It started out as any normal Valentine’s Day at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. There would have been a great deal of “love in the air” on that Wednesday. Then all Hell broke loose.
Just before the school buses would begin to roll to take the children home a lone gunman decided to start shooting. The maniac had been a student at that school so he was familiar with the routines, the buildings, and the targets. He had been expelled from the school for his bad behavior.
There had been calls by citizens to the Broward County Sheriff about this boy and there had been calls to the FBI about his on line postings, his rants, his actions and his ownership of a small arsenal. We have been told more than once that, “if we see something, say something.” The citizens and neighbors did their part - they said something. The sheriff and the FBI dropped the ball. In fact; the FBI office did not even notify the Broward County field office of any of the reports.
The school is a “gun-free zone” due to the actions of legislators who thought this was wise. After the incident at Columbine I looked at my little one-room school in Hornitos and wondered how I could protect my students from an intruder.
I knew it would take 15-20 minutes for a deputy to arrive so I tried to develop a plan. My only solution to having a defense against an armed intruder would be to have a weapon and to have it close by at all times. The solution would be a concealed weapon. I called the sheriffs in Madera County and Mariposa County and they both stated they would have no problem issuing me such a permit - but they also stated that I could never take a weapon on a school campus. That was the law. So much for the plan. My only hope then was that an intruder would never find the school in Hornitos.
I can’t tell folks what the plan for each school should be. Large schools with limited access points could get by with metal detectors. Large schools with many access points and entrances are vulnerable.
What I know is that the mass shootings that have plagued us seem to occur at places that are declared “gun free zone.” The cowardly killers know that nobody will be able to fight back. We have to revisit how we can provide armed security to schools. There is no “one size fits all” plan. There are more than 25,000 high schools in this country.
We also need to have an investigation into what happened that allowed the notifications to slip through the cracks. Manpower shortage? Lack of detail follow-up?
We also need to step back from the hysteria and look at facts before placing blame. It isn’t the NRA and it isn’t the president. The weapon used by this creep is not the commonly used weapon. Handguns and rifles are used to kill more people.
We hear of 30,000 people killed by guns each year. Look at the stats and you find that 20,000 are by suicide. More than 8,000 are gang and drug crime related. While 2,000 murders are 2,000 too many keep the facts in mind.
There were 17 deaths that day which is sad enough however there was the killing of the innocence of millions of school kids that day.
We need to develop a trust between all the stake holders and come to an agreement on how to protect our kids and ourselves.
Pray for all the victims of Stoneman Douglas High School.