Suppose we protected airports as badly as we do schools

Another school shooting, this time in Santa Fe, Texas, with ten dead and even more injured.  Like clockwork, the virtue-signalers are out in force.  Self-proclaimed school safety czar David Hogg is back in front a microphone, lambasting politicians for not doing something to stop gun violence.  Missing are the school students, probably because virtue-signaling is more popular in South Florida than in Texas.

Hogg is echoed by other liberals, from Congress and Hollywood, joining the chorus, criticizing Trump and Republicans.  I don't recall them anywhere nearly as critical of Obama and the Democrats when they were in charge and a mass shooting took place.  They also offer no explanation as to why our nation's schoolchildren remain unprotected in school while these same liberal elites surround themselves and their families with security guards, carrying the same evil guns that teachers shouldn't be allowed to carry.

CNN joined the choir, claiming that a school shooting occurs in the U.S. every week.  In keeping with its fake news nickname, its numbers are bogus.  For example, they include such things as a gang-related shootings on school grounds when the school is closed as a "school shooting."

The knee-jerk reaction to each school shooting is more gun laws.  Never mind that the Santa Fe shooter was underage, he didn't purchase his gun, he didn't have a criminal record, and he didn't use an "assault weapon" – instead, he used his father's handgun and shotgun.  He wasn't an NRA member, either.

Shift away from schools for a moment and look at another public venue that was the source of mass American casualties on September 11, 2001: airports.  Terrorists boarded four domestic flights, armed with jihad and box-cutters, ending their travel day killing nearly 3,000 people.

There was much blame, unfortunately most of it misplaced due to the edicts of political correctness, tolerance, diversity, and other hazards to our safety and well-being.  Low hanging fruit was picked rather than the root causes of such a heinous act.  The government tightened airport security via acts of Congress, new government agencies, and lots of money, all things that Congress is very good at.  The higher hanging fruit was ignored since addressing the "religion of peace" required more effort than either the president or Congress could muster.

The result, however, was to harden and secure our airports.  Despite the travel hassles and delays, we have not had another plane hijacking since 9-11.  Instead we have misbehaving passengers – fighting, urinating on seats, flying with their comfort turkey, fondling their seatmates, and other boorish behavior – acting not in the name of jihad, but instead just poor manners and decency.

What if we chose to follow the approach of schools in protecting airports and airplanes?  Forget the TSA and onerous security checks at airports.  What might that look like?

Using school safety as a model, the TSA would not even exist.  As an agency within the Department of Homeland Security, neither the TSA nor DHS would be around today, as they were both created after and in response to 9-11.  Members of Congress would have never authorized such an agency for fear of placing guns in airports.  What if a bad guy got a hold of one of those guns?  There are children in airports, too.  All the reasons we can't arm teachers would be made for not having armed security personnel in airports.

Instead, we would have banned box-cutters as these were the weapons of choice of the 9-11 jihadis.  Airports would proudly hang signs declaring themselves to be "box-cutter-free zones."  Pocket-sized Swiss Army knives might fall under the ban as well.

Metal-detectors would be removed from airports.  Armed security guards, roaming the terminals, would be verboten.  There certainly would not be any air marshals on flights, inconspicuous but ready to react if necessary.  There would also be no need to secure airplane cockpit doors.

If another plane was hijacked using a box-cutter or knife, there would be calls for more bans, tougher laws, and larger "box-cutter-free zone" signs at the airport entrance.  Organizations doing business with the "National Box-Cutter Association" would be boycotted.  If a gun was used to bring down an airplane, calls would go out for tougher gun laws or repealing the Second Amendment.

Metal-detectors in schools, armed teachers, armed undercover school resource officers, and other measures used routinely in airports and airplanes are pooh-poohed as ineffective and dangerous.  Yet that is exactly how we keep air travel safe.

Why not learn a lesson from the airline industry?  After suffering a mass casualty event, they changed the laws and regulations, preventing a repeat occurrence.  One can argue about the effectiveness or efficiency of the TSA, but most of us feel safe flying, with the biggest fear being a smelly or handsy seatmate.

Since the Columbine High School shooting, less than two years before 9-11, school security has not changed appreciably, with predictable results.  The school shootings continue – Sandy Hook, Parkland, now Santa Fe.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.  That's just what we do for our schools and our children, rather than a new and effective approach as demonstrated by the air travel industry.  Don't our schoolchildren deserve similar protections?

Brian C Joondeph, M.D., MPS is a Denver-based physician and writer.  Follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

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