For me, the question is not “Do I want police officers or other armed personnel protecting my children at school every day?” The question is, “How many armed people can I reasonably ask for without seeming like a nutjob?”
Recently, an armed man walked into a Georgia school, apparently with the intent to harm as many people as possible. A terrified but quick-witted school secretary used the only weapon she had against him: her ability to talk, to soothe, to reason. And thank God, it worked. She was able to convince the man that he didn’t want to hurt anybody, and no one was injured. The man is in custody.
If every gunman who walked into a public place with the intent to kill was as easily deterred as this one, wouldn’t it be a wonderful world? And I’m sure gun prohibitionists will say “See?? All we have to do is talk to them the right way, and they’ll lay down their weapons and go plant a field of daisies and write a love song.” Aside from this line of thinking placing entirely too much blame and responsibility on would-be victims, I just don’t believe it’s true. I think those who encountered the Newtown shooter before he began the rampage also tried to reason with him, to no avail. I’m sure those who encountered the Columbine shooters begged and reasoned equally well. The difference is, those shooters were determined in their missions,and they would not be deterred. They have not been the first to refuse to listen to reason, they will not be the last. If our brave Georgia school secretary had tried without success to reason with that gunman, she likely would have died,and we would be mourning tiny caskets and teachers taken too soon, all over again. I believe it is morally wrong to leave our teachers, students, and administrators with no other line of defense against madness and evil except their wit and their words.
I’m a mom. I’d like to think I’m not an overprotective one. I let my kids run and ride their bikes and sometimes I start backing out of the driveway before they have their seatbelts buckled (Please don’t call CPS on me, okay?). But when they sleep at night, when they are defenseless, I watch over them. When they are their most vulnerable, I want the most deadly force to be alert and ready against anything or anyone who would mean to harm them. I feel much the same when they are at school. School is a place where they are defenseless. They’re in classrooms. There is no place for them to run or hide. Chaos is always barely held at bay with that many kids in one place. When they are vulnerable, I want deadly force in place to protect them. I want them to be surrounded by men and women whose primary function is to keep the wolves out. Who, if the situation arises, will use their words first, but their firearms if they fail. I want our school secretaries to reason with a gunman, not as if the secretary’s life depended on it, but as if the gunman’s life depends on it.
I want to keep having this conversation. I want to keep pushing this issue. Because my kid’s life is worth it to me. YOUR kid’s life is worth it to me. Protecting our children when they are vulnerable is a Conservative principle, and it’s one worth fighting for.