WESTON, Conn. - The Daily Voice accepts signed, original letters to the editor. Letters may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To the Editor:
As many of you find yourself reeling from the traumatic events that have unfolded in Newtown on Friday while also searching for a coping mechanism to move forward, I'm also searching. My heart is grieving for all those affected and the further I dig for answers the further I find myself left feeling alone and helpless, unable to reference any current system in place for preventing further attacks to our community children. Schools are ultimately not safe for kids against malicious attackers.
Changing the moral fabric of our society or the proliferation of guns is not the long term answer. No one would ever blame BP for selling gasoline to a mentally ill arsonist. There will always be people who have slipped through without the proper upbringing and advanced education to contribute to a positive community existence. Sure, we can tighten the screws down in those areas but ultimately we can't rely on only this for insulating ourselves against the few who slip through those cracks. We need protection.
Security must be tightened to deflect instances of terror. Buildings designed for public assembly such as malls, places of worship and our schools, are vulnerable to attack. There needs to be a last line of defense. Given my military background while serving six years with the U.S. Marine Corps, the only way I feel I could help is to spark some discussion to pragmatically implement a new standard for safety.
A show of force needs to be present at every school drive-up entrance. We have guards at the entry of our wealthy gated community's, office complexes, and airports yet few schools have any measure like this to protect against uninvited perpetrators. Any security plan that currently exists is only as good as the humans standing and defending behind it. There needs to be a responsible member of the school's staff whose main duty is to screen all visitors and to act as a first responder in the event his tactical skills are needed.
Once school begins visitors can only enter and exit through one main door via internal permission. Should entry not happen from internal permission, a universal lock down for all classrooms should be implemented. Should a breach of security occur, the perpetrator would have to muscle his way through the main entrance security marshal and infiltrate the main entrance security. Should entry be gained into the school by any other method other than via interior permission, a security door would be activated that locks down further access to school. All classroom doors would be automatically locked.
By means of this system, access to the vulnerable is virtually eliminated while containing any threat. As we've learned about the method the shooter used to gain entry into the Newtown school, such a security measure outlined above would have contained him within a small enclosed space while limiting the harm to where he could further inflict damage.
In addition, a main interior guard should be two additional faculty members that are concurrently acting as armed marshals, tactically trained to assist in securing the premises. These would be former military personnel who have continued on in their careers as teaching professionals.
The scope of these teachers' responsibilities have just increased to assist in security while additional law enforcement are sought for taking the lead role and progressing the security effort. Just as we have in flight air marshals present after the many security measures there needs to be a solution in place should all other safeguards fail. These teachers need not be identified to limit any tactical advantage a perpetrator would have in planning such an attack.
Funding for such an aggressive solution should be brought forward on every towns' ballots. Who would strike down a solution for protecting our future society from current-day monsters?
A long-standing safeguard will only be achieved through action.
Jean Paul Desrosiers
Jean Paul Desrosiers lives in Weston and owns a business in Westport.