I’m a first responder in the area where I live. I am a Nationally Registered Emergency Medical Technician. I’m also a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. I have a bias for action, and a desire to protect and help my fellow Americans. Schools are a really tasty target for the bad guys, and a really big critical vulnerability for us good guys. No one wants to respond to a mass shooting at a school. NO ONE. The loss involved outweighs any and all excitement that can be gained. But as we’ve seen, the sick and evil amongst us are more than happy to attack and kill in these hallowed spaces where we send our children to learn.
We need to acknowledge this fact, and take reasonable action. In the Marines, if the enemy might attack something, we put means in place to prevent an attack. Maybe we destroyed the enemy’s equipment to deter aggression (this could be analogous to disarmament) but even if we did take action like that, we could rest assured that there were more materials to conduct an attack somewhere. Disarmament, while a nice thought, doesn’t really address the real problem. Reducing means doesn’t necessarily reduce the chances, only force the enemy to alter their method of attack. What is needed is a system that acts proactively in a defensive mode. To Marines forward deployed, this is called defensive measures.
Armor plating. Fighting positions. Concertina. Sentries. Proactive measures. Corpsman is a reactive measure to the damage incurred in an attack. Calling reinforcements (even arty or air) is a reactive measure. In the heat of the conflict, help needs to be where the damage is being done now, not later. Allowing teachers to carry, and helping schools to fund security above and beyond that allotted now are proactive steps to protecting our nation’s most valuable resource- our youth. There are many who would say that these measures are only half hearted attempts to protect kids, that Republicans don’t care about kids unless they are called “fetuses.” All gun owners want is to be able to keep their guns- screw everything else. If only we could save one life, then it’s worth it.
I disagree with all these points. Republicans and Democrats alike value children. They just differ in their ideas for protecting them. Infringing a natural right, to me, is the wrong way to go. Embracing that natural right- that sounds like a better option. To do this, we must stop treating schools as political points in the next shooting, and start thinking of them as what they currently are- critical infrastructure demanding the very best defense we can offer them. There was a time when schools were marked as fallout shelters in the event of nuclear warfare- fortifications against radioactive fallout that could end our country in days or weeks. This idea of the school as a fortress is where I think we should go, and to do this I think we need to include the faculty within the defensive matrix. When SHTF, teachers and officers need to be in concert to defeat the threat and protect our kids.
I’ve stood guard at a school. Granted, that school was in Fallujah, Iraq, and it was only for about three hours, but in those three hours my battalion put a squad of Marines in position (for most of the time we were there) to protect that school. They’d conduct patrols around the school, over watch the entrance, and protect the vital national resource held within- the youth of Iraq. Those Marines had assets that the teachers within didn’t have, and none of them would have batted an eye to sacrifice their lives for the children sheltered within the school’s walls. That’s what we, as Americans, do. I would have dropped the hammer and put myself in harm’s way to do the same had someone tried in those three hours I was standing guard. That school was protected. It was secure. Let teachers be armed. Give them the ability to take action if necessary. They aren’t super heroes, and they don’t have the training of the SWAT team, but teaching them to barricade and hold choke points would be very simple, and could be done in less time than it takes to get their students to understand algebra.
As an EMT, I use an app to get to the scene of an accident or medical emergency. There are 40 other people who use that same app to get there as well. It’s almost a given that every teacher in this country has a smart phone capable of using a similar app that would have locations associated with their phones. Having that app issue an alarm not only to the teachers in the school, but the police who’d respond would be rather simple. Each teachers location would be displayed for the officers to see, and each teacher could give updates on their location directly to the officers responding. Simple buttons could let the teacher tell the officers- without making a call- that they are barricaded, have seen the attacker, are armed and holding, how many students they have with them, if any are injured, etc. There could even be the ability to send pictures or video to the police. Detailed floor plans of the school could let responding units know EXACTLY where the teachers are, and give a better indication of the situation than they’d have otherwise. The training needed would be minimal to get teachers acclimated to the system, and could be rehearsed with local law enforcement once or twice a month to stay proficient (probably less).
As to defense in depth, allow teachers to be armed if they want. If they don’t- that’s fine, ensure they can run the app and know how to harden their rooms to prevent entry. Basic courses in first aid for trauma and basic hand to hand (if they shun the use of firearms). Give them the ability to influence the situation in their favor rather than merely cower and wait for the good guys with guns to arrive. Empower the staff of the school to take action and actively protect their charges. Government grants could pay for all this- and most people would be more than willing to allow government to fund this kind of initiative, even people like me who want limited government.
I mean, that's the purview of the government- to protect our lives and our rights. I feel this idea does both. What are your thoughts? Let me know. Let's start this discussion in earnest.