I remember the good old days when the biggest thing many people had to worry about was a burglar breaking into their home while they were away and stealing what little they had that was worth owning.
Back then, newspapers would occasionally do stories on how homeowners could protect themselves. Theyd interview the police, who offered only depressing news. There is no way to protect yourself against burglars, theyd say. If a thief was determined to get in, hed get in. The best people could do was secure their homes and slow down and discourage burglars, who like to get in and out fast.
You dont hear much about burglaries these days. Its the mass shootings, people finding ways to get into movie theaters and schools and opening fire for reasons we are never able to explain.
One of the first responses to the question what do we do? after the shootings in Connecticut was a call for armed guards in schools. The suggestion was widely jeered.
I think of the high school I attended. It had an administration building, an industrial arts building, a physical education building, a library building and three different units with classrooms, with students traveling between buildings each period. Securing a school like that would be a nightmare.
Most schools, though, are single buildings and easier to secure.
Its sad to think that we have to turn our schools into fortresses, but its happening. In convenience stores, clerks are sheltered behind presumably bullet-proof windows an inch and a half thick. Some banks have police officers sitting in their lobbies.
Curiously, though the idea of armed guards in schools was derided as laughable by some, its not an uncommon practice. In fact, that has been the practice in Fort Wayne for years.
In Fort Wayne, school doors are locked as soon as classes begin. If you want to get in, you have to speak to someone over an intercom and be buzzed in. Schools have security cameras so school officials can see who is outside. Theoretically, the cameras would alert officials inside if someone was approaching the school with a rifle or a bag of rifles.
Of course, one thing weve learned is that madmen dont knock. In Connecticut, after a lot of misinformation was initially distributed, we learned that the gunman there shot his way into the school.
That is something we have to realize. If someone is determined to get into a school building, they will find a way, and the most logical way for a gunman to get in is to shoot.
In Fort Wayne, some high schools have what are known as resource officers. Thats a non-threatening term for an armed police officer who is on hand at a high schools and on and off in other schools.
Having armed and trained personnel does serve as a deterrent.
Oh, we can talk about banning different weapons, but madmen arent fazed by such things. Look at the mass shootings that have happened in America. Theyve involved handguns, rifles, shotguns, even .22s.
The key is being prepared for madmen, but above all detecting them before they act and taking action to prevent further tragedies.