School shootings: Talk is cheaper than action
Shortly after the Parkland, Florida, school shooting, this column outlined three steps needed to make school children safer inside their schools: "1. At every school entrance, post this sign and mean it: ’Gun-free Zone, except for armed faculty and security personnel.’ 2. Equip each entrance with a metal detector and an alert staff. 3. Invest the same money and determination in our school children that we apply to safeguarding our money in banks and in keeping armed terrorists off of airliners."
None of those steps have anything to do with taking away the rights of law-abiding citizens. But, as has been the case after each of these tragic events, many elected officials and the main-stream media start touting steps that do little or nothing to enhance safety within our schools. Why? Because the three steps outlined above will require a lot of tax dollars and some innovative, non-traditional thinking to achieve. Conversely, talk is cheap.
It is so much easier to attack law-abiding gun owners rather than deal with the underlying mental health problems of a society being decayed by drugs, computer video-games and Hollywood violence, pornography, the closing of too many mental-health facilities, and by parental physical/emotional abandonment of their children to the dark side of social media. Compared to fixing a sick society, the three steps repeated above are relatively easy to achieve.
The creation of the "Gun-free Zone," proves that the Law of Unintended Consequence is always in effect. The worst mass shootings in U.S. history took place in these government-designated Gun-free Zones: a nightclub in Orlando, a San Bernardino government office, and the schools in Columbine, Newtown, and Parkland. Seeking high body counts, mass killers do not want to be interrupted by armed intervention. Gun-free Zones attract mass killers. So far, mass killers have avoided Gun-free Zones where brave, committed, armed-security personnel are on duty.
Bear in mind, the real objective in training and arming selected school personnel is not to shoot people. The objective is to "deter" violence. Because of the Deterrent Effect, odds are that very few school personnel, if any, would have to fire their weapon at a mass killer.
But armed school personnel will have to be trained in firearms safety. That is why the attack on the world’s premier firearms safety training organization is not only short-sighted, it is counterproductive. Scores of school personnel must be trained in firearms safety and, as time will prove, the NRA will be part of the solution, and is not the problem.
Placing a laser sight on a firearm almost guarantees that even a firearms novice can achieve a first-round hit on a hostile intruder. Moreover, being painted with a laser red or green dot has a gun-dropping deterrent effect. If the government wants to mandate something, then mandate that the weapons possessed by school personnel be equipped with laser sights. Less time needed for accuracy training means more time to learn safe firearms handling.
Should a certain type of firearm be banned? Sure, if that makes some people feel better; however, if the criminally insane want to use a particular weapon, they will still find a way to obtain whichever weapon they want to use.
©2018. William Hamilton.
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, is a laureate of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, the Nebraska Aviation Hall of Fame, the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma University Army ROTC Wall of Fame, and was a recipient of the University of Nebraska 2015 Alumni Achievement Award. Dr. Hamilton is the author of The Wit and Wisdom of William Hamilton: The Sage of Sheepdog Hill, Pegasus Imprimis Press (2017).
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