proposed by the government itself. It would develop a nation of sharpshooters, apparently. At any rate, Acting Secretary of War Oliver has written the governors of each state to put rifle practice in the public schools for all boys over 12, the war department offering prizes to be competed for by selected boys in each school.
Of all things least needed in this country which preaches peace to all the world, are experts in the use of firearms.
There is mischief enough done as it is with firearms in the hands of men and boys. We don't feel the need of making our boys any more familiar with them, or of justifying their use even with the government's encouragement.
The boys, of course, will like the idea. Almost every boy thinks it a grand thing to hold a gun in his hand, or to shoot. Every boy with good red blood in him would plague his parents to death for permission to join the rifle class. But what the boy wants isn't always good for him or for the community, and the boy who practices with a target will be tempted to take his gun outside of classes and practice on animate things. There wouldn't be a song bird left. Household pets would be slain. Human life wouldn't be safe.
If the United States wants to train men for an army, it would do better to make the attempt some other way. The people of the United States will never favor this method. Fathers and mothers aren't exactly enthusiastic about having their sons trained to kill and be killed.
We are not living in frontier days, when it is necessary for every man and boy to be a good shot. If a war should come, which every one of us is praying against, men who can shoot straight will develop fast enough, Just as they have done in the past.
Does the government think it will arouse patriotism by establishing rifle classes in our public schools? If so, it has another think coming. Gun play and patriotism are not synonymous. A government which permits monopolies to impoverish its common people and which does practically nothing to protect that solid middle class which has been the bulwark of the nation, and which is being rapidly crushed into nothing by a living cost which steadily advances beyond the average wage, won't be able to instill much patriotism into a weary and disgusted people by teaching their children to be good shots.
We want better food, better all round living conditions, a better chance to make healthy, happy, useful men of our boys. That's what we want--not guns for them to play with.[The Rock Island Argus, Wednesday, October 9, 1912. Sixty-First Year. No. 306. Pg. 4]
It is interesting how that our government at that time actually wanted to train us to shoot in the public schools. And that there indeed were many Rifle Clubs set up across the country in public schools around that period. Had that practice continued, then many of the problems we have today would have never occurred. For only a suicidal maniac would have attempted a 'mass shooting' in schools where arms were prevalent. This treason MUST be reversed. Our freedom, liberty, and very lives absolutely DEPEND upon it.