Aim high: Federal Way schools need ROTC | Firearms Lawyer

Federal Way School District’s retiring superintendent Tom Murphy gets kudos for obtaining results. Nevertheless, educators and parents tend to compare their local schools favorably to other schools. Raising the issue of an “achievement gap” can get a critic labeled as a crank or worse.

Former school board member Charlie Hoff suggested at a recent board meeting that we challenge parents of unsuccessful kids to motivate underachieving students. Such ideas do not endear Charlie to many Federal Way residents — especially those that formulate educational policy. We cannot improve students’ futures without talking about race, unions, politics and parents in ways that are going to make some professional educators look down their noses.

I recall telling a pastor in Southern California that our churches would attract and retain youth if we challenge kids to prepare for life the way we train soldiers. I suggested that the teenagers in the backseat, three boys that spent most of their time playing video games, should learn to shoot.

One of the youngsters, a 15-year-old sophomore, suddenly announced: “I already do that! I am in Marine ROTC and we go to Camp Pendleton every summer where I shoot targets at 500 yards.”

I asked whether others in his ROTC unit could shoot as well and was surprised to learn that they all could shoot bull’s-eyes at that distance.

Thomas Jefferson wrote to his teenage nephew, “As to the species of exercise, I advise the gun. While this gives (only) moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun, therefore, be the constant companion to your walks.”

Thus, I think Jefferson’s educational policy would have young men and women shooting alongside adults. The curriculum could include navigation and other survival skills that impart a sense of purpose, leadership and responsibility. Team sports provide some of these qualities. But nothing carries quite the quality of discipline and calm purpose that comes with handling a gun.

I didn’t ask the pastor’s nephew about his grades. Japanese-American cultural attitudes probably motivate him in ways that many Americans lack. For example, most of the kids that participate in our Kiwanis Club’s high school Key Clubs are Asian kids. They volunteer for many activities and acquire scholarships and character.

Two Federal Way high schools have ROTC. Some educators oppose ROTC programs on high school and college campuses. One local principal reportedly changed his mind when he saw the positive results. Two Federal Way high schools are presently without ROTC programs.

Cost is one objection to ROTC programs, but football and hip-hop are expensive, too. Do they produce as much character? Character isn’t just a word deployed to raise funds for sports programs. Our community and the nation’s security depend on character in tomorrow’s leaders. Let’s aim for ROTC in all our high schools.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@federalwaymirror.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.federalwaymirror.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Opinion

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Republican’s write-in campaign highlights post-primary intrigue | Roegner

Can former Bothell mayor beat two Democrats for lieutenant governor post?

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Race relations and your local police department | Roegner

The jury is our citizens, and they are divided.

Rico Thomas, left, has been a clerk in the Fuel Center/Mini Mart at Safeway in Federal Way for the past 5 years. Kyong Barry, right, has been with Albertsons for 18 years and is a front end supervisor in Auburn. Both are active members of UFCW 21. Courtesy photos
Grocery store workers deserve respect and hazard pay | Guest column

As grocery store workers in King County, we experience the hard, cold… Continue reading

Editorial: Honor 100 years of suffrage with your ballot

Women’s right to vote was recognized 100 years ago; we need to use the ballots women fought for.

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Minorities in Federal Way want action, not talk | Roegner

Community members express concern about police accountability.

Courtesy photo
Editorial: Make certain you count in 2020 census

The Census Bureau has been told to cut its work short, making your response even more important.

A large webset offset printing press running a long roll off paper over its rollers at high speed. File photo
Editorial: Tax credit proposal would aid local journalism

Bipartisan legislation in the U.S. House would offer tax credits to advertisers and subscribers.

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Primary election was big for Democrats| Roegner

Secretary of State Kim Wyman is the lone Republican who looks strong heading into November.

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Should the King County sheriff be elected or appointed? | Roegner

In addition to candidate races this November, there will be policy questions… Continue reading

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Who will advance to the November election? | Roegner

Races underway across state and King County.