Two things to consider arising from the Uvalde horror.

People pay their respect at a memorial set up outside of the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas Thursday, May 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)

Paul GleiserTwo things to consider arising from the Uvalde horror.

Two things come to mind in the wake of Tuesday’s horror in Uvalde. First, beware of “solutions” if the definition of that word is; something that will keep a tragedy like this from ever happening again.

Under that definition, nobody has a solution – most particularly bloviating politicians. So, make a pact with yourself to ignore rhetoric like this from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Imagine if this were your kid or your grandkid. How would you feel? Could you ever forgive yourself for not supporting a simple law that would make these mass shootings less likely?”

There is no “simple law” that will make mass shootings less likely. If such a piece of legislation could be written, it would have been enacted long before now.

If you’re looking for simple, consider this simple fact. There are no guarantees of safety. The very best we can hope to do is improve the odds.

One way to do that already exists in Texas. It’s called the Guardian Program. It came following the 2009 mass shooting at Ft. Hood. The Guardian Program allows school faculty who volunteer, who have been screened and who undergo Texas Department of Public Safety-approved training, to carry weapons for defensive purposes on campus.

No, the program isn’t a panacea. But it has the potential to reduce the response time to an active shooter situation – a key consideration because most mass shootings last less than five minutes. It also offers the advantage of inside knowledge. A teacher or coach or a principal who volunteers to be a first line of defense knows the students, has an eye for the students who might be trouble and knows the layout of the school building. A cop rolling up on the scene knows none of these things.

To the extent that schools have looked at the Guardian Program and rejected it, it might now be worth taking a second look.

That leads to the second thing that comes to my mind.

School districts in Texas are called “independent” – the “I” in ISD. They are not subordinate to any city, county or state government. The responsibility for what happens in Texas schools lies with the parents of school-aged kids together with the property owners who pay property taxes in those districts.

Texas has no state income tax. The largest assessed tax in Texas is property tax. Between 65 and 70 percent of property tax receipts go to local school districts. Consequently, local school boards in Texas are arguably the most powerful elected bodies for the simple reason that they control most of the tax money.

Yet, school board elections are notorious for low voter turnout and school board meetings are generally only attended by activists with narrow agendas.

So, with you having not voted in your school board election and with you having never attended a school board meeting, what’s your school’s “active shooter” plan? Do you know?

Beyond your concern for your child’s safety, you should be concerned that he or she isn’t learning anything — or worse, is learning things you don’t want him or her to learn.

Is your child’s teacher affirming the values you teach or undermining them? Do you know?

What’s in your kid’s history book? Does your high school student still read Shakespeare? Nathaniel Hawthorne? Mark Twain? If not, what are they reading instead? Do you know?

Even if you don’t have kids in school, it doesn’t mean you don’t have a vital stake in what is taught in those schools. What’s happening on that campus down the street or around the corner from where you live? Do you know?

No developed nation in the world pays more for education and gets less. Whose fault is that?

President Biden was right about one thing Tuesday night. The United States is the only nation in the world that suffers routine school shootings. But you can be certain that he’s not going to fix the problem and neither is anyone else in Washington.

The schools in this state are, by design, hyper-local. It’s on us. What are you doing on a local level? If all you’re doing is waiting for the federal government to shovel more money at your school while trussing it up in more rules and red tape, don’t be surprised when your kid can’t read while his school is the one getting 24-hour coverage on the cable channels.

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Paul Gleiser

Paul L. Gleiser is president of ATW Media, LLC, licensee of radio stations KTBB 97.5 FM/AM600, 92.1 The TEAM FM in Tyler-Longview, Texas.

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15 Responses

  1. Greg R says:

    WOW Paul, I hate it when you make sense like that. Guilty as charged.

  2. Matthew says:

    Well apparently that’s not working worth two bits either, latest reports out about big delay on going in after gunman,wasn’t until a border patrol showed up and rushed in,put an end to situation. Bystanders hollering for officers to go in and stop it, they didn’t budge, wow ! So it’s not going to get any better. If it’s related to LGBTQ, CRT, and voter fraud exaggerated evils to name a few it seems real simple for folks to pass laws etc. Only in America do we have this extreme mass shootings on regular basis , at least we’re first at something for a change in a long time. God Bless America !

    • Charles says:

      Therefore, charge and ger many, many more shot. Seems the locked doorway was a funnel where all who entered would be shot. Remember, the first two did. So, withdraw, regroup and evacuate anyone else in the school.

  3. Timothy Williams says:

    Hello Paul. I use to work for Caliber associates Mike Fall I built your desk in front of the green wall. I just wanna say , in Winona they have signs saying the staff is armed and ready to use them. Also the doors are locked with cameras. When I went to get my child during the day I would have to stand in front of the camera and tell them who I was and what my purpose for being there. That’s so simply. Why wait till something happens and then blames the gun I know cocaine and meth are illegal but yet it’s still everywhere. What good would it be to make guns illegal. Just lock the school doors and get cameras that would be so simple and save a few lives.

  4. Linda M says:

    What point have we reached when children are not safe at school? I would say we have come to a jumping off point when schools are more like fortresses than a place of learning and children are STILL NOT SAFE. When I was growing up there weren’t mile high fences surrounding the school and playgrounds. So what happened? You would think that with all the innovations brought forth since I was in school our kids would be safer than ever before. But it seems the opposite has happened. The children are less safe than ever before. More has been done, yet the children are less safe. It isn’t more LAWS put on the books, that has been done yet our safety is less secure than ever. In my humble opinion, I believe it is a moral issue that can not be fixed with more insane LAWS that do absolutely nothing to prevent some mentally unbalanced individual from going on a rampage killing innocent people. I was in grade school when O’hare force prayer from our schools. In looking back, it seems from that point on things have taken a downhill turn. There ARE answers and there are fixes. You are just not going to find them in LAWS that have never worked to FIX the problem…and never will.

  5. Matthew says:

    Now we’re getting a clearer picture of events,and our governor says he’s ” Livid ” , he was lied to. You lead by example ! Abbott is a lier .Lying is the most pervasive and acceptable thing . Our children learn it more now than ever from the top down. Children don’t just learn in school. There has been and always will be lying dishonest people but now we see it real time from our leaders and other trusted officials it’s on film it’s not hear say. They see their parents and grandparents excuse it or tolerate it apparently due to their infatuation over political party theater , or leader infatuation, but they are taught not to lie,really ? Abbott, Cruz, Gohmert and so many others are stone cold liers , and being politicians doesn’t excuse or minimize any lying nor the means to and end. If officers lied to him he has no ground to stand on , what an utterly twisted ,politically diseased society we’re living in , and people know when the fever started to rise.

  6. Brendan says:

    Paul: teach, then talk.

    Otherwise, don’t talk.

    • Ron Eagleman says:

      Brendan, I am not sure what you are trying to say, but if it is to defend the sorry state of public education in this country, good luck! Let me expound on your admonition: Brendan: If you are a teacher, then teach to get positive results. Otherwise, find something else you can do with that “degree”!

      • Brendan says:

        Ron: thank you for the advice.

        …..what positive results did you have in mind?

        • Ron Eagleman says:

          Your welcome, Brendan. How about we start the positive results by making sure that students do not graduate if they cannot read or write. It would also seem to be a positive outcome if the average reading skills of high school students would be well above 5th grade level. Maybe I am just too critical, but it just seems that the system has failed when 25% of the high school graduates are functionally illiterate.

      • Brendan says:

        Ron: thank you

        …also what do you define as positive results?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Since this tragedy has happened, 2 things I’ve thought of are “I wouldn’t have let anything hold me back from getting my kid” and “who hurts kids due to anger?”. These kids should still be here, their parents shouldn’t be going to the school leaving stuff on the crosses out front with their kids name on it.Sisters and brothers shouldn’t ask “Is my sibling ever gonna come home?” And no parent should have to say goodbye at a school drop of Line not know if it’s the last thing it will ever say it their child.The police officers have no excuses for this, they were all their, they could’ve done something to help but they didn’t. Instead a bystander had to?? School safety should be increased to keep more lives from leaving. They were too young.

  8. Linda M says:

    As more and more conflicting things come out about this, one thing the media has not expounded upon and that is WHERE did this 18 yr old kid get the money to buy the EXPENSIVE guns and ammo??? Some people have said that the guns cost around $2400 each and the ammo wasn’t cheap. He also bought expensive body armor. Where did he get the credit to buy a pickup that probably cost more than his grandparents HOUSE. More over who would give him that much credit? The media didn’t check before saying he was bullied. A young man who KNEW the shooter said that was not the case, that the shooter was actually a bully and abused animals. Too many things about this do not line up to make any kind of sense. Guess as with many of the other mass shooting, we will never know the TRUE cause of them.

    • Mike says:

      THANK YOU LINDA!!!! As each of these tragedies unfold, NO ONE talks about how on earth, these underaged kids obtained the weapon in the first place. In Texas, one must be 21 to purchase such weapons. Where did the money come from and who sold it to him? Or did he steal this stuff from someone? A majority of 18 year old’s do not have $2,500 plus just lying about burning a hole in their pockets to be spent on weapons and body armor. One must know someone who deals in that type hardware. And, one psychological fact defining a potential and current killer is their abuse of animals; they get their kicks from such psychopathic exercises. When that gets to be “no fun” they expand the exercise to people. No amount of gun laws will ever keep this type predator from carrying out heinous acts of violence on humanity. They will use a vehicle, ax, knife, or whatever floats their evil boat. More gun laws will do nothing but take guns out of law abiding citizens hands and allow the criminals to be more potent wolves among the sheep. Lastly, why did all those law enforcement people stand around and not take action? That is a very important point to get to the bottom of.

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