Ode to the Check-In Station
Five Years After
Today's an anniversary most of us would rather not celebrate. Five years ago, a disturbed 20-year old slaughtered 20 young children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut.
The fact he'd murdered his mother and stolen her guns didn't stop the calls for new gun laws. None of which would have prevented the event. But that didn't stop the gun control groups. Never does, as we've unfortunately learned since.
The NRA was roundly criticized for suggesting that the only answer to a bad guy with a gun was a good guy with a gun.
Another nonprofit group, however, was listening in frustration as well-meaning, but immensely uninformed people called for "national conversations" about school safety while simultaneously pillorying the NRA for it's "good guy with a gun" suggestion.
That group, decided to take a different approach - and they've come a long way in just five years.
"I remember an ABC News town hall in Columbus, Ohio," says Jim Irvine, Chairman of Buckeye Firearms Foundation, "Gun control advocates kept talking about having a so-called 'national conversation' about school safety. It was so frustrating because we'd been having that conversation for years and nothing had changed."
And Irvine decided not to wait.
"So in the middle of the town hall we said we were done talking. It was time for action. We announced a program to train teachers and other school staff to carry guns in schools so they would be ready to stop active killers quickly," he said, "There were literally gasps from the audience."
Buckeye Firearms Foundation's FASTER Saves Lives program has given more than 1,300 teachers, administrators and other staff firearms instruction (above) as well as the essentials of first-aid to save lives in emergency situations (below). Buckeye Firearms Foundation photos, with permission.
The announcement was met with more than disbelief by the crowd. Editorials said no school would ever participate - and no teacher could possibly be interested.
But when the Buckeye Firearms Foundation reached out with the offer to train 24 teachers more than 1,000 applied.
Since then, they've trained more than 1,300 teachers and staff from 225 school districts across a dozen states- including 76 of Ohio's 88 counties "where no teacher would possibly
Next year, 400 additional educators are already set up to go through their training.
And the original class has become the FASTER Saves Lives program (http://fastersaveslives.org
). It's a nonprofit program that gives educators practical violence response training -including emergency medical care.
"After five years, attitudes have changed dramatically," Irvine says. "School boards, members of law enforcement, and the media often start off skeptical. But after they attend a class and see for themselves the high quality of instruction and how the program has adapted proven ideas from real world active killer events for the school environment, they realize FASTER Saves Lives is the best, most effective solution available."
Here's where each of us can help. Demand for the classes from schools around the country have exceeded the funding from Buckeye Firearms Foundation. They've gotten some grant money for 2018 and 2019 for instruction in Ohio, but training isn't inexpensive.
By now, you've probably figured out where I'm headed.
If you're looking at your year-end tax situation and need to donate a little more cash to worthwhile organizations in 2017, consider a check to "FASTER Saves Lives" .
You can send your tax-deductible donations to :
FASTER Saves Lives
PO Box 357
Greenville, OH 45331
It's a 501(c)(3) public charity, so it's a legitimate donation that could help save you some tax dollars- and maybe someone's life in an active school shooter situation.
Kudos to the Buckeye Firearms Association for acting instead of talking about doing something. It's a grassroots organization that demonstrates -again- that you don't need a mega-organization to make a difference.
You just have to be willing to try.
-- Jim Shepherd