Last Thursday when I opened my morning email I found this in my inbox:
It wasn't an hour later when we first began to hear the news of yet another mass school shooting, this one in Santa Fe, TX that so far has claimed 10 innocent lives. The NRA (which I am not a member of) has for a while now been advocating for at least some classroom teachers to be armed. As you might imagine this has been met with much resistance from those who claim teachers are trained to teach, not to be armed security. I, too, have had some reservations....until now. Now I'm reluctantly on board with the idea.
One of the main lessons learned from the Columbine school shooting back in1999 is that shooters must be confronted immediately. Back then it took SWAT one hour and 50 minutes to muster, brief, and finally enter the school. The killing was long since over before they got inside. Speed of confrontation saves lives, and that has been the standard police response ever since....the first cop on the scene enters and engages.
I think back to the Dark Ages and the high school I attended. As I recall we had five buildings on campus plus two parking lots, spread out over quite a few acres. Today, due to budgetary constraints, there is probably just one School Resource Officer (SRO) patrolling that same campus. What are the odds of that one officer being in the right building, on the right floor, at the right time, able to respond immediately to a shooter? Now imagine how much better the odds would be if there were five armed, trained teachers or administrators scattered around the campus, plus that one SRO, available to respond? With speed being of the essence, this could save lives!
Of course the key to this is making sure those adults on campus who volunteered were themselves thoroughly vetted and trained. And not just trained once, but subjected to ongoing training until their response becomes automatic. This muscle memory is essential as (so I've been told) when the shooting starts, people suddenly exhibit the IQ of a gerbil. It would be a hefty responsibility these volunteers would take on, and there are serious coordination and liability issues that would need to be worked out, but again, it could save lives!
My state has allowed school districts to permit teacher carry for some time now, but so far I've heard of only a few rural districts who have done so, mainly because they know police response would take too long to do any good. I think this is an idea that, sadly, should be strongly considered by every district. Laws can be passed that restrict this or that, and they might be effective, but confronting shooters will definitely save lives. We can't afford to just sit here and talk about it ad infinitium. We need action.
I'm S, and I approved this message.