“Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.”
Last week a gunman entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and killed 17 people including Aaron Feis the assistant football coach who threw his body in front of students to protect them from being shot. Aaron Feis, Chris Hixon, and Scott Beigel are heroes who gave their life to protect their students. Unfortunately they are dead heroes. I wish, with all my heart they were still alive! Specifically I wish one of them or perhaps one of the other teachers who came into contact with the murderer had a gun and put an end to the threat before these teachers and their students died at the hands of that evil human being.
I wish we were talking about living legends rather than dead heroes today. Instead, some continue to believe that keeping soft targets soft is the answer and that if we simply outlaw certain types of guns the shootings will stop. I find this line of thinking to be fanciful and naive at best. Before you "git yur dander up" (I'll admit, mine is already up, but I'm attempting to control it), let's remember their are already 265,000,000 guns in circulation in the United States. No amount of buy back programs are going to significantly reduce this number. Outlaw AR 15's, and its cousins, and their are a 100 other models waiting to take the market share. Maybe you want to go door to door and collect peoples guns, good luck; if you think people aren't going to find ways to hide their guns and keep them you are delusional. Worse this could result in armed conflict. Now, I am not saying there aren't some things that we can do to limit bad guys from getting guns, I think there are. I am suggesting, however, that the best thing we can do to have an immediate impact on the safety of our students is harden the target. Yes, teachers who are willing to go through additional training and carry guns while at work should be allowed to do so and should be paid extra. As the saying goes, "When seconds count, the police are minutes away." This isn't a dig on police, it is just a recognition that they aren't omni-present.
Think about it, we protect our money, politicians, federal buildings, court buildings, movie stars, sports venues, and a whole host of other places with guns and metal detectors. But we send our kids to unsecured sites that have been regularly attacked and we do it everyday. Then we are shocked when things go horribly wrong. Locked doors aren't going to get the job done! Yet, we continue to refuse to put good guys with guns in schools and increase the risk of anyone who wants to attack those targets.
Wouldn't it be better if one of the teachers were being invited to the White House to have a medal pinned to their chest for stopping a would be mass killer instead of mourning their loss of life because of their heroic actions? I for one prefer living legends to dead heroes.
Many school districts across the country are already doing this; in Texas 110 districts allow teachers to carry, in Ohio the Sidney and Mad River districts have trained teachers and put guns in safes throughout the school, and there are many more districts beginning to do the same thing including Hanover district 28 here in Colorado. I will be emailing the Jefferson County school board and the superintendent to show my support for Jeffco to follow suit. It probably won't do much today, but maybe it will at some point. I hope you'll join in making our kids hard targets instead of easy ones.
John Byrne is a pastor who has been spouting off his opinions his entire life (just ask his mom). This little blog is his venue for continuing in this tradition.