There is a problem. In 44 days, there has been 18 school shootings in the U.S. With each new shooting that has happened over the recent years, I have thought about this from many different angles. Logical, emotional, political, statistical, etc. Thousands of other people have as well. And yet, we as a nation, have not taken 1 step or course of action to prevent these horrible incidences. So, we have a problem. And I am going to look at this problem from a new angle today. Do you know who are excellent problem-solvers? Entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurs, as a whole, are amazing. They are creative and think way outside of the box. They come up with solutions that are geniusly simple. They find ways to thrive, despite difficult, seemingly insurmountable barriers. They work around beaurocratic policies. As a small business owner, and a freelancer for the majority of my life, I decided to put my entrepreneurial skills to work to solve this problem: What can be done to decrease school shootings in the U.S? This is a neutral post. There is no talk of politics. This is a brain-storming session to find a solution to the problem. One thing that entrepreneurs do, is look at business models that currently exist, and expand on that idea, or take a principle from that model and apply it to a completely different field or industry. I am going to share some ideas that I have had, talk about their pros and cons, and open this up for discussion. Maybe this will spur some other ideas, and something will eventually take shape, catch on, and prevent the next school shooting.
Perhaps you have seen these adds come up on your social media pages - anti-rape underwear. These are rip-proof, scissor-proof, pull-proof panties that look a lot like male briefs. They can only be taken off by the person wearing them. The reason I bring this up in a school shootings post, is this: This product does not talk about changing “rape culture.” It does not bring up policies that may prevent rape. Doesn’t talk about penalties for rape. Doesn’t suggest what a woman should wear, drink, or who she should be around. No, this product says, “Rape happens. Let’s prevent it.” Now, I don’t know the statistics, or the success rate on this particular product. I’m not even concerned with what this says about the current state of our culture. The fact is, a woman will have a very difficult time getting raped if she is wearing this product. So, this is how I am approaching school shootings in this post. It’s a problem. I want a solution that will make it damn near impossible for someone to come into a school and murder students with a weapon.
Taking my cue from the idea of a protective garmant, the first suggestion would be bullet proof vests. In all seriousness, kevlar and Spectra material have evolved. They’re lighter and more wearable. This could be something that parents buy for their own school-age child, or something that a school mandates as part of their school uniform. This actually seems like the easiest option that most families, or schools could start implementing almost immediately.
Pros: Although a vest may not cut down on the number of school shootings, it would likely decrease fatalities that result from them.
Cons: A vest would protect vital organs, but not the brain, or extremities. Additionally, the cost would be high.
The next idea gets a little more complicated. Within prisons (now bear with me here), weapons can be found, and used to kill other prisoners. However, you would be hard pressed to find that an actual gun or assault riffle had been smuggled in. No, I’m not saying let’s strip search our students and treat them like prisoners. But maybe we should think of school security more like the security of a prison. There is fencing, walls, and barbed wire around prisons, and guards who ensure 24/7 that no one is getting in or out of that fence. Before entering the school grounds, students would be searched, similar to airport security. Bags are searched, metal detectors, pat downs, body scans, etc.
This would have a couple pros. First, it would actually create a lot of jobs. Teachers and staff couldn’t handle this alone. Local police couldn’t give this the necessary attention. They would need specialized security who makes this their one and only job. Second, if there was a dedicated, full time, school security team, school shootings would almost certainly decrease. If you look at prison models and airport security models, yes, things still happen, but those incidences are drastically cut down.
On the con side, this would be a massive undertaking. Whether by a private security company or police, the logistics, man-power, and resources needed would take time and money to put into place.
Next, I’ve fallen and can’t get up. Yep, life alert. We all know the commercials. Punch line or not, life alert saves lives and prevents serious injuries. If all students and teachers wore something like a life alert, help could arrive more quickly. I know that most people, even students, are attached to their cell phone. But this would be even quicker. It would literally be one movement of your finger, and help would arrive. Again, this could be a mandatory school uniform implementation. This could save valuable time. Even seconds are life and death in school shootings.
Pros: Time saved, possible lives saved
Cons: Would likely not decrease the amount of school shootings, just would cut down on response time. Also, would be expensive to ensure that all students had one, and difficult to enforce.
Now, I know that this is not supposed to be a policy discussion; however, we still should at least look at how citizens are deterred from crimes, and penalized for committing crimes. In the event of a school shooting, should school leadership be criminally punished for not providing adequate security or a safe environment for the students? Perhaps an examination of what a school’s legal responsibility is to prevent school shootings is in order.
Vehicles are deadly. We regulate them with traffic laws. Drivers must pass certain qualifications to drive. And there are criminal consequences for disobeying those regulations, anywhere from fines, to prison. Now, Americans feel differently about cars than we do about our right to bear arms, so it’s not an exact parallel. But, we have got to look at other examples, other countries, other ideas, and draw from them what works or doesn’t. Most importantly, we have to do something. We just have to do something. We can’t keep doing nothing. We know for a fact that doing nothing doesn’t work. So let’s try something else now.
At this point, I surrender. I would give up just about anything to stop the next school shooting. I’ll happily never own a gun, or ever try to buy one. Please, feel free to hike up my taxes in order to pay for school security details. I will personally fund-raise so that every student in my school district can afford a bullet-proof vest, or life alert button. I will do one of those, or all of those. I don’t care. If it cuts the rate of school shootings from one shooting for every 2.5 days, to one school shooting for every 3 days. That’s a win. Well, not a win, but it’s progress.