I have practical questions for those who believe armed guards are the solution to America’s school shooting crises: What should the ratio of guard to student be? How are they hired and trained? Who pays? How much?
If we successfully staff every hallway in every school with guards and a would-be shooter takes aim at the parent and bus drop-off area, do we expand the guarded perimeter? Only at arrival and dismissal times? What about sports practice, game days, outdoor recess? Do we expand patrols again or do away with those activities? What about routes to and from school? A shooter could be in a car or overhead in a nearby building.
If we invest in armed patrol drones to cover broader and higher areas, how will the drones reliably distinguish between potential guards and potential shooters? If civilians can carry military-style rifles, it won’t be easy to identify who’s who, especially during a violent event. And, not coincidentally, well-intentioned bullets are as deadly as evil-intentioned.
Of course, we can keep expanding guarded areas. Our policy makers can devote our resources to training and hiring guards, purchasing weaponry and body armor. We can keep responding to increasingly frequent shootings with increased armed defensive measures. There’s a lot of money to be made for somebody in this approach.
We can see every public gathering place as a target to be hardened, and we can picture for ourselves what that will inevitably look like. It’s a lot broader a vision than armed guards in schools. So we also need to ask ourselves as one country, is this how we want to live?
The weapons proliferation strategy hasn’t been a solution yet. It’s time to try doing the opposite.
Marie Ann Cherry, Cambridge