Proactive action needed by schools

To the editor:

The recent school shooting in Newtown, Conn. has understandably kicked up a lot of debate on how to prevent these types of tragedies. Unfortunately, much of the attention in the media seems to be focused once again on futile, ineffective and unconstitutional tightening up of our gun control laws rather than on observing more thoughtfully what the actual problem is and fixing that.

It seems pretty obvious to us that the sick, angry people who do these things choose schools largely because they know nobody there is armed to oppose them. While certainly their own eventual death must be a part of the plan, if that was the only goal then they would simply shoot themselves at home and be done with it. What they want is to carve their names into the history books in this twisted fashion, by racking up as high a “score” as possible before making their own exit. Since the “gun-free” nature of our schools is so universal and so widely known, a school presents the perfect place to carry out such a plan uninterrupted.

As parents of three children, two of whom currently attend school here locally, the thought of even “friendly” bullets bouncing around our schools is something we do take very seriously. But if a killer of this type ever gets into our school, it is better for someone inside the school to take action proactively, even if that action is accompanied by some risk, than for everyone to hide and wait for external help as lives are lost one by one.

Full-time dedicated armed guards seem like too much for most schools, but there needs to be some form of viable resistance built into each school, both to interfere with such rampages in progress and to create a deterrent effect that discourages them from ever being started in the first place.

We would like to see a program where willing and carefully screened teachers received the necessary professional safety training to be entrusted with firearms in the school building, under the condition that those firearms would always be stored in special gun safes that would require both biometric fingerprint ID and a numerical combination to open. Such gun safes could be bolted to the walls in offices, lounges, or locked closets not accessible to students.