Instead, I have to again wonder: Why do we insist that schools be gun-free?
One of the striking articles I read after the Columbine tragedy was that police SWAT teams--in my memory, it was Scottsdale's--consider it a success if only 30 kids are killed in a school-shooting event. If the police can evacuate the rest of a school, and contain the shooters, then they've done the best they can do.
Here's the other thing: This event has 9 dead/14 wounded (at the latest count), and Columbine had 15 dead/20 wounded. What these two events have in common--beyond that they were done in gun-free school zones--is that those responsible were complete amateurs. Why we expect that Beslan-style attack on a school would not result in--well--Beslan-scale casualties, is beyond me. Or--do we just bury our heads deeper in the pillow and hope that it will all somehow just go away?
And yet we still insist that banning guns from schools--for the kids, don't cha' know--will enhance school safety.
Now before anyone begins to think that I'm endorsing arming kids on school grounds--don't even go there.
The whole process of raising a child is about slowly adding freedoms so that you end up with a functioning adult somewhere around the age of 21. A child of...
- One-can't decide what to wear today.
- Five-can't decide on what time to go to bed.
- Ten-can't decide what TV or movies are appropriate.
- Fifteen-can't drive.
- Seventeen-can't vote.
- Twenty-can't drink.
I am in no way implying that children ought to have access to guns while at school (other than potentially through supervised gun-training programs). What I am suggesting is that it is time that we consider arming willing and trained teachers and staff.
Waiting for the SWAT team to arrive is too late. Not that I don't want them to come--I do. But I hope we're beginning to understand that having the tools available to do something--before the professionals arrive--might prevent the scale of the tragedy from being as large as it otherwise might be.
Update I guess I should have predicted this, but on the Today Show, they just finished talking about whether they had metal-detectors or cameras at the school. Does anyone else wonder at the futility of protecting yourself with a metal-detector?