We're a nation unsettled by many things, right now by the lingering senselessness of the murders of little children at an elementary school in Connecticut. The online chatter still runs wild.
Naturally, gun control became an immediate cry, prompting "from my cold, dead hands" responses. A sampling: "We have plenty of gun control. What we need is idiot control." And "God, why do you allow so much violence in our schools? Signed, Angry. Dear Angry, I'm not allowed in your schools. Signed, God." And "Which of these two signs would stop future slayings: 'No firearms allowed on these premises' or 'All personnel are armed and trained. You mess with our kids, you will be shot.' "
Meanwhile, the president appoints a curious collection of politicians to solve the problem, with insinuating comments that prompt a predictable run on gun sales. As one radio commentator noted, the folks trying to create gun control laws for the land ought to dismiss their armed body guards and walk alongside real people for a while before they make any rash decisions about trying to deprive us of our ability to defend ourselves.
I listen to the chatter, ponder what happened, watch our responses nationwide, and still can't squelch the haunted feeling I have when I look into the eyes of a 7-year-old grandson and realize some other grandmother out there doesn't get to do that anymore.
I keep mulling over one fact that surfaced as investigators worked the crime scene. They realized the shooter didn't make it through even half the ammunition he brought before he halted his gruesome work and took his life. As they pieced the events together, it became clear the reason was the arrival of law enforcement. Once armed people showed up, this young man stopped his slaughter.
A radio commentator asked the unanswered but critical question: "So, what if an armed person had been on the scene from the beginning?" We know the answer. It was perfectly stated by another commentator: "The only thing that can stop a bad person with a gun is a good person with a gun."
I believe that. Wholeheartedly. That thought crystallized into this idea: I propose the creation of an organization called "GG". It stands for Grandparent Guardians. It's organized on local levels -- NOT a federal level where it would become watered down, over-administrated, and ridiculously regulated. It's simply a group of grandparents who go through the process of obtaining their concealed weapons license, take intensive training on site, and sign up for shifts to walk the halls of their local schools.
This country is filled with Baby Boomers, folks nearing retirement or already retired who still have a lot to give back, and want meaningful ways to do it. In that group is a healthy throng of war vets who, I suspect, would jump at the chance to use their training and abilities in a purposeful and fulfilling way -- defending little children. Add to that mix the grandmas of the land who detest standing around uselessly wringing their hands, but have no idea what to do. Fill their heads with intensive training, fill their hearts with the duty to defend little children, then put a gun in their hands. I'll tell you what, I wouldn't mess with that group for anything.
If you're amused, don't be. If you're laughing, stop. I'm totally serious about this. Here's why I think it would work: Talk of arming teachers leaves everyone uneasy, plus there are the practical dangers of guns in classrooms. Not a good idea.
Talk of arming administrators is a little less difficult to accept, but there's still that unsettling instinct that guns and educators somehow don't, and shouldn't, mix.
So instead, think about creating an army of grandparents. They walk the halls, well-trained and vetted. They've passed a battery of tests and exhaustive background checks. They attend rigorous, required monthly training sessions, including onsite weekend training when the kids are gone. Their guns are concealed, a smile is on their faces, and they're ready.
Parents trust these capable, dependable guardians who come from a can-do, no-nonsense generation. The kids get to know these grandparent guardians. They probably look up to them. And they have no idea what these seemingly angelic people are really capable of. Hopefully they never do. But just in case, the kids are quietly, powerfully protected.
Yes, there are numerous details to work out. But it sure beats anything I've heard so far.
P.S. Sign me up.
You can contact D. Louise Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.