Two key lessons from Uvalde
From the botched police response to the Uvalde school shooting, we should learn two key lessons about proposals to make schools safer. First, if this is how highly trained police officers respond to a shooting, imagine how much worse it would be if all the teachers were armed and had to make split second decisions about whether and whom to shoot. Second, the proposal to “harden” schools requires meticulous compliance with rules that is tough to maintain. Consider these facts: - When the gunman arrived at 11:31 AM, a school resource officer, responding to the 911 call, drove right past him and accidentally confronted a teacher instead.
- Two minutes later, the gunman entered the school through a door that was supposed to always be locked but had been left open.
- When officers wanted to enter the classroom in pursuit of the gunman, they didn’t have a key. They had to find the school janitor to get one.
- A student who was in the classroom called 911 multiple times and reported that students were still alive. Still, the police did not enter the classroom for at least half an hour after the first such call.
- While the police were dithering, parents prepared to storm the school themselves.
If all the teachers been armed but not trained, and if parents stormed the school, there would have been deadly chaos.
There is a simpler and safer solution. We know that the shooter, who was posting death threats on social media, easily and legally bought two semi-automatic rifle and 375 rounds of ammunition during the week after his eighteenth birthday, just days before his killing spree. It would be simple to raise the age at which people can purchase assault rifles.
Don’t ask teachers to do what the police are supposed to do but cannot. Since most school shootings are done by teenagers, let’s restrict their access to automatic weapons. This is not rocket science. Let’s raise the age for legal purchases of guns to 21 today.