We've all heard the saying, "When seconds count, the police are minutes away."
If there was a killer in your child's school whose intent was to take as much innocent life as possible, how quickly would you want that monster to be stopped? I have yet to hear a parent who would be content to wait for law enforcement to arrive. They want the killer stopped as soon as possible. After all, it is their child's life at stake.
Think about Coach Aaron Feis at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., who sacrificed his life so children could live. He will rightly be remembered as a hero. Coach Feis used the only thing he had - his body - to protect those children. Imagine if he had been a well-trained concealed carrier. He would have had the chance to stop the killer, protect those children, and go home to his own family that night.
In the absence of armed staff members, physically taking bullets for their kids is the only choice school staffers have when confronted with an armed killer.
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Is that our expectation of teachers and other school staff members, that they should die to protect our kids? They should have the right to protect their kids and live.
Who are these school staffers - volunteers all - who sign up to protect your children? They are teachers, janitors, coaches, principals, food-service workers and bus drivers. They are people who already have concealed carry permits and have made a decision to carry a firearm to protect themselves and their families outside of school. When their district makes a decision to authorize them as armed defenders on campus, that defender is no longer disarmed when they are at work. They can be put to work in defense of their kids.
Make no mistake; armed staffers are the first responders in most of these active killer events. In the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, the killer committed suicide well before law enforcement arrived. It was long over by the time they got to the campus. These events are over in a matter of minutes, often before anyone has a chance to call 911. Consider the timeline in Parkland, where there was a shot fired about every 10 seconds. If your child was near the location where the killing started, how many of those 10-second intervals would be acceptable to you?
There are many "what-ifs" being floated: What if a student takes a school employee's gun? What if, in trying to stop the killer, the armed defender accidentally shoots a child? What if law enforcement arrives and can't tell the killer from the armed school staffer? It is good to think through scenarios like those to ensure those risks are covered in training classes, but the reality is, those "what-ifs" aren't happening. In the decades of armed staff across the country, those concerns are not founded.
Yet, if there was a slight chance of accidentally hitting a child, is that better or worse than the prospect of a deranged monster executing child after child after child with no one to stop him? When parents answer that question thoughtfully, many must concede they want the killer stopped sooner rather than later.
Some say every school should have a school resource officer who is a member of local law enforcement. We can all agree the presence of law enforcement on campus is a great idea. But these killers, intent on taking as many innocents out before they end the spree on their own terms, know where the school resource officer is on campus. They won't know who the concealed carrying staff members are, though.
Some say we need to do everything we can to keep guns out of schools and that adding more guns, even in the hands of competent staff members, would make things worse. Of course we should do everything possible to keep unauthorized people from bringing guns onto school property. But as the headlines continue to remind us, bad people do bring guns onto school grounds. Given that reality, having armed defenders nearby who are well trained to stop violence as soon as possible gives our children and school staff members a fighting chance to survive.
Laura Carno is executive director of FASTERColorado.com, an organization that trains armed school staff members. She wrote this originally for InsideSources.com.