That’s what Tom Horne calls the “golden mean” (you can read the article here).
I’d call it “doing it on the cheap.”
Realizing that the state legislature’s too cheap to actually fund having a police officer in every school, Horne’s solomon-like decision is to have the principal — or one other school employee — trained and armed.
Horne even has a legislator prepared to introduce the idea, Sierra Vista’s representative David Gowan.
“Some have proposed teachers bringing guns to school, but I think that would create more danger than it would solve,” Horne said. “But if we did nothing, we might regret it if another incident occurs that might have been prevented.”
Okay. Armed with what? Trained how and how often? Positioned where?
Details, details. But Horne’s got the answers:
“They would not just get marksmanship training, but also be taught good judgment, when to shoot, when not to shoot,” Horne said. “We would teach them the use of force laws, defensive tactics and properly securing the firearm.”
Sure. Just like the police do it. Except they train constantly. Will our principal/school employee do that?
Here’s a recent article about the constant training Valley police officers do about a school shooting — they “train in a never-ending cycle.”
Which is what we want and expect our professionals to do. But a school employee?
Unless he gets that level of training, he could be as much of a hindrance as a help.
And one other factor’s ignored in Horne’s we-know-the-leg-won’t-fund-a police-presence-so-let’s-pretend-we-have-the-next-best-thing:
The personality of the police. Here’s what I mean.
Yesterday, Christmas afternoon, violence suddenly came to our quiet, middle class neighborhood. A guy down the street was threatening to kill himself and others in his house.
We didn’t know this, of course. But we did know that something was happening, because suddenly 15 police cars, a SWAT team, and fire and paramedics swooped in.
Quietly, quickly, and methodically, these professionals analyzed the situation and came up with a plan. The SWAT team, in full armor and armed with some serious-looking weapons, approached the house after shots were fired inside. Whatever happened with the police happened very quickly, because within minutes, the house was secure, the paramedics called in and the SWAT team disassembled.
It was fascinating to watch the team prepare. Many of the men apparently had been off duty and came in their own cars, but with their uniforms and their weapons. As they prepared, they were briefed. No rush, just the professionalism we want to see in times like this.
Not everyone can be a SWAT team member or even a rank and file policeman — there’s a certain personality that makes those men and women behave in ways the rest of us can only imagine.
And yet Tom Horne wants to make SWAT team members of one school employee.
Horne’s “golden mean” is more like squalid mush. It caters to some fantasies but is fantasy itself.
Azcvoices.com is a network of community bloggers created by The Arizona Republic, azcentral.com and 12 News to highlight diverse viewpoints. Members' opinions do not represent the views of Republic Media.
Bio: Mike McClellan has lived in Arizona since 1967 where he attended high school and the University of Arizona. McClellan taught high school English for 36 years, including 30 years at at Dobson High School in Mesa. He has been a contributing columnist to both the East Valley Republic editions and the East Valley Tribune.