The Vulnerability of Schools

“One man with a gun can control 100 without one.”

~Vladimir Lenin

 

Unfortunately, school shootings have become ever more common in this modern age, especially in the United States. Instead of responding with shock and astonishment like in the New Haven school shooting, today we almost feel numb to new school shootings that happen almost so much more often today. Although the 18 number is misleading- many of those 18 really refer to shootings that happened to happen around schools instead of when school is in session itself, the amount of school shootings defined as “occurring inside a school while in session” is still far higher than ever before. Just today, a school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas left many casualties and injuries, as well as a sense of fear.

In response to particularly one of the shootings, Parkland, many students in the country wanted stricter gun control laws. In a lot of ways, this concept does make sense- make it harder for criminals to get guns, so less will have guns. However, today, we will focus on an issue that has less to do with gun control and more to do with the vulnerability associated with schools.

In schools, there are often from 500 to over a thousand students that, for seven hours a day, crowded in one building along with 50-100 staff members. The entire school is usually unarmed- meaning that a shooter could possibly stay active for a long time, especially if law enforcement outside of schools refuse to go in, like in Parkland. Can we really trust the lives of thousands of students and staff on several law enforcement officers? A lot are brave and would risk themselves to save students and teachers inside the school, like the police officer stationed outside Santa Fe High School did, but others, like Parkland’s law enforcement, did not engage.

In most schools, the typical choice of action is either to go into lockdown or to escape the area. I remember once, when I was in high school and a lockdown drill was issued, my teacher saying “If something like this was really happening, I’m not about to sit here and wait for us to get killed.” I agreed with a lot of the class- we really shouldn’t have been sitting there hoping that we would come out alive. Running isn’t that much better- bullets travel faster than feet and the chaos that ensures could actually be even more deadly. The fact is, our schools really being so defenseless really makes them vulnerable to such attacks. No matter whether we have extremely strict gun regulations or loose ones, many criminals will find a way to obtain a gun (like in Germany, where over 80% of all weapons are illegal, over 20 million of them), and our schools would be as defenseless as ever.

We need to solve this relative defenselessness of schools. Other than one or two officers stationed outside who may or may not want to get involved, the school really doesn’t have a way of subduing a shooter until police arrive, which could be anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes. Even the police may not rush in as soon as they arrive.

Perhaps, arming teachers may be an option. Of course, this process would have to be heavily enforced. We do not want situations like this:

https://nypost.com/2018/02/28/teacher-with-gun-sparks-school-lockdown/

To ever happen to our schools again. However, if we only allow teachers who pass a comprehensive mental exam along with physical tests to wield a firearm, school shootings could possibly be over earlier. People like the football coach in Parkland and the subduer of the shooter at the Waffle House are heroes, whether they admit it or not, for putting their own lives at risk to subdue a dangerous criminal who might harm or kill others. If the football coach had a firearm, he could have potentially walked away with his life, while being able to successfully subdue the shooter. If the disarmer of the Waffle House shooting had one, he could have potentially had a much safer time than the dangerous, yet courageous stunt he did.

School Shootings can be one of the most tragic events in the news. The horrifying reality of potentially a school a few miles down the road being next is all too common, due to the vulnerability and safety issues schools have. Perhaps, with physically qualified and mentally-stable teachers being able to defend students, schools can become more secure and safe.

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