February 12, I helped instruct "Active Shooter Response" to a cadre of Law Enforcement Explorers. Over the years as a teacher and reserve police officer I tool or taught many such classes and units. There are only a few themes.
Defense wins games. The only way to increase school safety is to train and arm staff. The notion of "gun free zones" is ridiculous. Those become "target rich zones" for predators. Time and again we see the only thing stopping a bad person with a gun is a good person with a gun. Trying to reduce violence by stacking restrictive gun laws is absurd. Gun-carry permits in Minnesota are at historically high levels, while crime has reached historically low levels. Chicago has severe gun laws, and eye-poppingly high crime.
To think that schools are inherently safe is naïve. I have broken up fights and taken away weapons. We do not live in a Beatrix Potter world. Provide school personnel tools to do the whole job. Return to teaching gun safety. Get out of the victim mode. Educate the Bloomberg press corps that "AR" means "Armalite" not "assault rifle." Neither cosmetic nor fashion make a hooker or a combat weapon.
Social Observation (corrected)
My, how things change. I turned 75 a few weeks ago; graduated from PHS in 1961 (57 years ago) and retired from a 20-year military career 35 years ago. I shall not decree the "good ole days", but perchance consider the changes in our society. The discussions we had towards the end of a school year were centered on our summer jobs and how much we could make. Driving a wheat harvest truck for 30 straight days was a $1000. check generally. The combine driver got a bit more. Most jobs paid .50-.75 cents per hour. When we went to $1.05/hour..real big deal. Only 6-8 of the high school students owned cars, but most of us drove the 'family car'. On Monday the big talked about weekend activities were about the case of beer or bottle of wine on Lincoln grade. Marriage was a BIG DEAL, but generally held off until a few years out of high school. Many pickup trucks at the high school could be seen with gun racks, with guns, because chukar's were on Patterson grade and "we are going to get them after school today". A cheap hot date was to spend $1.00 on two boxes of .22 shells and go for a 'rat smack' at the Patterson grade garbage dump. The girls seemed to like it as well. A disagreement was generally settled with fisticuffs after school. Hi-Y was a Christian organization in school. We started the day with saying the pledge to the flag. There were a few students that were 'on tough times' financially and with home conditions. Often local folks would quietly help and take care of the neighbors. The library was a well-used facility with worn-out books. Washington state had "Blue Laws" where no retail store was open on Sunday. Speaking of which, Sunday was a fairly quiet day..a family day for most.
This last week we had another school shooting. We have been in a foreign country in excess of 10 years fighting a war most know or care nothing about. Homicides between Yakima and the Tri-Cities number often in the double digit per week. Abortion is rampart and weddings are few and far between even in the month of June. I have seen 7th-8th graders walking pregnant going to classes. "Do you have any answers Obi Wan?" Yes, but as they deal with personal decisions of each person, the answers would be rejected right here. Perhaps a few questions: 1) For what purpose am I here during this age 2) what attitude/work ethic need I have to be happy successfully 3) do I have a moral compass 4) can I hold an intelligent conversation with another person for 30 minutes and do I read a different book every month or so? If our lives are sad 3 days out of 5, we need to answer some of these questions..and soon. We cannot afford to stick our head in the sand and think the issues will go away. You can make a difference.