Cameron Scott

With all the chaos occurring today and our nation becoming increasingly divided on security in our schools and gun control, something has to be done. Politicians are jumping on the gun-control bandwagon, some possibly seeing this as an opportunity to push their agenda(s) on an emotional nation.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m just as heartsick as anyone about these recent tragedies. There is nothing more tragic than a child’s death and we should all resolve to honor those small victims as well as the adults who selflessly gave their own lives in an attempt to protect them. We need to strengthen our resolve to protect one another. It’s always easier said than done.

The important thing to remember here is the criminal perpetrator typically spends a great amount of time and goes to great lengths planning the event. The restricting or banning of guns will not change this underlying criminal behavior. Furthermore, gun control, once implemented, will only begin our journey as a nation down a slippery slope of stripping responsible Americans of their constitutional rights.

Think about it. What will be next? Freedom of religion? Freedom of speech? Freedom from unreasonable search? Even the strictest gun control laws are not going to stop a persistent criminal.

What tends to be downplayed is the fact that both the Newtown and Clackamas shooters committed pre-meditated criminal acts of stealing these weapons prior to their shooting rampages. In no way did they go out and legally obtain these weapons. According to reports, the Newtown shooter appeared to have tried to purchase a weapon from Dick’s Sporting Goods and was turned down. He then apparently murdered a responsible, legal gun owner to obtain his goal of procuring a weapon — his own mother, no less. No gun law in the world is going to stop this type of determination.

How could this horrible tragedy have happened and how could it be mitigated? In regards to mental health, we are now realizing the long-term lack of resources and degradation of family values and morals. We are facing a generation of adults desensitized to graphic violence and respecting no one. These are people who cannot, will not, or are unable to articulate or differentiate the issues of morals, accountability, reality and responsibility — or, as I call it, “MARR.”

It can be argued when we had God and the Bible in our schools, we had a positive moral compass and foundation from which to develop. Whether or not one believes in the Bible is not the issue. Common sense dictates that when you build upon a solid foundation of what’s right and wrong, you get positive results.

I’m the first one to admit we need more security in the schools. The modern world we live in is dangerous. But regardless of what plan gets implemented, it’s going to cost money.

I propose, rather than having armed guards (the first target of a shooter) at schools, we use what might be a win/win situation?

Use an effective, kid-friendly, non-lethal force in the form of trained dogs and volunteer handlers (who could be teachers, staff and volunteers, or someone else). The advantage would be that threat response time would be negligible. In addition, a shootout with the criminal could be avoided while the dog neutralizes the threat — or, at the very least, provides a barrier between the criminal and victims, slowing down the criminal and allowing extra time for escape.

Trained dogs would also be able to locate and be alert to the presence of drugs, explosives, weapons and other potential threats to safety.

With students exposed to these protective service animals rather than more guns, a result could be the development of a school service- animal training program from which children would benefit while giving back to the community.