All the talking heads, both media- and otherwise, are babbling on about how to prevent the next horrific school shooting, and I'm shaking my non-talking head over the plethora of non-solutions being offered: ban assault weapons; raise the age-to-purchase to 21 (someone even said '25'); better, more comprehensive background checks; on-site mental health professionals to look for warning signs; more SROs (School Resource Officers). The list goes on and on. I just want to ask one question. Would any of these or even all of them together have prevented the last shooting?
My conclusion is that, no, not even all of these together could have prevented that event. Each of them can be worked-around — where the system itself doesn't simply fail in its assigned task. You can have all the SROs you want, but if they're all outside having a smoke break and decide they're not going to risk their lives just to save a bunch of teenagers...
No, it's not possible to prevent the next school shooting. The best you can hope for is to mitigate the damage — ideally, down to zero — and there's only one way to do that: there have to be people ready to answer the threat at the very moment it arises, at the very spot where it arises, and the more people who are ready, the better. More SROs, you say? At Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School, the well-paid armed SROs cowered outside waiting for the gunfire to die down while the underpaid and unarmed teachers tried to shield their students from the carnage. P.s.: it didn't work.
Now, nobody is suggesting teachers must be armed. Neither you nor I want to see a teacher who is unfamiliar with firearms and who, in fact, doesn't want to be around guns nevertheless forced into such a supremely uncomfortable position. But there are some teachers who (a) own guns, (b) are comfortable being armed, (c) would rather be able to defend themselves and their charges, and (d) wouldn't turn down a 'training and readiness stipend' if offered. Did you say you don't believe there are that many teachers who would volunteer? Certified firearms instructors across the country offer free or reduced rate classes specially designed for teachers and school staffers, and they report that thousands of them apply for the hundreds of slots available whenever they're offered. They turn out for the classes even when they know there's no chance the school board is ever going to bend on the issue. That is: they're trained and ready and unable to put that training to use because they work in a gun-free zone of mandated defenselessness. In case of another school shooting, all they'll be able to do is run and hide until they're found and killed.
Well, the last couple of shooters used rifles. Are we going to pit trained teachers armed with pistols against untrained nutjobs armed with rifles? No, we're going to keep those teachers unarmed because they're going to die anyway, so what's the use? That's the reasoning (if it can be called that) behind gun-free zones: everyone is going to die; let's not make it worse.
Ten states make it easy for properly-trained teachers to be armed on the job. Do you recall the last time you read a headline screaming "Teacher Goes Berzerk; Kills Student For Texting In Class"? No? You can be sure that headline would be repeated on the front page of every newspaper in the country if it ever happened, so I think we can rest assured it hasn't.
So here's where we are: of the several 'solutions' being proposed to halt the scourge of school shootings, the only one with an unblemished record of success is routinely rejected in favor of others whose only track record is failure after failure after failure.
And when the next school shooting happens at a school where every one of the reforms on the progressive wish-list has been implemented, we will be told "Aha! We forgot to prohibit..." and a new item will be added to the wish-list. What won't be added is 'allowing teachers to defend themselves'.
Makes sense to me... not!