Houston schools make big move to protect students

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

When we talk about the urban-rural divide, we typically view it as a difference in how the two groups view guns. After all, big cities tend to favor gun control while rural folks don’t.

Houston is a big city. Very big, with a population of 2.3 million people.

Based on how things are, you’d expect to see a lot of gun control talk from folks there. That’s especially true when it comes to schools, where the Second Amendment may or may not be taught, but it’s generally welcomed.

Yet the Houston Independent School District just made an interesting move.

Houston Independent School District (HISD) approved over $2 million in funding for rifles, ballistic shields, ammunition, and communication devices for school resource officers throughout the district.

On August 15, 2022, noted the money is earmarked for “200 rifles, 200 ballistic shields, rifle ammunition and two-way radios.”

The move came after HISD Police Chief Pedro Lopez indicated that “his department was not adequately equipped to respond to an active shooter situation.”

The vote to designate the money for the rifles, ammo, etc., passed by a vote of 6-3.

Now, these are for school resource officers and not general staff, which obviously makes this far more palatable to people in a city like Houston, but it’s still a significant step forward.

Look, the truth is that if people are going to bring rifles onto school grounds and start shooting up the place, it only makes sense for the officers charged with protecting these places to have similar equipment. While a single person with a pistol can put down a rifle-armed gunman, that’s not ideal.

Putting rifles in SRO’s hands may make the difference in a number of cases.

The fact that this happened in Houston is interesting, though.

Yes, these are police officers rather than literally any other people, but if the AR-15 is a “weapon of war” as many anti-gunners claim, why would the Houston ISD buy them for SROs? Who would approve of “weapons of war” on our school campuses?

It’s as if this is a tacit admission by this particular school board that these are tools that can be used to defend human life from those who wish to take them.

And yes, this has the potential to save lives.

Look, school shootings may seem common, but that’s because of our interconnected world with a 24-hour news cycle that’s desperate for content. They make every shooting into a massive thing and then try to ride it up until the next mass shooting.

So school shootings feel common, but how many people do you know who actually experienced such a thing, either by being there or knowing one of the victims of such an event? Few people actually experience that. I have, so it would be easy for me to think it’s common, but it’s really not.

Yet the problem is that despite their rarity, all it takes is one event to shatter any feelings of safety that we may have.

Putting the best tools in the hands of those tasked with protecting these places is only logical. It’s something that shouldn’t be news at all.

It’s unfortunate that it is.

Students in Houston ISD are going to be a whole lot safer. What’s more, since this is news, it means students in Houston are also far less likely to be targeted by some maniac looking to slaughter people in job lots. After all, he can’t do that if an SRO perforates his skull before he can do much of anything.

That’s a win for everyone, and I applaud the Houston ISD school board for putting “weapons of war” in their schools. It will save lives, even if you never see them fired outside of the gun range.