It’s happened again. A community grieves the loss of students and teachers in the wake of another school shooting. This shooter also survived and appears to have wanted notoriety in addition to slaying those he did not like.
Parents from Parkland, FL sent condolences to Santa Fe, TX parents sharing in a grief that both know all too well. They also asked government to intervene with a solution to stop these senseless killings. I agree.
Where we will disagree is the method of stopping these senseless killings. In the months after Parkland I tried to focus the discussion on real solutions to stopping these tragedies. Many of the Parkland victims and families claimed to want this, but grabbed onto the first national narrative that invades these situations, gun control. At that moment the search for safety was lost.
No matter how many of us tried to detail the immediacy of an active shooter situation and the real need for multiple armed personnel in place, trained and ready to respond to an attack, the anti-gun crowd produced chilling hypothetical scenarios of armed school personnel suddenly going mad and shooting students of color (not happening in general society where these same people are armed with nobody noticing), a school employee engaging a shooter and missing the bad guy while striking a student or even insinuating that school personnel do not have the mental or emotional capacity to deal with such stress. They ignored the reality of the extensive training proposed for such employees here in Brevard County by Sheriff Wayne Ivey. The scenarios and excuses to not arm were all smokescreens in the drive to ban guns from campus while ignoring that proudly doing so did nothing but perpetuate the existence of easy target locations full of defenseless victims.
A flawed union contract here prohibits teachers from carrying any weapon, lethal or non, on school grounds. That must change with the next contract. Before that we must seriously consider the plan adopted by the board this month and the fact that it is window dressing that does little to nothing to stop an active shooter situation once it’s begun.
The idea of armed security is a good one, but one armed and trained person per school is simply not good enough. Security means preparedness and having the ability to take on the threat and stop it as soon as possible after the incident has started. One person is just not adequate for the task, especially if they are saddled with other duties. If we sit back accepting the Brevard Schools plan as passed, we are accepting a serious body count until responders can arrive to engage. Think about the cold, hard reality of that statement.
If we accept the status quo, we are accepting dead and injured bodies in the next target location. This discussion must be about that and not gun control. Gun control does even less than the one armed security specialist or SRO per school. The board, administration, staff and union must all ask themselves if they are willing to accept that. If they are, for your child’s protection, pull them from public school and home school them or place them in a private school that takes security seriously. And, for that matter, have a serious discussion with your school employee loved one about the same changes. Another school or another career may be the best option.
If we as a community are unwilling to seriously discuss the actual issues surrounding a shooting situation and how they are best addressed, we are waiting to be the next tragic location with grieving friends, parents and people who could have done something to lessen the tragedy, but chose instead to ignore the reality.
It’s time to wake up and have the adult discussion.