As you mull the question of placing concealed firearms in the hands of voluntary and well-trained teachers, allow me to reiterate there is no “right answer.” But all across America, our best law officials overwhelmingly agree it is the “only answer.” I have searched constantly for an alternative solution since the Valentine’s Day massacre in Parkland, Fla., where 16 children and a selfless assistant football coach were killed by a psychopath who was allowed by our society to fail miserably.
The football coach, a big lovable bear of a guy, was part of the security team at the high school but he was expressly prohibited from carrying a concealed weapon. What if he had been able to return fire? Many legal experts concur that only “a good gun” can stop “a bad gun” in a mass shooting. Reliable statistics and FBI studies show these atrocities last only seconds – not the minutes it takes our best officers to respond.
I got a well-thought email yesterday that suggested making “bullet proof shelters available to every school? They certainly are more appealing in an educational environment than bullet proof backpacks, barbed wire fences, metal detectors, or heavily-armed SROs and faculty!” my friend writes.
This has been suggested in some states, but consider the cost of building bunkers on every school grounds. It is very impractical to believe we can herd 500 frightened children into a bullet-proof facility when – in truth – our current school buildings are strong enough. It is our protection model that is so terribly lacking. This is about seconds, not minutes.
Today’s thinking is to make access into the school a major security item. It is a must and an easy fix. But what those opposing arming teachers --- forget liberal or conservative -- are overlooking is the No. 1 problem – time. You have only seconds to respond when the shooting begins and reaction must be immediate. Secondly, a psychopath -- not on prescribed medicine – can neither comprehend reason nor yield to an authority figure … but it you shoot in his direction (a lot,) he’ll tuck tail and run.
A committee in the Tennessee legislature voted 5-2 on Wednesday to advance a bill that “would allow districts to adopt policies that allow select school staff to voluntarily carry a concealed firearm on school property. One school employee could carry a handgun for every 75 students and would be required to obtain a state permit and undergo 40 hours of training, plus another 16 hours of training annually."
Governor Bill Haslam, shamefully I believe, is against such action, but the funniest reaction comes from the ever-delightful but truly ditzy – in my experience -- Commissioner of Education Candice McQueen. “I have not talked with any teacher who says they want that," McQueen told the Memphis Commercial Appeal's editorial board this week. "So we have to listen to teachers."
She told the newspaper the teachers she has talked to are unanimous in being totally opposed to the suggestion we legally arm some of them to protect our children... "The conversations that I’ve had, it’s more, 'That is not something that I would feel comfortable doing as a teacher....That responsibility for me seems really heavy,'" McQueen said.
That thinking goes against the grain of most who have attended funerals in Florida for the past two weeks. I don’t talk to the type of teachers the commissioner attracts but the majority of my emails are pointedly more concerned about “our children” than shouldering extra responsibility. Any teacher’s foremost goal must be protecting children and without exception, those I have talked to hate guns in schools but agree the alternative is far worse. No child should die because of lack-of-protection. We must consistently over-protect… are you kidding me?
I believe there is not one teacher in Parkland’s school, which resumed classes Wednesday, who wouldn’t have fired a pistol at an attacker if it meant saving just one child’s life. I also am firm in my stance that not one parent – of every child in the school – would not have bodily shielded their child from an insane man’s gun. That parent’s chances are a lot like the weekly lottery – your chances of winning are exponentially greater “if you have a ticket.” That means a gun that can shoot back.
I carry a pistol in certain situations and I can’t imagine, in my wildest dreams, of shooting another human being. That established, what could possibly be worse than watching somebody’s precious daughter shot before your eyes? I’ll tell you what’s worse – being killed with no way to defend yourself or that of a total stranger next to you. When you can’t shoot back, it’s real simple – you die.
In the Texas church shooting (26 massacred in November, 2017), those who cowered and watched a madman shoot and kill any and every single infant who cried, gave thanks to an almighty God when a nearby neighbor heard the gunfire and came running with his weapon. He shot back. At that point the deranged shooter immediately fled for his life, with two armed rescuers in hot pursuit.
The murderer was killed minutes later when his car crashed but there is not a bit of doubt – not by one single expert you can quote -- that innocent people were saved instead of massacred when “the good gun” showed up. Candice McQueen says her teachers don’t want such responsibility. I say, “Compared to what?”
Only “a good gun” can stop a “bad gun” in less than 30 seconds. So help me, I’ve checked everywhere for a better answer and the mighty truth is this: We’ll never stop a shooter until we get the guts to shoot back. Meet force with force. It is the only thing that has ever been successful since the beginning of time.
The children of Hamilton County are ours. I want to keep them safe. Shoot back. Lots.
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Oh my heavens, I must share this. In 2015 there was a very gruesome and horrifying trial in Grand Junction, Co., where Michael Tracy McFadden, after being proven guilty of molesting a wide range of minor girls and boys, was sentenced to 300 years in prison.
That means this proven pervert would have never gotten out of prison until he died. That was the plan. He was described as the sickest and most deranged individual who had ever come before the courts. He would “groom” these kids with ATV rides and dirt bikes until he gained their confidence and then do such unspeakable and savage things to these kids he was unquestionable a monster.
This week he was freed from prison on a technicality. The Colorado Court of Appeals upheld that he had been denied the right to a speedy trial. But his defense team had begged – and approved – a delay at the time, yet on Wednesday, Michael Tracy McFadden waltzed out of state prison – 297 years vacated. What’s more, because the verdict was overturned, McFaddden does not have to register as a sex offender.
Are you kidding me? Follow this one close. If I don’t miss my bet, Michael Tracy McFadden is a dead man walking. Colorado’s bad boys won’t tolerate such. Just watch.