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The story from reporter Michael Goot now up on our website about South Glens Falls school officials who want guards stationed in the school on Election Day exhibits the futility of using armed officers to protect people from disturbed shooters.

Simply, we have too many people gathering in public places too often to be able to protect them with armed guards.

Any one suggestion for armed protection seems to make sense: Let's protect our schoolkids on Election Day, when lots of strangers are entering the school. 

But almost immediately, you can think of many other times when schoolkids would be easy targets, such as open houses, school art shows, school concerts and musicals, school sporting events, school graduations (some of which are held outside) and school fairs.

Are we going to hire armed guards for all these events also, and if we do, who is going to pay for them?

Are we going to figure out ways to guard against homemade bombs at all these events, too? Are we going to set up fences around our outdoor graduation ceremonies and force everyone to walk through metal detectors to get in?

And that is only school events. What about the many crowded public events staged in our community every year — the Fourth of July concert in Crandall Park, the balloon festival launches in Crandall Park and at the airport, the fireworks in Lake George, the Polar Plunge in Lake George, the triathlon in Lake George, the Memorial Day parade in Glens Falls, the holiday parade in South Glens Falls and so on.

All these events take place outside, draw large crowds and have little or no security. It would be a near-impossible and a tremendously expensive task to make any one of them safe from a murderous shooter or bomber. It is simply not worth trying, not when you consider how rare such attacks are.

You should also consider, when contemplating such things, how much more dangerous other activities are, like allowing teenage drivers on the roads.

Raise the driving age from 16 to 20 and you would save so many more lives.

In 2015 in the U.S., 47 people died and 31 were injured in mass shootings.

In 2015 in in the U.S., 2,333 people aged 16-19 were killed in car crashes and 235,845 were injured.

Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control, and teens 16 to 19 are nearly three times more likely than people 20 and older to be involved in a fatal crash.

Teenage drivers put not only themselves but everyone else on the road at risk.

I'm not saying we should raise the driving age, but if we are determined to do something costly and difficult to protect the lives of our children, not to mention everyone else, this is the thing to do.

Hiring armed guards to protect against the remote chance that someone will attack a school on Election Day, or during any other event that draws big crowds, is a poor use of money.

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Will Doolittle is projects editor at The Post-Star. He may be reached at and followed on his blog, I think not, and on Twitter at



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