One county in Florida will have armed guards at all elementary public shools in response to parental concerns over the Newtown, Conn. tragedy. Will this do more than give the perception of safety? I think not. If the guard is truely an obstacle to the shooter’s plans, the voice in the young schizophrenic’s head will tell him to enter a school bus, go to a girl scout camp or attack a church service.
And who are the guards? I evaluated security personnel seeking positions that required weapons clearance and found a fair number of unstable individuals. Retired police might work, but are they still highly effective?
The financial cost is high. A projection of personnel costs in this one county over a ten year period comes to 1.6 billion dollars!
Tightening school security procedures will help, but the most promising approach may be to train counselors and other mental-health folks to identify this kind of mental illness. Many of these sick and dangerous shooters will come to the attention of a counselor somewhere along the line. I saw very nice young man when I was at a county clinic because he was described as “nervous appearing” following a motorcycle accident. I was trained to ask, “are you hearing voices or seeing something others may not see?” He was and this entity in his head was ordering him to hurt others —- including me.
Bottom line? No simple solutions.