Looking back on the video of the school board meeting on February 26th 2018 where the topic of arming teachers with a CCW drew a lot of media attention around the city of Cincinnati it wasn’t even close. The entire meeting is shown below, for which the media categorized it as “contentious,” which it was—but it was much more civil than you might think for such a hot button issue. The public comments section can be viewed at the 38-minute mark. My comment can be seen at the 53:30 mark. After me there was one other speaker on the list from the sign-in sheet and at that point the score was 6 for arming teachers with a CCW in class to just 2 against. Once the listed speakers had concluded Samuel Ronan who is running against Steve Chabot in the 1st Congressional district and was from Springboro spoke. He didn’t count in my view because he was simply there to give a stump speech on a national issue because the Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones took the lead on suggesting that he’d offer free CCW classes to any teacher who signed up for his class. After Ronan spoke there was a student who cried and couldn’t get through her speech followed by a lady who additionally added to the anti-gun comments. When the scoring was all said and done for the evening the score was 6 for allowing CCW teachers to bring their guns to school to act as first responders with only 5 against the proposal. That is the purest score this issue will ever get at Lakota. Obviously, the people against the measure hadn’t had time to professionally attack the CCW proposal and were caught a little flat-footed on the matter.
Those of us for the CCW proposal really hadn’t coordinated our efforts either. I had a few people call me to see if I was coming to the meeting and when I said I was, there were others obviously who felt they could come and add their opinions to the matter. If Lakota had a vote likely the tally would come down to a similar demographic as was shown in that school board meeting on that particular evening—something close to a 60% to 40% vote in favor of arming teachers in our 22 school buildings. Those who spoke against CCWs presented an emotional argument without any solution present, which is typical on this subject. There is a portion of our society that is just afraid of guns and wishes that humanity could remove them completely. Any logical person not thinking emotionally understands that 92% of all mass shootings take place in gun free zones—which is why schools are such a hot target. Wishing that guns were never invented isn’t a logical solution—especially in the short run. Lakota does have school resource officers—10 of them to cover the 22 current buildings, which isn’t nearly enough for a community that has over 100,000 residents. The cost is prohibitive to have an officer in every building and in every hallway in case something was to occur where a school shooter might attack and realizing all that, based on this school board meeting, there really isn’t a choice. Lakota is going to have to adopt a measure arming teachers and the reasons are obvious.
My first thought when Samuel Ronan handed his camera to an Islamic woman who was sitting next to one of the anti-gun speakers from earlier was that we were getting ready to hear from the professional anti-gun lobby. And that was confirmed when the 3-minute clock was not started for Ronan. Listening to Ronan speak I thought a member of the school board had invited him to talk which was why the clock never started for him, and why he was permitted to not address the board–but the audience and the television cameras that lined up the back of the room. But after going on for well over 3 minutes the board did stop him so it appears that the progressive politician had just crashed our meeting in a similar way that a school shooter might attempt to do and take advantage of our good graces as a community. He simply went on a stump speech for every progressive political platform and his supporters represent the emotional element which the media has latched on to. But if you listen to his speech there is no solution presented even though he is an obviously polished speaker. At the end of his speech we still had the problem and that was the same for every speaker against the measure.
Politically speaking for Lakota being one of the largest and most affluent school districts in the state of Ohio if a school shooting were to occur and footage from this meeting were to come out in the wake of the tragedy as it always happens in other mass shootings, because hindsight is always 20/20, it would destroy a lot of credibility in our school management that is completely unnecessary. If the comments of Butler County Sheriff Jones are added to the matter it will look really bad on Lakota if action is not taken, because the community spoke very civilly and succinctly on the matter when there was time to act. I personally think as a nation we are living on a time bomb where the combined elements of video games, lack of parental influence, aggressive music and the basic epistemological failure of philosophy for young people is throwing a disproportionate number of kids like the Parkland shooter out into the world. With the 100,000 residents of the Lakota district there are of course a portion of that population that will try something. It was only a month ago that the heavily tattooed and very scary looking Jason Lehman attacked a daycare facility in broad daylight for no apparent reason. Then a few days within that event a distraught Charles Warren attacked a mail carrier at gun point—intoxication appears to be a contributing factor. We are facing an opioid crisis virtually everywhere and all those people are potential bombs of danger that could pose a threat to a secure zone, like a school, and proportionally to the size of our community, there are a fair share of dangerous people who can and will inflict harm on the innocent should they take a chance to. What makes the Jason Lehman situation so disconcerting is that it could have easily have been a public school instead of a daycare facility. At least at the daycare it was a privately operated endeavor that was much smaller and easier to secure with passionate employees. In public schools where there are countless hallways and points of entry in the 22 schools, there aren’t many teachers available who will lay down in front of a door to keep an attacker from getting in, which is what happened at Children’s Learning Adventure Childcare Center on 747 at the entrance to Beckett Ridge. An attack at such a place would not seem likely because it’s in a very nice area where people don’t typically have to deal with people like Jason Lehman—scary, aggressive, and emotionally out of control. If not for the owner of the Buffalo Wings and Rings next to the daycare center who attacked Lehman, who knows what would have happened. Lucky for all of us it was a fist fight instead of a gun fight, but its only a matter of time. West Chester got lucky in that case.
Hoping that something won’t happen isn’t a strategy for dealing with problems. We can go back many years and study that among our Lakota population there have been plenty of people who have snapped and went on violent rampages. Not even considering the two people already mentioned, have we already forgotten the case of Donald Tobias Gazaway who held a kid hostage at gun point for over 30 hours just last month a few miles down the road from Lakota East? What if that guy decided to turn his wrath on the school instead of a residence? It’s only a matter of time before something happens, so hoping that the event never happens isn’t a strategy.
Lakota can pull together to help solve this problem or it can let an opportunity fade and be a victim with a whole lot of smart people pointing backward in hindsight to declare that they spoke their mind but nobody in leadership listened. I don’t think that is healthy for anybody, not the school, not the community, and certainly not the children in our care. The same media that showed up to wonder what makes people like Donald Gazaway and Jason Lehman want to threaten and attack places where there are children are the same people who listened to that Lakota school board meeting and considered the opinions evenly weighted on both sides. That wasn’t the case, the video proves it. Residents have expressed their opinions to the school board and it is now up to them to act either way. But if they don’t adopt the CCW measure, the media storm against them will be horrible when someone does attack one of the Lakota schools. And that will be a lot more painful than going against the progressive caucus that hates guns but doesn’t have any other suggestions for these troubling modern times.
I said my peace and I’m willing to give a little on the issue to help solve the problem, to make it easier for the school board to make a hard decision. But waiting for some other school board to make a decision first isn’t going to work. Lakota needs to be the pace setter on this issue, it needs to show the kind of leadership that comes with being the big school on the block to take action before people really do get hurt. The Lakota school district has had plenty of warning signs just in the past two months. Its one thing to have a tragedy when action to prevent it was taken, it’s quite another to get caught in indecision when there are families dealing with the aftermath. It is for that reason that adopting the CCW for teachers is really the only correct decision. And by the look of the video shown from that February 26th school board meeting, the community is behind the leadership of the school for what might be the first time in decades. It would be crazy to squander that rare opportunity to do something good. That same anti-gun media that tried to make the Lakota board meeting look evenly matched and even supportive of the anti-gun activists will be the same ones who cower through this video footage and show all the people who were for CCWs when something does go wrong—and that wouldn’t be good for anybody. These events are going to move forward whether or not we are ready for them. Leadership is meeting those events with solutions instead of being caught on our heels when maliciousness knocks on all our doors.
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