It’s The Criminals…
As I write this (December 2012), the world is reeling from another unspeakable horrific mass murder — at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. I won’t presume to understand anything about why the shooting occurred, the only people who could’ve shed any light on that are both dead. It’s been the usual media circus we’ve all come to know and hate — TV bobble heads and their stable of “subject experts” who seem only interested in keeping their names and faces in public, overanalyzing piles of misinformation and speculation coming across their desks. Some of this misinformation has even come from “anonymous police officials not authorized to discuss the situation.” If you’re not authorized to discuss things with the media, then keep your yap shut!
We live in a world where when such events happen, society scrambles for definitive answers to solve complex problems. Knee-jerk reactions include asking rhetorical questions like, “Why?” And as is already happening, politicians are clambering to pass sweeping gun-ban laws. I may actually live to see how many of you who previously said you wouldn’t take guns away from citizens, will live up to your promise — or not. Unfortunately, there is no single, easy cure-all answer to solve such violent acts. Another unfortunate reality is law enforcement cannot prevent these violent events from happening. We need to quit pretending we can.
What law enforcement and school administrators should do is acknowledge the big elephant standing in the room: Society and our elected officials have made schools and other gun-free zones killing fields. Despite our best, politically correct intentions, we’ve created fertile environments for these criminals to prey. As Jimmy Johnson, a retired sheriff’s sergeant from Dickson County, Tenn. put it in a letter to me, “They sternly warn criminals on big metal signs ‘SCHOOL PROPERTY IS A GUN-FREE ZONE.’ I’d suggest they broaden their use of such signs to include ones such as: ‘CALIFORNIA IS A METH-FREE ZONE, FLORIDA IS A HURRICANE-FREE ZONE’ and ‘WASHINGTON DC IS A BULLSHIT-FREE ZONE.’” I couldn’t agree with you more, Jimmy.
Here’s something to really chew on: have an armed security guard presence on all school campuses. Better yet, train members of the school staff in the use of firearms — and arm them. I know for a fact not every teacher walking this earth is antigun, and we’d find a pile of them willing to help make their school more secure. Teachers must pass background checks during the hiring process; if staff members already possess CCW permits, they’ve had to demonstrate knowledge and proficiency with firearms, so why not take advantage of this? Train them to respond to an active shooter, give them — and the kids — a fighting chance. There’s a reason we don’t usually see these incidents happening at police stations or anywhere else there’s a likelihood the shooter will be met with an immediate armed response. I’m not talking about a speedy response after a call to 911, I’m referring to a potential victim taking swift and decisive action right now!
It’s high time we stop debating the decades-old issues of gun control and the mental health system. The arguments are old and tired, and nothing changes no matter how many new laws are enacted to honor the latest victim(s). The new laws are no more effective in protecting us from these events more than a restraining or protective order protects the victim of domestic violence — they’re just pieces of paper designed to make us feel better. It’s feel-good legislation, but ultimately meaningless to those who don’t fit in and don’t play by the rules — and their victims.
I want police administrators to stop their political pandering and start speaking the truth. We cops cannot protect schools from this kind of violence. Law enforcement must work with school districts to train the staff to be more proactive in stopping a shooter. After all, who better knows the school’s layout? Who better to immediately stop the carnage? Who already has eyes on the shooter and boots on the ground? It’s the staff.
We’ve empowered teachers to educate our children, and we expect — no, we demand — they protect our children while in their care. But, do we really think they can protect our kids, let alone themselves, when confronted by armed assailants in the very place everyone knows is weapon-free? The teachers and staff are the real first responders.
As the administrator of the Harrold, Texas school district who authorized teachers to be armed in school said, “If something happens, I want to be able to phone the parents and say their kids are fine — and the bad guy is dead.” It’s that simple. How things would’ve been different if Dawn Hochsprung, the principal of Sandy Hook Elementary School had been armed when she confronted the murderer. Or Victoria Soto, a teacher killed while cradling a student. Their bravery would likely have been rewarded with success rather than simply becoming heroic victims.
Having evacuation plans and teaching students how to hide or play dead in the event of such a situation have become an unfortunate reality, but those measures do nothing to stop the shooting. Waiting for police to respond is reactive — the shooting goes unabated until we arrive. What’s that saying about calling 911? Help is minutes away when seconds count? There’s no truer an application of that sad commentary than with school shootings.
We can’t prevent these things from happening, and continuing to demonize guns won’t make the problem go away. If we see arterial bleeding, we’re taught to apply direct pressure to stop it. Friends, we have arterial bleeding right now. I don’t care why and I don’t profess to know the reasons behind it. But I do know we need to apply direct pressure … now. An instantaneous, armed response by teachers and other staffers can — and will — stop the bleeding. Let’s not allow the silliness of political-correctness get in the way of saving children’s lives.
What do you think?
I’m a proud life member and normally a staunch supporter of the NRA, but I’ve got to disagree with their response to the Newtown, Conn. school massacre. They recommend Congress immediately appropriate funds to post an armed police officer in every school. Really? Where do they suppose these appropriations are going to come from? Haven’t they heard of the severely strained budgets police agencies are suffering? But the NRA’s idea sure beats the press release from the IACP.
The IACP went on record in a statement issued Dec. 21, 2012. Remember, these are your chief officers speaking on your behalf. In essence, the IACP reminds everyone of the budget and personnel constraints created by the terrible economy. Using Bureau of Justice statistics, they estimate nearly 1/7th of US law enforcement officers would have to be reassigned to schools to cover the roughly 100,000 schools in the nation, if they were to implement the NRA’s plan.
Instead, the IACP suggests their “Guide for Preventing and Responding to School Violence” is a viable option. They claim, “the guide provides a number of strategies and approaches for creating safer schools.” They further claim the guide “focuses on steps that law enforcement, teachers, administrators, parents, students and the community can take to prevent school violence.”
The IACP’s statement goes on to remind us of their antigun stance and their willingness to “work with national leaders to stem the unacceptable level of gun violence in the US.” Well, isn’t that nice? Let me translate the IACP press release: They want the world to believe cops are the first responders and can prevent these atrocities from happening — and they’ll do whatever they can to disarm society.
How’s that again?
By Suzi Huntington