In the past several weeks — following 26 deaths in the Dec. 14 Sandy Hook Elementary massacre in Newtown, Conn. — there has been outcry for more protective measures in our schools.
Frankly, I question these proposals’ practicality.
Before I go further, I am an ardent supporter of our Second Amendment and the privileges that I and every other American derive from that portion of our constitution.
I support the idea that, if deemed worthy, someone should be allowed to carry a concealed weapon.
In fact, for one’s self-protection, I believe that a concealed weapon should be allowed wherever the carrier chooses to go.
I believe that one loses the desired degree of protection if the weapon of choice must be left elsewhere if admission to certain facilities or functions is desired.
To protect students, educators and staff members, there have been those who have advocated a host of protective measures.
I read one piece in which it was suggested that every school campus be entirely fenced in, with razor wire atop the 10-foot-high fences. Innumerable individuals have suggested that both educators and other adults in schools be trained and armed.
Others have gone so far as to suggest that National Guardsmen be stationed at all our school facilities and various events.
I understand these suggestions’ driving motivation, but I wonder if those who have made these proposals have thought them out to figure what would be their effect.
Do we want our students to be in armed camps?
Currently, in Okaloosa County, there is a school resource officer in virtually every school. Of recent date, I have read comments from parents who claim to be much more comfortable knowing that little Johnnie or Suzie is safe from some individual determined to bring death and destruction to a facility.
When I read these remarks, I almost laugh aloud!
People think that all will be well because a single uniformed officer is on campus.
I am on more than one campus each week. I see the resource officers, and I see their marked county vehicles parked out front. This past week, I saw a resource officer leave a school, climb into the county-provided vehicle, and drive away.
Gee, I wonder if someone wanting to do harm would notice there was no resource officer on campus!
At another institution, I saw the resource officer talking with a staff member.
Where was the “protection” of students and educators?
Assigning resource officers to virtually all county schools gives a “warm and fuzzy” feeling, but it is extremely expensive and very ineffective.
Have you ever looked at our schools’ construction?
Facilities are not like they were 50 years ago, when several floors were stacked atop each other and there were only one or two entrances. In the wisdom of planners, schools now cover more than a square city block, have several wings emanating from a central administrative area, and feature several entry points.
Just how would a single resource officer be effective?
Recent reports indicate that Okaloosa County will expend upward of a million dollars on resource officers this year.
This may seem like money well spent, but I believe it is little more than a publicity stunt to pacify parents while knowing that it will be very ineffective.
I understand that the life of every child and every adult cannot have a price tag applied to it.
But with literally hundreds of officers of the law and school administrators, there must be a more effective and efficient way to protect those in our schools.
Bob Allen is a former city councilman who lives in Crestview.