Originally published December 19 2012
Americans in denial about school violence and the obvious solution: Arm school personnel
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) When he took to the microphones to suggest that, in the wake of yet another horrific school shooting, it is past time to arm qualified educators so they can better protect their young charges, he raised more than a few eyebrows.
The audacity of his suggestion aside, it was an outside-the-box solution being made by a very law-and-order type of guy: Here was the police chief of St. Louis County, in the days after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, actually recommending that it was high time teachers and other education professionals be given the ability to carry firearms on campus for self-defense and the defense of the children they are entrusted with.
'We can't tolerate this anymore'
"We can talk on the back end of the need for funding of mental illness programs and gun control, but as a law enforcement officer, I'm focused on that five-minute window that it takes for the cops to get there while people are getting killed," said Chief Tom Fitch. "There is somebody out there right now trying to figure out how to do something worse than this guy did, and there is only one way to end a threat, and that's with lethal force."
Fitch's suggestion isn't as bold as it is timely. No less than President Barack Obama himself said during a memorial in Newtown, Conn., earlier this week, site of the most recent shooting:
We can't tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change. ... No single law -- no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world, or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society. But that can't be an excuse for inaction. Surely, we can do better than this. If there is even one step we can take to save another child, or another parent, or another town, from the grief that has visited Tucson, and Aurora, and Oak Creek, and Newtown, and communities from Columbine to Blacksburg before that -- then surely we have an obligation to try.
Was he serious or was he posturing? And if he was serious, is he serious enough to listen to a growing chorus of police professionals who see an obvious solution: Arm the educators.
"How many kids have been killed by school fire in all of North America in the past 50 years? Kids killed... school fire... North America... 50 years... How many? Zero. That's right. Not one single kid has been killed by school fire anywhere in North America in the past half a century. Now, how many kids have been killed by school violence?" began a recent daylong seminar by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Lt. Col. David Grossman (Ret.).
A former West Point psychology professor, professor of Military Science, an Army Ranger and author of the book, "On Killing," Grossman has combined his experiences to become the founder of a new field of scientific endeavor, which has been termed "killology."
The seminar was sponsored by the California Peace Officers Association and was well-attended - some 250 officers were in attendance. In making his case about how best to keep kids safe in schools, Grossman used a firefighter analogy.
In leaving the stage during his presentation Grossman walked to a nearby fire exit and exterior wall, slamming his palm against the wall and exclaiming, "Look at these wall boards! They were chosen because they're what?! Fireproof or fire retardant, hooah? There is not one stinking thing in this room that will burn!"
Nevertheless, he continued, "you've still got those fire sprinklers, those fire exit signs, fire hydrants outside, and fire trucks nearby! Are these fire guys crazy? Are these fire guys paranoid? No!"
He said the redundant "layers of protection" are why not a single child has died in a school fire over the last half-century - layers that don't exist for protecting children from armed maniacs and psychopaths.
'Never call an unarmed man security'
"Our problem is not money," said Grossman. "It's denial." He says - and most police agree - that some of the most important things that can be done to protect kids would cost next-to-nothing.
Some campuses have opted to hire "security guards," but not to arm them. That doesn't make sense to Grossman and other officers.
"Imagine if someone said, 'I want a trained fire professional on site. I want a fire hat, I want a fire uniform, I want a fire badge. But! No fire extinguishers in this building. No fire hoses. The hat, the badge, the uniform - that will keep us safe - but we have no need for fire extinguishers.' Well, that would be insane," said Grossman.
"It is equally insane, delusional, legally liable, to say, 'I want a trained security professional on site. I want a security hat, I want a security uniform, and I want a security badge, but I don't want a gun.' It's not the hat, the uniform, or the badge. It's the tools in the hands of a trained professional that keeps us safe," he said, adding: "Never call an unarmed man 'security.'"
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