William Katz:  Urgent Agenda






GREAT MOMENTS IN STUDENT PROTECTION – AT 9:51 A.M. ET:  There are moments when I wonder why any parent would send his or her child to some of our schools.  From CBS Atlanta:

MARIETTA, Ga. (CBS Atlanta) — Marietta Public Schools have added “panic buttons” to its schools in response to the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

WGCL-TV reports that these “panic buttons” will immediately place a call to 911 when pushed by school officials.

“Once that happens, we send everybody we have to that school until we can determine what the exact cause of the threat is,” Marietta Police Officer David Baldwin told WGCL.

COMMENT:  As "Saturday Night Live's" Dana Carvey used to say, "Isn't that special?"  Now let's see if I've got this right.  A teacher sees, say, a shooter with a gun bursting into the school.  She reaches down to the panic button hanging around her neck, or finds one nearby, and presses it.  And the police are notified.

So, please explain to me, what is the shooter doing while all this is happening?  Maybe he's waiting, just to be courteous.  But more likely, like 100 percent more likely, he's doing what his ugly mind came to do.  And that is the problem.

These emergency calling systems are fine for a minor disturbance, or a small fire, or some other limited emergency.  But when the ultimate happens, they are next to useless.  The cliché is true:  "When seconds count, the police are minutes away."   It is reasonable to have trained, armed guards at schools.  A third of American schools already have them.  Only an instant response has the potential, never guaranteed of course, to stop a shooter.  Calling the police generally means you'll have officers at the scene who, no matter how dedicated they might be, will have little to do but notify parents. 

Ironically, the federal program to put trained guards in schools began under President Clinton.  Now, fashionable liberals oppose it, or put it way down on the list of their priorities.  It should be the first priority, for our immediate task is to do everything possible to protect children...right now.  Not five years from now.

February 22, 2013