In this emotionally-charged CNN video, the mother of Alyssa Alhadeff, who was tragically murdered in yesterday’s school attack, calls on President Trump to take action. Namely, she calls for security. “How do we allow a gunman to come into our childrens’ school? How do they get through security? […] Put metal detectors in every entrance to the schools!” Yes, we may be on the right track here . . .
At least this is a more practical, achievable, less controversial and less politicized option for reducing the likelihood of tragedy. We can and should harden what are, currently, often the very softest of targets.
But, while a metal detector will provide warning of an armed person entering the school — at the risk of sounding crass — so do gunshots. A metal detector or similar system is only effective if its warning is followed by an immediate, meaningful reaction. Something that prevents the metal detectee from entering the premises should they alarm on the detector.
This could be secure doors. This could be armed security, to include a stand-by/covert “response force” since the idea of visible, armed security is not appealing to many or most of us. Or, it could be both (and more).
I have a daughter in grade school, and they have simple yet hopefully effective security in place. During school hours, there is one single available entrance to the school. I’m told windows and other glass elsewhere on the premises are “hardened.”
To enter through that available door, one must be buzzed in by the front office staff. Once in the office, you must still be buzzed out of it in order to enter into the school itself. Fort Knox it ain’t, but your average, wide-open school it ain’t, either. You’d have to look like you belong there to get buzzed into the office in the first place, then, if you’re hoping to harm more than a couple admin types, force that staff to clear you through into the school.
In the morning, when the entire student body is arriving, the two entryway “tunnel” doors are open and students are free to walk through unimpeded. However, there’s always a teacher manning each door and greeting the students. It’s cute to see them shake hands with each kid (immune systems of iron, no doubt), but in actuality they’re manning the doors for security purposes, too.
We can take steps to prevent or mitigate the next tragedy. Steps that everyone can or should get behind. Don’t worry, anti-gun crowd, hardening soft targets does not detract from your side of the constitutionally-protected rights debate. We’re here for that discussion, but let’s simultaneously make our schools more secure, too.