Westport Mom: We Need Armed Guards At Schools

A Westport mother of middle school students writes:

As I watch the news in tears this morning, I see kids running out of a high school in Florida away from an active shooter. I think about the parents and friends who lost loved ones. So I wonder: Are we doing enough?

As a mom, my main job is to keep my children safe. When I put them on the bus in the morning I’m worried, afraid, just not sure if they are going to a safe place. I know some of these events are not preventable but still I ask the question: Are we doing enough?

I have often thought it’s time we place an armed guard at the entrance to our schools. I’ve wanted to ask this question for years but been afraid to, because I know it sounds drastic. But when is the right time?

(Bramhall/NY Daily News)

These events are tragic, and happening more frequently. So I’m not afraid to ask this question anymore. It’s time to start the discussion. There have been 18 school shootings this year, and we are not even 2 months in. I think drastic response and change is absolutely necessary.

The guard at our middle school is the nicest, sweetest person but he is in no way prepared to protect our kids against a shooter. Nor are the locked doors if it’s a person someone knows. An armed guard gives our children a fighting chance. Aren’t they worth it? We place armed guards at banks, national monuments, train stations. Why not our schools?

Also, what is the protocol if someone is concerned that a student is going to act out? We often hear that the perpetrator was a troublemaker, bullied or depressed. We need a way for kids to express their concern if they fear someone is on the brink of doing something destructive. It needs to be anonymous and easy; otherwise kids won’t do it.

I think the process should start at middle school. Then there should be a plan to address the concern with the parents — mental health counseling, understanding if they have access to weapons, social media observance, etc.

Is there something like this in place, and I don’t know about it? Perhaps at the high school?

I’m tired of watching news stories like this. I’m sure our government will not act to solve this issue, which makes it more important that as a town we take it upon ourselves to do something more — to be a model for others. I don’t know what the answers are, but I can’t just sit back and wait. I’m angry, worried and tired!

Are we doing enough?

98 responses to “Westport Mom: We Need Armed Guards At Schools

  1. It all begins with the availability of guns. Until sensible gun control laws are passed, there will be incidents such as this. But Congress is in the pockets of the NRA. And how did a 19-year old kid get an AK-15 anyway?

  2. I understand your fear and your concerns. It is a terrifying prospect to send your child off to school following a tragedy such as this. But what we really need is GUN CONTROL!!! Instead of focusing on adding guards at schools we need to DEMAND action from our representatives. The problem is political, listen to the language that gun supporters use focusing and diverting attention to band-aid solutions like adding security at schools and not addressing the REAL underlying issue. Following the Las Vegas shootings do you know what Republicans did? Oh yeah they PRAYED, they called it “evil,” and then they planned to vote on two more bills that would make Americans even more vulnerable to gun violence–the SHARE act repealing restrictions on silencers, and The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act. Enough is enough. Damn the Second Amendment. NOBODY needs an automatic weapon. It’s time to get our lawmakers out of the NRA’s blood-soaked pockets.

    • I agree with you 100% Hilary N. I don’t know what needs to happen to ban guns. It is not only the mass shootings but also, all the accidents related to guns.

  3. Please open your eyes, heroin is illegal, does anyone have a problem getting it? When guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns. How long has Congress debated gun control? No, you don’t need an Uzi to kill a deer…..but how many more will die while the debate continues? It is time for action. Many of our surrounding school districts employ School Resource Officers. This is long overdue in Westport. We’ve spent millions on security improvements (locks and glass) to keep our children safe while the best deterrent has been ignored by our former Superintendent. Dr. Palmer has recommended Westport adopt the SRO position as not only a “guard” but a well-trained officer that can interact with staff and students, run safety and informational programs, provide a perception of security for students, help stem the rising tide of harassment, drugs and alcohol use as well as build a trusting relationship with students. There should be an SRO in every public school. . If not, then the school without one becomes more of a target. The knowledge an SRO is present alone would cause a potential shooter to think twice. SROs have been credited with saving lives across the country, including at one Oregon High School where an SRO stopped a student who had just killed one individual and was planning a rampage. Purdue University professor Eric Dietz, Ph.D., the former director of Homeland Security for the state of Indiana and 22-year Army veteran, unveiled the results of research on active shooter situations. The research found that the presence of a school resource officer can drastically reduce casualties during an active shooter situation because response time is reduced significantly. That doesn’t capture the preventative nature of the position either. Dr. Palmer and the BOE have been discussing the SRO position but this cannot be taken as just “business as usual”. This must be done expeditiously. As well known as Westport and our school system is, the downside of that is attention-starved psychopaths couldn’t ask for a better target. Wait for gun control? Don’ leave it to a politician to protect your kids….never going to happen, no matter which side of the issue you’re on. The cost? There are many unfortunate people across this country that would be glad to give every dime they have to turn back time.Let the BOE, Dr. Palmer and your RT Members know this is a priority and let’s not be the ones that have to say “We could have”.

    • You’re right Phillip–I most definitely do not trust our government and current administration to protect our kids. They cannot and they have not. They have failed again and again. However we must try to address the root issue– which is lack of gun control in this country, while in the interim pursuing solutions such as you have suggested.

    • Ronald Reagan was shot despite being surrounded by multiple, heavily armed individuals who were specifically trained to anticipate shooters, yet they were unable to prevent him being shot. We cannot place response personnel in every school, movie theater, church, baseball diamond, etc…

  4. I am a member of the Public Protection Committee of the RTM. I will consult with the rest of the Committee and see if we can schedule a meeting to discuss this, hopefully with key participants from the public protection community, such as our Chief of Police. ~ Kristan Hamlin, RTM #4

  5. I’m not sure how much good an armed guard will do, there was an armed guard at Parkland. GUN CONTROL is the answer!

    • Elizabeth Thibault

      My fear is that the armed guard would just be the first individual shot, in the event of a determined shooter. The guards now do walk arounds of the school, what if they’re on a round and not at the door to confront a shooter. This is just not a well thought-out idea.

  6. I share the worried mom’s concerns and, of course, am heartbroken for the victims of mass shootings. But I disagree with her statement that
    some of these events are not preventable. I believe they are. And not by having armed guards in school. How?

    1. Make semi-automatic and automatic weapons illegal for the public in the entire country.
    2. Require background checks for all potential gun buyers whether in stores or at gun shows.
    3. Provide free or low-cost early intervention for individuals with mental health issues.
    4. Promote a see/tell culture with more than slogans. Make it easy and safe for anyone to report concerns about potential risks even when they might be mistaken.
    5. Make violent video games, particularly those involving shooting people, illegal.
    6. Require all gun owners to have guns in the home secured from unauthorized users…under lock and key, in a safe, etc.

    We have been talking about this issue and sending our thoughts and prayers out to victims and their families for years. Still, nothing meaningful has been or is being done to prevent not just the actual event of mass shootings but the underlying societal issues that enable disturbed individuals to kill our children in schools, murder church goers, shoot colleagues. It just goes on and on.

    The individuals who commit these actions are sick, and we as a society are sick that we permit it to continue.

  7. Walking that fine line between freedom and restriction … I don’t think it’s a bad idea to have to go through a metal detector to enter a school. We have to do it at airports, concerts, etc. I also don’t think it’s a bad idea to have an armed guard – or an assigned police officer – in every school.
    But it is also even more important to have comprehensive gun control. Yes, it’s true that anything “outlawed” can always be gotten illegally. But for the most part these mass murderers are not career criminals. They have a grudge and they’re mentally unstable. Acquiring illegal weapons that can kill many people quickly through black market channels would take time, knowledge and money and could be very daunting. Most of these mass murderers simply walked into a gun store, or a gun show, or went online to purchase legal semi-automatic weapons.
    Here in Connecticut, we have fairly strong gun laws. But there’s lots of room for improvement, and I know our Senator Chris Murphy, for one, continues to fight hard for us along those lines.

  8. I want to be careful and not offend anyone. For the record I am an RTM Representative, and Chair our Public Protection Committee. I am not a gun owner or a fan of guns. Some facts:
    9 times more people in CT died last year of drug overdose then gun violence.
    30-35% of Westport Residents are legal gun owners and permitted to carry.
    We live in a society today where we love “grey.” The “black and white” our parents grew up with is gone. With this grey world there is a price to be paid. Everyone, be it the Pharmaceutical Lobbyists, Gun lobbyists, Oil, you name it, they look for the GREY to get their agenda or loop holes in the law to keep their interests in the game.
    This “reaction” theme of our country every time there is a shooting is embarrassing. In my opinion, we need to be “pro active” get some “black and white” back in our society and in our laws. Educate our kids and educators to look out for troubled kids in GRADE SCHOOL. Sign a contract, parents, kids, teachers to all agree without prejudice to be able to “suggest” a child may need some help. We need to find the cancer and cure it before it grows…Our Politicians like Chris Murphy who I applaud for his pro active fight for gun control, needs to also wake up, and along with his buddies stop taking $$$ from Big Pharma and Big Pharma employees. Drugs do lead to guns…Again, just my view and suggestions on some ways to approach this evil from another angle. Every teacher, administrator and child should never have to worry about the safety of their lives in what has always been a safe place for all.

  9. Michael Brennecke

    Yes we do need armed guards and the NRA needs to pay for them. Put some of that bloody money where their mouths are instead of politicians pockets.

  10. I too am a mother of two children and understand your fears and thank you for sharing your concerns. I️ personally feel that an armed guard is not the answer. Gun violence is a nationwide public health crisis of epidemic proportions which is only happening in America due to the ease of purchase and availability of firearms. Introducing armed guards at our schools will only make this a bigger problem. Why? Although the media does not cover this as much, accidents account for a significant number of gun related injuries. All it takes is negligence on the part of the guard and someone could be severely hurt. Furthermore, the 19 year old murderer had an AR-15 assault rifle which would easily defeat any armed guard. The solution, in my opinion, is to ban assault weapons entirely. There is no reason a civilian should own and have access to an AR-15. Australia, England and other countries have taken a hard stance on gun regulation and have seen extremely effective results. It’s time for us as a nation to understand that our kids are more important than access to military grade firearms. People who purchase guns for protection have no need for an AR-15

  11. Start at the Middle School? Sandy Hook is an elementary school. All schools are important and need to be safe. Our country’s leaders need to study other countries who serve as a model to avoid the horrific mass murder of children at our schools in the USA. It is beyond tragic that only after this happens everyone has a better idea of how to solve the problem. It’s insulting to those parents who have lost children in this heinous way to listen to the same rhetoric time and time again. Armed guards at schools? More bullets flying around our children ? I don’t think so. Enough of the platitudes from those in power and get our government to act on real solutions. It is beyond the realm of the absurd this is still happening. With all the crisisies we feel our country has to deal with this is the single most embarrassing unforgivable and unconscionable of them all. Shame on us.

  12. mothers,fathers,Have you thought about why we do not have proper gun control licensing? Any sick person can walk into a gun show and buy a military assault weapon. There are gun shows every week in Vegas. Trump passed a law rolling back Obamas gun laws on the mentally sick. A school is a large facility. How many armed people would a school need in order to stop a weapon of mass destruction that can come from any direction. Thisd only happens in the USA, It dioes not happen in England,Turkey, Canada,Norway. The common thread here is USA has the most guns of any country in the world. Only Yemen beats us when compared to per centage of people to guns. The inaction of our elected leaders is the reason nothing gets done. The elected leaders of the republican party are owned by the NRA. The killings are getting worse and nmore frequent. We do nothing but phony leaders like trump stand up and ask for prayer. Nonsense.

  13. Kris Story Cell: 203-247-0240

    >

  14. We live in an out of control country, drive out of control and oversized SUV’s, live in out of control and oversized houses, have massive income inequality, allow out of control weapons to be manufactured and sold to out of control people who have out of control fears, and we are currently being ruled by an out of control Republican Party making out of control excuses for everything from wife beating to collusion with the Russians to mass shootings of innocent people in all kinds of places. The fault lies not in the stars but in ourselves. We tolerate children being killed in the name of the Second Amendment. At the moment, God is not blessing America. Do as the Australian government did – decide that guns are used only to kill other people and animals and ban them altogether. Half measures never work.

  15. It’s not just schools- gun violence is rampant and everywhere- theaters, private homes, concerts, churches. Our elected officials would rather not stand up to the NRA. Drastic action is needed.

  16. Gun control is the only answer. Why does anyone other than the police and the military need automatic or even semi-automatic weapons? Who hunts deer with an uzi? What next – allow people to own SAM missles to hunt ducks? Gun advocates will surely say that people can kill people with a knife but no one could produce the carnage we now see almost daily if it weren’t for firearms. Automatic weapons are meant to kill one thing and one thing only – people. But as long as the lunatics are running the asylum in Washington and the NRA continues to fill the politicians’ pockets, all we can do is hope they hire armed guards for schools, malls, concerts, etc. etc.

  17. I want to make this modest proposal based on what we know about school shooters. There should be a web site of white males , under age 60, of Christian origin who own automatic weapons. By going to the site you could see which of them are your neighbors. I know that this description doesn’t describe all school shooters but it does describe most. The web site would include pictures. If you saw one of these individuals entering a school you might want to notify the police.

  18. I don’t recall mass shootings in the 60′, 70’s or 80’s….and it seems we were more exposed to guns and they were easier to obtain back then. In fact, I remember as a kid, the Westport Police offered gun safety classes and we would shoot guns, I believe, in the basement of the police station.

    So what has changed?

    Stricter gun control laws yes, but it seems the issue is much deeper…

  19. Gun control is good for now. But even complete, reasonable gun control is only a stop-gap. What happens when any teen can 3-D-print a gun? What happens when technology advances to the point at which any one can take out a city block? It’s not too far off.

    I don’t know the answer, but we need to be thinking about it. And part of the answer, I’m sure, will involve paying much more attention to our kids, and to the disturbed in our society.

  20. HOW ABOUT GUN CONTROL AND ELIMINATING ASSAULT WEAPONS

  21. Wendy Goldwyn Batteau

    Without taking anything away from the commentary above, I think this would be a good time for our Superintendent to reiterate all the security measures we enacted a few years ago and for us all to review the conversations we had then. Nothing will remove the fear but knowing that certain steps have been taken may give our families some comfort. Personally I am on record as unequivocally supporting gun control. We must also not only pay more attention to the disturbed among us, but give their families and communities more help in caring for them.

    • Wendy– As you may not recall, a number of security measures put in place a couple of years back by our Westport schools cannot be addressed publicly, because it will undermine the very utility of the security measures that are in place, and was therefore discussed in closed session.
      I think the public should understand that this issue was treated with the utmost seriousness, and a more in-depth review of security measures was undertaken after Sandyhook. That is not to say that more cannot be done. There is always room for improvement. But not all the measures that were undertaken can be publicly discussed. Some can, but not all. ~ Kristan Hamlin, RTM #4

  22. I’m not an expert on this subject by any means, but like everyone else, I am a deeply concerned parent and citizen. It seems to me though, that there are a heck of a lot of other countries that do much, much, better than the U.S. in terms of the rate gun violence (Germany, U.K., Japan, Iceland, Romania, Indonesia and the list goes on and on). Shouldn’t we actually ask the right questions from them and implement what they are doing and/or borrow best practices on the subject? Oh yeah, that’s right, I forgot- we know everything here in the U.S..
    Our Government’s perpetual ignorance, and lack of appropriate and thoughtful action on this subject is beyond mind boggling. Truly maddening.

  23. Susan Farley

    good that you’re able to share this on Dan’s Blog, & that in general you’re feeling more comfortable positing your well – educated and informed opinion on school security. I’m betting your opinion has more support than this comment section shows; it will take some more time for people to feel comfortable speaking hard truths, i.e., like that ‘security guards’, given their ‘mandate/job description’ need to be able to defend against what you hired them to secure against. this school in Florida, their 1 single security guard, it’s not like he even got caught out just bringing ‘a knife to a gun fight’, i.e., he – through no fault of his own – brought nothing other than ‘being a nice guy’ to his security job, & as a result, he & several precious children are gone.

  24. America was built on guns and genocide. We Americans are to blame for our complete subservience to the gun lobby , specithe NRA. Nothing will change my mind, children are collateral damage unless they’re in the womb.

  25. Bill Boyd (Staples '66)

    I’ve been advocating ammunition restrictions for years…i understand Switzerland has a similar law that bans ammo possession….there are something like three hundred million guns in this country. They will never disappear…but ammunition can be restricted to licensed hunters and permit holders only..And it doesn’t violate the Second Amendment. (Although the NRA will fight tooth and claw against it). One can still own guns…but not ammunition without a permit or license. I don’t hear others suggesting this but it seems logical to me….we will never be 100% safe from guns but over time ammo access could decline to where casual access is denied. As for armed guards….I just don’t know how effective that might be and how much enthusiasm there is in various communities.
    Make possession of ammunition without proper licensing a serious crime and limit its sales and there could be SOME progress…I hope.

  26. Excellent! I hope the idea flourishes

  27. Rep Himes was interviewed on TV last night and indicated he felt nothing would happen to break the cycle of mass shootings. The right/left politicians will again stake out their well scripted solutions to control mass shootings. One side will argue gun control. The other side will argue that untreated mental health issues need to be addressed. I think both sides are correct, but partisanship stops either side from listening. The right to bear arms was written in the days when a single load musket was the state of the art firearm. But I also think that the perpetrators of mass shootings are suffering from some level of mental illness.

    Now it’s time to put aside partisan arguments, recognize that both sides have valid points, and take action to reduce the likelihood of another senseless massacre of innocent people.

    Are there any public servants brave enough be pragmatic?

  28. Well said. I feel helpless. I sometimes tear up when I drop my 7 year old off and I watch her walk away…wondering if thats the last time I will see her. We pray as I drive away that she is safe. I feel guilty going to work…like I should quit my job and stay home with her but, I cant. How can we help our schools? Where do we start? Who do we contact? How hard do we have to fight? Im ready to do whatever it takes. Thank you for this post. It took the words right out of my mouth.

  29. Until such time we get the NRA out of our politicians pockets and cease voting for ANY politician that takes NRA monies, I would be in favor of armed guards at schools. We must protect our children if politicians will not.

  30. Our public servants and elected officials need the unified support of parents, students, and teachers to shake Washington into beginning a path to restore sanity and safety to our daily lives. If there is call for a national day of protest we should join in wholeheartedly.

  31. Agree.

    I actually said at the time of the Newtown tragedy that all schools should have undercover marshals (a realistic ratio for students protection and not an optical illusion of only one person in the entire school), who are also teachers and other school personnel, who are strategically placed, who are willing to accept the “new” truth that maybe one day, they will have to pull the trigger and kill another person in order to stop the murderer from killing dozens of our children.

    This idea of not having anyone equipped with a firearm to protect the students is naive and dangerous to our kids. Too many examples of school shootings should be making you think “just WHAT IF there was someone, just someone, in the building RIGHT THEN, RIGHT THERE and MOST importantly, right AT THOSE MOMENTS when the first shot rang out, the first screams were heard, that the marshals were there with their firearms and were able to shoot the gunman and STOP the killing spree before a dozen or more innocent children were shot and killed.

  32. Military assault weapons and accessories ( such as large capacity magazines ) should never be sold to civilians. Additional FEDERAL measures for gun ownership should become LAW such as, in depth required courses to become licensed, increase fees for such courses. Increase time span between completion of course and issuance of certification, increase fees for gun license, require gun license renewal annually, increase renewal fees. Increase waiting period between gun purchase and actual gun conveyance to allow for in depth character vetting by FBI for buyer and members of buyers household.
    The sad reality is that America has a rich gun culture. The leading manufacturers of guns have been in business since before the civil war. Every conflict in the world yeilds advancements in weapon technologies and, millions of Americans have been trained by the government to use them. In a society where such technologies are eventually sold on the open market then the obvious unintended consequence would be tragedies such as the massacre of innocents.

  33. I don’t think armed guards at our schools is solution we want but I agree it feels like we need to heighten security. One thought I’d like to hear feedback on is the use of security ID cards for every parent and child enrolled in a school. When we went to a public elementary in NYC we couldn’t get past the lobby without the ID card. Granted there was a security guard behind bullet proof glass checking the cards, and we’d have to rebuild our entryways to cordon off an area for people to stand when having IDs checked, but it is something. Maybe the cards have bar codes that can be scanned from outside the school. If someone is expelled the card is taken away. You can’t graduate or move to the next school without turning in all of your cards or your records won’t be released. You can’t pick up a kid inside the building without an ID. At least then we’d have more control over who is coming and going. I know we have the video surveillance and the buzzer system but I think any normal looking adult who says a kids name can be let in. Maybe I’m wrong.

    I also agree with the poster who said bans on ammunition are the solution. We need the automatic weapons ban just to send a message to the NRA that their power is shrinking. But it won’t solve the problem because 100s of thousands of these guns are already in circulation and a black market will spring up. Australia did a gun buy back program but I think our country is too populous and guns are too epidemic for it to work as effectively. I am for gun reform as much as anyone, it’s the number one issue I consider about a candidate. And it drives me crazy when conservatives or imbeciles like Trump try to criminalize things like third term abortion and the democratic opponent doesn’t slam them to the ground over their support of the NRA. But I don’t kid myself thinking that banning assault weapons is going to make us all safe. It’s just the first obvious step, and it can’t happen soon enough. This is a form of terrorism much scarier and more deadly than ISIS. All of the politicians who support the NRA are supporting home-grown terrorism.

  34. I added this on Dan’s other post as well so copying and pasting:

    If anyone is interested in joining, local gun control advocate Nancy Lefkowitz has pulled together a gun violence discussion/forum this Thursday in Fairfield. It will take place Thursday, 2/22 at 7:30 p.m. at Greenfield Hill Congregational Church (though not a church event – that is just the space being used). You can RSVP here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSegvrL5Swqbv7UP1g-QJAe4zYV3WdAQVylBxqpbVsh6-XG-8Q/viewform

  35. Perhaps this teachers creative way to forecast patterns is another way to help make classrooms safer in our schools. https://www.rd.com/advice/parenting/stop-bullying-strategy/#.WobiYBWZXpM.email

  36. We have a mental health problem that must be addressed. To solve the problem you have to ask “Why” would someone want to kill. Then address the underlying issue. When we didn’t have this problem in the 60s, 70s, 80s and there was easier access to guns.
    Gun Control sounds like an answer, an easy answer. It is not the answer.
    Humans are separted from animals in that they use tools Guns are a tool, we have seen attackers adapt and use other tools to kill. Presure cookers, trucks, fertilizer and diesel fuel.
    Until we solve the mental health problem armed police or guards are the place to start in providing a level of deterence and defense for our kids.

    • From Egan’s column in the NYT:
      ” After Australia suffered the deadliest mass shooting in its history, a massacre of 35 people in 1996 by a man with a semiautomatic rifle, the country banned such weapons. There hasn’t been a mass shooting since.”
      ADW Staples 1956

      • Banning semi automatic guns and rifles seems like the obvious first step required to stop the insanity in our schools❗️

      • Banning “assault” weapons is a good step, but the statement above is a bit misleading…

        There have been several “mass shootings” in Australia since 1996, despite the ban, in addition to other methods of mass killings. Mental health seems to be a common denominator..

        2002 – Melbourne Australia – “The gunman, Huan Yun Xiang, was acquitted of crimes related to the shootings due to mental impairment”

        2011 – Hectorville Australia – 39-year-old Donato Anthony Corbo – “It is also speculated that Corbo was suffering from mental health issues”

        2014 – Lockhart, New South Wales – “a family torn apart by a father’s depression and the violent fall of a mother into mental illness”

        I won’t mention the list of mass killings by car attack, stabbings, arson and blunt instruments….but they are available online.

        Keep in mind, Australia is a country of 23million vs the United States at 320 million…a 14x difference. If comparing apples to apples, the 3 mass shootings mentioned above would compare to 49 shootings in the U.S.

    • Hi Matt- Everyone totally agrees with you that we have a mental health problem in this country that has to be addressed. But let me ask- So why is the current budget cutting money for mental heath problems. And- Why did the congress pass legislation making it easier for people with mental health issues to buy guns (sponsored by Senator Grassley in January)

      Basic rational and reasonable gun control to me is just not selling to the general public assault type weapons and bump stock devices that turn semiautomatic guns into machine guns. Gun control to me is taking guns away from terrorists, criminals, spousal abusers, and people with mental health issues (defined as depressed, suicidal, homicidal)- and passing laws to that effect.

      If someone goes crazy with a single shot weapon in a school or a mall – most people will be able to get away- with an assault weapon and a large magazine of ammunition spraying bullets everywhere – no will get very far and the responding police will be out gunned.

      Seems easy to me- we need to spend more money for mental health issues and we need to pass some laws banning assault weapons- no new ones sold to the public and if you happen to own one it should be registered and has to stay locked in your house.

      Do you think that sounds like a reasonable place everyone can agree on?

      • I think some sort of gun control is needed. My father is a vietnam vet and had scary flash backs and from the war had some mental issues. He had atleast 3 guns in his bedroom closet and i always felt safe. I myself suffer from anxiety amd am taking meds. I dont feel like I shouldnt be able to buy a gun to protect myself because of that. I do however think you should get a note from a dr and who prescribed the meds and atleast tjree different references just like you do when you apply for a job. Most of the school shooters probably couldnt find 3 people to say that they were mentally stable to biy a gun. And then red flag the person for future purchases.

  37. $50 a year per household.
    That’s all it would cost to protect our kids.
    One armed guard in each elementary and middle school, and two at Staples.
    $50,000 a year cost per guard = $450,000 total cost
    9,000 households in Westport.

    $50 each, added to your property tax as a “school protection surcharge”

    Where do I sign up?

    Most Westporters spend more than that on coffee or smoothies each month.

    • I would pitch in 500 and Idont even have it lol! Im so serious. I want them in the schools asap.

    • Dayle Brownstein

      I believe that you underestimate how much security would be needed to fend off an attack of the magnitude we are speaking of. One armed guard may be able to apprehend one individual, with one hand gun (that was exposed), if that individual attempted to enter a front entrance. There are so many possible scenerios that could take place though, and I think that if we had a gunman with an assault weapon there is a good chance that would be the last time that security guard ever apprehended anyone. Get rid of assault weapons.

  38. Many of the comments above discuss the gun control laws in Canada and how they relate to our laws here. Rather than positing my own (non-expert) opinion on the topic of the impact of gun control, here is an excellent article from Canada’s main newspaper, The National Post, on the topic.

    http://nationalpost.com/news/canada/would-canadian-gun-laws-have-stopped-americas-worst-mass-shooters

    Virtually every gun used in an American mass shooting is legally available for purchase in Canada. Despite this, Canada doesn’t come close to suffering the same rate of mass shootings as the United States.

    Whenever Americans discuss gun control, it’s only natural that they look to the policies of their much less bullet-riddled northern neighbour. But even Canadian law can only do so much.

    Below, an analysis of just what Canadian firearms policies could have done to stop some of America’s worst mass shootings….

    • Sadly, the difference is not just a matter of logic and law, but of a mindset which centers around a bizarre (dare I say paranoid) right to self defense. And so the absurd number of guns per capita continues to climb as does the opportunity to kill.
      Canada’s gang violence has skyrocketed because of the number of guns seeping through our friendly border, but at least they’re only killing each other … and the occasional innocent bystander. Horrific and sickening madness.

  39. I feel for parents (I am one myself) and understand the fear for the safety of children heading off to school. My larger view of the problem is that the firearms issue is the U.S. is a more systemic problem which I link to how our politicians are being financed. If you want real change …..Demand Campaign Finance Reform! It’s the way to get to the root of the gun problem, as well as a many other issues. If you take the money out of politics, you take the power away from the NRA who own many of our politicians, as do corporations. Shaming our politicians is not enough. Lewis Powell, was a federal judge (at one time, he was also a lawyer for the tobacco industry) in the 70’s whose mission was to make corporations more powerful. His votes and influence dismantled any hope of keeping corporate influence in check. It wasn’t until he showed up that you had all the large lobbying groups enter the scene. He was the precursor to Citizen’s United vs FEC. Find out whose for Campaign Finance Reform and vote for them. It’s a long battle, but worth it. Maybe in our lifetime we’ll see a government that works for the people again and not the large powerful lobbying groups down on K street in D.C. running things.

  40. Bill Boyd (Staples '66)

    It’s more of a cultural and psychological issue here. Americans are stressed/scared to death (income, health care etc., it’s a long list!) and act that out….those with psych issues get no treatment and we see the result. Trump just last year signed a Bill making it easier for those with mental issues to purchase guns. This will take a multi pronged approach that we as a country have been too cheap and too stubborn to tackle.

  41. We have neighborhood watches, how about school watches? I’ll take a shift.

  42. Susan Farley

    while everyone continues arguing over whether your schools should have armed security or … (can you really even call it security if it’s not armed), you might want to equip yourselves and family with these tools, incl backpack inserts, see link: How to protect your family & how they can protect themselves if you aren’t with them from An Active Shooter. A Navy SEAL, Sniper – New Yorker gives you a life saving plan https://wp.me/p2m8l5-ePB #sofrep

  43. here is the backpack insert, this one isn’t easily purchased but I’m sure some of the stores in Fairfield County have something similar available for backpacks, (and he says this 1 fits into Patagonia backpacks which I know is popular in Westport) https://www.facebook.com/sofrep/videos/1111785508887995/

    • I thought about puting a bullet proof vest butthats uncomfortable. I have heard about the bookbag protectors but they dont sit at their desk with them

  44. Everyone who has written in has numerous valid points but really folks Mr NRA sits in the WH. Has said many times at NRA meetings rallies etc that he is their friend so let’s not kid ourselves. The guns and ammo thing is going nowhere. Our president gives a speech about how all the trouble, scared and confused kids have a friend in him and not to be afraid as he deports the DACA kids. The WH is on fire and our president doesn’t care about anyone but himself and how much he needs us all to love him. Scary times. U can write to ur congressman/woman your state senators asking them to please look into how our allies around the world have solved this horrific problem or we are doomed to repeat this unrhinkable tragedy again and again. Forget the political rhetoric and whose right whose wrong scenario. And those who like to play with guns may still do so but I never knew anyone who killed a deer with an AR-15. And where has the ‘sport’ of hunting using a bow and arrow albeit a high powered weapon, gone? It’s an ugly argument here that only other civilized people’s have solved. And again I say shame on us.

  45. The pressure of just surviving is overwhelming!!!!. Making 27k a year and I make too much for assistance (lol)
    Every three months i need to go to the dr to refill my psych meds. WITH INSURANCE (that i pay 250 a mnth for) it cost me $90 for a visit and $30 for the prescription. I also suffer from stomach issues and blood sugar but cant afford to go to the dr and fix it. I feel DEFEATED, PISSED, RESENTMENT AND HATEFUL. I have went off meds because i couldnt afford it, and lost a lil of my mind. This is what alot of us are dealing with. So i agree with helping fix the mental issues is a part of it.

    • Sorry to hear that Amy…

      • Thank you. Its just so hard out there. Though I never had alot of money, I had a good home raising…and its a good thing lol!
        So i think helping the ones that are trying to help themselves (and paying taxes), gun control, parent scannable id’s, metal detectors and an undercover gaurd is the answer.LETS KEEP OUR YOUTH SAFE!

  46. After reading all this ….something has to be done…so I’m going to make a $200 contribution to the NRA

  47. I am neither a gun owner nor NRA member but thinking this whole issue is due to the NRA is just silly
    Agree 100 percent that we should have armed security to protect the schools. We have armed security for politicians, athletes and businesses but
    Schools we promote as gun free zones???
    What worries me just as much are these violent games parents continue to let their kids play online.
    It dumbing these kids down and make them numb to these senseless killings. Where is the outrage against these “toy” manufacturers

  48. For everyone saying that every school should have armed guards…

    1. The school in Florida HAD an armed guard, he was useless: http://www.fox13news.com/news/florida-news/sheriff-high-school-had-armed-officer-on-campus-that-never-encountered-the-suspected-shooter

    2. I don’t know about anyone else, but I hated high school. It already felt like a prison to me (I much prefer learning on my own, and i read more as an adult on topics of my own choosing rather than what i was forced to learn/read in school). I can’t even imagine how much more like a prison it would feel if there were numerous armed guards walking around. If you want kids to hate school, this is a great way to do it.

    3. Who would pay their salaries? I see enough complaints in the comments here about taxes being too high, the state and local government wasting money, etc…. now you want to spend more money? How about putting that money towards more school supplies/resources so teachers don’t have to buy their own? (not sure if they have to in westport schools, but i know lots of other school districts where they do)

    • Elisabeth Dasilva

      hey brian, actually the resource cop is there only about 2x a day and not full time….we live in florida too and our son’s high school has the same situation. i wish there were police officers there permanently, then these things would just not happen. if they did, it would be so rare. the killer knew the routine of the cop and went when he was confident he was not there.

  49. Elisabeth Dasilva

    We do not need gun control, we NEED KILLER CONTROL! All these ideas about prevention should all be explored but we have 3 of our 4 children still in public school at each level and I want the solution to start today. The wonderful security guard shielded the students with his body…if he was armed he may have shot the killer and saved all 17 lives. But without a gun they NEVER had a fighting chance. How dare anyone desire to defang/declaw my children and let them be sitting ducks. We all feel totally wonderful when we go to a bank and see an armed guard. We now know schools are a target just like a bank is and our children deserve the same preventative measures. All you people who are against this ask yourself one question; would the bank robber opt for the “gun free zone” bank over the bank with the armed guard? The killer is willing to plead guilty today if the death penalty is off the table. You see folks, he does not want to die. He never would have done the massacre if there were armed guards for every so many students (700) patrolling the campus…hire retired law enforcement and retired military tomorrow and try to prevent this from ever happening again. These trained men and women tend to feel useless and without purpose after retirement. And do all those wives a favor who would be thrilled having their retired hubbies out of the house 5 days a week 🙂

    • Dayle Brownstein

      Gun control is one of the most effective strategies for “killer contro.”

      • Elisabeth Dasilva

        I am a solutions oriented person. If you want to solve the problem tomorrow, and I do mean literally Tuesday because today is Monday, and all you have to do is have armed security.
        Then after Tuesday there should be many investigations on all the many aspects of mental health and making sure unstable people cannot get guns.
        I’m a very attractive petite woman and I have a concealed weapons permit bc I know there are bad people out there who may wish to harm me. If anyone ever threatened my life they’d get a bullet in the head. I learned from my Jewish history, and God-given profound commonsense, to never be unable to protect myself in the best way possible. My children deserve the same protection. End of story.

        • Goodness. Your temperament has me questioning whether you should be granted a permit of any kind. It must be exhausting living a life of fear and anger.

          • Elisabeth Dasilva

            No fear or anger and that’s bc I can protect myself and my loved ones. I think if I wasn’t smart enough to have this sense I would be scared, and angry.
            I have never ever posted on a comment before, I don’t do social media and I barely ever go on Facebook but maybe once a year. But this article was simply brilliant and I had to give kudos to the writer 🙂
            Life is absolutely beautiful and wonderful and full of joy when do the right thing and mitigate problems.
            But my darling husband and I acknowledge that we are part of the problem because our sons will indeed attend school tomorrow and there’s no armed guards. And if there aren’t guards with a firearm, there ain’t no security baby.
            Common sense will prevail, I’m forever hopeful anyway :))

            • How well trained are you with a firearm? Is there a course you must pass on a regular basis? Is your firearm locked up at home? What do your kids think about it? Lastly, what if you felt you had to “put a bullet in a head” and hit an innocent bystander (your husband or child, even) by accident?

              • Elisabeth Dasilva

                I have a laser on both my firearms so I’m not missing. That was an extra expense but I knew if I was ever in that situation, it would be terrifying and having the laser on it means there’s no mistakes.
                Our 4 sons don’t fear guns they deeply respect them. When each turns old enough I take them shooting. They love knowing our home is always protected. All our mini golden doodle would do is lick and intruder to death lol.
                I don’t ever have to wonder what would we do if ever faced with evil. We know what to do. I sometimes think of that horrific rape and murder of those precious girls and their mom many years ago up north, the dad was a doctor. They were rendered helpless. I sometimes wish I could get hypnosis so I don’t ever have to think about that family or all the other horrors we see on the news.
                But dude I am so not going out like that…this chick knows how to fight back. I was raised in Manhattan plus I’m Jewish…that combination tends to make you real fiesty 🙂
                Okay this is more social media I’ve done in a year so I’m off to sunbathe bc it’s already summer here in Florida. All the best to all of you, be good and be happy!

        • To the self described “attractive petite woman” : Here is the solution. Everyone who owns an automatic or semi-automatic weapon would be made to buy a federal license. Every year each owner would pay a property tax on that weapon, much as one pays real estate tax. The money would be returned to towns and cities to hire armed guards to stand in the doorway of every public school. These figures would be dressed in blood red uniforms to remind visitors to America as well as its own citizens of the shame of a country that must take such a measure.
          ADW Staples 1956

  50. Bill Boyd (staples 66)

    I’m not against armed security in the short term but it isn’t a long term solution to the problem. I don’t want to live with armed guards in every public space…post offices…restaurants..coffee shops…that is NO solution..it might even inspire more violence. Switzerland requires every male to HAVE a gun for national defense….but possession of ammunition is a serious crime. (Time to restrict ammo sales and possession).
    Australia banned semi automatic weapons. But this is a political and philosophical issue.
    It won’t be solved until we have the political will to force our representatives to detox from political contributions from the gun lobby and vote to protect us from maniacal shooters.

  51. Isn’t it funny that you never hear from the nra members after each massacre, as if they’ve never had to bury a child. Have they? or just lucky.
    So quiet each and every time, thinking “that won’t ever happen to me”.

  52. There will be endless debates and a wild majority agrees at a minimum mental health testing along with no need for assault rifles seems like the easiest for people to agree on. Regardless of it all, this specific blog is not about the political joke of a system where both parties full of lifelong career politicians are at fault. We have armed security at airports and concerts and sporting events. Kids are used to seeing it. We have a great, family friendly Wesport Police team. I for one, would love a budget to include one officer at every school. At a minimum, there is no downside and the hope for a detterant as well as them having a good eye for trouble. This could help on the security side as well as the drug issue.

  53. When polititicans offer a quick answer to “Do something” in a law to fix a problem just look at how well that’s worked out over history.
    Drugs, Alcohol, Healthcare. Don’t buy their snake oil!
    The next school shooter probably already has a weapon in hand. Banning guns or a new gun restriction will not stop them or someone determined in the future.
    Deal with reality as it is today, and not how we wish it were.
    An active defense in the form of armed security has a far better chance of deterring or stopping an attack. Sign Phillip Perri’s petition if you are in favor.
    https://www.change.org/p/institute-school-resource-officers-in-all-westport-public-schools

    • We absolutely have to deal with reality “as it is today.” But, that is no reason not to consider the reality that we want for our country. Gun control will play a large role in creating the safer society that we all want to live in.

  54. For those who feel that “an armed security guard” is the best, or only, or even significant, safety protocol, are you clear about all of the safety proceedures that were in place at Marjory Stoneman Douglass? A very disturbed individual had legal access to a killing machine. I don’t deny the importance of evaluating safety protocols, but to overlook the significance of easy access to dangerous weapons is naive.

  55. Patricia Campbell

    No way would I advocate for arming teachers!
    Time to stop the sales of militia type guns and ammo! School should be safe havens for education! This is not acceptable to be advocating carnage!
    Bright minds must think 💭 outside the BOX!

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