“Another gunman at another school,” the story is all to familiar. The incident that occurred yesterday wherein a man opened fire with an AK-47 at the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Georgia was another in a string of similar events that have taken place since the Columbine High School massacre on April 20, 1999. Luckily, this incident passed without a casualty and many innocent children’s lives were spared.
The story seems to be getting all too familiar and the public in general seem to be desensitized to the fact that lives of innocent children are on the line.
As usual, there will be debates between pro and anti gun-rights activists. The media will milk the story for what it is worth before it dies and fades away into distant memory.
Though revisiting gun-laws may be a solution to all gun-related violence and crimes, I believe serious thought needs to be given to making facilities housing children safer.
While, public or private schools have become targets of gun-totting loons, they are still relatively safer than the million other locations that house children like private day-care facilities, retail tutoring centers, learning centers, karate classes, ballet classes etc. Local townships all over the United States have failed to effectively regulate the operational safety of such locations. Touring some of these facilities, I found that most were in violation of a host of safety and hygiene codes. Most violated occupancy codes and codes regulating safety of entry and exit. One can find many child activity locations housing more kids at any given time than allowed by the occupancy certificate issued by the township. Most of them offer absolutely no security to children in the event that they are targeted by an armed loon.
City officials, in a desperate attempt to attract small business investments within their communities, allow such facilities to re-categorize themselves in order to bend the rules. For example, many tutoring centers that should be attracting the same scrutiny and building codes if categorized as schools, try and circumvent the code by categorizing themselves as retail educational bookstores.
In my opinion, every single brick and mortar facility involving children should attract the most stringent safety codes to protect the children from all possible dangers, not just from gunmen. There have been incidents wherein automobiles have lost control and driven straight into a daycare or learning center. Millions of children in the United States are put in harms way because townships have absolutely no laws that regulate such facilities or the people that operate them. When such incidents result in the deaths of innocent children, they are no different than casualties at the hands of gunmen.
That being said, I feel that society in general, most of all parents need to challenge their community leaders to enact tough laws for children’s facilities and the people that operate them. They need to do this because we are talking about the lives of innocent children here. And because every single innocent life counts.
Its time to wake up and disrupt the status quo on the issue of child safety.