(Editor’s note: this article originally appeared at ThoughtfulWomen.org)
I am currently an elected school-board trustee of the tenth largest school district in California. I have served as trustee since December of 2006, and I am currently clerk of the board and have previously served as president and vice president. Our governing board has responsibility for more than 51,000 students and 3,900 employees on 55 campuses in seven cities.
My father and uncle were Air Force generals, so I grew up in a household of gun owners. My father hunted game all over the American South; and while serving as a diplomat, he hunted wild boar in Italy and, with my brother, hunted big game in the Amazon basin of South America. In our house, when I was growing up, hunting rifles and shotguns were kept in a locked case; but my father also kept a personal handgun in our home for our protection. At age 16, I was taught by a firearms professional to shoot a pistol. I am a life member of National Rifle Association and a family member of the California Rifle and Pistol Association, but I evaluate each firearms proposal on its merits.
On Dec. 14, 2012, a mentally-disturbed young man in Newtown, Connecticut murdered his mother and removed her weapons from their home. He then went to Sandy Hook Elementary School and proceeded on his evil course: He pulled the trigger time after time, slaughtering 20 first graders and six adults. This was the greatest tragedy in an elementary school in American history and one of the greatest single tragedies in American history. As the mother of two daughters (one of whom has been a schoolteacher in three states) and grandmother of five grandchildren, I know and share the strength of the love we have for our children and how highly we regard our teachers.
Americans have seen terrorists hijack airplanes to hold planes and passengers for ransom. We have seen, on Sept. 11, 2001, hijacked airplanes turned into guided missiles aimed at our office buildings. To guard against this, we now have armed federal marshals and armed pilots on various passenger flights. My son-in-law is a pilot for a major passenger airline and is federally authorized to be armed in the plane’s cockpit.
But most of our public schools are gun-free zones, and people who would do evil are aware of this. Why should evildoers have a sense of comfort and unchecked power when they go on a school campus?
Wouldn’t it be better if they were wondering: Is there someone here who might stop me in my tracks before I can carry out my self-glorifying destruction?
It is a shame that we live in a time when such puffed-up viciousness is in the news. Self-absorbed people filled with spite and malevolence sometimes start attacking other people. Such twisted massacres are unpredictable and not easy to fathom. But we can learn about such self-glorifying destruction from Milton on the rebellion in Heaven and in the novels of Dostoevsky.
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