“It is with great sadness that I stand here today to share with you that we experienced an unthinkable tragedy at our high school this morning.”
– Dr. Leigh Wall, Santa Fe ISD
To be fair, it is entirely possible that Dr. Wall did not mean “unthinkable” in the literal sense. Still, I think it is worth addressing the use of that word when it comes to mass murder in a school…or any other act of violence, for that matter. While violent crime is thankfully unfamiliar to the vast majority of America (386.3 offenses for every 100,000 people) , no one with access to a television, a radio, a computer, or smartphone should be in denial of the possibility.
Anyone who steps out their door in the morning truly believing “it can’t happen here” is a fool. Furthermore, if you are in some sort of position which entrusts you with responsibility for the lives of others and you still believe “it can’t happen here,” you are both negligent and morally bankrupt.
Although there were armed officers present today, and by all accounts they performed admirably, no law-abiding adult should be denied the right to defend themselves immediately from violence…right now. While prevention is certainly preferable, I know of no one who has a realistic proposal to guarantee that such violence can be prevented without fail. And once the killing begins, prevention is no longer an option. History has proven again and again that the longer it takes for an armed defender to arrive at the scene, the more people die.
If you are a leader…in a school system, a business, or any other organization…and you sit safe in your office while those in your charge are left vulnerable, you are wrong. It is one thing to opt for defenselessness for yourself, but to force others to be so is wrong. “Gun-free zones” are wrong. “Gun-free zones” kill.
Unthinkable, my ass. You had better think about it.