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Michael Conlon, San Clemente
I read the letter to the editor “Protect Our High Schools with Officers” in the March 8-14 edition of the San Clemente Times. I think it takes a combination of compromises to reach an effective solution. Although I am against arming teachers, I have heard proposals for an 80-hour training session, complete with background checks, etc. to train a few individuals on campus in wielding a weapon without endangering other students.
In theory, this make sense. However, to suggest that shooters come on campus just because they are “no-gun” zones is too simplistic. The profile of each school shooter to date overwhelmingly involves a young white male who is bullied, disturbed or disenfranchised, usually by students at the same school. Mental health recognition and intervention programs are absolutely essential in any solution to campus shootings.
However, some individuals will still slip through the cracks. So, we can ramp up our universal background checks and keep handguns for protection, rifles for hunting, but all assault weapons for “sport” simply need to be banned. An AR-15 against trained educators with pistols is no contest.
Ask the security guard at Lakeland. Australia passed such a law in 1996, buying back all the “illegal” guns, and they haven’t had a mass shooting since. You can arm people all you want, counsel every disturbed student you find and do your background checks, but mass killings with weapons designed for war will only stop when the idea that such a weapon is a “fun” thing to own disappears, forever.
Editor’s note: By definition, Australia has had mass shootings since 1996, but the number of mass shootings, by percent, are far fewer than the U.S. since 1996.