- Posted January 6, 2013 by
Washington, District of Columbia
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Newtown school shooting: Thoughts and tributes
Liberal Gun Control Agendas Are Killing Our Children
The media response to the mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School is nothing more than an invitation to continue killing our children. The agenda-based call has been made to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines as if this action will finally make children safe in schools. Politicians, media outlets and celebrities are maliciously abusing their status as public figures to achieve personal desires at the expense of children’s lives. A ban of certain types of weapons is an ignorant notion that will never protect schools from active shooter situations. Any firearm is more than sufficient to inflict a tremendous amount of injuries when none of the victims has any defenses. The legitimate need to have assault weapons or high-capacity magazines is an interesting debate that has no bearing on the actual problem of poor security in our schools.
Many public schools have rudimentary security, at best, resulting in a high vulnerability to an active shooter. There are a variety of reasons for this failure most notably, the consistent lack of funding for security measures. The public is demanding a fix to prevent murders in our schools, which is materializing in the form of an assumed need for greater gun controls. Enacting more-restrictive laws is a cheap and easy response that offers only the illusion of change to bolster public confidence. Murder is and has been illegal virtually since the existence of laws, yet according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, there were 14,612 murders during the 2011 calendar year. Clearly, the fact that laws exist, with substantial deterrent penalties, has historically not prevented murder. There is no intelligent reason to believe that banning firearms will have any impact on improving the safety in our schools. Sandy Hook is being used simply to influence public opinion towards gun control, not as a learning point to motive positive change.
Change is certainly needed, without any doubts. Schools need to have an effective security system that is capable of delaying an active shooter access to children long enough for law enforcement to arrive to address the situation. The common perception of security is to have military style guards, police dogs, barbed wire fences and a range of electronic security devices which all conflict with establishing an environment that is conducive to learning and comes at a high cost. Effective security systems consist of a variety of measures intended to prevent or mitigate undesired consequences based upon expected threats. The installed security measures perform the functions of detecting an adversary, assessing the situation, and delaying the adversary long enough to respond in a manner that prevents the undesired consequence. History has proven that a threat of an active shooter exists in the form of disturbed individuals, and in the form of terrorist groups. More importantly, history has proven that law enforcement, despite their best efforts, cannot arrive in time to prevent the death of innocents. School shootings consistently prove, beyond a doubt, that the security systems are broken and are not capable of protecting our children. The crux of the problem is that police cannot arrive in time to prevent a shooting. In many locations throughout the country, an acceptable police response is considered to be arrival on-scene within 10 to 15 minutes. In the case of school shootings, police from any jurisdiction arrive like swarming bees in 2 to 3 minutes at great personal risk, only to find that they are too late. The security system has failed before police are even notified because the first call that they receive is that a shooting has happened. Schools do not need to be castles, but they do need to be defensible until a police response can arrive. Poor school security is the identifiable and most importantly, the correctable cause of school shootings.
School shootings have been occurring since the invention of firearms despite all efforts at gun control. To a reasonable person it would appear that gun control has not had the desired effect of making the world a safer place. In 1992, Eric Houston walked in the front door of the Lindhurst High School in Olivehurst, California, and proceeded to kill four people and injure ten more. This event was one of the first modern school shootings and gained significant media attention. The call for gun control was echoed, but the call for increased school security was silent. The liberal approach has been to ban all firearms while the conservative approach has been to make more firearms. The moronic approach is to think that arguing about guns will have any effect on school security. In the twenty years since Lindhurst, we have argued about gun control and nothing has changed. Children are still dying in schools. The list continues to grow while we blindly argue gun control. Lindhurst, Pearl, Westside, Columbine, Red Lake, Northern Illinois, Virginia Tech, all resulted in too many inexcusable deaths, media attention and political grandstanding, but there were no calls to increase school security. Arguing about political issues and enacting laws costs very little as evidenced by 20 years of zero return on investment. The intelligent approach is for everyone to argue for an investment in school security because we have 20 years of evidence that says gun control has not solved the problem.
Gun control is a legitimate concern that should be debated on its own merit, but it will never make any school safer. Gun control and school security are two separate and distinct issues that both need to be addressed. Now is an ideal time to focus on improved school security. Our leaders and public figures should take responsible actions to make our children safer, not push political and ideological agendas. The same energy and devotion that has been poorly directed at an ineffective solution of gun control should be immediately directed at an effective solution of increasing school security. Instead of a polarized argument, we need to be joining forces to support positive changes that we know will have a definitive value. It will cost some money to increase school security, but that cost will be far less than the cost of hundreds of children murdered over the next 20 years. Improve school security first and foremost, then argue gun control.
Sandy Hook Elementary should be heralded as a call to finally increase school security so that we all can stop asking why the loss of innocent life was necessary.