(Jeffrey D. Zwirn, president of IDS Research and Development, offers his solution to the school shooting crisis in this letter to the President.)
Dear Mr. President,
We all need to recognize that shootings at schools and universities across the country are a real threat to our national security and pose a clear and present danger to the future of the United States of America. Too many innocent lives have been taken away from us, and survivors have been irrevocably shattered. What was once never imaginable is now commonplace until it happens again.
Undeniably, the untold number of innocent victims who have been seriously injured or killed due to school and/or university violence is an epidemic which we need to find a cure for now. Of course, this does not include the life changing and cataclysmic impact that this ever-growing danger and violence has had on the multitude of families, friends and loved ones of these victims, not to mention each of our communities. Fundamentally, this not only holds true to where the crimes have taken place, but it has also been displaced to each of us across the country down to our core.
To start, we must face the facts up close and personal: The security in place across the country today at these soft and extremely vulnerable targets is simply illusory.
How much more violence is it going to take to generate the security resources needed to be able to allow our children and loved ones to be safe? Growing up, we all thought that we were safe and that our children would be safe. We never imagined the overwhelming carnage that one deranged person could accomplish in such a short period of time, or the profound number of mentally ill or other sick persons out in the world just looking for an opportunity to be the next shooter, serial killer or copycat actor.
If anyone could predict and/or knew now that their loved ones or friends were going to be at risk of serious personal injury and/or death, I do not think it is an understatement to assume that we would do everything in our power to protect them.
Tragically, our loved ones and friends are at high-risk now, but we still have not taken a serious look at how to protect them. We have not helped advocate and ensure that the security in place at each of these critically important institutions is commensurate with the risks that students, teachers, employees and visitors at schools and universities across the country are facing each and every day. In other words, employing the proper security methodologies now is mission critical, and the longer we wait to made prudent change, the higher the propensity is that more innocent victims will be hurt or be killed as a result of this state of insecurity and our state of not acting aggressively enough.
So where do we start? First and foremost, we must dedicates ourselves to making a substantial financial investment to be able to cover the costs to provide protection at each school and university across the country. We can never accept that the cost of security was a material factor in the school or university’s decision making process, as to what they can afford to do versus what they actually need to do.