After the Newtown massacre, NRA jefe Wayne LaPierre announced his solution to the problem of school shooters: “We care about our money, so we protect our banks with armed guards. American airports, office buildings, power plants, courthouses — even sports stadiums — are all protected by armed security. We care about the president, so we protect him with armed Secret Service agents. Members of Congress work in offices surrounded by armed Capitol Police officers. Yet when it comes to the most beloved, innocent and vulnerable members of the American family — our children — we as a society leave them utterly defenseless, and the monsters and predators of this world know it and exploit it. That must change now . . . We can immediately make America’s schools safer — relying on the brave men and women of America’s police force.” A cop in every pot. I mean school. That didn’t happen. The question is, should it? My problem with that strategy is . . .
A uniformed police officer inside a pubic school might as well wear a T-shirt saying “shoot me first.” The “monsters and predators” of the world aren’t stupid. They will prioritize the “school resource officer” (SRO) as their first target and eliminate the threat to their heinous intentions. As we proved in our post-Newtown school shooting simulation, even if a cop knows he’s about to get whacked – a thoroughly unsustainable supposition – there’s not a lot he can do to stop it. In practice, nothing.
Then what? What’s plan B? The same plan that schools without on-site cops have: hunker down and wait for the cavalry. That’s not a plan. That’s a massacre waiting to happen. That has happened. Several times. The only realistic answer is to have armed teachers. And administrators. And staff. And – wait for it – parents. The simple truth of the matter: the more “good guys with a gun” there are in any location, the less likely an attack. And the better the response.
There’s also a downside to cops in schools. They’re cops. They’re looking for trouble. Smoking in school? Illegal. Smoking dope? Illegal. Pills? Selling pills? Ditto. Underage sex? And then we move from cops enforcing laws to cops enforcing school policies – like no talking on a cell phone in class. Or talking back.
Don’t get me wrong: most SRO’s are good people. Great people. People who would take a bullet for a student, and provide an excellent role model for students. But some aren’t. Do we really want to put cops in schools given the potential dangers – foremost of which is complacency? There’s nothing wrong with protecting kids, obviously. But shouldn’t we be doing it effectively? How about repealing Bush the Elder’s Gun Free School Zone Safety Act for a start? [h/t Eric Owens, The Daily Caller]