Opinion Extra

Want to keep gunmen out of our schools? Do these three things

Students recount mass shooting at Florida high school

Seventeen people were killed when suspected gunman Nikolas Cruz opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Students said they heard the fire alarm go off and thought it was a drill. "We went outside," said student Ma
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Seventeen people were killed when suspected gunman Nikolas Cruz opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Students said they heard the fire alarm go off and thought it was a drill. "We went outside," said student Ma

Your child has a higher chance of being the victim of a school shooting than you do of winning the Mega Millions lottery. The difference is you can decline to buy the lottery ticket. As for the other, consider yourself a ticket holder.

We parents must take responsibility for preventing the next attempted school shooting in South Carolina. The government apparently is not up to the task.

After all, we have seen school shootings in South Carolina, yet only token measures were taken by the Legislature (see: Townville Elementary School).

I am sure the heated discussions about the Second Amendment and melodramatic critiques on the alleged maleffects of psychotropic medications have their place at some point. But not now. At this moment, we should focus on simple and practical ways to prevent school shootings.

My recommendations are all achievable and avoid the most controversial ideas, so that they have a chance of happening. Still, they will require unified and emphatic parental endorsement: Install metal detectors, restrict campus and building access and connect 360-degree interior and exterior video monitoring for every public school.

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William Britt

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By restricted access, I mean every person enters through a single ingress point and passes through a metal detector in full view of an armed school resource officer.

Don’t be surprised if the metal detectors detect many other types of contraband like knives and illegal drugs. Yes, it will slow access to the school in the mornings and at lunch, and yes, it will require planning by teachers and administrators, but at least in S.C. schools, the Nicholas Cruzes of the world won’t be able to simply walk in through the front door.

We tolerate enhanced security in sports venues and airports. It will work in public schools as well. Video monitoring is already in place in many of our nation’s school systems and has proven highly effective at detecting and deterring crime.

I can hear the objections: too expensive, too complicated, too inconvenient, will take too much time away from education. I’m tired of hearing arguments that monetize the lives of our children.

Consider all the stupid funding decisions at the state and federal levels. Are you aware that the U.S. government is spending $750,000 on a new soccer field for detainees at Guantanamo Bay? Where do our children lie in this dubious funding priority list? Maybe a portion of the state lottery money should be re-allocated to implement these badly needed measures. If we need to take up a statewide collection, let’s do it. Whatever it takes.

Unless we parents insist on these measures, the system will not budge. Inaction is inexcusable. Maybe the decision makers hope that the morbid lottery strikes elsewhere. But hope alone is never a viable strategy.

Mr. Britt is a former Georgia prosecutor, retired U.S. Army War College instructor and father of a 17-year-old Richland County high school student; contact him at w19601@yahoo.com.

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