Don’t Get Sidetracked…

After the Parkland school shooting, what should have been a discussion about how best to protect our schools was immediately hijacked by politicians and turned into a debate about guns. And while the media predictably (and gleefully) jumped on the bandwagon, part of the problem is that too many supposedly on “our side” negatively contributed to that debate. How? By getting trapped into talking about our 2nd Amendment rights, which unintentionally legitimizes the position that it’s “about guns” again.

True, we all need to let our voices be heard, but we don’t need to justify our rights to anyone. Instead, turn the tables and demand that our local officials, including school principals and law enforcement, focus on what really does matter: keeping our children safe.

And keep your arguments simple. When you email or call (preferably both) or, better yet, show up in person, ask them simply, “What plans do you have to protect our schools, starting now, today, not sometime in the future?” If they reply and mention anything to do with guns, repeat clearly that “this isn’t about guns, it’s about protecting our kids.”

Do not allow the conversation to turn into a gun debate. Make it clear that your position is not ideological and that your reason for opposing such gun-focused proposals is simply that they won’t work.

“Strengthening” background checks might be workable, depending on exactly what “mental health” information is being entered into the NICS database. But tracking private sales is fraught with danger. The details will determine if they are a threat to legitimate gun owners. Stay tuned.

OK, sometimes we have no choice but to talk about guns because of some proposed changes in gun laws. Simply point out that with millions of military-style rifles already in existence, the only thing laws banning such firearms would accomplish would be to create a huge black market — without saving a single life.

With somewhere around 80 MILLION “high-capacity” magazines already in circulation, the same is true for them. During the previous “assault weapons” ban, all that happened was that the price for such magazines jumped from $15 to $75 overnight, again with no effect on crime.

Finally, point out that the infamous Columbine shooters killed most of their victims with a plain old shotgun. And the Virginia Tech shooter killed twice as many students as in the Parkdale incident using a standard handgun. He didn’t need 30-round magazines; he simply reloaded several times … which is a perfect lead-in to talk about the fact that had there been multiple armed teachers or staff on site at either Columbine or Virginia Tech, those massacres could have been reduced.

And make sure you remind them that law enforcement is not the only answer. At Parkland, it now appears that all four deputies who were on site while the shooting was taking place hid outside the school, instead of doing what every cop signs up to do: protect the public, even when doing so may risk his or her own life.

Despite some opposition form mostly liberal school officials and some governors, the ONLY solution that has proven to work is the “Israeli model” — limited access to the schools with uniformed armed guards at entrances, combined with teachers carrying concealed inside. No one, including students, knows who is carrying and who is not.

Result? Not a single school shooting in Israeli schools in 40 years.

Now, that’s common sense.

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