Where are the Solutions to Protect Our Children?
Where are the Solutions to Protect Our Children?
The Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy is unforgivable, and heart wrenching. A tragedy that has caused so much pain and grief, a tragedy that could have been avoided.
How was someone allowed into an Elementary school with a firearm (s)? How did we allow the killing of 20 small children and six adults? How have we allowed the nation’s second-worst school shooting since Virginia Tech?
Our hearts are shattered and it’s difficult to hold back the tears. That’s why I ask sobbing, where are the solutions to protect our children, and when are we going to see real change?
While we should have learned by the tragedies at Virginia Tech in 2007, where the death toll is the highest in U.S. history, and Columbine where two teens killed 13 people and wounded 24 in 1999, we haven’t.
For 13 years we’ve had a chance to implement solutions that would have prevented this unimaginable tragedy.
26 families are suffering monumental losses, and a community is devastated because we have failed to adopt necessary measures to protect our kids. A tragedy so painful that President Obama’s response was too difficult to express at times, forcing him to tear up and pause before sincerely stating: “We're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics”.
Is politics the problem? If there were metal detectors at every entrance, bulletproof glass, panic alarms, armed and trained teachers or a security team, would this tragedy have occurred?
Unfortunately when it comes to adopting these necessary safety measures it’s when the politics come in. The politics that prevent the protection of the most treasured, priceless, and vulnerable part of our existence.
In Massachusetts some teachers are open to the idea of receiving self-defense training from local or state police. Some are open to exploring the possibility of carrying a concealed weapon. Because these teachers are taking on much more responsibility, themselves and the union would request that those who choose to take on such a role would be classified as a division of law enforcement, (Group 4 Employees). Group 4 employees enjoy shorter retirement times, and other attractive benefits. Group 4 employees are comprised of Local Law Enforcement, DA’s, State Police, Sheriffs, and other members of the law enforcement community. The opposition believes our teachers are undeserving of such classification, I say why not have the discussion?
If that’s not the answer what is? Providing a full time security team for every school?
Because of the opposition’s reluctance to explore all of these options and adopt adequate measures to protect our children, tragedies at The Sandy Hook Elementary School, Virginia Tech, and Columbine continue to take our children from us, destroying community after community.
If we were truly serious about protecting children, why wouldn’t we explore every option, and embrace balanced, mindful, effective solutions? Why haven’t we installed metal detectors and bulletproof glass in every school? We have built countless schools in the last 13 years. Why wasn’t that part of a security plan after the tragic events at Columbine and Arizona Tech? While metal detectors wouldn’t prevent acts of violence with sharp objects, bombs, chemical weapons, or other means, it would certainly have prevented the Sandy Hook Elementary School Tragedy.
Teachers are required mandated reporters, and have routine C.O.R.I checks, while some are required to take self-defense training currently. Why wouldn’t we consider the opportunity of classifying our teachers as Group 4 employees if they were interested in taking on such a commitment? Wouldn’t it make sense to explore the option of adopting these measures for members of the community who are trusted to educate, and protect our children daily?
Why haven’t we had honest dialog about every option?
Even gun owners should be willing to make sacrifices for a timely and balanced resolution. I come from a military family and was exposed to firearms at a very young age. Because of my role at Protect Mass Children I recognize the risks associated with accepting such an honor. I have a responsibility to protect my family, educate and train them to protect themselves. I have a responsibility to teach my family detailed and effective safety measures to protect themselves.
Collectively my wife and I own 7 firearms, 1 assault rife, hunting rifle, 4 handguns, and a shotgun. We have never hunted, but faced with the responsibility of providing food for our family, we are prepared to act if necessary. An assault rife is available to provide protection from a tyrannical government, terrorist attacks, and mass chaos. Our handguns are spread out around our home in locked safes situated strategically to protect us from possible life threatening situations by intruders, retaliation for my works, and other circumstances.
We live in a dangerous world, and as primary caregivers of our families we are obligated to be prepared to protect our children in any situation that threatens their livelihood .
Gun owners like myself, and my wife should be willing to accept annual psychological evaluations as part of an annual firearms license renewal process. This process should also require confirmation of specific storage and lockup behaviors and other important safety measures.
Annual training both online and on site should be provided to every community teaching safe storage, separation of ammo and firearms, and installing alarm triggers to alert police in the event a criminal has forced their way into having or almost having access to a firearm against your will.
In my opinion no other class is left as unprotected than our children. Blacks, Whites, Hispanic, Latinos, Gays, and others are far more protected than our young. With the countless dangers our children face today we must completely overhaul the way we deal with child protection in Massachusetts. We must explore arming and training teachers or installing security teams, expanded education in sexual abuse, self defense training and strong legislation to address many of these crucial and dire issues.
Last week our organization delivered a pledge to the Children of the Commonwealth to every lawmaker in Massachusetts. Asking all of our lawmakers to sign a pledge to be educated about the issues surrounding child sexual abuse, to meet with survivors, hear their stories and understand solutions from their prospective, to understand the enormous burden child sexual abuse causes, and to be in partnership to create strategies and solutions to truly protect the children of the Commonwealth.
Many have signed this pledge, while some are disappointingly reluctant to sign a pledge to the children of the Commonwealth even after the horrific events in Newtown. Regardless of politics a hesitant approach towards a commitment to protect children is unacceptable.
We need to take action to protect our children now. We have failed them for too long, and it is our time to make real change. We cannot accept the same lip service or delayed responses we have accepted for decades.
Massachusetts is an amazing state, full of the most intelligent, and gentile people. We have the whereabouts to make timely intelligent decisions and changes that will not have unintended consequences, and will protect our children.
Today I ask our leaders not only to sign our pledge to the children of the Commonwealth, but to also endorse another pledge, a pledge to pass adequate legislation, and adopt effective measures to responsibly address all of the dangers the children of Massachusetts face today. I ask them to pledge to have drafted, and implemented these changes by April 30th in recognition of child abuse awareness month, and in honor of the victims and families of Newtown Connecticut.
So while our nation struggles to heal the brokenhearted, and bind up our wounds." I ask the people of Massachusetts, when are we going to make real sacrifices to protect our children? When are we going to put politics aside and change the way we deal with protecting our children? When are we going to demand our leadership adopts real solutions to keep our children safe? When are we going to truly protect our children from all of the clear and present dangers they currently face?
Joseph DiPietro, LynnfieldPresident / Protect Mass Childrenwww.protectmasschildren.org
Protect Mass Children is a federally recognized 501(C)(4) nonprofit organization dedicated to protect children from sex offenders in Massachusetts through education and legislation.