Friday, December 21, 2012

On the NRA's ideas for school security

Today, the NRA had a press conference (see video below) wherein it announced a plan to deal with mass shootings in our schools. The ideas presented were generally good, but I'm disappointed that the plan seems to add to the notion that the central government needs to be a part of school security. That's wrong-headed! When has the central government done anything to make anything better?

Even the idea that the federal government can or should simply provide funding is wrong-headed because state and local governments have their own taxing authority and can raise their own money with better accountability to the public -- without all the strings, rules, and mandates attached to federal money. School security and safety, like all aspects of education, is a local and state issue only! (See Constitution, Article I, Section 8 and Amendment 10.)

The only role for the central government to play in school security is for Congress and the President to immediately repeal all the federal legislation and regulation that infringes on the right of parents and school staff to defend themselves and the innocents around them.

The NRA's plan seems to be largely built on in-school police officers. The problem here is that one or two officers cannot possibly protect more than a small portion of the people in a school building and surrounding property that covers acres of land and often has a maze-like floor plan. In a shooting spree, distance = time = additional death. In his portion of the press conference, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre even admitted that an in-school cop is "a minute away"!

I can't support a plan based mostly or entirely on full-time in-school police for a few reasons:
1 - Cost
2 - There is less than a one in a million chance that a mass shooting will occur in a school on any given day
3 - Appearance of a police state
4 - An incredibly boring assignment for the cop
5 - Uniformed police will likely be the first target -- then what?
6 - The cop is unlikely to have the best tool for the job -- a rifle or carbine
7 - If the officer isn't taken out first, who has the gun and where, the shooter will simply go to the other end of the school to start shooting. Considering the size and the maze-like floor plan of many schools, it could take even an in-school officer at least a minute or two to reach the shooter.

I do support local police making random appearances throughout the school day -- especially during recess or breaks between classes so they can interact with the students and staff and go to the cafeteria for a free donut during lunchtime.

A friend suggested we simply lock the school doors. That seems like an easy and cheap solution. The doors at Sandy Hook were locked -- didn't help. The doors at Virginia Tech were locked -- didn't help. Classroom lock-downs alone fail to protect the children and adults who continue to be murdered before the police arrive. Plan on a determined criminal or terrorist to come prepared to deal with known and identifiable obstacles.

It is my opinion that the best option is what we do in Utah. All persons who hold the Utah Concealed firearm Permit, including teachers and other school staff, are trained and licensed to possess a firearm in federal so-called "gun-free" school zones within Utah -- even right into the classroom. Thousands of Utah's school teachers and staff have and use this permit to protect themselves and our children every school day. Unlike a cop, their response time is seconds -- not minutes. Time saves lives. While a licensed teacher or janitor won't have the above mentioned best tool, teachers are in every classroom and on the playground. They are positioned to stop an attack in seconds. Not all school staff will, or need, be armed, but the attacker has no way of knowing who has the gun(s). That uncertainty is a huge deterrence. And, it won't give our schools the appearance of a police state as NRA's proposal would do.

I oppose the imposition of a firearms-training burden on teachers and staff above that necessary to obtain their State's concealed firearm permit. But, optional training needs to be available to them at little or no cost. For example, our teachers must take continuing education throughout their career in order to keep their jobs and teacher certification. I suggest that the NRA's school-security proposal include developing supplemental firearm and classroom-defense training that would satisfy their continuing-education requirements.

The NRA's plan must be expanded to include the teachers and janitors who are everywhere in our schools and who can respond in seconds while awaiting that officer who is "a minute away." The school staff and parents must to have their Second Amendment rights restored and to be full partners in protecting themselves and the children until the police arrive from the other end of the school property! It works in Israel, Thailand, and in Utah. It'll work in the other States.

Another area that must be explored is mental health. We need to identify those who are having mental health problems and get them help. All of the mass-shooters that I've studied have raised more than enough red flags to warrant intervention. People are ignoring those flags in their neighbors, friends, and family. Even a university psychologist ignored the flags put up by the Aurora theater shooter! However, watching people around us for mental health red flags reminds me a lot of Stalin. We gotta be very careful.

With input of NRA's thousands of trainers and members, I have full confidence that the NRA can and will expand its training programs to include a well-thought out school-security training program. Many of us firearms trainers already provide free or discounted training to school staff because we understand that they are the best and only true first line of defense in our schools. Armed school staff (supplemented by police officers), is what will keep our children safe -- not gun control laws or expansion of federal intrusion into our lives.

Most importantly we need to work on restoring the moral fiber of our nation. We need to blast that secularist "separation of church and state" scam out of the water. We can't shove God out of the schools and the public square then wonder where he went when innocent people start falling. Every time the bullies at the ACLU, the NEA, and similar Leftist anti-American hate groups threaten the morality and religious liberty of our students and teachers, our school boards and executives need to tell then to go pound sand, then call liberty Counsel and/or the Pacific Legal Foundation! The same goes for our mayors, city councilors, and county commissioners.

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