A politician, with the support of the National Rifle Association, fairly recently suggested that we spend hundreds of millions of dollars in federal grants to place more police officers in schools and help even the youngest kids cope with their problems.
And liberals did not have a conniption fit.
Its true. That was in 2000, by then President Bill Clinton, who on the one year anniversary of Columbine suggested that the country consider a national program to place more armed guards in schools to protect our children. Clinton unveiled the $60-million fifth round of funding for “COPS in School,” a Justice Department program that helps pay the costs of placing police officers in schools to help make them safer for students and teachers. The money was to be used provide 452 officers in schools in more than 220 communities. During its duration, the program placed almost 3,000 armed officers in a thousand schools nationwide.
The nerve of that gun-loving extremist.
The public, as usual, is far ahead of the media and liberal politicians on this issue. Several polls show the public is solidly behind this idea as well. In a Pew poll, 64% of Americans support having armed guards in schools. However, 57% do oppose arming teachers and other staff. A recent Rasmussen poll showed the following results:
Fifty-four percent (54%) of American adults would feel safer if their child’s school had an armed security guard. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 26% would feel safer if their child attended a school where no adults were allowed to have guns. Another 20% are undecided.
Among parents of school-aged children, support for armed guards is even higher. Sixty-two percent (62%) of such parents would feel safer with an armed security guard at the school, while 22% would feel safer if their child attended a gun-free school.
This issue is an issue where Democrats previously have had a lot of support for this idea. Forget Bill Clinton, who now appears far to the right of the core of the Democrat Party. Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer were actually proponents of federal funding for more armed guards, especially after the Columbine incident. Obama often talks about old ideas supported by both parties…well, this is a classic example. That is why after there was an immediate knee jerk reaction to NRA President Wayne LaPierre’s suggestion of more armed guards in schools, the Obama Administration is reconsidering the proposal. The rumors are that Vice President Biden now supports a small scale program along the lines of Clinton’s earlier endeavor.
I personally oppose a federal program for this, however. There is absolutely no reason for Federal funding to be involved, except to allow politicians to appear like they are doing something. This should be a local issue, district by district, and frankly, school by school. Even in a single district, I would prefer parents have a choice to send their kids to schools without armed guards, if they prefer, if it is possible within reason. Furthermore, a third of all states (18, to be precise) allow teachers and others to carry guns with the appropriate permits, and all 50 states and the District of Columbia have measures supporting armed guards in schools if necessary.
One complaint I have heard is that it is not fiscally feasible. I am not so sure. Approximately 1/3 of all schools have armed guards already. The nation has slightly less than 100,000 schools. If you estimate the cost of placing guards in each school at $100,000 per school, the cost per year would be $10 billion. That is probably a high end estimate as well, considering that many districts already place police at schools, and could shift already paid for policemen to school duty. Furthermore, think of paying this on a local level. If the average school has 500 students, the cost to pay for security for each student is $200. In the scheme of all of our safety initiatives, this would be by far one of the most cost effective measures we could think of.
This is one of many, many issues where it is clear how far left the Democrat Party has moved. When their idol, Bill Clinton, fought for this cause during his presidency, and where a majority of Americans still support such common sense solutions, and yet liberals decry it as outlandish, and the media remains as clueless as ever. But their views does not change the fact that of all the real world solutions provided for the safety of our children in school, this is the only one that may have prevented the recent tragedy in Connecticut.
Dr. Robert Bernat, in an editorial in the Wall Street Journal, stated the problem most eloquently, despite being a supporter of more liberal gun control:
What happened at Sandy Hook was not the failure to plan; it was the failure of the plan. The teachers and administrative staff executed their school district’s plan heroically in trying to save lives, some at the loss of their own. Police departments changed their policies after Columbine and now rush to the source of an incident inside a school building at great risk to themselves. But a major flaw in such plans persists to this day—namely that it takes just a few unguarded minutes for a catastrophe to unfold.
Some criticize putting our children in an ‘environment of violence’. I say to them they are living in an alternate reality. In a world where 1st graders are being killed and our children see the evidence on the news; in an era when they play video games and watch movies with far more violence than anything they will witness in their school; what lies are we telling ourselves as parents to make us sleep easier at night?
No solution is perfect. But from all the imperfect solutions so far suggested, by far the one that has the best chance of actually saving lives is this one. Why there is such opposition from some quarters based on this reliable fact is beyond me.
This was cross posted at the Spitcracker Picayune.