I posted a picture on Facebook a few days ago and it sparked a conversation I have been thinking about since then.
The picture showed a service member and said something to the effect of ‘Armed military members would gladly patrol our schools’ (I am writing this by hand at the moment, so I don’t have the exact quote.)
Around the same time, a picture started to circulate of a service member in full uniform standing guard outside his son’s school.
A Facebook friend, whose opinions I respect, said basically “keep guns away from me and my kids.”
I responded that people are looking, in the wake of atrocities in Newtown Conn., at solutions. We feel out of control. We are all, I think, trying to fix that.
Some parents are considering home schooling more seriously than they were on December 13, 2012. I am not one of those people. I was not looking at home schooling my children before, either. I can not keep them in a bubble forever. I can not keep them safe forever all by myself. At some point, I have to trust them and the people around them.
Also, I see the posts about the teachers that literally sacrificed their own lives for those of the children. I know a lot of teachers. I was raised by two. I trust that the people I send my children to each day would do the same for my kids. That is a whole lot of trust in educators after such a horrible tragedy. However, I have that trust.
I keep in mind, too, that crazy is everywhere. There have been school shootings before. Kids killing kids. Not some random nutjob off the street. Schoolmates killing each other. There have been both successful and foiled theater shootings, mall shootings, drive by shootings. You name it.
Now, people are going after guns. Let’s clear a couple things up. Let me preface by saying that, politically, I lean about as far left as is possible. I, however, am NOT against guns. BUT…
Not only does the second amendment say that it shall not infringe upon the right to bear arms…it says that this is because the free States need a well armed militia. This was written at a time when we had muzzle loaders. Like Paula Poundstone has said “The other guy had time to run away.” Now, we have a well armed militia with many branches (Army, Navy, etc.) Everyday people are not fighting in wars to protect the freedom of the United States, Our military does that for us. AND they have tanks. Which brings up another line of thought.
Should Crazy neighbor Bob be allowed to buy a tank (not that he could in this economy, but that is a different story) because not allowing him to will infringe on his right to be as heavily armed as he pleases according to the second amendment?
Semantics of Second Amendment and Constitutional rights aside, I do not believe that taking guns away is a viable option. I know a few Veterans that are legally allowed to conceal and carry. Good luck getting THOSE guns away. So the ‘how’ leaves a little to be desired. Plus, banning guns does nothing about bombs, knives, broken beer bottles, rope, fruit punch laced with whatever…crazy people that want to hurt people to the extent that this guy last week did WILL FIND A WAY.And barring all else, hands are not getting banned.
Second, and I have seen this argument a lot in the last week, making something illegal does not stop it from happening. Underage drinking, drunk driving, murder, rape (gods, I could write this list for pages and pages) are all illegal. They haven’t stopped yet. Another post says “Criminals don’t follow laws, dumbass!” Nuff said, there.
Some people are broken… screwed-up-six-ways-from-Sunday-should-not-be-out-in-the-general-public broken. Often, the tell tale signs are missed or ignored. THIS can be fixed. ( and mental health issues should be a whole other topic.) How can we fix broken people with a broken system?
Anyway, back to my original topic.
Here is why I think (with very, very careful screening) Veterans at schools are a good idea. Let me preface this by saying NOT ALL VETS. Some are as broken as this man was. But most are not (as with any group of humans) From now on I will just make points about Veterans in general (because I can’t continue to exclude, in every point, the above-mentioned group of Vets that would be, through the screening process, eliminated as viable for this job)
*Our Veterans have a fierce sense of loyalty to our country. That is why they signed up in the first place. They are the epitome of determination, loyalty and honor. When many Veterans I know saw the news a week ago, it was like a slap in the face. On our own soil. Imagine coming home from a war zone to feel like your family isn’t safe. Imagine being deployed right now. Try to imagine it, anyway. I can’t. It scares me.
*Many Veterans have a little bit of a tough time adjusting to the civilian world. “Over there,” they felt like they were doing the right thing. They felt a sense of accomplishment. They helped each other survive when they could. Sometimes they couldn’t. What, in this first world country, will give you the same sense of right-doing? Sure, there are jobs out there but with the sheer number of Vets returning, what are the odds that those jobs are available? Now factor in all the civilians vying for the same jobs. Some feel that nothing they do “over here” will equal what they did “over there.” Protecting children…our children will.
*Many of our Vets need to get up and out of the house. They need a focus. Protecting children will provide this.
*We know that combat veterans are good under hazardous circumstances. That is what they are trained for, for crying out loud. They receive YEARS of experience in protecting people by any means necessary, including killing, and we expect them to get a job at Walmart bringing carts in? REALLY?
*I would bet that MANY Veterans would volunteer for the opportunity to protect our children. The costs would then include only training and occasional re screening. And many of them carry already. That blows the cost issue out the window.
*Our teachers are under paid and over stressed as it is. They have to worry about supplies, reporting abuse, special education, spoiled children, hungry children, budget cuts and now putting their lives on the line to protect themselves and the students they love to teach? Why, when we can take that off their shoulders, too. (Teacher pay is a rant for another time)
*Should we pay our teachers hazard pay? Probably. Are we going to? Probably not. Are we going to arm our teachers? I don’t think we should. Why arm twenty adults AND train them on proper use (and that is just in a SMALL school) when one, two, five people who already have the training and the weapons are willing to take this off our educators’ shoulders? PLUS, I can think of a few teachers that I have had in the past that I would be scared to arm.
*Where does this end? Do we stop with the teachers? Or do we include janitors, ed techs, substitutes, bus drivers…this is a slippery slope. The more people we arm, the more money it costs and the more likely the whole thing is to backfire.
I have, hopefully, been thoughtful on this subject. What are your thoughts?