How to End Mass School Shootings: A Proposal
A friend of mine who lives in San Antonio sent me this leaflet, which has been placed on car windshields at many malls and is being displayed on the websites of gun stores, gun clubs, shooting ranges, a growing number of state representatives, and even a few schools:
I’m not going to tell you my name. You don’t need to know who I am or anything about my family, where we live, etc. I’m also not going to talk about politics, gun laws, or anything else that muddies up the waters. I want instead to talk about hard facts and where they lead. There’s a logic that has always been there about how to end, once and for all, these terrible school shootings.
I’ve thought about this matter for some time. These shooters go after the most precious and defenseless among us, to cause the most fear and rage and to tear the thin social fabric that still remains in America. I’ve watched my son and daughter grow up learning how to handle, care for, and accurately shoot guns of their own. Observing them has taught me much. But before I get to my proposal, I want to stress an important fact that we should all now accept.
The claim that only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with one is dangerous BS. If you believed it once, you can’t believe it now. At Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, a group of 19 “good guys,” trained and armed, stood in the hallway for 45 minutes while the killer methodically went through the classroom killing one child after another. Two of the kids, a boy and girl, repeatedly called 911 for help. If the guy in control told everyone to stand down someone should have pushed him aside and led others in to take out the shooter. Adults totally failed the children. This wasn’t a “tragedy” or a “scandal.” It was a national humiliation. How are other countries supposed to trust that we can protect them when we can’t save our own children from the dark hearts and broken minds our society produces in its decayed moral state?
There’s a way to turn this around. Parents know that even at 7 or 8, children are not helpless infants. They are people. They can think, make decisions, and act. They make mistakes, of course, but if taught well, with consistent discipline, they learn what to do. Those kids who called 911 knew to hit the floor and keep their voices low, not attract the shooter’s attention. That says a lot. Many kids have been in physical tussles, participated in sports, thus in tense situations. They have the ability, in other words, to stay calm and focused when under pressure.
Now put this together with the fact that guns made for kids have been sold in the U.S. since the 1990s. These now include firearms ranging from single-shot bolt action rifles to lever action repeaters and from such reliable makers as Mossberg, Remington, Keystone, Ruger, and Savage. Most are smaller, lighter versions of hunting or target shooters, which would work for the purpose I’m proposing if kids kept them at their desks in a simple holster. Many youth guns come with a scope, which would help in getting a headshot off in a noisy, chaotic classroom. Gunmakers offer models in a variety of colors, including shades of pink for girls.
This year an Illinois company, Wee1 Tactical, began a new trend by bringing out a miniaturized .22 version of the AR-15 (favored weapon of mass shooters). Named the JR-15 (“J” for junior), it has a 16-inch barrel and weighs just 2.2 pounds, so usable by any 8-10 year-old (it’s marketed for teens, but don’t be fooled). Comes with 10- and 15-round magazines, though bigger ones will be figured out and available at gun shows. I’ve also been assured that the safety, which needs adult strength to disengage, can be adjusted to easier use. The JR-15 drew huge attention at this year’s SHOT Show in Caesars Forum, Las Vegas.
Judging by speeches made at this event, and those at the NRA convention by Texas Senator Ted Cruz and President Trump, there should be strong support for my idea in high places. NRA leaders have long tried to help create a country where every citizen has easy, unrestricted access to owning firearms for self-protection: how does it make sense to leave out the most defenseless among us? True, Sen. Cruz’ notion of closing off all but one entrance into schools for safer guarding shows a lack of imagination—and, for a senator, poor knowledge of fire codes. The best idea, not surprisingly, came from President Trump: eliminate gun-free zones around schools. It’s obvious that these are the last places that should be free of weapons.
In the end, fully arming every child and teacher in every classroom is the only real way forward. There’s no doubt this would take time, given legal challenges. The effort should begin in Texas, which has had the second-most school shootings of any state (California is first, but Texas has the right kind of leaders). Either way, the time, effort, and money required would be more than repaid in lives saved and in personal confidence and individual responsibility that America’s children would gain. Imagine, then, a would-be killer who barricades himself in a classroom only to turn and face a bristling mass of rifles in the hands of trained and enraged students!
To rephrase: the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun in a school is to have classrooms of kids ready to take him down.
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