A Gun Trick to Save Schools: Vote No on the Butler County Safety Levy

It had been a busy week this past week and I had the opportunity to spend time with a lot of very smart people to get their thoughts on various challenges that are percolating in our community and across the nation. And all this thoughtful discussion pointed to the central issue as proposed by the current White House to deal with school shootings, and gun violence in general—to expand armed citizens to deal with any crises much sooner than presently is happening, especially in schools. This put me in a unique spot to frame the discussion in a way that demonstrated what the opposition most feared about guns and gun safety especially as a kind of first responder. Typically, when I want to talk about precision as a metaphor for something broader I crack out a candle with one of my bullwhips to show people that what seems like an impossible probability was in fact quite doable, and the best option available. Since I’ve been doing the bullwhip work for many years it has been my primary utilization tool to articulate the abstract. However, because specifically the issues over guns and the Second Amendment being properly implemented to solve the school shootings problem and gun violence in general I decided to take another sport that I am involved in and to take those skills and modify my candle snuffing techniques. I’ve been doing Cowboy Fast Draw for several years now and have been doing some trick shooting with those techniques so it was only appropriate to apply those abilities to discuss why it is preferred to have teachers armed in public schools to deal with unwanted gun violence as it occurs at the point of the threat.

One of those events where many smart people were present this past week was the 52nd District debate for the Ohio House seat that George Lang currently holds. I was pretty stunned that George’s opponent didn’t even know about the Butler County Safety Levy that was on the ballot, especially because the 52nd seat has school districts affected by it. Essentially five of the ten schools in Butler County, Fairfield, Hamilton, New Miami, Edgewood, and Monroe are seeking a 10-year 1.5 mill levy, which is $53 per every $100,000 dollars of property evaluation to avoid arming teachers and instead hiring guidance counselors, more safety personnel, and mental health specialists. It surprised me that Kathy Wyenandt didn’t know about the levy since that was the entire scope of her campaign against George Lang—school funding. She was the one who in 2013 ran the Lakota levy campaign which only passed by 1% of the vote and she was making that issue her entire calling card to running for the 52nd district. Yet when the panel of questioners asked her about the Butler County Safety Levy she had to say she’d do some research. George Lang however gave a really good answer which can be seen by CLICKING HERE. Essentially, he reminded me of the story of the Sandy Hook principal who engaged Adam Lanza armed with nothing but a shoe during that school massacre. She died but likely saved many other people. If that principal had a gun, she’d likely be alive today and many more people would have been saved.

Every time there is a story of one of these mass shootings there always seems to be someone willing to charge the gunman to put an end to it. Even with school security officers, like what was employed at Parkland in Florida, or even security and police at the Las Vegas massacre, there have been trained armed personnel nearby to stop the shooter but not everyone is so bold as that principal from Sandy Hook. Sometimes it’s not enough to just be paid to put your life in danger—you often can’t buy heroics. It is typically a natural trait in people and it only comes out under duress. Sometimes safety personnel that we hire to guard schools find that when the bullets start flying they aren’t so brave and they hesitate to engage the target. But impassioned teachers, which there always seems to be a percentage of them in every school, those are the people who should have guns and be the first to meet a threat when they are presented. Principals and teachers like the lady at Sandy Hook are those who should be carrying guns and using those tools when danger presents itself.

That is what we are talking about in Butler County, Ohio and all the way up to the Trump administration in the White House. Impassioned teachers who are the type of people to throw themselves in front of bullets are the people we should pay a little more to be responsible gun carriers. The concealed carry class is a good beginning, but we are talking about making shooting part of their lifestyle so they know how to use a gun under duress as a second nature. That kind of thing isn’t for everyone, but for people who do adopt that type of lifestyle carrying a firearm is a very life enhancing endeavor. But there is no question that the best way to deal with gun violence is to have good people with a gun to be the first to stop bad people with a gun. The Butler County Safety Levy doesn’t deal with that aspect of gun violence, it is only focused on the aftermath. It is a cowardly way for school boards to approach the problem since most educators are functioning under the opinion that schools should be gun free zones, such an assumption isn’t conducive to reality. Luckily in my school district of Lakota we have a few conservative school board members who get it, and they opted out of the Butler County Safety Levy.

The other incident I was speaking of was a Second Amendment Celebration (CLICK HERE FOR REVIEW) at the Premier Shooting and Training facility in West Chester. Big name politicians like Jim Renacci and Warren Davidson flew in from Washington D.C. to be a part of the event which evolved into a kind of NRA rally. It wasn’t a huge gathering, but the people there were all passionate about the Second Amendment. One thing that I noticed was that there wasn’t a bunch of security, there were no metal detectors or safety people sweeping people down like you might expect when big name people who typically get a lot of security in public are walking around mingling. That was because almost everyone there was armed with a concealed carry. There were probably more guns there than in any public place in Southern Ohio at that time, and as a result it was one of the safest places to be. Nobody had to worry about being gunned down, because all the people there were responsible gun carriers.

One of the people there who spoke to the public about specifically the Butler County Safety Levy was Sheriff Jones who has been against the money grab and has worked with the Trump administration to implement arming teachers to immediately solve the gun violence situation in soft target regions like public schools. As the lead law enforcement officer from our county there and certainly the head cop at that event, you didn’t see him panicking about all the guns that were freely being carried by so many people. It didn’t concern him a bit, because gun ownership tends to bring responsibility out in people. That’s why you never hear about gunmen attacking people at NRA conventions and gun shows. Having more guns in public makes a much safer society and Sheriff Jones understands that. But I did feel for him a bit when he spoke about being the lone voice in Butler County speaking out against the ridiculous safety levy. It was quite clear that the media and the schools were hoping to keep the issue away from voter’s minds so that when they did show up to vote they wouldn’t understand what the vote was. There hasn’t been much press on it in spite of Sheriff Jones calling out school districts on billboards for not adopting gun carry proposals before someone does get hurt. If the levy passes, school boards in Butler County will feed off that and not act, and will waste money on more personnel that they don’t need. The schools will still be soft targets and in danger, and taxes will go up. If the levy fails however, school boards will have to adopt a policy of letting teachers arm themselves to protect kids as a first responder in the classrooms and in the halls of our schools.

I understand its easy for me to say, I’ve had guns in my life all my life. Everyone I knew as a kid had them, and it was just something you learned growing up, all men knew something about guns. Learning to use them was a rite of passage into adulthood. To preserve that way of life I have been involved in Western Arts most of my life, certainly all of my adult life, so I have a lot of experience to draw from, as opposed to timid people who grew up with a liberal view of the world who simply are terrified of them. But being terrified isn’t an excuse for not acting. And being terrified isn’t an excuse to raise taxes either, just to say later that a school had additional safety people available to deal with a school shooting. We actually want to stop the violence before it happens and that means that not even calling the police will stop such a thing. The best way to stop a school shooter is to have a teacher in every hallway in every school there to engage a threat. And it should be the most impassioned teachers, people like that principal who threw herself at Adam Lanza. But we should not ask such teachers to throw away their lives to save other lives, we should give them the tools to walk away from the experience and that is what arming teachers in public schools is all about—making sure the right people walk away from the danger and ending the situation in seconds, not minutes.

Rich Hoffman

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