Actor Matt DamonAP
Dec. 15: Tamara Doherty paces outside her store just down the road from Sandy Hook Elementary School.AP
Teddy bears, each representing a victim of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, sit on a wall at a sidewalk memorial Dec. 16, 2012, in Newtown, Conn. A gunman walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Friday and opened fire, killing 26 people, including 20 children.AP
As a parent, I find it surprising that the answer to an attack on defenseless children that comes first from liberal commentators is that the defenders of our most innocent should be disarmed. Gun control rises from the ashes of the horror in Connecticut as the left’s favorite answer to the horrible questions of how to confront evil.
Because who exactly would be complying with the laws to lay down our defenses? Do we expect drug lords, mass murderers, terrorist or mentally disturbed loners to abide by the rules that anti-gun advocates suggest?
America has thrived, protected by the best military in the world. As a nation we don’t disarm in the face of forces against us. After 9/11, we confront deadly force with an iron will. The road has not been easy, but American lives are at risk each day, and we as a nation worked to protect ourselves. This instinct, seen from our defenses during the American Revolution, through World Wars and conflicts, is a template for how to respond when attacked.
With four children in public schools, I am unmoved by the utopian idea that they will be safe if protected by unarmed, untrained, benevolent individuals.
We speak softly and carry a big stick. We make it apparent that it will not be easy or wise to attack us. We prepare to fight back.
But in a knee-jerk assessment of a school shooting, parents are urged to ignore their fears when sending innocent children to school and pressured to believe that an unarmed population is safer. Gun advocates argue that crime rates are lower where concealed carry laws are in place. Gun detractors argue that lives are lost. Both probably have a point.
But protection is a national pastime as we put locks on our phones, our homes, our cars, our bank accounts, our computers. It’s ironic that so many exalted opinion leaders in government and the media live in gated communities, sending their children to private schools, all the while lecturing the great unwashed to trust in a level of security they do not accept for their own families. Apparently guns are bad, unless protecting them and their loved ones.
We live in a world in which protecting children from evil is a full time job. Because parents understand the dirty underbelly of humanity, most don’t allow their children to have a sleep over with a family we really don’t know yet. It’s nothing personal. But a momentary lowering of our guard could leave our children paying too great a price. Their value is greater than the social discomfort of diligence.
Good parents imagine every possible horror and work to minimize tragedy – from putting kids in seatbelts, to serving healthy meals, to warning our children to stay clear of strangers.
Today, parents endure background checks to volunteer for a school party, and most present I.D. to enter the school that they visit daily. And in my experience, no one complains because the need to put in safeguards is apparent.
As some push to make gun control the take home message from this tragedy, it goes little noted that Adam Lanza had tried to buy a gun and was stopped. So Lanza broke the law. It should surprise no one that evil found a way, while the good colored within the lines.
Rather than gathering our children up as sheep for the slaughter and hoping the bad people stay away, our public discussions of this tragedy must include better protections for those whom we love. With four children in public schools, I am unmoved by the utopian idea that they will be safe if protected by unarmed, untrained, benevolent individuals.
For the most part, the teacher, principals and school officials I know have good attentions. But it’s time to consider whether special defensive skills training, tools like Tasers, and possibly other kinds of defensive weapons should be used.
Tears have been shed for the heroic teachers and school employees who gave their lives to protect children. I wonder if I am alone in wishing that one of them was armed and able to fight back?
If this horrible event happened in a movie, Jason Bourne, living undercover, would have been the school gym teacher, and when violence entered the school, he would have protected those children with all the skills and force necessary. And we all would have cheered.
And yet, politicians argue that the answer to armed maniacs is a disarmed, unprotected citizenry. Parents should trust others to stand in the gap for their beloved children.
It is not enough. Even with the best intentions, government can’t be everywhere. A right to bear arms just may be a need to bear arms – on some occasions and in some locations.
Our schools need better trained and equipped protectors, and our citizenry deserves the right to fight for the weak. It’s not that a discussion of gun laws is a bad thing. But it is not enough.
As Americans grapple with an increasingly dangerous world, let’s not pretend the answers are easy or that playing politics with children’s lives is acceptable.
Kristi Stone Hamrick is a media consultant and active cupcake baker for all school functions. Follow her on Twitter@KristiSHamrick.