Children Deserve to Be Defended

I teach at a unique K-12 school that educates students on the importance of patriotism and leadership.  We unapologetically teach about America's extraordinary heroes, especially our founding fathers, who pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to secure our liberty.  Our students learn the value of applying the principles of honor, courage, and individual responsibility to their everyday lives.  Recently, however, I have grown concerned about whether or not our school board leaders can bring themselves to stand up for these same principles when it really counts.

After the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre, I expected our school to take a bold stand on defending the lives of the children we are entrusted with.  Instead, we did what many other schools in America did after the shooting -- put out a feel-good statement of concern and then have a meeting to discuss all the various inefficient and non-confrontational ways to magically prevent such a thing from happening again.

I hate to be a skunk at the school picnic, but we don't live in a social utopia.  Another mass shooting will most assuredly occur.  The question is where.

It's amazing what school officials tell defenseless teachers to do in the event of a lunatic on campus.  They instruct us to take our students and put them in dark corners of the classrooms -- a kind of "hide and hope" strategy.  In other words, we are to act like sheep waiting to be slaughtered.  As history shows, by the time police arrive, the damage is already done.  In the case of the Sandy Hook massacre, it took a full twenty minutes before police arrived at the scene.

John Lott's 1998 book, More Guns, Less Crime, is based on the most rigorous and comprehensive studies ever conducted on crime statistics and right-to-carry laws.  In the book, Lott reveals that the common factor among nearly all mass shootings is that they occur in so-called "gun free" zones like movie theaters, shopping malls, and schools, where defenseless victims are at the mercy of brutal killers who know they will meet no real resistance.  Without strong resistance, an evil gunman has free rein.  Take for example Virginia Tech (32 dead), Columbine High School (13 dead), and Sandy Hook Elementary (26 dead).

When the Aurora, Colorado movie theater killer was looking for the perfect place to carry out his shooting spree that killed 12 people and injured 59 others, he had a choice of seven theaters within a 20-minute driving distance from his home.  Naturally, he chose the only theater where guns were not allowed.  Given this, simple logic would suggest that gun-free zones might be more aptly renamed "killing zones."

The best antidote for mass shootings is a well-trained person with a concealed handgun who is already at the scene.  Thanks to the mainstream media, few people know that citizens who lawfully carry concealed firearms have routinely intervened during shooting incidences, minimizing casualties and sometimes foiling murderous plots altogether.

When concealed carry license holder Nick Meli entered Portland's Clackamas Mall last month, he was unaware that he had entered a "gun-free" zone.  Fortunately, he was there and able to thwart a shooting already underway.  Total deaths: two.  In 2002, a crazed man entered the Appalachian School of Law and shot faculty members before turning his gun on students.  Two other students pulled their firearms in self-defense, allowing another to tackle the shooter to the ground.  Total deaths: three.  In 2008, another psychopath opened fire in a crowded restaurant in Winnemucca, Nevada when he was confronted by a concealed carry holder who shot him dead.  Total deaths: two.

Now imagine if teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary or Columbine High had been armed.  Lives may have been saved.

Children deserve to be defended.  It's time for teachers to be able to fire back when they encounter an evil person who intends to do harm.  Our constitutional right to self-preservation does not cease to exist at the school gate just because some politician passed an ill-designed law.

Luckily, courageous leaders who see the logic in all this are now stepping up and speaking out. One such individual is David Thweatt, superintendent of public schools in Harrold, Texas.  Since the Virginia Tech shootings in 2007, teachers in Harrold have been carrying concealed firearms at school -- a smart plan, passed unanimously by the school board.  To date, there have been no shooting attempts in Harrold schools, nor any mishaps by armed teachers.

All across the country, teachers and school administrators are now taking advantage of concealed firearms training that is being offered to them free of charge.  These teachers will finally have the advantage over a would-be killer who won't know who is armed and who isn't.  In short, these well-trained teachers will already be at the scene with critical information at hand -- first responders, as they should be.

As for other schools, including my own, that have yet to decide whether or not to make armed teachers a part of their overall security plan, hopefully common sense and courage will prevail over decades of failed safety policies.

Kimberly Bloom Jackson holds a doctorate in anthropology.  She recently completed her first book, a behind-the-scenes look at Hollywood's social politics.