Columnists, Education, Jon Caldara, Politics, Right To Arms, Uncategorized

Caldara: The urgent case for armed school staff

After the horrific shooting at Robb Elementary School, President Joe Biden said, “We have to act.”

I wholly agree.

On this very space about a year ago as COVID lockdowns were easing I wrote, “The reality is mentally disturbed boys, after a year of festering loneliness and anger, will be coming through your kid’s school doors … violence is coming back to our schools. We are fools not to realize this and take action now.”

I’ll plead again. Immediate action needs to be taken to defend our vulnerable children in these terrifyingly exposed places, where they are required by law to spend much of their day.

We will talk about mental health, gun control and missed “warning signs” while we witness more massacres. The fault will be school boards that don’t adequately protect our children NOW.

I find it odd that when you go to a school board meeting, you’ll often see a police or armed security officer there to guard board members. Yet those same board members do not extend that same protection to our innocent children forced into their care.

If they care about saving children’s lives, school districts must embrace voluntary, armed, well-trained school staff or pay substantial amounts to hire armed guards. Anything less is just virtue signaling.

The 300 million guns in America are not going to be confiscated anytime soon. Mental health services are not going to be made easily available everywhere for troubled youth. There will never be an effective way to read the “signals” of disturbed students before they snap and kill.

The only thing we can do, and do relatively quickly, is get armed protectors in our schools.

Having an armed guard at your bank doesn’t freak you out. Do you value your money more than your child?

We should look to the Federal Air Marshall program as an example.

After Sept. 11 2001, many commercial airline pilots volunteered to be trained by Air Marshals to carry guns on board planes. The pilots’ new mission was not to rush drug dealers or stop crime in the airport. The training was for one specific eventuality — stopping hijackers.

Now 1 out of every 10 flights you take has an armed pilot in the cockpit. That doesn’t seem to bother you. In fact, it likely reassures you.

In the same way school staff members who volunteer to be trained and certified for one specific job — stopping the school shooter — would bring the same security.

Imagine if one in 10 school employees in Robb Elementary were trained and voluntarily served in that capacity, much like commercial pilots. What might be different today?

Imagine if that school, like many schools throughout the 37 Colorado school districts that have armed volunteer staff, had a sign on the front door, “Our students are protected by armed staff.” What might be different today?

According to The Associated Press, the shooter was in the school for 40 minutes until he was stopped. He was shooting outside the building for 12 minutes before going in. Parents outside the building were pleading with law enforcement to go in and engage him.

Parents tried to throw their unarmed bodies into this situation to save their children while the shooter was going berserk with no armed adults inside the building to stop him.

I’ve told you before of the Independence Institute’s FASTER program which trains school employees how to stop a shooter and then stop the bleeding.

The multiple-day course and follow-up trainings are conducted by law enforcement personnel. Trainees must achieve a higher level of firearm proficiency than cops are to earn a badge.

Why isn’t your school district doing this training? Why aren’t they starting tomorrow?

It is time to get over our own emotional reservations and protect our children.

Demand your school board allow volunteers to be certified to carry weapons (the affordable solution) or divert the massive amount of funding it takes for a sizable security presence of armed personnel inside your schools.

I’m guessing they will do neither. And then they will go broke paying out legal damages to grieving families because they chose petty political virtue signaling over protecting your child.

And they deserve to go broke for it when the answer is inexpensive and immediate.

Or is your child not worth protecting?

Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute, a free market think tank in Denver.


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