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I heard Vicki enthusiastically supporting the concept of armed police officers in every school. Later, a caller on Mark's show said that they should be given tactical gear and meet students at the door and check on classrooms through the day.
Frankly, that scares the everloving crap out of me. Not only as an educator but also as a person with some common sense. School is already a stressful place for children. It's a sea of sweat, hormones and stress. And throwing in armed guards, making it seem more like a prison than a place where kids are free to explore and learn.
Words elude me to describe the horror I experience in merely thinking about having an armed police presence in schools. Security is important, yes, but at what cost?
That's the position taken by Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, a man I respect and like (though I know I could never ask him to get me out of a speeding ticket), and on this issue we disagree. From JSOnline:
Suggestions of gun control "are the mind-set of sheep," Clarke says.
"Sure run and hide from a sociopathic killer. See how far that gets you. You know where that'll get you - 26 dead at Sandy Hook School," says Clarke's article, posted on the website "Tea Party Perspective." It was posted by Nik Clark, president of Wisconsin Carry Inc., a gun rights group.
The sheriff suggests armed guards in schools, malls, theaters and other public places could be paid for with public money now spent on "green" environmental projects and "other waste-of-money social service spending."
He also says businesses should remove signs saying guns are prohibited. That only tips off a sociopathic killer that no one there would be able to stop him, Clarke says.
I agree with his points about gun control but America's freedoms are predicated on the idea that there is some risk. Despite these (admittedly horrific) incidents, going to school is still remarkably safe. Going into a mall is far less dangerous than the drive to get there.
But I'm in the minority, it seems. From Gallup, via Breitbart:
A new poll released today by Gallup shows that Americans favor increased security and proactive mental health treatment over gun control. The national poll of a little over 1,000 adults was conducted in the wake of the tragic murders at a Connecticuit school last Friday. As the introduction to the poll says:
Americans are most likely to say that an increased police presence at schools, increased government spending on mental health screening and treatment, and decreased depiction of gun violence in entertainment venues would be effective in preventing mass shootings at schools. Americans rate the potential effectiveness of a ban on assault and semi-automatic guns as fourth on a list of six actions Gallup asked about.
An interesting fact somewhat buried is that when you combine the number of people who said a solution would be 'very effective' and 'somewhat effective', more people favored "arming at least one school offic" officia" over "banning the sale of semi-automatic weapons" by 64 to 63. Although the result is within the margin of error, it indicates that neither media nor political pressure on the gun control issue have made it overwhelmingly popular as a solution with citizens.
I do not disagree that having armed police everywhere would not be effective in deterring crime. But is a military state really the place you want to be?