Opinion and Forefront

GARRISON: Man up for the sake of the children

January 5, 2013

GarrisonWalk any street in Jerusalem or other Israeli city and you will immediately note the presence of lots of school-age kids. They’re dressed for school, often holding hands as they wind their way through busy streets to various field-trip-type excursions.

And they are surrounded by armed men. Sometimes just a handgun visible in the waistband, but usually a long arm—an old M1 carbine, Uzi submachine gun or an AR-15 of some description. It is so commonplace that no one, even skittish Americans tourists, soon pays it any mind.

But there they are, guarding their precious wee ones with watchful eye.

Of course, these precautions are necessary due to the presence throughout Israel of bloodthirsty agents of terror who actually prefer to kill children. The enemy is often armed with military-style weapons, explosives, ample ammunition and a hunger to slaughter innocent kids.

Sound familiar? Remove “Islamic zealot” and insert “maniacal psycho” bent on killing strangers for whatever reason—or no reason—and change the venue from Jerusalem to Colorado, Connecticut or Virginia and you have the same problem. Oh, sure, the threat is more consistent and easier to identify in Israel, but folks, by now we should be getting the memo.

Unlike Tel Aviv, there is no rhyme or reason to these attacks, but for some reason we have not learned that times are, for whatever reason, becoming more and more violent and random. Clearly, we are living in an increasingly dangerous environment, one that is neither predictable nor, even by terrorist reckoning, aimed at a particular target.

So what do we hear from the media and the wizards in Congress? Time to scoop up the weapons. Really, that’s what they are saying. Pullleeeaazzzee. And others equally clueless as to facing these dangerous times echo similar nonsense while the defenseless face the worst.

Instead of looking at the threats and attempting to protect our precious kids, they want to chase after the fairy tale that it’s the guns that do the killing. How about instead we behave like rational adults, recognize that bad things are happening on a random basis, and take steps to provide real protection. That debate conjures a sad cartoon that is those people. The fire rages around the firetruck while its occupants debate the cause of the fire.

Do we turn the country back into a Wild West, an armed camp, a bellicose encampment bristling with guns? The question misses the point.

Schools, particularly lower grades, should be actively protected from the inside, not just by metal detectors but by responsibly armed school personnel at the point of attack. One armed person in the right place and we have a dead shooter and no dead kids.

We learn from national crime stats that places populated with armed folks are far less likely to face attack. Seems even the crazy ones understand the odds. Arming a few willing and well-placed people inside every school, in addition to serious access restrictions, can and will make the difference, if post-modern America still has the will to fight back.

Indiana enjoys “shall issue” status for handgun permitting, but our statute regarding firearms at schools is deplorable.

Of course, the bad guys are unconcerned by the rules, so the anomaly that prohibits those licensed citizens (again, the kooks don’t care about the law) from possessing firearms even in their cars on school property only encourages the worst element of our community. Do we not so wish the school had been armed in Connecticut?•

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Garrison is a partner in Garrison Law Firm LLC in Indianapolis and a talk show host on WIBC-FM 93.1. Send comments on this column to ibjedit@ibj.com.

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