A Simple Solution To An Obvious Need

Posted: December 29, 2012

In the wake of yet another mass homicide, we are again asking “why does it happen?” and “what can we do to protect the innocent when it happens again?” The second question is addressed below. Policymakers for public schools and any other public organizations are asked to give this proposal serious consideration as an important part of the solution.

Imagine the scene in the central office of the elementary school in Newtown, Conn., but with a twist. An armed, young, white, male enters the reception area and suddenly pulls out a semi-automatic assault rifle. Chaos erupts. Fear shoots through the hearts of potential victims as fast as bullets fly through the air. One down and bleeding, two down, and then a third. The shooter turns toward the hall entrance where faculty office doors are open and welcoming.

Just 12 paces removed from the unfolding madness is the assistant principal. She has located the key and opened the drawer that was set aside for a single dreaded purpose.

She grips a loaded handgun, removes the safety, but does not put her finger on the trigger. Afraid, but guided by her training, she moves toward her office door. Her weapon is pointed forward, firmly held with both hands near her body, chest high. She peaks around the wall in the direction of the reception area. Approaching her is the shooter. No one is between them. No one is behind him.

Finger now on trigger, her arms extend forward as she takes aim at his center mass. Two rounds find their mark and he lies still on the floor. Three adults and 20 little kids live instead of die.

The proposal: A few members of any given organization could be permitted to volunteer for training to be armed and act as first responders for their organization should the need ever arise. Organizational heads would screen and select volunteers then coordinate with local law enforcement to provide their training. After successful completion of their initial training they would participate in ongoing periodic training. The organization would cover the expense of the training. The volunteers would provide their own weapon and participate in training on their own time.

The result would be a small team, who are known by police and trained to take action against lethal threat until police arrive.

This proposed policy by no means provides the total solution now being debated. Its scope is limited to what can be done immediately to add a needed layer of protection. The greatest benefit of this policy is having the means to stop the killing much faster than is presently possible. When first responders are present at the time a lethal threat begins, the shooter can be prevented from killing in large numbers.

Who better to train as first responders than men and women who are already familiar with members of the organization and are well acquainted with the layout of their facility? Knowledge of the people and the building are powerful advantages when fast action is called for.

We don’t need to implement expensive policies, such as the federal government did in our airports.
The masses need not be burdened, because a very few commit heinous acts of violence. Neither do we need to grow our oversized government.

Policymakers should find out if responsible individuals would step up to provide the added layer of protection should the unlikely scenario, God forbid, ever visit us.

This proposal provides a simple and effective solution to an obvious need.

It requires little spending and doesn’t require the masses to make unnecessary changes.

It only requires we direct a small piece of the faith we now place in a distant government on a few responsible citizens who are nearby.

Jon Anderson lives in Harrisonburg.

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