Thursday, October 12, 2006

Teaching Common-Sense School Protection

Dave Kopel of National Review Online wrote an informative article covering school violence. The article covers what has been done since the Columbine murders of 1999, and what still needs to be accomplished to make our schools safe. Mr. Kopel discusses changes in police tactics and the way that the media is now focusing on the victims instead of the killers. He also talks about the anti-bullying programs and new gun control laws that were put into effect. New gun control laws... so what have the new gun control laws done to make our schools safer?

But it is pretty clear that the kinds of laws which were pushed after Columbine (one-gun-a-month in California, special restrictions on gun shows in Colorado and Oregon) are of little value in keeping guns away from people who plan their attacks a long period of time in advance.

Notably, Canada has adopted almost everything (and more) which American anti-gun lobbies have pushed in the United States. Yet this fall’s spate of copycat school shootings began on September 13 in Canada, when Dawson College, in Montreal, was attacked by a 25-year-old man who killed one victim and wounded 19 more, putting two of them into a coma. (Fortunately, two policemen happened to be on campus, and they took immediate action, rather than waiting for a SWAT team to arrive. Their prompt and heroic boldness likely saved many lives.)
That is what I thought, new gun laws have done nothing towards the protection of our schools.

The Kids are not always the killers:

The attacks this fall highlight a problem that was forgotten in the post-Columbine frenzy. There are lots of attacks which are not perpetrated by disaffected students. We knew this in 1988, when 30-year-old Laurie Dann attacked a second-grade classroom in Winnetka, Illinois, and in January 1989, when an adult criminal named Patrick Purdy attacked a school playground in Stockton, California. Or when British pederast Thomas Hamilton killed 16 kindergarteners and a teacher in Dunblane, Scotland.

One reason why adult sociopaths so often choose to attack schools — schools to which they have no particular connection — is that schools are easy targets. It is not surprising that police stations, hunting-club meetings, stateside army bases, NRA offices, and similar locations known to contain armed adults are rarely attacked.
So why are schools easy targets? Schools are easy targets due to the "gun free school zone laws".

Because of the spread of concealed-handgun licensing laws, now in 40 out of 50 states, whenever you walk into a place with a large crowd of people — a restaurant, a theater, a shopping mall — you can safely assume that several people in the crowd will have a license to carry a concealed handgun, and some of them are currently carrying.

Schools are one of the few places in the United States where the government has guaranteed that there will be no licensed, trained adults with a concealed firearm that could be used to resist a would-be mass murderer.

Since this fact is apparently obvious to random psychopaths, it would be very dangerous to assume that the fact is not obvious to terrorists also. Beslan, Russia, shows that terrorists with al Qaeda connections consider schools to be good targets. There is also the danger of self-starting jihadis, such as the man who attacked the Jewish community center in Seattle. Every Jewish school and community center should very seriously consider having at least one full-time security guard.
I think I really like the writing of Dave Kopel, he does a much better job of expressing what I have been trying to say. I even learned something new today:

Like many states, Utah enacted a concealed-handgun licensing law in 1995. Unlike most states, Utah did not make schools an exclusion zone for lawful carrying. Not only a teacher on duty, but also a parent coming to pick up a child from school, can lawfully carry a concealed handgun in a Utah school building — after, of course, passing a background check and safety training. (See Utah Code sect. 76-10-505.5. In 2003, the legislature expanded the law, by allowing principals to authorize firearms possession by individuals who did not have a concealed-handgun carry permit.)

A CHL permit holder can carry on Utah school grounds? I thought there was a federal law against that. It seems that I was wrong.

It is commonly, but incorrectly, believed that the federal Gun-Free School Zones Act creates an insurmountable barrier to arming teachers. Not so. The GFSZA has a specific exemption for persons who have a concealed handgun carry permit from the state where the school is located, if the state requires a background check before issuance of a permit.
Learn something new every day.

Mr. Kopel goes on to cover several things schools can do today to make them safer for our children. This is a very good article, and I highly recommend you go check it out.

Bill from The Ten Ring led me to this article by posting this quote:

Our nation has too many people who are not only unwilling to learn how to protect themselves, but who are also determined to prevent innocent third persons from practicing active defense. A person has the right to choose to be a pacifist, but it is wrong to force everyone else to act like a pacifist. It is the policies of the pacifist-aggressives which have turned American schools into safe zones for mass murderers.
It is well past time to tell the "pacifist-agressives" to pack sand. We need to start working now to get reasonable people nominated in the '08 primaries at both the state and national level. We need to get their names and ideas out now so that they can make it through the primaries and onto the election ballot.

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