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While so much of the post-Parkland discussion has revolved around guns, there’s always been the counter that part of the solution is to harden our schools. Right now, they’re way too easy for a gunman to access as evidenced by the sheer number of school shootings we’ve seen and that I’ve personally talked about. While they’re not the epidemic the anti-gunners claim, even one incident is too many.
But the fixation on banning guns has been bizarre. The tunnel vision by anti-gun zealots has distracted people way too much from more meaningful and actionable things we could be doing.
Congress, however, reacted quickly and set aside funds for schools to harden themselves. It seems that some are now taking advantage of that money.
Amid the rolling farmland of southwest Iowa sits the 7,800-population town of Creston, where the school district boasts of a “state-of-the-art school safety and security system” with a command center to monitor nearly 200 cameras, or roughly one for every seven students.
But the school superintendent isn’t done yet, thanks to a $500,000 grant from a program Congress stuffed into an omnibus spending bill a year ago. He plans to buy mobile metal detectors that could also be set up at football games, a shooter alert system that can sense when a gun goes off in one of the three schools and notify police, a “panic button” system and a new entry system.
“We have a lot of money invested already in our safety and security, but this will really round out and really advance what we’re doing in terms of tightening up security,” superintendent Steve McDermott told Radio Iowa in December.
Communities across the country are starting to spend the first of nearly $1 billion over 10 years that Congress designated a year ago to improve school safety after the deaths of 17 people at a Parkland, Florida, high school — the only federal law to address mass shootings at schools.
However, it should also be noted that this may be the only federal law needed to address mass shootings.
If it’s not, it’s on the right path.
Guns are not and never have been the problem. The problem is that something is very wrong with the minds of far too many people in this day and age. I’m not going to scream “mental illness” or anything, but something is broken inside of anyone who would carry out an attack like Parkland, Las Vegas, or New Zealand.
The problem is that we can’t do anything until we’re given a reason. You can just look at someone, decide they’re going to become a school shooter, and then act despite them having done nothing wrong. That’s half the problem with red flag laws; they punish people who haven’t done anything. Most people who are hit with red flag laws won’t be potential mass shooters. They’ll be depressed or angry people who will only end up more depressed and angry.
The Thousand Oaks shooting in California–a state that’s had red flag laws for years now–should show they’re not the ultimate answer. That incident should also show that gun control isn’t either.
But these schools being hardened may well do more to protect the kids within than anything else the federal government could do. Schools are considered soft targets in a lot of ways, but these funds are changing that.
Some critics complain about kids going to schools in prisons, but that’s not a fair comparison. Yes, these schools are becoming more fortress-like, but with our children inside, I’m OK with that. Vaults are meant to protect things, after all.