Thursday, December 27, 2012

"Liberty and Safety Must Walk Together"

"Liberty and Safety Must Walk Together"
By Delegate Mike McDermott

The easiest political solution in response to the murderous rampage in Connecticut would be to point the finger at something...anything...and ban it to the abyss. We could then pronounce our children to be "safe" and accept the kudos for our "success". Politics as usual.

On the books, we have thousands of gun laws obeyed by our go...od citizens while ignored by criminals. Most of our mass shootings have been perpetrated by those suffering from mental illness who were not armed with "assault rifles". The massacre at Virginia Tech involved a handgun and resulted in significantly more victims.

In order to solve the problem, let’s begin by confessing that we cannot stop it from happening again. We cannot fix all the sick, broken people determined to do others and themselves harm. We cannot take away all of the guns. We cannot afford cops at every entrance to every school.

We can, however, harden the target and limit our vulnerabilities if we become aggressive in our response to potential threats. There are school districts in our country which have adopted a proactive approach to security threats. Within their schools are certain staffers (known only to the administration) who carry concealed firearms within the school. These trained individuals are designated as "Guardians" and they represent a vigilant line of defense for those we must protect. They are equipped and ready to stand in the gap. Like Sky Marshals, School Guardians remain behind the scenes unknown to all, but prepared nonetheless.

We can opt to provide less lethal technology, such as Tasers, to select staff within our schools. While their effective range is limited, they could provide a line of defense for those who currently have nothing at their disposal. This would require minimal expense and training and could be in place within a matter of weeks.

How I wish one or more of the staff at Sandy Hook Elementary had been a "Guardian" or equipped with a Taser. How differently might the outcome have been.

We must change the way that we view mental health issues and options in our country. We closed the doors on institutions during the 1980’s only to provide no alternatives. The results surround us and it is politically incorrect to even discuss the issues. If we feel your conduct or actions place our society at an undue risk, your liberty should be in jeopardy. We recognize this when it comes to passenger aircraft, and it is time we recognized it outside of the airports as well.

The media must police itself or be subjected to fines for sensationalizing instead of simply reporting these types of tragedies. Most of these murdering crazies seek celebrity status, even in death, and the electronic media is generally only too glad to oblige. Why do we understand this when it comes to streakers at a televised event, yet fail to grasp it in these situations? There is a balance missing that the media desperately needs to find or we can find it for them.

Preparing our children to take their place in civil society is the responsibility of parents. Teachers, mentors, and the rest of society can only reinforce what parents are instilling. There are some who advocate taking certain guns from responsible citizens while simultaneously letting junior play the most hellish video games available night and day. What’s wrong with that picture? Training a child is the toughest, most important job if we are to preserve a civil society for the coming generation. In this, we must hold each other accountable. We simply must stop subsidizing and making excuses for antisocial behavior.

I will introduce legislation in the next two weeks which would:
Authorize a Maryland School District to implement a "Guardian" program;
Authorize a Maryland School District to issue Taser style less-lethal weapons to select personnel within a school;
Authorize persons who possess Conceal-Carry Permits along with Active or Retired Law Enforcement Officers (who are certified to possess firearms) to carry a concealed firearm on the campus of a public school.

It was Benjamin Franklin who proclaimed, "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." Let us be a people who truly understand how to provide safety while maintaining our liberty.


Anonymous said...

It's so sad that this even has become an issue. In the 70's while I was in school it never even crossed our minds that someone could come in and shoot us. Where I grew up everyone had guns and rifles and children were told to not touch as they could kill us and we didn't touch them.

jmmb said...

I know exactly what you mean, anon 5:38. Half of societies problems are due to the teachings at home- or what is not taught.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in house with many guns and was taught to use them at an early age. Everyone had guns, we hunted before school, carried them to school in our cars so we could hunt after school. It was never an issue because of how we were raised.

Mcdermott raises some interesting points. The Guardian issue is interesting. Would the students be better served by a School Secutity Officer? Many school districts, such as Accomack, have Deputies in each school (or at least high schools). Our society dictates that tasers should be as mandatory as AED's and will probably save as many lives.

As far as the concealed permits are concerned, It is my New Year's Wish that McDermott will boldly get behind the loosening of the regulations surrounding permitting for concealed carry. MD's laws concerning this are the most restrictive in America. At a time when when many are trying to hamper gun ownership by law abiding citenzens, we need to make sure that this access will be increased, not decreased.