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Saturday, March 9, 2013

Sandy Hook Observations: After the fact, Part 3

 I was going to do all of them in one blog, but it is a daunting task and there are so many, so I decided to break them up and do one every week or two. I realize that most are sick of it all by now and either way they don't want to read a 30 minute blog. So, I broke them up. At the end of this blog, I will list the first two if you wish to read them.

Here is the third one.

It has now been 11 weeks since the tragedy at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Connecticut. They say time heals all wounds. We could debate that, but time does seem to take the sting out of them. As time passes, the emotion of that day and the week or two that followed has given way to lots of discussion and debate. And as it stands now, pretty much the status quo and a return to how it was before. That is what almost always happens in these types of situations. Will there ever be any concrete, tangible changes because of what happened at Sandy Hook? I doubt it. But at least for a short time it brought those issues to the surface like no other event since 9/11.
There were so many layers to this story and all the hysteria and debate it caused. When you boil it down however, Sandy Hook was the act of one very disturbed 20 year old and the tragic loss of 28 lives. Yes, I wrote 28, because I include Adam Lanza in that. He was human and I am sure if he had his choice he would not have wanted to been born broken and disturbed. That isn't really what this blog is about, but I wanted to mention that right off the top. A lot of people lost their lives on December 14th, 2012 and millions of others will be forever effected in some way. 
This blog however is about some observations I had in relation to what happened before and after the incident. Some bear on what did happen, but only indirectly.

3) If we had armed guards in schools, malls, theaters, stadiums..etc...things would be safer and innocent people wouldn't get shot.

"Every mom and dad would feel better if we have a police officer in that school. A good guy...with a protect them."

 -Wayne LaPierre

This statement brought up so many points I could write 10 blogs on it. But basically it all boils down to one thing: Do you want to live in a society that requires armed guards just about everywhere, to ensure our safety, all the time knowing that wouldn't work anyway?
I don't. 
But just for arguments sake,  lets hash out the probabilities anyway. 
What if we put armed guards at the door of every school in the United States?
First off, what would that cost? If your taxes went up 5% a year, would you be willing to pay that? I wouldn't. I doubt most would. But lets say they would pay for it. Then what?
Well, unless there is just one entrance to the school, which would be foolish considering the chance of fire, then we would need 2 or 3 armed guards minimum to cover all bases. So, now our taxes are up 10%. Would you pay that? I wouldn't. But lets say we would.
What about the windows? Couldn't a crazed gunman just come up beside the classroom, with the same AK-47 and start shooting? What would the guard do about that? Should we take all the windows out of every school and every classroom? Why don't we just make them jails while we are at it. 
Aren't we teaching kids that school is not a safe place to be if we start doing these things? Of course we are. Is that the message we want to send to kids? I don't think it is. 
School is a place to learn. They will learn and also they will become aware that there is some risk to anything, albeit extremely a low risk when it comes to school shootings. Because in reality, it almost never happens.
But lets say that we close all the windows. We now, theoretically, have all the doors and windows covered. But you have to get the kids there and get them home. The vast majority of parents can't and don't take their kids to school. They take the bus. Should we now put armed guards on the school bus? Would that even matter? What if the crazed person went in the middle of the night and put a bomb under one of the seats. Can we stop that too? Should we even try? 
Lets say we could. We could stop that. Kids have to get off the bus and go home at some point. When 4 or 5 kids get off the bus and start to walk, can't the crazed person get them then? And do they even need a gun? No, they don't. They could just use a car. Should we take all cars away and licenses away? 
Yes, so now lets do that. Can't the gunman just get a knife and walk right up and stab the kids to death on the street? Of course he/she can..and will. Where does it end?
Lets suppose this all works. Now teachers can carry guns too. Do they always have to be mindful of where their guns are? Sure they do. Because what if some kid took it and began playing around with it at recess, as kids are want to do. How can they concentrate on teaching, which is their actual job? They can't.   
 In life we understand that we take certain risks. Acceptable risks based on the probability that they will work out in our favor.
Driving a car on a daily basis is one of those. Will we get in an accident at some point. Yes, that is likely. Will we die from that accident? Some will, but very few and we aren't likely to do long as we are careful drivers and we avoid high risk areas and weather conditions.
Flying on an airplane is another. Are we likely to crash? Highly unlikely. The odds are stacked against that happening. But if we do crash, we are likely to die. We accept that risk when we aim to go to places quickly that we otherwise would not be able to go to.
What is the likelihood that our children will be shot by a gunman in school, or ourselves in a movie theater? Less likely than dieing in a car accident and certainly infinitely less than crashing in an airplane. That doesn't mean it wont happen. It will. At some point in the future, some crazed gunman is going to do again what Adam Lanza did. You can count on that. And that is a tragedy. But an even bigger tragedy would be taking a knee jerk reaction and depriving our kids of a proper education,  one in which they don't pass an armed guard at the front door of the school. An armed guard who is highly unlikely to ever encounter a crazed gunman, but very much more likely to get into a confrontation with a rowdy student and shoot him/her where they otherwise would not be able to.
Can we make schools safer? Maybe. There is always room for improvement. Can we stop a crazed gunman from killing a bunch of kids if he/she wants to, really, really wants to? No. We cannot. If schools become safer in some way because of this, then that is great. If this results in more armed guards at the front of schools, then that is one of the worst results of this tragedy.
Some people will always be harmed, in this case shot. There is nothing we can do about that. When you have a country of 350 million people a certain percentage will get shot, armed guards or not. 

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