Interview with Shirley Katz

Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to interview Shirley Katz, the teacher from Oregon who is in the process of suing her school district over their policy which prohibits teachers that have valid CCW permits from carrying to the school. Her primary point in the lawsuit is that the school district’s policy is in violation of Oregon law – the law states that CCW holders can carry in public buildings.

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My first question to Shirley was a specific, why did she choose to carry a firearm instead of a form of non-lethal defense, such as pepper spray, or a taser?

Shirley: “I felt that this would have been the only way to really solve it, if it came down to it”, where “it” would be her ex-husband, who has a history of violence, acting violently towards her or her son. On the next question, she talked about her restraining orders against her ex husband, the most recent of which expired on Sep 11th, 2007. Apparently, despite her instructions to do otherwise, her attorney failed to act in a timely fashion and renew the order.

After that, we moved into the basis for the lawsuit. Shirley is aware that the Oregon law is on her side, but that alone was not the primary motivator for her lawsuit. She actually detailed several reasons for taking her current course of action.

1. Currently, her school is in budget crunch, and has stated in court that the safety measures they have provided are adequate to provide for the safety and security of their students and staff.

2. There is a certain amount of vulnerability that she felt, following the VA Tech shooting; how would she protect herself or her students in that situation? The campus where she works is “wide open” and “totally unsafe for students”.

One of the more interesting points of the conversation came up here; Shirley mentioned that teachers have always been carrying concealed, across the country, and that most of the time there is an unspoken “don’t-ask-don’t-tell” policy about it. Shirley also stated that one of the reasons she believes that her district is pushing back so hard on this issue is to distract attention from their budget issue. Now she is striving to have the school board’s “no guns” policy recognized as invalid.

The school that Shirley works in has some security cameras, which according to the rumor mill are not always functional. Additionally, there are two full time security officers for a population of 2100 students, and one of the officers is responsible for multiple schools in the area. To this time in October, Shirley said she had seen one of the security officers one time, and the other she hasn’t seen at all.

We switched gears off the political/legal issues for a bit, and did a little talking about guns. Shirley told me that her carry gun is a Glock 19, which she picked on the advice of the owner of Good Guys Guns in Medford, Oregon. I’m really happy to hear about her experience there – it’s excellent to hear about gun shops welcoming people in and offering advice and sharing knowledge.

After that, we dovetailed into the issue of teachers carrying firearms – one of the concerns that people often bring up is that “armed teachers” aren’t qualified to carry a firearm in class, that they don’t have the training necessary. I asked Shirley about the process an Oregon resident has to go through to get a concealed carry permit.

In Oregon, you have to take a class specifically on concealed carry, which stresses safety, as well as appropriate times to use your gun. The permit process also involves a rigorous background check conducted by local law enforcement officials and the State police.

When we talked about the possibility of other teachers carrying, Shirley mentioned again that right now teachers do carry, but they do it without the knowledge of their administration, or their administration looks the other way. She feels that if teachers carrying concealed was out in the open, with the knowledge of the administration, that they would be able to incorporate legally armed and trained staff members into emergency response situations.

I made the comparison to the Federal Flight Deck Officer program, which despite its flaws and faults, does allow airline pilots to carry firearms on board their planes. I’ve always thought it was a good program, and I do believe, as does Shirley, that a similar program for school teachers would be an excellent idea. She made the comparison to continuing education: “…as an educator here in Oregon, we are required as teachers to continue coursework. It’s not one of those things where you get a degree, and you’re done. I view owning a gun the same way; it requires continuous practice or otherwise you lose your skill, it requires additional training”. That’s a strong comparison, as by continually training and strengthening your skills, you’ll be better prepared as a teacher, or to defend your life.

I closed with a question that I thought would be a softball; and I was getting ready to close the interview – I asked her if she was a member of the NRA. She said she was, and then mentioned that she’s disappointed with the NRA’s lack of response. They haven’t made any mention of public support for Shirley, and I have to agree that I’m disappointed with that.

At the same time, I do sort of understand why they haven’t – the issue of “guns in school” and “armed teachers” is a serious powder keg issue, and there are a lot of people that just freak out when it gets brought up. So for the NRA, it’s a dangerous political issue, and it’s hard for them to come out in support of it. That being said, as much as I understand why they’re not supporting it, I wish that they were.

Shirley Katz is taking a bold step here – like I’ve said, schools and guns is a pretty divisive issue for a lot of people, and there has been a lot of dogma built up about it just in my lifetime. I feel that if she wins her case, it would be a huge step forward for the gun rights movement nationwide. She makes a good public face for this case – she’s just a regular person with a regular job, just like you and me.

35 thoughts on “Interview with Shirley Katz”

  1. Good. Two voices of reason, at least. Expect condescension.
    Are you familiar with the Kates and Mauser study, http://www.law.harvard.edu/students/orgs/jlpp/Vol30_No2_KatesMauseronline.pdf?
    Much EU info that supports the facts. Only about 45 pages and not a bad read. Might be good to have on hand. I love the conclusion.

    CONCLUSION
    This Article has reviewed a significant amount of evidence from a wide variety of international sources. Each individual portion of evidence is subject to cavil—at the very least the general objection that the persuasiveness of social scientific evidence cannot remotely approach the persuasiveness of conclusions in the physical sciences. Nevertheless, the burden of proof rests on the proponents of the more guns equal more death and fewer guns equal less death mantra, especially since they argue public policy ought to be based on that mantra. To bear that burden would at the very least require showing that a large number of nations with more guns have more death and that nations that have imposed stringent gun controls have achieved substantial reductions in criminal violence (or suicide). But those correlations are not observed when a large number of nations are compared across the world.

    Over a decade ago, Professor Brandon Centerwall of the University of Washington undertook an extensive, statistically sophisticated study comparing areas in the United States and Canada to determine whether Canada’s more restrictive policies had better contained criminal violence. When he published his results it was with the admonition:

    If you are surprised by [our] finding[s], so [are we]. [We] did not begin this research with any intent to “exonerate” handguns, but there it is—a negative finding, to be sure, but a negative finding is nevertheless a positive contribution. It directs us where not to aim public health resources.
    © 2007 Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy

  2. Why shouldn’t the world’s largest gun control lobby in the USA not get involved in this fight. Could it be that they are, in fact, the largest gun control organization in the USA?
    Who has passed more gun control laws in America? Sarah Brady, Hillary Clinton, The Million Moms or the NRA?
    Answer: NRA
    http://www.nrawol.net

    I think that this issue is a litmus test that separates the people who believe in civil rights from the people who believe in civil rights, BUT……

    No BUTS, boys and girls.

  3. I welcome all comments and opinions, even ones I disagree with; however the posting name you’ve chosen is somewhat bothersome to me. Since I know you’re not really Col. Jeff Cooper, you using his name resonates on a bad note with me. I welcome your opinions and comments, but I’ll ask that you pick a different screen name to do so.

  4. How’s that? Better?
    The Guru was MY Guru, too.
    He’d be unhappy with NRA’s turn but not too surprized. Age of the Common Man and all.

  5. When I was in High School, back in the dark ages, I walked to school with a friend carrying a rifle at least one day every week. The Teaneck High School rifle range is now a day care for the students’ children, and the rifle team but a distant memory.

  6. I still have yet to see conclusive evidence from the NRA bashers that they are actually “selling us out”.

    However, that’s not what this conversation is about; what we should actually be focusing on is the issue in Oregon. I had it brought up via email that even if Shirley wins her case based on Oregon state law, it is a relatively simple matter for the reps in Oregon to change said law.

  7. Just commenting on your comment, Ahab, re;NRA.
    The issue in Oregon sounds like the issue in which is, how do we stop the reprobates and miscreants in the elected seats and bureaucracies from violating the non-aggression pact, let alone the laws which they swore to uphold and defend.

    I hope her suit is successful and that damages are NOT paid by taxpayers but by the scum who deny her her civil rights.

    Is that on topic enough?

    Thanks for publishing all that you do.

    DVC

  8. For the record, Akismet (my spam filter) had caught your comment for one reason or another. I would have caught it when I clean out the filter this evening, but thank you for pointing it out. I assure you that I do not filter or delete comments unless there are extreme mitigating circumstances.

  9. The Israeli experience with arming teachers seems to have worked. From the little info that is available, zero children have been injured or killed from terrorists (or teachers) actions. I guess the media does not want to inject a positive concerning this issue. I thought though that there is a federal law that prevents any armed individual from being within a certain distance of a public school; a law that supersedes state/local laws.

  10. “She feels that if teachers carrying concealed was out in the open, with the knowledge of the administration, that they would be able to incorporate legally armed and trained staff members into emergency response situations.” -from your post.

    I would add to that,this; if such were to be accomplished there would most likely be a huge deterrent effect on the cretins who pick schools because they are safe target rich environments with no resident guns. The reversal of the policy would become common knowledge and would do more to enhance safety at schools than damn “Gun Free Zone” policy ever did.

    As to her disappointment with NRA, who can blame her? Instead of taking a position on her side which happens to be constitutionally and legally (at least in Oregon) correct, they continue to support the law they wrote and lobbied for that is a complete repudiation of the Constitution and their own mission statement.

    Look, I know you are a supporter of the NRA, but it is really lame to support actions, or in this case inaction, such as this because its a political “hot potato”. Dammit! Liberty has always been a political hot potato. There have always been people who don’t want it for others. Being popular and respected by those people is not a worthy pursuit. Nor does timidity and obsequiousness strengthen the position of those that would oppose would be tyrants. So unless you tell me Wayne and company are literally stupid, I am not prepared to believe they are acting in concert with the ideals of freedom or civil or human rights.

  11. By the way, great job on this. Not that you need anyone to tell you, but what have done here should be appreciated by everyone. Thank you.

  12. amr, there was, but it was found to be unconstitutional. It granted power over private homes and vehicles that had no way to achieve a 1000 ft. buffer zone around all the schools.

  13. “I had it brought up via email that even if Shirley wins her case based on Oregon state law, it is a relatively simple matter for the reps in Oregon to change said law.”
    ——————

    Not simple and not likely. In previous Legislative sessions, bills were floated, but most didn’t get a hearing, even in committee, much less on the floor.

    The bottom line on this: Citizens with a cwp can and do carry on school grounds. But citizen’s with cwp who are school teachers and staff are prohibited because of their employment contract. Why descriminate against teachers/staff and allow non-teachers/staff the right to carry on school grounds?

    If you think that the legislature will not only uphold the descrimination of teachers/staff who hold concealed weapons permits, but also actively take away the right to carry of non-teachers/staff on school grounds, you are sadly mistaken.

  14. I neither hope nor expect them to change the law, however it has to be acknowledged as a possibility. If they did, it wouldn’t be the first foolish law that was enacted as a part of public panic.

  15. Look, I know you are a supporter of the NRA, but it is really lame to support actions, or in this case inaction, such as this because its a political “hot potato”. Dammit! Liberty has always been a political hot potato. There have always been people who don’t want it for others. Being popular and respected by those people is not a worthy pursuit

    You have to convince those people, because they vote. They vote for the politicians who make the law, and who appoint and confirm the judges that say what the law is. If you don’t convince these people, you lose. You can get mad all you want that not enough people care about liberty, it pisses me off too, but eventually you have to deal with it, and figure out how to work with what you’ve got.

  16. Why should unbalanced students be the only folks carrying guns in schools. If we trust teachers to indoctrinate, uhh, I mean teach, our children why shouldn’t we trust them with guns? I’d prefer my kids to be indoctrinated, umm, I mean taught, by a teacher with the training and ideology to carry a gun.

  17. There is a liberal talkshow host here in Sacramento who spent some two hours trashing this teacher as a gun happy, loose cannon, one step away from firing willy nilly into a room full of kids. – That was the first hour.
    The second hour he spent abusing the notion that some hopped up student would bash this frail spinsterly matron over the back of her head, disarm her as she lay helpless, then the kid would become the gun happy, loose cannon, shooting willy nilly into the room full of kids.
    He is totally one sided, and wrong more often then not, but for the sake of argument, he allows the other side to have their say without being excessively abusive.
    What are the chances of having Shirley Katz call in and rehabilitate her position for the sake of, we the beleaguered citizens of Sacramento, who realize that the bill of rights rests upon the right to bare arms?

  18. Well, I’m not exactly in a position to speak for her; but personally I wouldn’t bother. There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of sense to me in taking on someone who is so obviously biased that they’re not even going to bother listening to reason.

  19. “Sebastian Says:
    October 22nd, 2007 at 4:06 pm

    I don’t know… Jeff Coopers granddaughter didn’t seem too unhappy with NRA last time I saw her at the board meeting.”

    She’s not The Guru. I sat with him at the Gen. Meeting a few years ago when things got contentious over RKBA issues and he said nothing ever gets done in public meetings; that things get done behind closed doors.

    Considering the Veteran’s Disarmament Act HR2640(?), I’m not surprized. Disappointed but not surprized. Way too much power mongering, way to little support for RKBA free from Power Mongering. It’s why I quit after 21 years annual. My money is going to JPFO, etc. but not NRA.

    I hope this lady’s lawsuit brings the UPD Cockroaches into the light where we can show them for the traitors they are, maybe even step on a few.

  20. I’m going to avoid arguing further about HR 2640; I’ve flailed that horse often enough for now.

    What really bothers me is this whole “with us or against us” attitude that prevails among the GOA/JPFO types. I like the GOA and the JPFO…when they’re not mudslinging the NRA.

    The fact is that the GOA, et al can do and say things that the NRA can’t get away with, and the NRA has the biggest political presence of all the groups. The NRA can reach people that the GOA and JPFO can’t dream of; but at the same time, the GOA and the JPFO reach people that feel alienated by the NRA.

    While I don’t necessarily think we should all read from the same music, I believe that it would behoove us to remember that we’re all in the same band.

  21. I admit that NRA has usefulness. Overshadowing that usefullness is it’s co-operation with the UPD lobby. IMO, this has gone too far.

    Who has passed more gun laws? You know darn well who and shame on them using the money I worked tirelessly for as a recruiter thru the 80’s and 90’s to climb into bed with the likes of the UPD. Maybe Wayne can get a board position on the VPC and report back on their secret moves.

    Have they no shame. At last, have they no shame, that they’ll let this poor teacher swing in the breeze.

    Thanks for letting me post, Ahab. I should tell you of my Anti-UPD guerilla warfare that was unsupported by NRA Fed and State because it might piss off the politicians and the wealthy class of which NRA is so proud to carry the virus for.
    7 years ago we crushed the Million Moron Moms in the Lehigh Valley. It was pretty good work as they never came back, yet.

  22. “You have to convince those people, because they vote. They vote for the politicians who make the law, and who appoint and confirm the judges that say what the law is. If you don’t convince these people, you lose. You can get mad all you want that not enough people care about liberty, it pisses me off too, but eventually you have to deal with it, and figure out how to work with what you’ve got.”-Sebastian.

    Ok, tell me how writing and lobbying for more gun control convinces “those” people that gun control is wrong and anti-liberty. Tell me how not supporting obviously good causes which have all the moral and legal precedent in their favor convinces “those” people that they are wrong. Tell me how being quiet when you should speak up, convinces “those” people. Tell my how supporting
    laws which are not constitutional, which are not in alignment with liberty and which are not beneficial to any citizen and certainly not your membership’s causes “those” people to see your side of it.

    The only thing I can make of defense of consistent behavior such as that is that perhaps you have a skewed idea of just whom “those” people are.

  23. In “all or nothing” approaches, sometimes you get nothing.

    Every time the GOA opens their mouths on this issue, I start to support the NRA a little more.

    From now on, I’ll have to question GOA’s sanity over any issue. (Plus, I found out about some of the activities their founder was involved in. That was rather disturbing.)

  24. Well I hear Wayne LaPierre is an admitted heterosexual and a confirmed Homo Sapien. How could you possibly support an organization that has him as it head?

    Uh huh, but no dumber than what A.McZ said. What the fuck has that got to do with a damn thing, and who has been saying anything about supporting GOA to the detriment of others?

    I just want you to quit acting like an abused and battered wife, always returning to the batterer because he sweet talks you. That’s just pitiful!

  25. And I’m still waiting for Sebastian to “tell me”. Those were not rhetorical “tell me’s”, I really want you to explain to me how it is that doing the exact opposite of what you believe , or profess to believe, accomplishes a change of heart in those who already believe what you are faking, or at least what you tell your membership you are faking, when it reinforces what the oppposition professes to believe.

    Damn complicated that, ain’t it? Unless,of course, one finally admits there just isn’t any way to explain it that makes sense to anyone more sentient than a rock. Make that a day old Swedish rock trying to float downstream.

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