The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

December 27, 2012

Your View: Protecting our schools

By Herb Van Fleet
Special to The Globe

TULSA, Okla. — In the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the National Rifle Association, suggested that an armed guard should be posted in each of the nation’s schools. This is already the case in many schools, but an armed security guard at Columbine High School could not stop Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold from killing 13 people and wounding 24 more in 1999.

So obviously, Mr. LaPierre’s plan needs some enhancement to provide adequate protection for our schools and our kids.

To start with, if it comes to a shoot-out, then surely the school staff and, more importantly, the kids should at least have some body armor; bullet-proof vests at a minimum. However, if the would-be child murderer is thereby deterred from using guns, he might consider planting a number of pipe bombs in and around the school. To defend against this possibility, the school is going to need a few of those explosive-sniffing dogs.

With that possibility shut down, the psycho might want to try the ol’ Timothy McVeigh-style Ryder truck filled with explosives. To defend against that possibility, there would have to be concrete barriers surrounding the school at a radius of about 100 feet and spaced so as to prevent cars and trucks from getting through, except for one manned security gate where vehicular searches could be done.

And if that doesn’t slow him down, our sociopath could always try the al-Qaida technique of using a plane. To help minimize the carnage from this possibility, a radar defense system would be needed in each school, along with anti-aircraft guns mounted on the roof.

All things considered, maybe the conundrum of how to keep our schools safe is best described by the author and painter Henry Miller: “The man who looks for security, even in the mind, is like a man who would chop off his limbs in order to have artificial ones which will give him no pain or trouble.”

Herb Van Fleet

Tulsa, Okla.