The mass murder in Roseburg, Ore., confirms that the mythical gun-free zone is for real only until the next deranged, armed loner shoots his way in and makes the school his private killing field. In his Oct. 18 commentary (“Some think guns solve any problem”), Leonard Pitts Jr. ridicules presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson for even suggesting that students fight back when facing attacks guaranteed to come. While the pro-gun and no-guns factions continue their endless stalemate, consider some specific nonlethal measures that might save dozens of lives in the interim:
Install reinforced doors and locks resistant to high-velocity jacketed bullets. Place removable steel grill work inside windows to bar entrance to the classroom. Reinforce or replace every desk with a hardened steel top. Train and license all willing students and staff in the use of the latest Mace spray, and allow concealed carry in school backpacks. Help each class develop emergency action plans. Summarize future attacks in one tiny column on the last page of newspapers.
Risky? Sure, but it stacks up like Everest compared to the worn-out script of standing still and getting shot in the head.
Tom Nichols, Los Osos