On Valentine’s Day, the nation learned of another tragic school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The students of that school have experienced the horror of seeing a crazed lunatic gunning down their friends, classmates, and teachers. Families have been shattered, lives have been destroyed, and a Florida town will never be the same.
Naturally, the Left has been demanding a “national conversation” on gun control ever since the first shot was fired at Stoneman Douglas High. Liberals were screeching “something must be done” while gunman Nikolas Cruz was in the process of gunning down his former classmates and teachers. Of course, the Left’s idea of a “national conversation” is Republicans immediately agreeing to ban all guns, and anyone raising any objections is a heartless demon who rejoices in the deaths of children.
I agree with the Left when they say something must be done to prevent school shootings. The sad fact of the matter is that none of the “solutions” that the Left has proposed will work. Increased restrictions on guns will not keep weapons out of the hands of criminals. Evil people will obtain the tools to perform evil deeds regardless of any legal restrictions. The only thing increased gun regulations will do is remove guns from the hands of law-abiding citizens.
There are, however, three things that we as a nation can do to help stop school shootings.
1. Stationing Armed Guards at Schools
First and foremost we need to ensure that all schools across America are protected by security professionals. These men and women must be visible, they must be armed, and they must be ready and willing to lay down their lives to protect the students in their care.
Ideally, each entrance at each school would have two to four security guards. These guards would be active and visible during student drop off and dismissal. They would be armed with pistols, but a security station could be set up where rifles could be kept under lock and key. Just in case.
The security guards would serve two purposes. First, the guards would act as a deterrent to any would-be school shooter. The mere sight of trained guards locked, cocked, and ready to rock would stop most potential assailants in their tracks. Even the most jaded, evil person would think twice about assaulting a school where he would be guaranteed to meet armed resistance.
The second function of these guards would be as the first line of defense. In the event of an attempted school shooting these guards could respond with deadly force. The goal would be to put down a shooter before they ever took aim at a student.
These guards would be drawn from the ranks of a professional private company with a track record of excellence. Failing that, I’m sure any community could find a few veterans who would be willing to stand guard over our nation’s most precious resource.
2. Arming Our School Teachers
The idea for arming school teachers is not a new one. Ever since Sandy Hook those of us on the right have been discussing the merits of such an action. Some schools have actually taken the extra step to arm teachers and post warnings to any potential shooters. The Florida Senate will be discussing the merits of a bill arming teachers starting on February 20.
The question isn’t whether or not teachers should carry concealed weapons. Armed teachers have to be an essential part of any program designed to prevent school shootings. The question is how many teachers should be armed?
Arming each and every school teacher regardless of training or competency is a recipe for disaster. You will have teachers that do not wish to be armed, and will object on moral grounds. There will of course be teachers who should not be allowed near any weapon, much less a classroom. They may be unstable or simply incompetent. Arming these teachers will increase the potential for a mishap involving the students they were supposed to protect.
The best method would be to arm a select few volunteer teachers. Volunteering would be done in a discreet manner. Perhaps teachers check a box or sign a form indicating whether or not they are willing to be armed when they sign their contracts for the year. Such a form would be kept as part of the teacher’s private personnel file. Copies would be on file with the school district. Teachers would ideally opt into such a program at the beginning of the school year.
Similarly, teachers should not feel trapped if they decide they no longer wish to be a part of such a program. Carrying a weapon is a huge responsibility. Carrying a weapon with the express purpose of protecting your students is an even greater responsibility. Those teachers who do not wish to deal with the added stress will be able to opt out of the program at any time.
Teachers who have opted into this program will be extensively trained in the use of firearms, as well as various self-defense techniques. These teachers will be expected to spend a certain amount of time each month at a gun range honing their skills. Additionally, teachers will train at an in-service one day per month. During this in-service teachers will work with law enforcement and practice responding to an active shooter situation on campus. The idea will be to drill these teachers to the point where they react instinctively in an emergency situation. The skills that will be necessary to defend their students from a potential attacker will become muscle memory.
The identities of the teachers who are armed will not be revealed to the students or parents. In fact, only a few administrators will know who has opted into the program. The teachers that have opted in will form a pool, and each day a select few teachers will be armed. The schedule will rotate randomly, and again only a select few administrators will know who is to be armed on any given day.
What about the weapons? The firearms that the teachers use shall be kept under lock and key in an armory on school grounds. The armory will be administered by the school’s resource officer (more on them later) who will be responsible for maintaining the weapons in peak operating condition. The teachers who have opted in, as well as the principal and vice principal and the resource officers, will be the only ones with access to the armory.
Teachers who have opted in will be carefully screened. Any teachers with prior military or law enforcement training will be given top priority, followed by teachers with existing firearms training. Those who do not meet a rigorous set of guidelines will be removed from the program.
Teachers shall follow strict guidelines for the use of their weapons. A teacher will keep their firearm on their person at all times during the day, and will turn it in at the end of the school day. Teachers will only brandish their weapons in the direst of need. Any teacher using their gun in an improper manner will immediately be removed from the program and subject to disciplinary action. Legal action is a possibility as well depending on the offense.
A cadre of armed, trained teachers will add an extra layer of security to a school. The guards at the gate are the first line of defense. The teachers are the second line of defense. The fact that the teachers are armed on a random, rotating schedule means that a potential assailant must be prepared to face armed resistance at any point in time within school grounds. The possibility of a rampage being met with deadly force anywhere within the school itself will serve as a further deterrent.
3. Adding Resource Officers to Every School
A resource officer is a sworn law enforcement officer responsible for providing safety and crime prevention in schools. There are no hard and fast statistics on how many schools across the country use resource officers. Most estimates say that nearly one-third of schools make use of resource officers.
The third part of my school shooting prevention program is to increase the number of resource officers throughout the country. Ideally, there would be between 2-3 resource officers for every school in America. This increase in officers would serve a few vital functions.
First, the resource officers would provide yet another layer of defense in an active shooter situation. As first responders, these men and women would act as yet another adversary for a school shooter to face. They would also be responsible for taking command of an active shooter situation, and directing the response of school officials and teachers.
Resource officers would also act as liaisons between school officials and local law enforcement. They would be in a prime position to give vital intelligence from inside the school to law enforcement responding to the situation from the outside. This could potentially mean the difference between life and death for many students.
Finally, an increase in resource officers would serve to make all schools a little safer. Many schools, particularly those in the inner city, suffer from issues with crime. Adding sworn law enforcement officers to every school would serve to dampen criminal activities in problem schools, and help create a better learning environment for all students.
These measures may seem extreme to some. It may appear as if we are turning our schools into fascist prison camps rather than institutions of higher learning. The goal of a program like this is, first and foremost, student safety. The measures needed to keep our children safe from evil are not pretty. An armed security presence is not designed to be cute and cuddly. It is designed to respond quickly and forcefully to any possible threat to the student body.
I believe, however, that an armed security presence can be implemented in such a way as to make the students in the school feel safe rather than afraid. Children are smart. Smarter than adults in many cases. Parents and teachers sitting down with students and explaining that this is for their protection will go a long way to alleviating much of the discomfort that some students would feel. Many of the students themselves, I’m sure, would appreciate the protection that an armed presence would afford them.
Fiscal conservatives and liberals may balk at the price tag that would come with an armed security presence at every school in the country. To that, I simply say that no price is too high when it comes to protecting our nation’s most precious resource. Besides, most people would rather pay to protect children now than pay to bury them later.
This is the national conversation that we need to be having. We cannot legislate school shootings away with gun bans and background checks. Evil people will inevitably find ways to harm as many people as possible. Today it may be with an AR-15 or a similar firearm. Tomorrow it might be with a homemade bomb, or even something as innocuous as a delivery truck. Rather than attempting to essentially ban crime, we need to be prepared to defend our children with deadly force.
The students of Stoneman Douglas High have vowed that they will be the last school shooting in America. Banning guns won’t make that happen. Common sense security measures like the ones that I have proposed will.