PROFESSIONAL SECURITY FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS
“But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” Those words of Jesus Christ from Matthew 18:6 remind us of the fate for those so utterly depraved as to take the lives of precious and innocent children. The bereaved parents of children killed in the Newtown, Connecticut massacre now try to cope in overcoming the single greatest loss one can experience in life, the loss of a child. In addition to the 20 children killed by Adam Lanza, he took the lives of 7 school administrators and his own. The families of those 7 are like the families of the twenty children killed, in need of our prayers and solace.
From this enormous tragedy, many in public policy circles now renew calls for gun control, as if removing guns from the law abiding would improve the defense of society. The legal answer to this question is provided to us by the Second Amendment. Guns were meant to provide for the defense of the citizenry and are protected from government confiscation. The solution to the problem does not lie in prior restraints that would deprive all of the law abiding of the means to defend themselves in an increasingly violent world, it does not lie in yet another government commission on school violence, and it does not lie in a “national conversation” about violence in the schools. Moreover, it does not lie in trying to account for evil, as if utter depravity were explainable in secular terms (it is not). We do not need greater psychoanalysis of school children or greater psychoanalysis of their parents. Rather, the answer lies in fortifying all public schools so that children may be safe and would be intruders can be rapidly eliminated.
Precisely what changes could help stem school violence? I recommend that each state (not the federal government) provide professional security for its public schools. The following 6 steps would substantially reduce the incidence of, and harms associated with, acts of terror in the schools.
School faculty should be trained in techniques to distract and disable
those who pose a threat. Each should be equipped with pepper spray,
tazers, and concussion and smoke grenades as well as training in the
proper use of those during an attack and in hand to hand combat.
(2) School faculty emergency response teams should be formed and trained from among the most physically able school personnel. They should be trained to use small arms. There should be a safe room in each school where arms are kept along with bullet proof vests to enable the emergency response teams to respond immediately to an assault.
(3) Schools should be reconstructed to provide ready access to underground escape routes which would be kept secret except in times of emergency to lead children out of harms’ way rapidly without the risk of injury from a public exit.
(4) Classrooms should have floor exits to the underground escape routes constructed through closets and floors to enable rapid movement of children out of harms’ way in the event of an attack.
(5) Retired military sharp shooters and others trained as police sharp shooters should be assigned to schools and trained to shoot from various vantage points within schools. They should be hired onto school staff and work daily in the schools as plain clothed janitors, etc., blending into the fabric of the school but ready at a moment’s notice to take out an armed intruder.
(6) Public access to schools must be limited to discrete checkpoints where armed personnel are stationed and those check points need hidden areas nearby where armed personnel can observe entry and intervene if those at the stations are killed during an intrusion.
Even were the Second Amendment no bar to gun control, we are naïve to think that those as evil as Adam Lanza will be unable to commit the same act in the presence of more proscriptive laws. The solution lies not in laws and not in mind control but in action aimed at those who are attempting to commit genocide. Those intent on murder and mayhem must be assured that public schools are inhospitable places within which to commit atrocities. They must know that entry with a weapon will be met with a swift and overwhelming response resulting in their deaths before few, if any, others are injured. That approach worked decades ago when hijackings were largely brought to an end after armed marshals were randomly assigned to flights.
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In light of the reality that even were gun control constitutional it would not prevent gun violence, we ought to prepare for the inevitable in meaningful ways. The school shootings this past year reveal that reliance on local police and police swat teams to intervene affords relief too late to save some lives. Instead, the schools themselves must become hardened facilities with the means to eliminate the threat at the outset. That means that faculty and especially trained additions to the staff must be equipped with the means to eliminate an armed threat. Only that level of protection and deterrence will suffice to minimize as much as is humanly possible the harm caused by a would be killer.