Let’s get this out of the way:

Arming teachers is about the worst idea to come along in quite some time. We don’t have to go into all the reasons why. It just is. Anyone who has spent any time in school can understand this on a base fundamental level. It’s dumb, it’s bad, and no serious person should entertain this idea in any real way.

There. Now that that’s settled…

We need to stop talking about it.

Because the gun lobby really, really wants us to keep talking about it.

Every news story and think piece debating whether or not we should be arming teachers is drawing attention away from the thing we need to be talking about — which is simply this:

We need to make it nearly impossible for private citizens to obtain, own and use weapons of war. 

Any gun control / school safety discussion that takes us away from that discussion is a dodge and helps the gun lobby win again.

The NRA knows they are on the ropes. They know it. They know the poll numbers. They hear the voices of students like Emma Gonzalez, and they know they cannot win. They know that with every mass shooting, the arguments in favor of allowing weapons of war to remain legal becomes harder and harder to justify. They cannot win any real debate on that issue — and they know it.

But if they can just deflect and dodge long enough, maybe they can outlast the news cycle long enough so they can kill the momentum for change. That is how cynical the pro-gun arguments about arming teachers or mental health or better national databases are. They aren’t real. They are the dodge, the okey-doke, the head fake, the lie. They are meant to distract us so that we do not do what is necessary — and what the majority of what Americans want —  and ban the ownership of weapons of war.

We cannot let them do that, because if we do, there will be more school shootings, more Las Vegas shootings, more mass killing.

The stakes are quite simply that high.

So let’s end their debate now. Instead, keep putting pressure on government officials to pass meaningful gun control legislation that makes the sale and ownership of weapons of war illegal for private citizens.

Keep elevating the voices of the serious-minded people who are talking about the real ideas and solutions that will make our schools and our country a safer place.

Keep holding the politicians who take massive NRA contributions and then offer nothing but thoughts and prayers every time there is a mass shooting accountable for their lack of actions by writing letters, showing up to town halls, and showing up on Election Day.

And if someone tries to drag you into the “Should we arm teachers” argument, simply say, “That’s a terrible, cynical and dangerous idea that isn’t worth talking about. Now, let’s talk about the need to ban the private sale and ownership of weapons of war,” and refuse to enter into the discussion.

Do not let Donald Trump and the NRA control the terms of this debate, because if they do, they’ll win.

And we cannot let that happen.

One way to help is to sign your name to this petition started by an amazing group of educators, calling for a ban on the weapons of war. I was honored to be one of the original co-signers.

Join us.