Last April we published an article about guns in school in the aftermath of a shooting at an elementary school in San Bernardino, California. That tragic event occurred about the same time our very own North Dakota Legislature trashed Rep. Dwight Kiefert’s (R – District 24) House Bill 1390, which would have allowed a highly regulated option for local school districts to choose individuals to conceal carry in their schools.
As part of that article, I wrote this:
“While upgrades to school security systems, counseling for mental illness, and training of staff and administration in recognizing warning signs in potentially high risk individuals is valuable; it all misses the point. What is the point? Once a shooter gains access to a school, NONE of those things matter. At that moment, everyone – especially students – are little more than sitting ducks.
“In a situation where teachers and students are locked in their rooms, under current North Dakota law they are to sit and await their doom– should the shooter get through the door. Compare this to a classroom where a teacher could have access to a gun and at least stands a fighting chance in defending their students as the perpetrator comes through the door. Seems like common sense to me. I know which situation I would prefer.”
Unfortunately, for students at a high school in Parkland, Florida yesterday, this was exactly the case– many of them were left sitting in their classrooms like sitting ducks awaiting their doom. You can see actual video footage of students hunkered down with gun shots ringing out here.
According to reports, the alleged 19-year-old lunatic who perpetrated the violence – killing 17 and wounding 14 others – started the mayhem outside the school and then entered it. And as reported by NBC News, “For more than an hour, the school was at the mercy of a gunman on the loose.”
It’s interesting to note, that the school’s superintendent told media that there are typically two police cars on campus on a daily basis. Yet, it wasn’t enough.
As part of the article we ran less than a year ago, I also wrote this:
“How many San Bernardino’s do we need to wake people up to the fact that current policies are not enough and that the last line of defense in our schools really isn’t any defense at all. A call to 911 typically results in responders cleaning up after a tragedy, not preventing it.”
While North Dakota cannot do anything in terms of changing laws in Florida – or any other state for that matter – we can do something for ourselves. Thus far, we’ve had a legislature that’s too gutless to develop and embrace legislation that would truly make our children safer and at least give them a fighting chance in situations like these.
What I’m calling for isn’t the introduction of the Wild West into our school systems. Suggesting that’s the case is simply ridiculous. However, I am calling for North Dakota’s Legislature to do something to give local school district’s the authority to adopt policies that will give people a last line of defense in horrendous situations like the one that occurred in Florida yesterday. Failure to do so is simply irresponsible and unacceptable.