I am going to note a few details about the horror in Newton. First, the school entrance procedures may not be the issue:
Meanwhile, police told Aiello they were looking at the strong likelihood that the gunman gained entrance to the school by shooting out a window right next to the front door.
Thus, he would have been able to get around the new security system that was put in place earlier this year, which includes a remote control lock and intercom with a video buzzer system to let visitors in.
Vance would only say Saturday morning that Lanza was not voluntarily let into the school, and forced his way in.
Secondly, although early reports mentioned a rifle, apparently the shooter was using handguns:
Authorities found at least three guns at the scene, including a Glock 9mm and a Sig Sauer 9mm — both pistols. The weapons used in the shooting were found in close proximity to the gunman’s body, Vance said.
Also found was a Bushmaster .223 assault rifle, which was discovered in a nearby car.
Maybe I am misreading that, but I am interpreting "three guns at the scene" to include the Bushmaster.
COURAGE: The school principal and school psychologist died as heroes:
Gathered in another room for a 9:30 a.m. meeting were principal Dawn Hochsprung and school therapist Diane Day along with a school psychologist, other staff members and a parent. They were meeting to discuss a second-grader.
“We were there for about five minutes chatting, and we heard Pop! Pop!, Pop!” Day told The Wall Street Journal. “I went under the table.”
But Hochsprung and the psychologist leaped out of their seats and ran out of the room, Day recalled. “They didn’t think twice about confronting or seeing what was going on,” she said. Hochsprung was killed, and the psychologist was believed to have been killed as well.
Bringing brass onions to a gun fight isn't much of a plan but I admire their courage and commitment to duty. Of course, nobody is asking, but courage, commitment, an $870 bullet proof shield and a $20 can of mace might have tipped the balance decisively.
Well. A little defensive equipment and some parent volunteers to monitor the entrances (and metal detectors?) would be steps schools could take next week. Or we could wait for unicorns to ride away with all the scary handuns, shotgus and rifles in America and the world. That would probably reduce random acts of homicidal violence but the meticulous planners (and I would put the Aurora shooter in that category) will find a way. Again, no one is asking but the worst school day in US history was May 18, 1927, the day of the Bath School disaster:
The Bath School disaster is the name given to three bombings in Bath Township, Michigan, on May 18, 1927, which killed 38 elementary school children, two teachers, four other adults and the bomber himself; at least 58 people were injured. Most of the victims were children in the second to sixth grades (7–11 years of age) attending the Bath Consolidated School. Their deaths constitute the deadliest mass murder in a school in U.S. history and the third-deadliest non-military massacre in U.S. history, behind 9/11 and the Oklahoma City bombing.
On the morning of May 18, Kehoe murdered his wife by beating her to death, then set his farm buildings afire. As fire fighters arrived at the farm, an explosion devastated the north wing of the school building, killing many schoolchildren. Kehoe used a detonator to ignite dynamite and hundreds of pounds of pyrotol which he had secretly planted inside the school over the course of many months. As rescuers started gathering at the school, Kehoe drove up, stopped, and detonated a bomb inside his fragmentation-filled vehicle with his Winchester rifle, killing himself and the school superintendent, and killing and injuring several others. During rescue efforts searchers discovered an additional 500 pounds (230 kg) of unexploded dynamite and pyrotol planted throughout the basement of the school's south wing. Kehoe apparently had intended to blow up and destroy the whole school.
PROJECTION: This from Obama is deeply annoying:
“We’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics,”
I uderstand that many or most of Obama's stated views are the result of poll reading and political calculation rather than actual conviction. And I have no doubt at all that his current reticence on gun control could 'evolve' towards stricter regulation of the bitter-clingers in a nano-second if he thought he had the votes.
However, just because Obama's positions are a matter of calculation it does not follow that most Americans, or even most Washington "leaders", have reached their view on gun control strictly on the basis of "politics". Obama may believe it or not, but plenty of people take seriously the whole Second Amendment/self defense line of reasoning. And not just because that is where the votes are.