Reading, Writing, and Return Fire

There is a reason why the massacre at Marjory Stoneman High School in Parkland, Florida could never have happened in an Israeli school.  Israel does not consider its schools gun-free zones, where armed predators can freely roam the campus and hallways, picking targets at will.  Whether it be terrorists or armed loons, we all live in a war zone these days, and the fact is that the best way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

As Fox News reported after the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut:

Americans intent on ensuring a school massacre like the one in Newtown, Conn., never happens again could learn a lot from Israel, where the long menu of precautions includes armed teachers.

The Jewish state, which has long faced threats of terrorist strikes in crowded locations including schools, takes an all-of-the-above approach to safety in the classroom. Fences, metal detectors and armed private guards are part of a strategy overseen by the country's national police. And the idea of armed teachers in the classroom, which stirred much controversy in the wake of the U.S. attack, has long been in practice in Israel…

Oren Shemtov, CEO of Israel's Academy of Security and Investigation, noted that attacks typically happen in a matter of minutes, and said gun-toting teachers could, at the very least, buy time for kids to escape while police race to the scene.

"Two (armed) teachers would have kept (the Newtown shooter) occupied for 45 seconds each," said Shemtov, who is one of 16 people in Israel authorized to train those who instruct school guards.

Shemtov, a veteran of Israel's security services who has been teaching security methods for 22 years, praised the Newtown teachers who gave their lives trying to protect children, but lamented the fact that they weren't able to shoot back when gunman Adam Lanza opened fire, killing 20 children and six adults before shooting himself in the head as police converged on Sandy Hook Elementary School.

As much as Americans are reluctant to turn their schools into what critics might call armed camps, it would be a better situation than the free fire zones that exist today.  Would allowing guns in school be dangerous?  We allow guns in schools right now by not having secure entrances; by not heeding warnings from those who did see something and did say something; and by not having adequate armed security on campus, including armed teachers.

The well intentioned student-survivors of the Parkland are planning a march on Washington to protest the shooting galleries other well intentioned people have created:

Cameron Kasky, another Douglas High student who started the #NeverAgain movement, announced Sunday that on March 24, students are organizing rallies across the country to demand that lawmakers reject money from the NRA and say "never again."

"My message for people in office is: You're either with us or against us.  We are losing our lives while the adults are playing around," Kasky said in an interview Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."  "We don't need you.  On March 24, you are going to be seeing students in every single major city.  We have our lives on the line here.

"This isn't about the GOP, this isn't about the Democrats, this is about us creating a badge of shame for any politicians accepting money from the NRA and using us as collateral," he said.

Shooter Nikolas Cruz was not a member of the NRA, an organization that supports enforcement of existing gun laws and safeguards designed to protect us from predators.  Any nerd still living in their parents' basement could have tracked Cruz down.  Blame the FBI, not the NRA.

At Parkland, there were warning signs, enough red flags to have a parade in Moscow.  Many did see things and say things, as the mantra goes, but the FBI, which was notified of the killer's intention posted on social media, was busy chasing Russians and fighting Trump.  The kids in the high school expected that the killer who was expelled would one day return.  Yet the doors were not secured.  In a society awash with cameras and surveillance, no one saw him waking in with a gas mask, smoke grenades, and a weapon.

Your local convenience store has better security.  The question to be asked is not how could this happen, but why is the killer still alive.  Why was there no one in the building able to shoot back?  Why are off-duty cops guarding junk food and soft drinks rather than in these schools, guarding children?  We have enough retired cops and returning veterans to put more than a few in every school.  Critics say that, like guns in the home, would be dangerous.  More dangerous than what, exactly?  The number of armed guards that have engaged in mass shootings remains stuck at zero.  Rush Limbaugh recently commented on the folly of schools not having armed security:

During the February 18 airing of Fox News Sunday Rush Limbaugh referenced the Florida shooting and observed that gun-free school zones mean that attackers are the only ones who are armed

Limbaugh noted how bewildering it is that "we have armed security at virtually every public entity in this country, except schools.  For some reason, they are a gun-free zone and everybody that wants to shoot up a school knows that they are going to be the only one armed." ...

This gun-free scenario led Limbaugh to observe that school shootings will not end until we "get serious" about stopping them, and he painted a distressing picture of what our future holds until we do get serious:

"The next shooter probably has the gun he is going to use. The next shooter is known by many people in his community who are concerned that this guy may do what everybody is afraid he's going to do…We can wish that it weren't this way. We can wish that Congress could legislate it away. But they can't." He observed that student marches and "prayers and condolences" are not going to prevent another shooting either."

No, they are not.  But armed citizens can.

As Investor's Business Daily editorialized after the Aurora, Colorado theater massacre:

Few Americans are aware that in an October 1997 shooting spree at a Pearl, Miss., high school that left two students dead, assistant principal Joel Myrick retrieved a gun from his car and immobilized the shooter until police arrived, preventing further killings.

Or, in another school shooting in January 2002 at the Appalachian School of Law in Virginia, a disgruntled former student killed Law Dean L. Anthony Sutin, associate professor Thomas Blackwell and a student.  Two of the three Virginia law students who overpowered the gunman were armed, preventing further deaths.

Not only would armed security in the schools do more than kumbaya-singing wishful thinking, but the mere uncertainty of whether the shooter would face return fire might deter such crimes.  Killers love gun-free zones, which is why the shooter at an Aurora Colorado movie theater picked a particular one:

John Fund, writing in National Review, notes that the Aurora shooter had a choice of seven movie theaters within a 20-mile drive of his home that were showing the Batman movie he was obsessed with.  The Cinemark Theater he chose wasn't the closest, but it was the only one that banned customers from carrying their guns inside, otherwise allowed under Colorado law.

Instead of guarding our convenience stores with off-duty cops, how about our schools and our children?  Allow concealed carry in schools.  The response time of a bullet from a defender's firearm is a lot quicker than the response time for a 911 call.

Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor's Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine, and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.

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