HOW TO FIGHT SCHOOL ATTACKS
Something must be done.
That’s what everyone says.
Something must be done.
Two general suggestions have been made: Ban guns and arm teachers.
The first viewpoint was intimated by the president in his remarks Friday, and was driven home by less timid liberals who by dinner time were calling for “gun control.”
The governor of New York, the mayor of New York City, the mayor of Boston, movie maker Michael Moore – America’s leading liberals – had all issued statements before the sun went down. They attacked America’s “gun culture,” blamed violence on the private ownership of firearms, and called for bans.
The blogs were on it Friday night and the newspapers had columns on Saturday. Guns had to be banned, that was the only way.
And last night the president was at it again, using the emotion of this heartbreak to advance his party's long-standing anti-gun agenda.
It was a shameful spectacle, an immoral exploitation of murdered children to advance a pet political cause. The compassionate liberals didn’t seem particularly compassionate toward the families of innocent victims. Their loss was merely an opportunity to make political hay.
But be that as it may, the response of the anti-gun crowd was clear: Ban guns.
On the other side of the issue was the suggestion to arm school teachers. Already allowed in some states, the argument is that if teachers are carrying concealed handguns, they can defend their students and their schools.
Personally, I think that’s a good idea. I’ve known teachers who legally carried guns in school and they had no problems. Allowing teachers who choose to carry, and who have taken appropriate training, to be armed in school only makes sense.
Those were the two suggestions: Ban guns and arm teachers.
In the real world, neither one of them is going to happen.
It’s not a matter of whether or not they would work, or if they could be implemented, it’s a matter of they’re simply never going to happen.
Half the country is against banning guns and the other half is against arming teachers. Politically, neither can be enacted, and efforts to do either will only incite political division and rancor.
So if something has to be done, what should we do?
My suggestion: School resource officers.
They already exist in many schools. Police officers whose duty is to patrol the school.
Increasing the number of schools with school resource officers is an effective way to fight attacks against schools, and is an initiative that would reasonably attract the support of both liberals and conservatives, both pro-gun and anti-gun.
First, the practical.
You have to fight fire with fire. While security measures as now practiced across the country are good – limiting access, controlling visitors – they don’t work against an armed intruder. When someone comes through the door intent on deadly violence, he has to be met with deadly violence.
The resource officer is a one-person army who can engage and stop or delay an attacker. The resource officer can either arrest or incapacitate the gunman, or delay him until patrolling officers can respond in force.
It takes a gun to stop a gun, and a resource officer is that gun.
A school resource officer, of course, accomplishes much good every day. Such an officer can counsel and encourage students, foster good relations between police and the community, fight petty crime, and be an example for good. That’s the daily payoff. But on those one-in-a-million days when a gunman comes through the door, a school resource officer can be a warrior.
Which may require us to make a new commitment about what sort of police officers get school duty. Sometimes, I have seen the school be an assignment for less-than-dynamic officers. Sometimes it’s a haven for the paunchy, old and unmotivated. Not always, certainly, but sometimes.
The best police officers must be in the schools. They must have not only the mentoring and people skills necessary to inspire the students who see them every day, but they must be the most physically fit officers, and they must be the best marksmen. They must be superbly prepared to, at a moment’s notice, engage in a fight to the death to protect a school full of students and teachers.
That’s a heavy responsibility.
But it’s a real defense.
School attackers are typically young screwed-up white guys. They might be good at video games, and they might have their violence fantasies, but when they’re facing down an armed, trained, committed police officer, it’s a whole lot different than shooting up a bunch of innocent little kids. A trained warrior is going to take out an over-armed psycho 90 percent of the time.
The best way to protect schools is to put police officers in them.
Now, about the politics of this.
Liberals should like it because it will create more jobs for unionized government employees.
Conservatives should like it because conservatives like cops and guns. Conservatives believe in law and order.
It seems that, legitimately, people on both sides could agree on this. They could see in it something that doesn’t offend their principles, but does protect their schools. It seems like this could honestly be something that both Republicans and Democrats could equally enthusiastically support.
The hard part will be paying for it.
Instead of some new federal borrowing and spending, school resource officers should be paid for from local police budgets – which means more money is going to have to be put into those local police budgets.
That might mean higher taxes.
Which is where you start calculating, from a financial standpoint, how much you love your children. What’s it worth to you?
Personally, as a conservative who hates taxes and government spending, this is worthwhile to me. Policing is a fundamental government duty, it is a legitimate expense and a worthy draw on the tax levy. Government taxes us – and indebts us – to pay for a lot of stupid things. This isn’t stupid.
This will work.
This will protect children, and reduce the likelihood of another horror like the one we endured on Friday.
Those who want to advance their political causes will fight over gun bans and armed teachers. Those are good debates about important issues.
But they don’t accomplish anything.
This will accomplish something.
This will protect children.
If you are prompted to action by the heartbreak of Friday, then demand more school resource officers.
That’s what I am going to do.
In my little town, with our little school, I am going to work to build public and political support for returning a resource officer to our school.
I hope you will do the same for your school.
- by Bob Lonsberry © 2012