As many of you have been over the weekend, I too have been knocked back in thinking about the tragedy in Connecticut. Among all the other horrific feelings, one thing I cannot imagine, how hard it was for the principal or teachers who tried to stop the mentally unbalanced person attacking their school.
Why can we not immediately give them fairly low cost, and non-lethal methods for helping to stop or slow-down an intruder? Teachers should be carrying pepper spray in their pockets. Tranquilizer guns should be available like fire alarms, behind breakable glass (in rooms or offices) but not hallways. There are anesthetics available today with reversing agents so there is less chance of accidental overdoses. Stun guns are another possibility.
I am having trouble understanding how we can leave our schools so defenseless. Security guards are expensive and with just one stationed they are easily overcome or not in the right place at the right time. Wide-spread training of personnel with non-lethal methods/tools could be effective and allow the protection to be broader.
I realize that of course having these non-lethal tools in schools could lead to accidents but they would mostly be non-lethal, recoverable events.
It is too hard to make schools like airport security or prisons. Parents being able to participate in education is a wonderful thing and scaring our children on a daily basis is not going to help their psychological well-being.
However, we cannot leave the adults and children, our wonderful and best resources, so unprotected. We have smoke alarms, tornado drills, and food safety inspections, where are the protections from other humans?
Older children and workplaces in general can be taught standard defenses such as chair-throwing etc., but these do not work in many cases as the shock of the real situation is different even for adults, and they do not work for young children (that is so hard to write, yes I'm a parent and couldn't let my child leave my sight yesterday).
I'm for strong gun control (I grew up on a farm hunting - and yes, there must be a way to make a few exceptions but that would still lessen the number of guns). But we must be doing more than working towards gun control and providing stronger support for mental health treatments (another necessity). We must immediately give protection even if someone is wielding a knife or abusive in any way.
Let's get out there and support protection for our communities through non-lethal means. I just cannot imagine having to face an intruder with no options. Those who did are truly heros. Let's help out all our other heros, the teachers, principals, school administrators and assistants, therapists, janitors, and cafeteria workers who work every day in helping to educate our children.