Should we harden our schools to protect our children?
From the Right
by Don Schmitz
Whether we should harden our schools to protect our children from murdering psychopaths isn’t the real question; rather, why haven’t we? It’s because we have become politically apoplectic, arguing about root causes and general solutions. The shock, horror, and disgust we all feel seeing innocent children murdered is universal, across the political spectrum, a level of evil depravity that is impossible for normal people to fathom. We’ve debated for decades why the devastating spasms of violence have manifested at our schools; not enough gun control/not enough gun freedom; not enough mental health resources; too much readily available drugs, the breakdown of the family etc. We will continue to have those debates, resulting in varying degrees of laws and policies in states across the country. Yet we must act now without further delay.
What we can do now, what we must do, is provide the protection to our children at the schools themselves. There should be a trained, armed, and committed Officer at each and every school. Police response is usually fast (3 to 6 minutes) and heroic, but Broward County and Uvalde showed us through either incompetence or cowardice that’s not universal. Even with effective responses, it’s too late. The murderers must be stopped at the gate before they are amongst our children. This is an ancient concept as old as history itself. Large guard dogs protect the flocks from wolves. We lock up our money in banks with armed guards behind thick steel doors. Would anyone leave large bags of cash lying on the school yard where any thief could run over and pick it up? Of course not.
Everyone I know, certainly every parent, would give up everything they have, their home, their car, every dime to their name to protect their children. I know I would. If we wouldn’t leave our valuables unprotected at the school, why are we leaving the most precious thing in our lives, our children, unprotected?
This has been debated before; some argue this step would create the appearance of an “armed camp”, and “send a message” to the children and community that we want to avoid. I don’t like it either, but we must look at this problem in a clear-eyed fashion and recognize the tragic fact that the bucolic innocence around our schools we have enjoyed for so long in America has been stripped away from us. Our children are painfully aware of the dangers now lurking out there, and they feel vulnerable in their schools. Likely having an armed Resource Officer will reassure them of their safety.
We are not the only country that has had to take this step to protect their children in schools, with Israel being a notable example. Furthermore, increasingly armed officers are present in American schools. According to the National Center for education statistics, in 2016, 43 percent of public schools had armed security officers, compared to 31 percent in 2006. From 1999 to 2016, school building doors that are locked and monitored have risen from 75 percent to 95 percent.
We must ensure the safety of our precious children at our schools. I wish it wasn’t required, I wish these evil and sick people weren’t walking amongst us, I wish I had never had to hear the news about a school full of innocents being attacked. However, our beautiful helpless children depend on us to keep them fed, warm from the cold, and safe from danger. I wish there were never car accidents with people being maimed and killed, but I still put my baby in a state-of-the-art car seat. Dr. Edward Hill of Cleveland University estimated in 2013 it would cost $13 Billion a year to place an armed guard in every school nationally, but “only” 3 percent of children murdered in this country annually are killed in schools. Its economics, better places to spend the money, more return on the investment, right? Wrong! California sits on a $95 billion surplus; we could harden every school in the state now before classes open in the fall.
Solving the root causes on why our society is producing these psychopaths will take work and time, but we can take this step now. If bands of foreign terrorists were attacking our schools, Americans would do whatever necessary to protect them, but the enemy is us, or at least our deranged, and the attacks are random. The madmen seek “soft” targets; they don’t attack police stations. Time to give our children the same armed protection we give our politicians. Make the schools the last place to find helpless victims to attack.
“There is no greater warrior than a mother protecting her child” N.K. Jemisin. “I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection” Sigmund Freud.
Mothers and Fathers, let’s protect them, now.