I submitted this to the Jackson Sun editorial page; so far they have declined to print it. It is a brief summary of concerns/justification of the need for law-abiding citizens to protect themselves everywhere; it is our right, and it is not anyone else’s responsibility other than our own. This is my own view and does not reflect any group or individual with which I am employed or associated.
I can’t remember ever feeling as scared and angry as I have felt the first day I had to take my sons back to school following the Parkland School massacre of unarmed innocents by a well-armed shooter intent on taking lives. I felt the full weight of that event coupled with the disempowerment of knowing that I could not protect my sons and the children of others while on campus with force equal to or greater than someone intent on assault and murder.
School systems are not liable for protecting the students in their care. I’ve learned that courts overwhelmingly side with schools in cases of injury or death due to school violence, saying there is no “special relationship” that legally binds schools to protect the students in their care. The standard for accountability is willful ignorance, which is a very high standard. Negligence is not enough to make school systems, county governments, or the state liable for what happens to our children- only ignoring obvious threats.
I am not allowed he right to protect myself or others with means equal to or greater than the means of assault a criminal would use on a school campus. Efforts to change the scenario in Tennessee are unscrupulously being derailed through threats and intimidation as of today’s news that Rep. David Byrd is being accused of misconduct without due process. But if teachers, administrators, and parents who are determined to protect other people who are under their care could exercise their right to self-defense, the low rate of school violence would get lower, and more lives would be saved when mass violence occurs.