- - Monday, October 26, 2015

As the mom of a high schooler, choosing the right college is a major point of discussion at our house these days. We’re asking a lot of questions like: Does it offer reasonable tuition? Should it be close to home or far away? Does it offer the right training for the major he is considering?

Like millions of concerned moms out there, my first priority has always been the safety of my children. I can’t imagine the heartache and feeling of helplessness those moms feel who have lost their children to senseless acts of violence at school. It’s devastating.

The horrific mass shootings that have occurred on school campuses over the past few years have revealed a major weakness in our education system and it’s one that is topping my list of priorities for my son’s choice of college. My No. 1 priority is to know with assurance that my son will be kept safe in every way and that, if attacked, he will have the ability and freedom to defend himself. Yes, by all means, we need to discuss the current lack of adequate treatments for mental health. There are obviously major issues that need to be addressed in that area of health care. But until that complicated subject is honestly addressed and corrected, there is one sure-fire, no-fail way to keep our kids safe: No Gun-Free Zones.

Looking at every mass shooting on record, since 2009, one thing is clear: Gun-free zones don’t protect, they endanger. The Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC) released a report in 2014 showing that 92 percent of mass public shootings between January 2009 and July 2014 took place in gun-free zones. Have we become so politically correct that we are willing to ignore the facts to the detriment of our children’s safety?

“Gun-free zone” sounds so good; utopian, almost. But a philosophical paradise does not protect our kids. A gun-free zone is a fallacy. When nice ideas don’t translate into reality, it’s time to face the truth. A gun-free zone doesn’t scare away a predator. It’s actually even more of an invitation for those with evil intentions who seek to attack the weak.

It was Ronald Reagan who said, “Evil is powerless if the good are unafraid.” So, “good” moms of America, I’m asking you to join the Mothers Against Gun-free Zones — M.A.G.Z. Let’s stand united against gun-free zones in our schools. Let’s make “evil powerless” by being “good” and courageous enough to reject the politically correct ideas that sound good but fail our kids. Let’s make “evil powerless” by finding a real solution to the problem.

My sons are the best things I have in this world. They are good, kind and generous. My high schooler wants to go into law enforcement or the military some day, so he can, as he puts it, “protect people.” He really is the protector in our family and we have taught him to respect fire arms as a means of last resort in self-defense. He is an excellent shot and if he were ever in a situation where a mad-man was on the loose, he would be the one helping people escape while making moves to take out the shooter. But if he had no armed security nearby or no means of self defense, it would be a recipe for another tragedy.

They say that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. It’s time we realized that gun-free zones are a fallacy. It’s time we demanded that schools put in place adequate protection or defense mechanisms for our kids. Solutions like armed campus security or public statements that a school’s campus is not a gun-free zone would be a good start.

Parents, please join me in requiring colleges to include in their slick presentations some key points about how they plan to protect our kids. And to all of the “Mr. College Reps” out there: Don’t try to sell me on how safe your campus is for my child because it is “gun free.” I want to know your plan to fend off attacks before they happen by being proactive about your security or allowing kids who have been properly trained to serve as “campus watch” members or whatever it takes.

Show me how you plan to keep my child safe! That’s college priority No. 1 for this mom. Once you show me that, then we can talk majors, programs and tuition. So, I’m Just Sayin’: Safety first, educators. Safety first.

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