The year 2012 is drawing to a close with an unthinkable tragedy fresh in our memories, 28 people, including 20 small children shot dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, their lives cut short by a maniac who first murdered his own Mother, stole her weapons and broke into the school, any motive still unknown.
That it happened 11 days before Christmas makes it all the more tragic and painful for all of the families affected.
Even though school shootings are statistically rare, they are nonetheless tragic and we can no longer feel confident our children are safe in their seats in school.
As expected, the reactions are strong and equally divisive, ranging from calls for more gun control, better treatment for the mentally disturbed, curtailing violent movies and video games and an increasing call for armed security be placed in schools in the way of hired security guards, Police or arming properly trained qualified teachers and school personnel.
Considering how school shootings have increased since the 1995 law imposing “Gun-Free” zones for school and even the fastest Police response take a few minutes to arrive, a program arming teachers is worthy of serious discussion and consideration, given that teachers are present in the schools and would be the first to respond to any such attack.
Recently elected Washington State 18th Legislative District Representative, Liz Pike is doing just that, engaging the public through her facebook account as she states she is “looking at drafting legislation for teachers modeled after the airlines FFDO (Federal Flight Deck Officer) Program” that was instituted after the horrific terrorist attack we saw on September 11, 2001, where terrorist took over aircraft and flew them into the World Trade Center buildings in New York and the Pentagon in Washington D.C.
As can be expected, comments are divided among supporters and opposers of such a concept as arming and training qualified teachers. Not too surprising was seeing the usual activists resorting to more bullying type comments towards Liz Pike.
Mike Briggs, known for opposing just about every policy proposed by Republicans chimed in with, “I will not support any legislator who does not look into some reasonable gun control. More guns are NOT the answer.”
We then see Greg Owens, known for his vitriolic comments towards anything remotely approaching common sense labeling her effort as, “Extreme over-reaction” that he does not support, adding “Won’t vote for you again if this is the path we can expect you to follow.”
After being told it is about “safety’ and “not guns,” Briggs pops back in with “More guns are not the answer folks. And has ANYONE CONSIDERED the tax consequences of something like this? Wow- you want your taxes to increase heavily merely to arm teachers… what of other areas, malls, Post Offices, Churches, etc. Do we put armed guards there too? And for what– so the NRA can protect its gun program. Stupid. Very stupid.”
Odd in the last comment is Mike Briggs has supported just about every tax increase proposed, to fund a worthless baseball stadium, light rail the county keeps voting against, C-TRAN measures, you name it, if it is a tax increase that threatens to bankrupt taxpayers for useless programs, he supports it.
But opposes any possible tax increase designed to actually protect our children in schools?
However, as Liz Pike explains, her proposal would depend on volunteer teachers and staff who are qualified, covering the expenses of their training and purchase of a firearm if they do not already own one.
Considering that Firearm Associations in neighboring states have stepped up offering to properly train those teachers who volunteer and qualify, costs would be minimal if at all should similar Firearms Associations volunteer in our state.
Apparently believing he is the most important person in the county, Briggs then says, “If Liz feels it necessary to once again side with the conservative this can be her choice but she is definitely not representing my desires.”
Several comments applaud this discussion launched by Liz Pike, pointing out the obvious, declaring schools to be “gun-free” leaves our most precious children at the mercy of maniacs and criminals who choose easy targets.
After the discussion was up for a few days, the Columbian took notice and ran an article on it, Lawmaker-elect Pike enters gun debate, having sought out and quoting those most likely to express opposition to the notion.
Of those they quote is Monica Stonier, recently elected 17th Legislative District Representative Democrat that this blog strongly opposed. Her quote is probably the most insane to appear throughout the article as she, a teaching coach states, “Bringing guns into the learning environment is absolutely the wrong approach. I have been working in schools for 10 years, and we run a variety of safety drills for a variety of emergency situations. If a stranger enters a school, they are approached by several adults in a very short amount of time.”
The insanity on her words is what she prefers is exactly what we saw unfold at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012 when Adam Lanza forced his way into the school after murdering his own Mother and stealing her guns.
They held “safety drills.” They had locked doors, he broke through a window to unlock it.
He was approached by an unarmed Principal and teachers, killing 6 before turning his gun onto 6 and 7 year old children confined in a single room, killing 20.
If we learned nothing else from Sandy Hook, it is that the option of doing nothing is no longer a viable option. Our children deserve better from us. They should not be at the mercy of another armed maniac.
California Democrat, Dianne Feinstein is proposing yet another “Assault Weapon Ban” to combat the shootings. Such a ban proved to be a miserable failure the last time it was tried as we saw “32 notable school shootings” while the ban was in effect.
It did no good!
Left out of the media coverage of discussions and efforts to take guns away from law-abiding citizens is frequent examples of licensed concealed carry citizens either preventing crimes by gun or stopping a shooting in a school before the body count reaches numbers as we saw in Sandy Hook.
Even though several lives have been saved by armed citizens over the years, our media ignores them as they promote the effort to take guns away from law-abiding people.
Probably the most idiotic of all comments, rivaling that of Monica Stonier are from those who currently entrust their children to teachers, all day, 5 days a week, during coaching for extracurricular activities and demanding their children be properly cared for and kept safe, suddenly expressing fear that properly training selected and qualified teachers, the “might snap” and shoot up the schools.
Do they not realize that teachers share the same rights to gun ownership of other people and may already possess a firearm, leaving it at home to obey the law? Do they not realize these same teachers have access to baseball bats, weights, sharp objects and any number of implements that could be used as a weapon?
But that doesn’t concern them, only if they completed a proper firearm safety and use course and carried a concealed weapon in case the unthinkable, another school shooting occurred.
Ellen Joslin, president of the Battle Ground Education Association, a teacher’s union, says, “If somebody wanted to carry a gun at school, that would indicate to me that they are afraid, and the kids would feel that. … It doesn’t make (for) a nurturing environment.”
I wouldn’t say what we saw happen at Sandy Hook Elementary much of a “nurturing environment” either.
Being prepared is not being afraid. We keep fire extinguishers in homes, not because we are afraid of fire, but just in case one happened.
We wear seat belts in our cars and place small children in appropriate car seats. Not because we are afraid of a wreck, but just in case one happens we can protect our children and ourselves.
Think of how many of those 20 children in Connecticut cried out for someone to save them, expecting to see someone stop the madness and there was nobody to stand between them and a maniac with a stolen weapon.
We need to ask ourselves, just how much are our children worth to us?