Colonel Tim Fitch of St. Louis County Police Wants to Arm Teachers. He's Right

Colonel Tim Fitch of St. Louis County Police wants to arm teachers. - Image via
Colonel Tim Fitch of St. Louis County Police wants to arm teachers.
In reaction to the Newtown massacre, Colonel Tim Fitch of the St. Louis County Police Department has proposed arming local school officials.

He's concerned about that critical window between the moment a homicidal maniac enters a school and the moment the police finally arrive. A lot of carnage can be wrought in those five to ten minutes.

So Fitch wants to solve a gun problem with more guns. He told The Beacon yesterday: "They say more guns are not going to solve anything.... My response is, then what is your idea?"

Actually, I don't have one. Arming school personnel might be a good idea.

It all depends, of course, on the execution.

Obviously, they'd have be well trained in how and when to shoot -- and have this training refreshed from time to time.

Secondly, if they're going to do it, some of them might as well carry it on their person, because in situations when seconds are critical, you wouldn't want to have to run down the hall, grab a key from a drawer, and try to unlock a gun safe.

But that means they'd have to invest in some secure holster equipment would allow the principal (or teachers or whomever) to carry the firearm on his/her person without the risk of a kid ever stealing it. (Fitch seemed to suggest to the Beacon that such equipment exists.)

In my view, a school employee trained and armed in this way would (ideally) be the functional equivalent of an armed security guard, which no parent would object to. Wait, no -- they might object if it causes tuition to raise. Providing the same security by arming a school administrator might be the cheaper, and thus preferable, option.

Of course, schools should tighten up access to the building, but that's an imperfect defense. Look at Newtown. Everybody in the municipality apparently knew Adam Lanza was weird, but when he showed up to a locked door at the school, they let him in anyway. With so many people coming and going through different doors of a school, a focus solely on building access won't do the trick.

Do I relish the idea of placing guns inside schools? No. Is it ideal for children to watch their principal walking around, packing heat? Probably not. But such is the country we live in right now.  Better to live in this reality, for the time being, than to idly hope another tragedy won't occur.

Better to act like it will, and be ready.
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