Shielding school children from lunatics

Editorial Board members at the Wilmington, N. C. StarNews make sense in a recent view they wrote on school safety. They note that the hysteria (“raw emotion and fear”) after the Newtown, Conn. school murders has calmed down as cooler heads look for ways to prevent a “one-in-a-million” chance that another lunatic will murder children at a defenseless school.(link)

Rational people among us now know that passing anti-gun laws and posting ‘Gun-free Zone’ signs doesn’t stop evil people with homicidal intent—disarming good guys allows bad guys time to choose their passive targets.

Editors report that “a safety audit” (at schools) is in progress here in New Hanover County, but it’s not expected until “sometime this summer.” They say that some of the findings “may be kept secret.” But there’s no need for our county commissioners and school board members to wait for this secretive report. Guidance is at hand.

A national task force spent three months early this year surveying American schools across the country, both in urban and rural areas. The “National School Shield” (NSS) report issued April 2, 2013 was prepared by former congressman and federal DEA administrator Asa Hutchinson. This document reveals what we’ve learned from history in dealing with school attacks and security.(link)

At first I thought the StarNews editors were writing about the NSS study: many of their views jibe with findings and recommendations in the report. But, not likely. The project was funded by the National Rifle Association (NRA), much maligned and hated by liberals.(link)

But this is not about politics. NRA executives, spokespeople and members (5 million of us and growing) have deep concerns about school safety. And they have acted quickly to help alleviate the fears of parents and school officials.

The NSS recommendations focus on school districts that struggle to pay for school “resource officers” (editors didn’t need remind readers that we have “limited funds,” but New Hanover County Sheriff Ed McMahon proposes that taxpayers pay $1 million for 11 part-time resource officers to cover 22 elementary schools). The comprehensive NSS report offers inexpensive options and flexibility.

I hope that local officials and parents responsible for children in every state will get copies of the NSS report (free online at, study it, and implement appropriate recommendations to help allay their fears, keep our school children safer and be responsibly sensible with taxpayer’s money.


About R. E. Smith Jr.

Mr. Smith writes essays and commentary on politics, American history, environment, higher education and culture. He's been published in print media and at blog sites for about 25 years. Smith's formal education includes B.S. and M.S. degrees from the State University of New York and Syracuse University. He has earned a 21-credit hour Certificate in Professional Writing from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. Training/work experience: NYS Ranger School; U. S. Army, Corp of Engineers; soil scientist and forester with USDA; Assoc. Professor at SUNY; real estate agent; small business owner.
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