EDITORIAL COMMENT

June, 2018

Santa Fe, Texas School Shooting

The network reporter was saying that this was the fifth school shooting incident of the year.  There were eight students and two teachers killed, and many more injured, including one of two school resource officers who held off the shooter for some seven minutes until backup arrived.  He is credited with saving many, many lives.

The reporter continued with the question which is asked by the news media after each of these shootings: "What can we do to make sure this never happens again?"  The answer is always: "much tighter gun controls."  The fact is that we all know that unfortunately it is going to happen again; and no amount of gun controls will prevent it.  It is absolutely true that anyone who wants a gun badly enough, will get a gun!  Or, as many street gangs did back in the '50's and '60's, they will simply make their own guns.

But that is not the point of this editorial.  The network news reporter went on to do a live interview with the Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick.  He put the question of "What can be done?' to the Lieutenant Governor.  Patrick responded with four concrete things which could be done.  It was quite obvious the reporter didn't like any of them.

First, Patrick said, "We must harden our school campuses."  He went on to talk about closing all but one restricted entrance to the school and having that entrance protected; perhaps even with metal detectors.  The Santa Fe school reportedly had a dozen entrances, all of which allowed unrestricted entrance and exit during school hours.  The reporter apparently didn't like that idea, responding that if the students entered by the same entrance every day, and there was a school emergency that required evacuation of the building, the students wouldn't know where the exists were.  Really!  Bias makes people say really weird things.

Second, the Lieutenant Governor suggested the arming of some teachers and school personnel.  That really throws up red flags for those who want more gun control.  The fact is that Texas and half a dozen other states already allow the arming of teachers and personnel under stiff restrictions.  My state, Arkansas, is one of them.  Those who carry concealed weapons must go through training similar to that given at the police academy.  Then, they must go through continuing education each year.  Each local school board decides if they wish to participate in the program or not.  Students, or even outsiders, are going to think again and again before trying to shoot up a school in which they know there are members of the school's staff who are carrying guns.  It has even been stated that in the Santa Fe incident, had a teacher nearby had a concealed weapon, some of the lives that were taken, may have been saved during the time it took for the two school resource officers to get to the area of the school where the shooting was taking place.

I have to stop here for a moment and reflect on the comment of a teacher in the Florida school shooting incident.  She poo-pooed the idea of arming teachers saying that it woud take too long for the teacher to find the key, unlock the gun cabinet, get the gun out and confront the shooter.  She embarrassed herself by her ignorance.  And obviously she should not be one of the staff to carry a gun.  The now trite statement: "The best antidote for a gun is another gun," is true!  So far, and we pray it will continue so, there have been no shootings at schools where it is known that the staff is armed.

Third, Mr. Patrick said, and now we are getting politically incorrect, we need to teach our young people, and society as a whole, to have respect for human life.  Then he went on to talk about abortion.  To take a human life for the convenience of the mother makes human life of no more value than that of an ant.  He went on to suggest that the teaching of evolution in our schools as absolute fact, without giving any alternative, relegates human life to just something a little higher than other animals, and with no real value or purpose than that which one makes themselves.

Finally, the Lieutenant Governor urged every gun owner to keep their guns locked up, and totally unavailable to their children.

It is interesting to note that of all the soundbites used in the news later from that interview, none, except for the hardening of the school facilities, was ever repeated.  I would suggest that shows the bias of the national news media.

One final comment.  When I was in high school (in a northeastern state), you could walk through the school parking lot and see dozens of pick-up trucks in the lot with gun racks; and on those gun racks were shot guns and rifles - anywhere from one to three.  There were occasionally guns in the classroom.  I remember one teacher, before class began, laying a pistol out on the lab counter and showing it to the students.  And, by the way, we did not live somewhere out in the boonies.  We lived in town.  The next block to the north, and on the opposite side of the street was a hospital.  When I was 12 years old, my father bought a shotgun for me; and he also had a hunting gun.  I was not a fan of hunting, and ony went a few times with dad, who also was not much for hunting.  But I had that gun into adulthood and used it for target practice at my parent's rural home (they moved after I graduated from high school).  My sister had an archery target in the backyard, and I used that for target practice.  I believe there were far more guns per-capita back then than there are today.  Oh; and we never heard of a school shooting.
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