- Posted December 22, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Gun control debate: Background checks
Armed Guards at Schools Is Not a Solution to School Shootings
I can't say I'm surprised about the NRA's position on the Connecticut school shooting. Their position is putting armed guards in every school. There are about 125,000 schools in the country. One guard in every school would cost about 2 billion dollars at a minimum wage pay. Additional guards and higher pay will multiply that cost. It's more likely that the bill will be well over 10 billion. It's unlikely that parents will be comfortable with minimum wage armed men planted in their children's schools.
Armed guards are not going to save many lives in schools. Mass shooters commit their deadly carnage in minutes. The large death tolls at Sandy Hook, Aurora, Virginia Tech, Columbine, and Ft. Hood occurred within ten minutes. The reaction time for an armed guard to prevent those deaths is not going to stop them unless the guard happens to coincidentally be nearby and isn't the killer's first target. If the guard isn't outright killed, it's a tough challenge to expect someone to charge right at an armed killer actively shooting students.
A police officer was one of the first people killed at the Virginia Tech massacre and the remaining 50 police officers assigned to the campus and 20 full and part-time security guards didn't prevent the slaughter. Columbine had an armed guard who exchanged fire with the students from outside the school, but waited for a SWAT team to show up to stop the shooters. The killers shot themselves before SWAT entered the school.
Most banks do not have armed guards because of the cost.
The expectation that armed guards at schools will be a deterrent is ridiculous. Deterrents work for logical thinking. An armed guard is a deterrent for robbery, not for somebody intent on revenge and suicide. A robber is looking for a target of opportunity with the least risk of getting caught. A crazy killer doesn't care. Armed guards were not a deterrent for an Army psychiatrist to go on a killing rampage at the world's largest armored military base, Ft. Hood. The guards at the recent Oregon Mall shooting prevented nothing. They waited for the police and the killer shot himself before the police found him.
It's hard to imagine that the solution to gun-related violence is more guns.
To add some sobering facts to the NRA's proposal to put armed security guards in every school, let's remember that guards are people and come with all the problems that the population has. Below are a few stories of security guards that have been convicted of child molestation, rape, murders, and school shootings. What are the odds of putting some of these into schools when a few hundred thousand armed guards are added? The odds are much higher than getting another school shooter.
This was not an exhaustive search. Quickly finding a half dozen serious crimes committed by security guards proves the point that they are not a perfect solution for protecting schools. These stories represent the tip of the iceberg. Security guards do not get the same screenings that police candidates get and there are more than enough stories of corrupt cops to show that even that process isn't perfect. The majority of guards will be fine upstanding individuals that will do their best to protect the students under their care. A few bad ones will slip through the system. It's going to come down to balancing the cost and risk of adding armed guards to schools versus the small opportunities to prevent a mass shooting.
In Oct 2010, a former security guard was convicted of a shooting spree at a Carlsbad elementary school.
In July 2012, former security guard was accused of sexually abusing children at the Orthodox Jewish school in Melbourne where he worked.
In May 2012, a security guard at a Palm Springs-area middle school was found guilty of sexually abusing four female students.
In Sep 2012, a former church security guard was wanted by police for sexually molesting a family member.
In Dec 2012. a security guard was accused of raping a girl when she was 11 and having sex with a 13-year-old girl.
In Aug 2012, a security guard was convicted of attempted murder for shooting a man after trying to steal his cellphone.