The unimaginable series of “mass shootings” over the past 12 months have spawned emotional and sometimes volatile arguments about guns. Guns are nothing more than tools; they do not think, or feel, and are only as deadly as the person utilizing them is.
I want to present some ideas regarding violence and our society, but more importantly how we handle the threat of violence. Let’s address the reality of protecting our citizens and, more importantly. our children.
Restricting gun ownership and gun rights of millions of law-abiding citizens will not stop the next Adam Lanza or James Holmes. It will have little, if any, effect on the ability to obtain a preferred weapon, at best it may result in the use of a different weapon that may in fact prove to be more lethal. Universal background checks make sense but only work for those who abide by the law. Closing the gun show “loop hole” makes sense but again, only affects those who abide by the law.
We must enforce our existing laws and hold criminals accountable. Holding criminal offenders accountable means deciding if the dollar cost of prosecution and long-term confinement of criminals is worth it to us, as a society.
Most people agree that we need to address violence in the media and in games. Over 200 studies have shown the correlation between exposure to violence in the media and games and increased levels of violent behavior. Our handling of the mentally ill requires a close and honest look as well. All of these are excellent ideas but none are certain to stop the next sociopath waiting to prey on our children.
No parent would dare send their child to a school that was not equipped with smoke detector, fire alarms, or sprinkler systems. In fact, most parents would cry out for action against a school that operated without these items. The reality is that a child is somewhere around a thousand times more likely to be injured by violence than by fire, and yet parents readily dismiss the idea of protecting our children with armed security. We can no longer accept “no one would have thought it would happen here,” and continue to deny the unfortunate reality of our society. Violence can happen anywhere, and the only way we can truly protect our children is by acknowledging its existence and preparing for it.
So why are so many people so quick to dismiss the National Rifle Association’s suggestion to have armed security in our schools?
Very few people can understand the brutality and carnage of what happened in that classroom in Sandy Hook. Most people think of tiny coffins, beautiful flowers, and funeral processions when they think of the children who died there. What they do not want to imagine, and cannot comprehend, is the pain and death that happened there. The victims of this maniac did not simply lie down and go to sleep peacefully. The level of brutality and violence that occurred and the sheer madness it took to commit the act are unimaginable for most people.
The indisputable fact is that when Adam Lanza closed the door on that classroom at around 9:00 a.m. the morning of December 14, 2012, there wasn’t a soul in that room or in that school that could have stopped him. It did not matter if he was carrying a rifle, pistol, bat, hammer, or knife, no one in that room was capable or prepared to stop him, most certainly not the small children who would become his victims. The scenario was no different in the theater in Aurora Colorado, and although they were adults, they were neither prepared nor equipped to defend themselves against what they faced.
Lieutenant Colonel Dave Grossman (USA, Ret.), once spoke of society as made up of sheep, wolves, and sheep dogs. Providing a safe environment for our children begins with acknowledging the fact that there are violent people, wolves, in our society, those who want nothing more than to do harm to others, the flock. It also requires acknowledging that the only way to stop a violent person from harming someone, specifically those who are unable to defend themselves, is to have another person, willing to stand in harm’s way to defend them, the sheep dog. Unless there is a person who is willing to face the brutal, toxic environment of unimaginable violence, we will continue to see this type of tragedy.
Having trained, armed security in our schools is the only realistic solution to stopping or preventing these horrible occurrences in the future and dismissal of the idea is naive, irresponsible, and dangerous.