I was in Canada when I read that the Buncombe County Public Schools (our local district) had been awarded $1.7 million for security upgrades. “Security,” we all know by now, means preventing intruders from killing our children and their teachers.
There are 3,143 counties in the United States. Granted, many have fewer school buildings than Buncombe County. So to make my point I’ll estimate a much lower price tag for making schools secure: $1 million per county. Nationwide, that amounts to $3,143,000,000. That’s three BILLION! This does not include buying firearms for teachers and staff, training them to use the weapons, or placing secure gun storage in each classroom.
In Canada it is not illegal to own a gun, but the country has strict gun laws. In May, 2022, Justin Trudeau issued a statement: “(T)wo years ago we banned over 1,500 types of military-style assault firearms. We also strengthened our gun control laws to expand background checks and keep firearms out of the wrong hands. These measures are helping to keep our children and communities safe” https://pm.gc.ca/en/news/news-releases/2022/05/30/further-strengthening-our-gun-control-laws.
Meanwhile, in the U.S., Republicans have resisted gun legislation. In the House, the Protecting Our Kids Act passed 223 to 204, with only five Republicans voting in favor. In June the House passed H.R.127 by a 234-193 vote. Only 14 Republicans joined the Democratic majority. The bill raises the purchase age of firearms, bans high-capacity magazines, and expands background checks.
Assuming that building-security measures are not going to prevent all school shootings (or shootings in malls, grocery stores, synagogues, or along parade routes), we will continue to have the expenses of medical emergencies, PTSD counseling, and funerals. And if shootings can be blamed on troubled young men, we need to come up with funds for identifying them and paying their mental-health expenses.
Republicans, while they claim to favor lower taxes, say nothing about what their obstinance costs American communities in dollars.
Not to mention lives and trauma.
List of Republicans who voted against the Protecting Our Kids Act: https://www.newsweek.com/full-list-house-republicans-who-voted-against-gun-control-1714108
Nancy Werking Poling is author of While Earth Still Speaks (a novel) and Before It Was Legal: a black-white marriage (1945-1987), non-fiction.