Is There a Solution to School Shootings?
Last week's school shooting Santa Fe, which resulted in ten deaths, is only the latest in a series of school shootings over the last several years, and only three months after the infamous Parkland, Florida shooting on Valentine's Day. As with that shooting, many are attempting to politicize the issue in order to push various agendas.
We see this same vicious cycle after every modern shooting – the left lobbies for gun control, and the right counters. As a college student, one of the most common complaints I hear is that the right doesn't have any solutions to the problem – that the right just wants to sit back and do nothing. This is patently untrue and ignores the plethora of potential fixes that have been forwarded by those on the right. Nonetheless, I do not believe we can just sit back and hope the school shootings will stop with time. While gun control is not the answer, neither is doing nothing.
So, in light of these recent shootings, what can we do to secure our schools apart from gun control? To answer that, let's look at another public institution: airports. How many shooting incidents have occurred at airports in recent decades? Very few. In fact, if you look globally, only 22 shootings have occurred at airports since the tightening of security following 9-11. By contrast, the New York Times reports that there have been over 200 shootings (16 of which can be classified as mass shootings) in the United States alone since Sandy Hook in 2012.
This raises the question: why do potential shooters seem to favor schools as opposed to airports, which see far more traffic than schools? The answer may be the difference in security the two receive.
According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), $7.6 billion a year goes to airport security. By contrast, in 2016, the U.S. spent approximately $907 million on school security, according to the Wall Street Journal. Of course, airports require more security because of the constant flow of new passengers, but in the United States, there were 5,136 public airports as of 2016, compared to 98,271 public schools in the United States in the 2013-14 school year. The effects of this wide disparity in public funding for security becomes apparent in the spotty presence of armed guards at schools. According to a study cited by the Guardian, only 43% of schools have an officer present at least once a week. This suggests that 57% of schools do not have a security guard present on a regular basis.
There are those who say bringing in a large presence of armed guards won't stop school shootings. This is nonsense.
We do not see the same people protesting more school security also objecting to security at government institutions, the New York Stock Exchange, and – as we already discussed – airports. Other than the common complaints of lengthy airport security lines and the occasional overly inquisitive guard, people understand that these measures are necessary in defending these facilities against terrorists and deranged criminals.
So why is there so much pushback against schools being armed?
Well, some of it comes down to the common opposition people have toward change and the left's ignorance on security and human nature. However, the more pressing motivation behind the opposition is the fact that if more armed security prevents shootings, then it is reasonable to suggest that good guys with guns do in fact stop bad guys with guns.
So, in short, here are some solutions to the problem:
- More funding for school security.
- Better training for security guards – as was made apparent by the Parkland shooting.
- More funding for mental health institutions and prisons.
- Allow teachers who have a concealed carry permit to carry their weapons on campus.
- Don't mention the shooter's name or show his picture – there is no need to give the shooter any more attention than necessary. Such measures have already been undertaken by some media outlets, the Daily Wire being one of the first examples.
- As a long-term goal – educate young people on responsibility and values in their education in order to create more upstanding citizens and fewer shooters.
In the end, our kids are our greatest asset. To argue against protecting our schools is to argue for leaving the next generation of leaders and citizens at the mercy of crazed individuals. If the left truly believes we should do something, then surely this is the most reasonable solution.
Consider one more thing: there was an attempted school shooting in Illinois that occurred just a few days before the shooting we saw in Texas, one that received very little media coverage. At the Dixon High school, a former student and potential mass shooter arrived and fired upon the resource officer at the school. The shooter was injured in the exchange and fled – a potential disaster averted by the presence of a single, well trained officer, Mr. Mark Dallas.