Letter to the editor

The following is a letter to the editor of my local paper:

I am a parent of two young children, ages 5 and 7, and I was horrified to see the news out of Texas as yet another deranged killer gunned down innocent children.

In looking over the depressingly large number of school shootings that have taken place over the last few decades, it strikes me that these tragedies have occurred both in states with strict gun laws (like California and Connecticut) and those with liberal laws (like Texas), with none of those laws having any sort of preventative or protective effect. The killers plan meticulously for weeks or more, and have been able to adapt to or ignore or bypass any law or regulation in place.

However, one thing stands out to me: in all cases the killers targeted “soft targets” where they could carry out their heinous crimes unopposed. They know that schools forbid ordinary, law-abiding people like teachers, staff, parents, etc. from possessing any sort of means of protection (including, but not limited to, lawfully-carried firearms, pepper spray, tasers, etc.) while on school grounds. State law and school policy leaves such people helpless and defenseless, even if they are vetted, trained, and licensed to carry elsewhere in their community and state.

Our police are outstanding and do their best, but even they cannot be everywhere at once, or arrive instantly when needed. By the time they are called, travel to the scene, arrive, assess the situation, find the bad guy and engage him, a madman is able to kill dozens even with the most ordinary pistol or revolver.

Clearly, guns in the right hands serve a protective benefit: the President, the Governor, banks, money in transit, jewels, etc. are all protected by trained, armed people. But, for some reason, our defenseless children are left in the care of similarly-defenseless adults to whom we legally denied the choice to protect themselves and the children they’re responsible for.

We’ve kept kids and adults defenseless for decades, and still this keeps happening: this policy clearly doesn’t work. How many more need to die before we as a society conclude that merely putting up “no guns allowed” signs doesn’t stop those with murder in their hearts, and allow responsible, trained, and vetted people the choice (not the mandate or requirement, just the choice for those willing to do so) to protect themselves when faced with deadly danger? Hopefully none.