I recently watched a video of a mother and daughter who took on a shotgun-wielding armed robber. The two women protected themselves and their Oklahoma liquor store by pulling out handguns from under the counter and shooting the armed crook. Good for them.
If only the two Florida school faculty members who gave their lives shielding students had been armed with handguns to shoot back at the obviously deranged young man who would murder 17 students and faculty on that day.
The knee-jerk reaction by many politicians and commentators was to suggest various forms of gun control, but the sad truth and reality is that a determined killer will use any means to commit mass murder, including driving a car or a truck into a crowd, as we’ve seen in Europe and elsewhere.
I don’t recall anyone calling for car control after those incidents.
President Trump has called for arming teachers to prevent future shootings, the idea being that killers, even deranged ones, never seem to attack places where they know the people are armed and will shoot back. As one commentator noted, no one has ever tried to shoot up an NRA event.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott came out against the president’s plan, stating that schools needed metal detectors, bullet proof glass and better perimeter fencing, as well as trained law enforcement officers.
But there is an idea that both the president and the governor might agree on.
Volunteer teachers can become paid reserve police officers. Also called auxiliary officers, they can be trained and certified in firearms and tactics and serve as part time police officers in their communities. In an emergency at their school, a teacher who is also a reserve police officer can place a lanyard around his/her neck with their police badge, take out their secured police firearm, and engage the threat in those crucial minutes before the local police arrive.
I imagine that teachers who are veterans would rise up to this challenge, as will other teachers and school administrators who want to better protect themselves and the students.
Mr. Trump could have the U.S. Justice Department offer a program to actively recruit teachers to serve as reserve police officers. The Justice Department could offer generous grants to fund the training and salaries of these reserve officers.
Like many cities and counties across the U.S., the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department has a reserve police officer program. Their program is fairly typical of other reserve officer programs.
More than 90 men and women are serving as reserve police officers, according to the police website. The department states that they are looking to expand their ranks by recruiting new members into the Reserve Corps. The department notes that the Reserve Corps has made significant contributions to law enforcement and crime prevention throughout the District of Columbia.
The program allows one to keep their full-time career while participating in the Reserve Corps, where armed members volunteer to work at least 24 hours per month. The police department’s reserve police officers receive training that mirrors that of a career officer and upon completion the sworn and armed police reserve officer works in patrol and other specialized patrol functions. Reserve officers go through intensive firearms training class and perform all duties and responsibilities of a sworn officer, including carrying a police-issued firearm.
To qualify for the position of a reserve police officer, you must be a US citizen at the time of application. You must be 21 years of age and meet at least one of the following criteria: Successful completion of at least 60 semester-hour credits or the semester-hour equivalent from an accredited post-secondary educational institution; or Have served in the Armed Forces of the United States, including the Organized Reserves and National Guard, for at least two (2) years on active duty and, if separated from the military, have received an honorable discharge; or have served at least three (3) years in a full-duty status with a full-service police department in a municipality or a state within the United States, and have resigned or retired in good standing.
You must possess a valid driver’s license that is not under suspension or revocation from the jurisdiction of residence. Have at least 20/100 vision, correctable to 20/30 in both eyes and you must pass the sworn officer written entrance test, as well as pass a physical ability test.
You must submit and pass a polygraph examination and pass a medical examination and psychological examination, which includes a drug-screening test, just like a sworn officer. And lastly, you must possess a high moral character for carrying out law enforcement duties.
So if store clerks can take out an active shooter, why can’t teachers? Especially volunteer teachers with training, certification and experience as a reserve police officer.
• Paul Davis is a writer who covers crime, espionage and terrorism.