The Clarion

OUR VIEW: Armed guards are not the answer

Mel Acosta  & Andrew Kicmol, Opinion Editor & Editor in Chief

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It seems like every week now there is another shooting of varying degree. In the past couple of months, it’s been a religious place, a school, a yoga studio, and, most recently, a bar and grill. The amount of news coverage dedicated to shootings is far too much.

The argument for how to fix this issue begins with a narrow-minded idea:  there are armed guards protecting our banks, why are our schools any different?  If it stops thieves it obviously will have the same results in protecting children.  We cherish our bank accounts and children at the same level, don’t we?

Despite all the battle between having armed guards or not, there are facts that justify one over the other.  The Center for Investigative Reporting found out that the presence of armed guards generally increases the chance of violence occurring.  This was established through examining descriptive 2007-2011 FBI crime incident reports, such as bank robberies, where there were or were not armed guards. 

Violent events, like the injury of a person or firing of a weapon, happened in only 4 percent of cases where there wasn’t an armed guard on duty.  But, when there was an armed guard present, that rose to 12.8 percent, over three times the previous amount.

It’s important to note that regardless of the situation, it’s never certain that armed guards can guarantee safety.  Considering the number of mass shootings that have occurred in 2018 alone — Thousand Oaks marking the 307th — it doesn’t seem like the type of change we would have success in gambling on. Adding armed guards is not a solution to gun violence, it only increases the chance of something bad happening. There is no guarantee that an armed guard could stop a would-be shooter. If a fire fight breaks out between a guard and a shooter someone will get caught in the crossfire, no doubt of that.

Both the Virginia Tech and Columbine attacks had armed guards, but that didn’t stop the event from happening.  They’re still tragedies that the country mourns. If we don’t figure out some way to protect and prevent, every day of the year will wind up being a day that we end up mourning.

Last month, members of The Clarion saw Daniel Williams, former student of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High Shcool in Parkland, Fla., speaking at the ACP/CMA conference. Only 24 hours before, another shooting had happened in a Pittsburgh synagogue. It screams “this country has a problem” as loud as possible when a survivor of a shooting has to address one that had happened just the day before.

President Donald Trump says we should add more guns to the problem. “If there was an armed guard inside the temple, they would have been able to stop him,” Trump said.

There’s a lot of uncertainty with having armed guards, but even then, it’s not its worst aspect.  Deciding to secure schools to an extreme with armed officers (or the dreadful idea of arming teachers) makes the decision that schools are a place of fear. Or that they only ensue violence. While this statement is sliding further to the truth because of terrorist attacks, the solution shouldn’t result in making that feeling permanent. The solution should move to change and resolve any negative thoughts children have regarding school.

Think of the places that gun violence is taking place in: schools, places of worship, concerts, movie theaters, yoga studios, and even bars. Not to mention what’s occurring in the streets in some parts of the country. This all sounds like terrorism. Is there any public place to go now and not have to worry about a shooting happening? 

The United States has a terrible problem with gun violence and the longer we wait to do anything about it, the worse it’s going to get.

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OUR VIEW: Armed guards are not the answer