Roger Marolt: The solution must be bulletproof vests in children’s sizes
What will it take to keep kids safe in schools?
Are we really going to lay the blame on the local police for the mass killing at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas? It sounds like it. The timeline for the massacre of those children shows that the police did not enter the classroom where the gunman was until nearly an hour after the shooting started. That’s too slow.
But where does it get us to blame law enforcement officers who probably never believed something like this could happen in their town? What if we fired the chief of police, a couple officers, and maybe a radio dispatcher? Then we could all move on with our lives.
Never mind that the 18-year-old with a legally purchased semi-automatic weapon designed for the sole purpose of killing a large number of people very quickly did the actual shooting. Never mind that lawmakers refuse to do anything meaningful in response to a horrifying trend of mass shootings in the U.S.
Someone at a press conference with the Uvalde chief of police discussing the delayed response yelled out, “This is unacceptable! Who is going to take responsibility?”
The killer is dead, so we can’t exact revenge there. It’s impossible to prosecute Congress for pandering to the NRA. And let’s not forget, buying a gun for your high schooler is perfectly legal by dotting a few I’s and crossing some T’s. All that’s left is to defund the police, because it’s their fault. Now there’s irony for you.
That said, maybe we should expect more from our police forces when active shooters spray bullets throughout schools, churches, grocery stores, country music concerts and workplaces so frequently. There is no reason the police, or anyone else, shouldn’t expect it to happen in any town, anywhere, anytime. They should spend more time and resources training for these bloodbaths than anything else.
Meanwhile, just up the interstate in Houston a few days later, the NRA was going ahead with their annual convention. It seemed as if nothing unusual was happening, which, on second thought, they are actually and sadly correct about. Mass shootings are not unusual anymore.
So far this year we can count on them happening more regularly than the sun rising. In the first 150-odd days of 2022, there have been more than 200 mass shootings and counting in the Land of the Free and Home of the Bereaved.
And still, NRA conventioneers seemed to agree, it wasn’t guns that were the problem in the Uvalde slayings of children. It was that the access to Robb Elementary School was too easy. To that end, keynote speaker and former president of the United States, Donald Trump, proclaimed that every school across this great land should have impenetrable security. He emphasized that schools should be the single hardest targets for mass murderers. Who can argue with that?
There’s one vision of our future: School buildings built like prisons surrounded by razor wire fences, school buses fortified like Brinks armored trucks, and school crossing guards bullet-proofed and armed like SWAT teams on perpetual mission. If this works, we will be compelled to do the same for all the other places where mass slaughters are regularly happening or else judge ourselves negligent. “Attention all shoppers: clean-up in aisle six. We ran out of ammo and some blood was spilled.”
Here is something to contemplate in this regard: Why do law enforcement agents assigned to protect our schools wear bulletproof vests? They are not the targets. The children at the schools are the targets. Wouldn’t it make more sense for every student at every school in the United States of every age to be required to wear a Kevlar vest to school every day? Just don’t think of them as giant masks for vital organs.
So, it appears there is an answer to all this senseless killing going on in our country, and we will eventually get to it. At the rate we are going, it won’t take too long before every locality in the country will have at least one law enforcement officer who has direct experience in at least one mass shooting. The more teachers, school administrators and police officers who have experienced massacres in real time, the better we can respond to mass shootings. Couple this experience with bulletproof glass, bomb-proof, unscalable walls and the elimination of outdoor recess periods and we will finally arrive at the solution to this senselessness.
Roger Marolt can’t stop thinking of all of the evil caused by guns and at the same time can’t think of much good they create in the hands of the average citizen. Email him at email@example.com.