Gun Control Debate: Don't Ban Guns, Use Technology to Protect Our Children
Subsequent to the Newtown Massacre of 20 beautiful children while they studied in their elementary school, our nation has searched for answers on how to better protect our children from future harm.
President Obama has deployed Vice President Biden to develop the ultimate protection plan that, sadly, infringes upon our freedom and right to bear arms. My question is this: Why don't we let technology help us protect our children and teachers in addition to hiring armed guards for our schools?
Monitoring systems of various types are available to help alert the proper authorities when trouble strikes. The quicker we can get emergency personnel in motion toward our children in the face of danger the better. Gun control will not prevent a student or mentally unstable person from entering a school carrying a box cutter, pepper spray, knife, bomb or any other harmful device. But, no matter what a teacher or student is assaulted with, a device such as one similar to the medical alert buttons currently worn by older Americans, hardwired or wireless emergency buttons that are installed in banks (panic button), as well as more sophisticated devices like those worn by correctional officers that give "officer down" alerts as well as GPS (wireless duress system), may just be the direction to invest our energy and money.
Because technology is programmable, devices such as the ones I've mentioned could be programmed to instantly notify the on-site armed guard, main office and the local police department simultaneously. Most schools already have public address systems installed allowing the main office to gain critical information by listening to the room where the alert was sent from and/or sending an emergency signal over the system to warn the rest of the building's occupants. Cameras could be immediately focused on the trouble area. At the same time, the on-site guard could be mobilized to respond while the local police department gets "wheels in motions" and "sirens in the air" much more quickly than waiting for a phone call that may never be able to be made. Although some false alarms may occur, I think that most of us would agree that we would rather keep our kids safe and not be sorry (again).
This type of emergency notification goes beyond protecting our children. According to the NEA, 127,120 public school teachers were physically attacked at school during the 2007-2008 school year. Moreover, an estimated number of teachers assaulted formulated by the NCES (National Center for Education Statistics) determined that the number is more like 154,400 teachers. This statistic is from a report completed by the NCES entitled "Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2010." Not only do our precious children need protection, but our valued teachers as well. A safe learning environment may help our children learn and our teachers teach. Knowing that assistance will respond with the push of a button may deter criminal acts in the classroom helping to provide the environment we seek.
The bottom line is that gun control is not the answer. It will not prevent the daily assaults or the escalating frustration that students feel due to bullying and issues stemming from home instability or mental health problems. Most problems we face today cannot be fixed with a one-sided approach. However, incorporating technology with armed guards should undergo serious consideration. On July 3, 2012, Vice President Biden stated at the NEA Convention, "show me your budget and I will tell you what you value." So, please, VP Biden, show us where our country's values lie … in the protection of our children no matter what they are confronted with.