At a time when a bomb in an Army in-processing center was a credible threat, I did search for a bomb in one. I had nothing to help me find one but my eyes, and nothing to protect me if I did find one but the clothes I wore. Today, possessing the wisdom that comes with age, I view what I did as foolhardy, rather than brave. I would like to think I’d have rushed that Florida school the other day if presented with the situation, but I can’t honestly be sure I would.
I am aware that it’s their job—what they signed up for. Broward County sheriff’s deputies at Parkland school should have confronted Nikolas Cruz. I wish they would have, but I’m pretty sure the deputy stationed at the school, and the first ones who responded weren’t properly equipped to even try. Keep in mind too that former deputy Scot Peterson said he thought the shooter was outside the school.
Most cops these days carry Glock 9mm handguns equipped with a 17-round magazine. A round in the chamber (not the safest thing to do), makes 18 shots. With a second clip, 35. Put that against a crazy school shooter equipped with a semi-automatic rifle (maybe even automatic), and who knows how many higher capacity magazines. Add to it that you don’t know exactly where the shooter is, you don’t know whether the shooter has body armor, but you do know you don’t have it.
Remember also that shooting what you aim at, especially when under pressure is hard. The other night where I live, cops and perps exchanged fire at close range near midnight and nobody hit anyone. And a rifle is more accurate than a pistol, even at relatively close range.
I’m sorry, a single armed police officer, security guard or even several, won’t solve the school violence problem. Even with a handgun, they really aren’t equipped to address an active shooter. The school-shooting problem is multi-faceted, and we must face that fact. Additional cameras inside schools would help security to figure out a way to confront the shooter more safely. Yes, improved mental health screening, and treatment will help. But, they won’t take the place of additional gun control, which—face it—is necessary. Saying we shouldn’t ban or control some firearms because most gun crimes are perpetrated with handguns is nonsense. Three lefts make a right: two wrongs don’t. If background checks exempt private sales, internet sales, and gun-show sales, background checks are basically window dressing. Maybe some properly trained, armed teachers might help, but armed teachers come with additional problems. What if school security shot, and killed a young-looking teacher who was trying to take out a shooter? What if some kid overpowered a teacher in class and started shooting up the place with the teacher’s gun? What if a female teacher carried her piece in her purse, put it down, and someone grabbed it?
I hate it when people suggest there’s one, single and simple solution to school shootings. It’s much more complicated than that. As they grew up, I always told my kids that if what they were doing wasn’t working, they ought to try something else. Clearly, thoughts and prayers haven’t worked. Just as clearly, it’s time to try a bunch of something elses.