Open Forum: Preparation
Posted: February 8, 2013
In response to the Newtown massacre, we have been barraged with political rhetoric about gun control. I agree that something needs to be done about school safety, but I do not believe that impinging on Second Amendment rights in response to the crazed behavior of a madman is the answer. I therefore offer an alternative solution.
Ever wonder why cops, firemen, pilots, and race drivers handle danger so well? Ever wonder why engineers and scientists are so good at math? Ever wonder why so few people ever perish from fires in public buildings, hotels, and schools? There is a one-word answer to all these questions: training. People in difficult professions never stop training.
The last school death due to fire was more than 50 years ago, because schools are prepared and they train. Schools have sprinkler systems, fire extinguishers, and fire-alarm boxes all over the place, and, most importantly, firemen, school officials, teachers, and kids continually practice fire drills.
When the alarm goes off, everyone knows what to do and where to go. The firemen have blueprints of every school and know their way around. The kids know which route and which exit to use and where to gather for roll call. The teachers and staff know where their stations are and guide the kids in a coordinated effort.
Now then, isn’t it obvious what we need to do to keep our school kids safe from maniacs who want to shoot up the schools? We need to train the police, school staff, teachers, and kids what to do in the event of an attack. Every school needs a detailed plan that is developed with the police. The police need to know those plans and the school layouts so they’ll know where everything and everyone is when they get to the school.
The schools need to be outfitted with emergency alarms and communications: intercoms in every room with alarms that will notify police and allow both teachers and kids to speak to the correct person and inform them what’s happening. Teachers need to know where to take the kids and hide them.
Every school should have armed, trained professionals to respond immediately to any attack. These should be professionals, not rent-a-cops. How about retired military special-ops folks? Although no one should ever be forced to carry or use arms, if any teacher or staff member volunteers to do so, they should be encouraged, undergo appropriate training, be licensed with concealed-carry permits, and then integrated into the school defense plan.
Instead of posting “Gun Free Zone” around our schools, thereby making maniacal gunmen feel safe, we should post, “This Is a Safe School Protected From Attack.”
All this will be expensive. So what? We currently spend between $7,000 and $12,000 a year per student. That’s millions and millions for each school, much of which goes to administration. Surely we can find some places to cut a little administration and spend the money instead on school security.
And if it means my property taxes go up a little, so be it. I’ll chip in my part.
Joe Fluet is a resident of Frederick County.