Tom Horne’s idea to arm up to one adult employee in each school makes sense. (In fact, I suggested it myself a while back on these pages, so you know it’s good stuff.) But it runs counter to our political culture. In America, if we care about something, we throw money at it. Sometimes it works – we discovered treatments for AIDS, we went to the moon, etc. – but more often than not it turns out badly. We spent trillions eradicating poverty with nothing to show for it but a permanent, dependent underclass. We shoved money by the boatload into our dysfunctional schools, but academic achievement levels haven’t budged. We’ve pumped billions into politically popular green energy schemes that seem no closer to supplying real energy needs. But we still believe that the amount you’re willing to spend indicates how much you care. So the emotional issue of children’s safety starts the drumbeat all over again. “The charge of the legislature is clear – fully fund our school safety”, a typical writer asserted. In fact, Horne’s proposal is criticized because it doesn’t cost much money –it’s “on the cheap”. Horrors! To me, it’s pretty obvious that the expense of putting an armed guard in each school to prevent incidents which has so far not occurred once in our state is not a wise use of funds. Having one unidentified person armed maybe a more effective deterrent anyway. The safety record of persons with concealed carry permits has been nearly perfect and we could tap into that to make our schools at least a little safer. At some point, we’ve got to break ourselves of the habit of spending public money we don’t have. The fact that Horne’s idea is economical should count for something.
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Bio: Patterson is the volunteer chairman of the Goldwater Institute and past chairman of the Arizona Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights.
He has served on several community boards, including Goodwill of Central Arizona, Diamondbacks Foundation and Hospice of the Valley.
He is the state chairman for Americans for Tax Reform. Previously, he served as the President of the Arizona Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians and ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council (public sector chair). He was the minority leader (91-92) and majority leader (93-96) of the Arizona Senate.
He is a registered Republican but not politically active. In addition, he was the organizer and lead tenor of the original Arizona Singing Senators.