The shooting deaths of eight students and two teachers at a Santa Fe, Texas high school on May 18 have sparked renewed calls for taking guns away from law-abiding Americans as a way to prevent bad guys from attacking more schools.
Many people have questioned the logic behind such a plan, including Polk County Grady Judd, who immediately took action after the shooting to put armed officers in every school in his region for the remainder of the school year. He gathered all the local law enforcement agencies in his county and found them ready and willing to change over 400 of their officers’ work schedules in order to protect every student.
“There will never be a school in Polk County again that doesn’t have an armed guardian, an armed school resource officer, or an armed school resource deputy, because we will be prepared,” Judd declared during a press conference shortly after the Santa Fe shooting.
Judd’s action on common sense school security caught the attention of Fox News, which invited him on for an interview.
Asked if the county had “the money and resources” to provide armed protection at every school long-term, Judd admitted that money is tight but that the Florida Legislature recently agreed to safeguard students by providing state money to train armed personnel.
And that’s just the start, Judd explained, because by “August 13th of next year, for the first time in the history of the state of Florida, every public school campus will have well-trained armed security called a guardian or a school resource officer.”
He described the extensive training that volunteer guardians would receive, amounting to more hours of weapons training than even new police officers get. Plus, they would be given coaching on how best to respond to attacks.
Asked what poorer states could do if they can’t allocate the needed funds for school security, Judd replied, “Federal funding can always help, but you know, you can take your existing resources on your campuses, give them detailed backgrounds [checks], psychologicals [checks], drug screens, ask for volunteers, and give them the same training for approximately $1,500 to $2,500 a piece.”
“You can do it inexpensively, so you can stop talking and start acting.” the sheriff said. “I can tell you, in this county...if you [an attacker] show up on a campus, the talking is over. We’re going to shoot you a lot. We’re going to protect our children.”
Since the deadly Parkland, Florida shooting in February, protesters have demanded immediate action, sweeping changes in America. But they have tended to focus on gun seizures.
In Texas, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick called for the arming of teachers in the wake of Santa Fe, stating the obvious that the best way to take down an active shooter “is with a gun,” CBC News reported. He added that having four or five people per campus able to shoot back at an attacker would be even more effective.
He also caught the nation’s attention after being ridiculed for suggesting that schools in Texas have too many exits and entrances, according to CNN. Patrick was simply pointing out that schools are not secure like other types of secured facilities, such as courthouses and airports.
Some dangerous urban areas have long had very limited access points to their campuses and, in many cases, metal detectors. Security experts credit those measures for far fewer mass shootings in urban areas than suburban and rural areas, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
National African American Gun Association president Philip Smith said after the Parkland shooting, “I think urban schools are eons ahead. They’ve been dealing with violence a lot longer than suburban schools.”
Watch Sheriff Judd’s full comments below: