David Thweatt is not a man who minces words.
“If someone breaks into our homes, and there's really no way for us to escape -- if my children are there -- it's capital punishment. We're not asking, ‘Hey, are you on drugs? Did you go into the wrong home?’ ”
And what's good enough for Thweatt at home is good enough for the school he runs.
Some teachers and staff in the Harrold, Texas, school district where Thweatt is superintendent carry concealed guns in the school as the last line of defense in the event of a shooting on campus.
The town is 30 miles from the nearest law enforcement agency.
Thweatt sees his job not only as an educator, but also a protector of the 120 or so kindergarten through 12th grade students in his care.
In the wake of several major school shootings around the country, his school district passed the first-of-its-kind concealed handgun policy in 2007, aiming to provide protection for students in case of an active shooter. They called it the Guardian Plan.
“The critics of our plan will say things like: ‘Guns and kids don’t mix’. They will say things like: ‘It’s a bad decision to put guns in the hands of non-trained people.’ They are people who believe in a police state. They believe that the only people who should be armed are police or military. I think that’s a scary idea at best,” Thweatt says.
The superintendent sees guns as a tool used to defend oneself and loved ones.
“Harrold, Texas, is the kind of place where you depend on yourself first and, if need be on your neighbors,” says Thweatt, “We can't say, ‘Hey, there's a rattlesnake in my backyard, get the animal control to come get it.’ We go out and we shoot it, we take care of business. That's the way we do with the human vermin, as well.”