It will not be long before school is starting back and last week’s Rural Summit on school safety was certainly very timely.
I attended the opening remarks and because of the sensitivity of the subject matter, the press or general public was not invited to sit in on the two-day summit.
I wrote about the seriousness of school safety after the Newtown school shooting. I still believe that our first duty is to protect our children.
Some would argue that it would be wrong to place an armed law enforcement officer on school campuses or use bars to protect our children,
That is until it happens to your child, grandchild or great-grandchild and then you would wish more had been done to protect them.
As hard as we try we cannot change society to the point that there is no reason for protecting ourselves or our family.
Daily now in the North Florida/South Georgia area we hear of murder, home invasions, carjackings, shootouts, drug busts and domestic violence.
If you have lived in a large city like Atlanta Georgia, murders happen almost daily.
I’m sorry, but we can argue till the end of time, but we can not change it.
You may feel that more laws or a hundred other ideas may make a difference, but they haven’t as of yet.
The reality is that bad people exist and they will do bad things to other people. They will kill us with whatever means are at their disposal.
They will harm our children and our elderly.
You cannot protect everyone every minute.
The reality has come to this, in my opinion. Until someone develops a machine that predicts the future, we as a society must do the things necessary to protect our children while they are in school.
That is the bottom line. We need to make it so difficult to get on a campus full of children that an assailant would be discouraged to try such a thing, and even that is not foolproof.
In the New London school tragedy story that started this week in the Herald, a dramatic change came from that incident that is still in place today.
A tragedy happened and measures were soon in place to keep it from happening again.
So why as a nation are we not taking measures to ensure that Columbine and Newtown tragedies don’t happen again?
I know it would be unpleasant to take your child to school and see an armed law enforcement officer at the school gate. But it would not be nearly as unpleasant as being the parents standing outside waiting to find out if your child were dead or alive.
That is why this summit was so important. I believe that first responders, law enforcement and school districts need to be aware of the after-effects of one of these school incidents and how others responded in such a tragedy.
It is one thing to watch it on television and another to actually experience it first hand.
Many of the speakers at the summit were veterans of such tragedies.
They shared their experiences to help others like themselves who could be faced with such devastating experiences.
I praise Sheriff Morris Young and Major Shawn Wood for their effort to bring this caliber of an event to our county.
It is sad that possibly among the 300-plus participants someone could have to face such a tragedy in their community.
That is why they were there, by the way, to help prepare themselves for such a dilemma.
We should protect our children with as many safeguards as possible ... at least that is what I believe.