Guns and US Schools

Guns and US Schools, by David Cole.

As a child I attended majority black L.A. public schools. Well, “majority black” is an accurate label for my junior high. My high school would be better described as Zimbabwe. This was during the first half of the 1980s, when the crack epidemic was in full swing, and black gangs, specifically the Crips and Bloods, ruled the streets of “black L.A.” and routinely battled over turf and drug profits.

Yet I don’t have a single story to tell about on-campus violence. Not one. No on-campus shootings, stabbings, or gang fights. Why? Because the campuses of my junior high and high school were always on lockdown. There were only a few designated entry and exit points, and armed security officers stood at both. Everything else was gated up, chained up, and sealed up. The point of the gates and the guns was twofold: prevent truancy by making escape harder than at Rikers, and prevent off-campus gang members from sneaking onto campus to buy or sell drugs, or to fight.

And wouldn’t you know it, the parents of the minority white students were fine with this arrangement. No weepy-teary cries about how “we’ve militarized our schools! We’re mentally scarring the poor baby-wabies!”

But these days, I turn on cable news and inevitably there’s some white suburban soccer mom wailing about how “we can’t turn our schools into armed compounds!” Funny how the leftist parents of my white and Jewish schoolmates never had that attitude when those gates and those guards were there to keep little Rachel and Josh and Becky safe from the specter of gun-totin’ pipe-smokin’ niggas. Back then, gates and guns were not just unobtrusive, but welcome.

And guess what—nobody got “scarred.” You know what would have “scarred” us? Daily gang fights, and the constant threat of stray bullets. Not only did the gates and guns not scar my precious little peer group of white and Jewish kids, but in fact, we found the security reassuring. We’d have been the first to complain had some blubbering leftist hag come on campus screeching about how “schools are not a place for guns and chained doors!” We’d have told an old biddy like that to get bent. But now, as the nation amuses itself with its newest “soul-searching debate,” this time over school shootings, we’re told that the notion of gates and guns on campus is the worst thing since Auschwitz.