I was talking with my son about the school shootings in Santa Fe, Texas, and Parkland, Florida. Our talk moved from sadness to bitterness and then to how schools could truly be made safer.
School is a place where our children go to grow and learn. It’s a place we take our children because we believe they will have fuller lives having been there, and we have hope that one day they will return with their own children.
My son and I discussed the option being used — to do nothing. We could continue to pretend our schools must look more like open, innocent schools of learning and less like enclosed prisons regardless of the death count.
We could continue letting the lobbyists promote their new lesson plans, fixed cameras, teacher training and student counseling at a cost we are glad to support. We have been doing these things for a long time. The problem with doing the same thing is that nothing will change and more lives will be lost.
As much as my son and I want our schools to be hallowed halls of innocence, that idea was shattered when the first shots rang out at Columbine High School 19 years ago. Many also believe it was lost when the more powerful weapon of prayer was removed from our schools, leaving the invisible forces of evil unchecked.
We discussed passing more laws, such as a semiautomatic gun ban, but quickly realized this would do little to stop the next killings.
The Sante Fe shooter used a shotgun and pistol and had interests in a pressure cooker and other explosive devices as well.
The Parkland school had an armed resource officer who remained outside while the shooter did his killing inside. The next killer may find other methods.
We discussed building a secure perimeter around all our schools with only one way in. But we questioned whether this made sense compared with the cost and time it would take to secure all the public schools in the country.
We discussed allowing teachers to voluntarily arm themselves with concealed weapons permits and providing additional armed security guards. Even this would create concerns and costs that may or may not be feasible.
One thing is for sure: We need to get over our fear, reach out and make a difference.
Kenny Geddings Jr.