Bulletproof Book Bags, Keeping Sandy Hook Closed Aren’t Solutions

Why Sandy Hook Elementary should reopen right away.

Cutting through the distortions and hype, here are facts about the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting. None of the guns of the Newtown shooter were automatic (instead, like virtually all guns, one trigger pull is needed for each bullet fired); all were legal (though he took them from his mother without her permission, which is a crime); he left a shotgun in the car (which would have killed just as many, if not more, with considerably fewer rounds and less effort); and his primary targets were six-year-olds who physically couldn’t fight back.

But forget all that. It’s the guns’ fault, we’re told.

Now, investment in Freedom Group, the company that makes the rifle used in the crime, is being withdrawn by a large private equity firm, despite Freedom’s impressive financials. Why? Because investors will feel good about themselves by blaming a convenient scapegoat, in this case the “evil” gun manufacturer—in much the same way the gun maker in the D.C. Sniper case was sued and eventually paid a settlement in that tragedy. The lesson? Clearly the sniper himself wasn’t completely responsible for his own actions. The gun manufacturer was complicit, too.

Even more pathetic are the ultra-neurotic parents rushing to buy bulletproof school bags and even body armor for their children, with sales in both skyrocketing. Backpacks designed to stop bullets—that’s just brilliant. What’s next? A cop for each student? What apparently hasn’t dawned on these folks is that ballistic backpacks wouldn’t have saved a single child in Newtown, since the shooting started at 9:30 and presumably all backpacks had already been put away.

And how off-the-wall is it to think that of America’s 140,000 schools, the next tragedy will be at yours? That’s like not flying for fear a terrorist will pick your plane—from among the 30,000 commercial flights per day in America. There’s another term for that: being a slave to fear.

Perhaps most disturbing in the Newtown aftermath is that the Sandy Hook Elementary School will be closed for months“indefinitely,” actually, according to Connecticut State Police—as the criminal investigation continues. Call me crazy, but I think we know who committed this heinous act. And he’s dead. So why the ridiculously long school closure? To “dot every i and cross every t”? If so, that’s insane, and only rubs salt in an already painful wound. If the investigating authorities are even mildly competent, everything that could offer a clue into who did it (which we know) or, more importantly, why, should have already been found.

The police stated their intention to analyze “every single round of ammo for evidence.” Great. What they think they’ll find by doing so is beyond comprehension, but they should be doing it at the crime lab—not the school.

Every day Sandy Hook stays closed longer than necessary further traumatizes parents, teachers, and most of all, the children. Either close the school permanently (a bad idea, since it would morbidly give the shooter a shrine and allow him some sort of sick victory), or infinitely better, get back on the horse as quickly as possible. Fill the school again with our children—our future—and send the message that America will never be paralyzed by fear and that evil will never triumph.

America made a huge mistake by taking over a decade (and counting) to erect a skyscraper in the footprint of the World Trade Center. By not being bold and decisive, we gave a moral victory to our enemy, showing our weakness and fear. You can bet that if the same happened in Russia or China, they would have constructed a bigger and better building in record time.

Why are we making the same mistake with Sandy Hook? Indecisiveness and focusing on the wrong issues only fuels the fire of other lunatics and copycats.

And guess what? Until we truly look in the mirror, this will happen again. You can do everything discussed above, and it will still occur, because they are tactics, not strategy. Big difference.

This didn’t happen in the 1950s—or even the 1980s or most of the ’90s—when access to guns was considerably easier than now. We didn’t lock school doors a generation ago; we didn’t have lockdowns; we didn’t whitewash everything; and we didn’t get trophies for losing. Oh, and we didn’t kill people when something didn’t go our way or we had hurt feelings. But that’s another column.

It is time to stop kicking the can down the road while patting ourselves on the back for “solutions” that won’t solve anything except to soothe our own egos. If we tackle our problems head-on with the resolve that is uniquely American, then our enemies, both foreign and domestic, will be vanquished and America will once again lead through strength, not stagnate in fear.

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  • Mugan

    No idea what your point is but see mine – The Community Organizer and Gun Control,

    Your President opined the following “I am skeptical that the only answer is putting more guns in schools”.

    Putting the lie to your President’s statement is the fact that his
    children enjoy armed protection, exclusive of Secret Service guards, at
    Sidwell Friends where 11 armed guards are standard protocol. These
    armed guards protect the prestigious children of diplomats and high ranking officials, or those destined to study at the halls of Princeton, Harvard or Yale.

    If correct, then 1st, the Community Organizer should petition the
    Director of Sidwell Friends to remove the 11 armed guards and then
    petition the Congress for the same rule for his subjects.

    Your children, apparently, don’t deserve the same protection

    • Gregory Trout

      You’re right – they do not. They are not the children of high-ranking political figures, whose children are obviously more likely to be victimized for political reasons. Is it not common sense that the President’s children require more protection than some random people’s children?

      I agree that this article lacks direction, but your comment is just dumb.

      • Mugan

        Thanks Gregory, if you read my post carefully, the 11 armed guards are exclusive of Secret Service.

        • Turk502

          And as an American, you’re well within your rights to pay $35,000 a year to send your 9-year-old to school so that they can be protected by armed guards. But our public schools can barely afford to pay teachers, let alone armed and trained guards to protect children that aren’t under constant threat of kidnapping and worse. But I do agree that this post sort of lacks a point and direction.

  • damageddude

    Living in the NYC area all my life, and considering all the bureaucracies involved at WTC, I’m amazed 7 was rebuilt in just a few years. Of course that was privately owned, the rest of the site is owned by the Port Authority and here lies my problem. As a NJ resident, using 80 year old bridges and tunnels to get into the city I am not thrilled that my tolls have risen not to pay for transportation upgrades but to pay for an office building on Manhattan. If you think it is important for the WTC to rebuilt ASAP for symbolism, show me the money. As to Sandy Hook reopening, wait until the renovations like Columbine.

  • There is too much common sense in your article – so it won’t be considered by the authorities in charge. As long as stupid lawyers exist to sue everyone for an easy paycheck, the authorities will take forever to investigate the bejeezus out the situation so they are covered by the “law”. The school will probably be moth-balled and the acreage wasted in the name of public feelings and it will either go fallow, or become a shrine, or something other than a statement we don’t bow to terrorists and we will come back and survive.

  • Rich H

    Just what we need an Angry Confused Commentary to start 2013 !

  • jsl108

    The school being closed traumatizes everyone?! No! Consider the psychological trauma of going back to that building. There is no reason in the world the children and staff would be better off being forced to revisit the murder scene EVERY day from now until they finish school. To prove a point that “America will never be paralyzed by fear and that evil will never triumph.” Sorry. Those kids have every right to be paralyzed by fear and to tell children to “get back on the horse” by going to the site of their real-life nightmares is absolute crap. That would be a special kind of psychological torture and I cannot believe anyone in their right mind would wish it upon anyone, not to mention children. I think the 80 or so volunteers at the nearby middle school that converted their unused building to the new Sandy Hook Elementary did exactly the right and sound thing for those kids and teachers.

    Once the investigation is complete (and I’m sorry, but the investigators have likely had about 15-18 days to actually do their work so far if they took off Christmas and New Years–and that’s working weekends–hardly a “ridiculously long” time period for the school to be closed), bulldoze the site. Plant 26 trees in honor of those lost. It’s not a shrine to the killer–it’s a memorial to those we lost.