On Thursday, former Northern Illinois University student, Steven Kazmierczak went on a shooting spree at inside a lecture hall, killing 5 students before killing himself. Since the Columbine school massacre on April 20th, 1999 we have seen a steady and shocking increase in school shootings nationwide. There are reports that the murderer, Scott Kazmierczak was on medication and had recently stopped taking his meds. Why he chose to murder students in a classroom at the university may never be known.
The question at hand is how to better protect the students in schools across the country who no longer feel safe. Law Enforcement and schools have been working hard to better protect students in a variety of ways but this is not an easy task. School campuses are spread out over many acres and they are affiliated by student bodies ranging from a few hundred to thousands.
Some schools try and identify students who may be depressed or exhibit signs of unstable behavior and then intervene with counseling, but this would not have been useful in the Northern Illinois University case because the shooter was a former student. Another method is to prevent guns from being brought onto camps but that would require searching every student and vehicle entering onto the campus. It would take hours to do a precise search of every student and every vehicle and many students would resist the intrusion each day. Another problem is that many people tend to forget about the dangers of school shootings soon after one has occurred.
Asking students to carry concealed firearms on campus is one idea that has been hotly debated and I think it may be a viable option. College students are adults and if they can pass a background check and firearms course, then they should be allowed to carry reflected firearms if they choose. The universities could even start a program where they identify a certain number of senior students who are allowed to obtain concealed firearm permits and carry firearms on campus. This way the university can ensure that it has a set number of armed students that attend firearms safety training on a regular basis. Many people will resist this idea but it has gotten to the point in our society that we have to think outside the box to protect our students who need to be protected from violence.
In high school, I was a member of the local police explorer post which is a branch of the boy scouts. We would meet every week and learn a wide variety of Law Enforcement skills to include shooting firearms. I was 15 years old and I became very proficient with handguns because I was taught by Police Officers who also taught us how to be safe with guns. If 15 year old kids can be taught how to be proficient and safe with guns, then surely the same can be done for college students.
I dream of the day when my daughter can attend college and as a police officer I would be comfortable with students carrying concealed firearms if they are qualified. The only other alternative is to hire an army of police officers or security guards that would have to be stationed in every building on a school campus which still will not guarantee complete safety. New school buildings that are built will need to be like office towers with one main entrance / exit that is manned by armed security officers with metal detectors.