Ever wondered what would happen if teachers were given guns? Thanks to this unsettling documentary set in the US state of Ohio, you no longer have to
In the first of Thomas Harris’s Hannibal Lecter books, Red Dragon, the protagonist, Will, fears that Lecter has sent another killer to hunt him and his family down. So Will takes his wife to a shooting range to learn how to use a gun. She does well, and her trainer looks over at Will expecting to see a look of pride on his face. Instead, “he looked like a man who had witnessed an irrevocable loss”.
The documentary Teachers Training to Kill (Channel 4) opened with scenes of lockdown drills in elementary schools in Hamilton County, Ohio, and a staged shooting in another’s hallways, to practise procedures and test response times. Their superintendent, Larry Knapp, looked like Will.
So, too, later on, did 17-year-old Cooper Caffrey and his father, Marty. Cooper – and three others, who also survived – were shot three years ago at Madison high school by a classmate and friend. Despite Cooper’s experience – and despite the fact that he relives the shooting in nightmares whenever he sleeps (and suffers various other after-effects) – the Caffreys and Knapp are fighting to keep Hamilton schools unarmed.
Against them is the county sheriff, Richard K Jones. A Trump devotee elected with 80% of the vote, he wields enormous power and influence, and believes it is time to get teachers to carry weapons in school. He can’t demand it, but when you are at the confluence of so many avenues of power – a county sheriff is part policeman, part lawyer, part politician, and accountable only to his constituents and the constitution – you often don’t have to.