Following Friday’s tragic events, it’s not surprising that Texas Governor Greg Abbot is hosting a roundtable on school security. While he and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick have neither advocated for gun control in the aftermath of the Santa Fe High School shooting, they aren’t playing favorites when it comes to inviting groups to the table.
Beginning Tuesday, advocates on both sides of the gun debate will join students, parents, teachers and legislators in three days of dialogue regarding hardening schools, improving mental health services, arming teachers and enacting stricter firearm regulations after a teenage gunman killed 10 and wounded 13 others at Santa Fe High School on Friday.
“I am seeking the best solutions to make our schools more secure and to keep our communities safe,” Abbott said. “I look forward to hearing from all sides of the debate, and from expert perspectives on these issues. Working together, we can ensure a safe learning environment for students and safer communities for all Texans.”
Texas Gun Sense said Monday Abbott invited the gun control group to participate in the discussions. Executive Director Gyl Switzer called the opportunity “an honor” and said the group will prioritize discussions on universal background checks, safe storage education, extreme risk protection orders and suicide prevention.
Now, I’m going to interrupt here to say that while I disagree on ERPOs and universal background checks–neither of which, even if they were law, would have prevented the attack as best as I can tell–I actually do agree with safe storage education. This is one of those rare things that I do think we should all get behind.
We’re talking education here, reminding people to secure their damn guns so their kids don’t get hold of them. There’s absolutely nothing to oppose about education campaigns except, maybe, funding. If they’re from a private source, so much the better. It’s a win/win.
Then again, this is a Texas gun control group we’re talking about here. They have to know they’re not going to get away with the same stuff they would up in New York or over in California, so they have to look elsewhere. In this case, they found something I can agree with.
Lt. Gov. Patrick, however, wants to focus on hardening schools.
Friday’s shooting at the suburban Houston high school so far hasn’t inspired the same level of activism witnessed after the Parkland massacre in February. Instead, some Texas officials, including Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, think the problem lies in flawed school design.
“There aren’t enough people to put a guard at every entrance and exit. You would be talking twenty-five-, thirty-, forty thousand people,” Patrick said during a press conference Friday. “But if we can protect a large office building or a courthouse or any major facility, maybe we need to look at limiting the entrance and the exits into our schools so that we can have law enforcement looking at the people who come in one or two entrances.”
Patrick knows this won’t be cheap, but I think he may have a good point.
Then again, I’m worried that it will create bottlenecks that may prove tempting targets for a potential shooter as well. After all, if you have everyone going through one or two entrances, they’ll eventually bunch up during peak times. I’ve seen this at my son’s school, which only has two entry points before and after school. As it gets closer and closer to time for school to start, more and more students arrive and they begin to back up before going through the now obligatory metal detectors.
If you going to do something like that, it’s imperative that an armed individual is present just in case something happens. Someone needs to be able to meet that threat with righteous violence.
Regardless of my concerns, Gov. Abbot’s roundtable discussion is probably a good thing. Especially since even their gun control crowd isn’t stupid enough to talk gun bans.