A bill working its way through the Arizona Legislature would allow school employees to carry (and by extension) use guns on campus if faced with an armed threat.
Predictably, the “what if” scenarios sprang forth with hyperbole and demonization coming from both sides of the debate. I do not claim to know if guns on campus would prevent or cause the next school shooting, but here’s what we do know: The genesis of the latest round of gun control/gun advocacy conversation is a result of the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. “If” this is the example of school violence, let’s look at what worked and what didn’t work.
1. We learned today that police have gathered evidence that the shooter was obsessed by mass killings and specifically chose Sandy Hook Elementary it was “the easiest target” with “the largest cluster of people”.
2. By all accounts the school was reasonably secure with modernized locks, gates and limited access points. The shooter used a firearm to blast through glass and gain access.
3. Once inside, the shooter had a nearly unobstructed path to kill and harm unarmed adults and children, and did so to a sickening level.
4. According to the information released to date, police arrived roughly 20 minutes after the initial 9-1-1 call of shots fired inside the school.
5. The shooter, upon seeing the armed police presence, takes his own life as opposed to engaging or surrendering to police.
This scenario is not that unusual from the point that mass killers go about killing until they are faced with an equal threat (read: somebody else with a gun). Substitute Sandy Hook for Columbine, Virginia Tech or any number of these horrific events and some common threads start to show appear. Shooters chose areas where they thought there was a large amount of potential targets that would pose little to no resistance and the minute they were met with resistance they took their own lives.
I can understand the argument for continuing to ban guns from schools, but in doing so realize the message sent to would-be criminals is the same message the shooters in these other school shootings got loud and clear.