Originally Published: March 30, 2018 6:05 a.m.
The Friday Catchall:
• GUNS AT SCHOOL — Maybe teachers carrying guns is not the best of ideas.
One of my answers to the “safe schools” concept is to arm teachers, and employ veterans and retired police as armed security. After researching this, I’m not so sure.
In the weeks since the Parkland, Florida, school shooting that left 17 people dead, I have spoken at length with two Prescott police officers (one retired) and a local school administrator.
Most people bristle at the concept, I believe, because a gun — any gun — on campus is a security risk. I can see that. To carry one around students, it would have to be concealed; on the hip would intimidate — practically fitting the definition of “brandishing” a weapon — and could ultimately be taken from that teacher.
It also would not work to keep the gun in a lock box, because you would likely not be where the box is when the gun is needed.
The bigger issue of not doing any of this is financial. As the retired policeman said, referring to the teachers, veterans and retired police, shooting is a declining or diminishing skill. If you do not do it on a regular basis, your ability (accuracy) fades.
This is why police departments spend a good amount of money — he said 60 to 70 percent of their training budget — on the training of their officers; they regularly go to the shooting range or test themselves in front of the shoot-don’t-shoot video skills training program.
Better would be the School Resource Officers (SRO) who would be on campus already. They are already trained, continue to train, and build a rapport with the students and staff.
I have calls into local law enforcement to see how much that 70 percent for training equates to in present-day dollars (they did not call back as of press time); however, as the school administrator agreed, it doesn’t matter: with school funding so tight, they are lucky to afford SROs who are part-time.
It is a sticky situation. They all pray it never happens again, and certainly not here, and no one magic-wand solution exits, such as raising the purchase age, banning bump stocks, or providing more counseling.
There is hope. At the same time, we need to fix society and all of its ills to come up with a total and (more) complete way of preventing mass shootings.
Some of those maladies: violent video games and movies (children are not learning the value of life, only that there’s a reset button); hands-off parenting (Utah lawmakers, in new legislation this past week, legalized “free range” parenting — let your imagination run wild there; worth its own editorial); the curse of technology (in an effort to improve, we have distanced ourselves from each other, giving new meaning to relationships); and a host of other challenges, such as racism, poverty, crime, and mental illness.
It is as though we’re Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19) and need to start over.
“Where is that reset button?” I say with tongue in cheek.
• TEXTING — Imagine this: Sen. Bob Worsley got into a fender bender about an hour after helping pass a ban on texting while driving in Arizona. The Mesa Republican said he was rear ended while driving to his Mesa office from work at the Legislature, by a woman who “glanced down at her phone.”
Karma? Naw, the problem is that bad!
HB2159 includes language that makes it illegal to read, write or send electronic messages on cell phones while driving. It passed the House and the Senate has approved an amended version, which awaits final OK by the House.
• PICK OF THE WEEK – (Proving there’s always something good to do in the Prescott area that’s cheap or free): “The Great Easter Egg Hunt,” 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 31, at Mile High Middle School field, 300 S. Granite St., Prescott. Easter egg hunt with more than 20,000 Easter eggs, food vendors, soft drinks, carnival and fun.
Happy Easter, everyone!
Community Editor Tim Wiederaenders is the senior editor for The Daily Courier and Prescott Newspapers, Inc. Follow him on Twitter @TWieds_editor. Reach him at 928-445-3333, ext. 2032, or firstname.lastname@example.org.