The recent events in Sandy Hook, Connecticut are obviously tragic. The question people are asking is what can be done about the problem?
I wrote a friend with knowledge of military affairs inquiring about the use of the military to deter such events:
“It seems, at this particular juncture, the growth in school shootings requires some response. Undoubtedly, random shootings will continue for the foreseeable future, as a bi-product of a humiliated population and the unfortunate cultural signals sent by the Bush administration that violence was sometimes justified. Assuming we cannot reasonably stop all of the shootings, we might at least alter their course. Couldn’t stationing a soldier at each school (roughly 98,000) encourage would be shooters to “choose another target”.
This is, obviously, a form of social triage and an interim stop-gap, but perhaps a necessary one, to buy time to fashion real responses. A military presence seems preferable to a law enforcement presence. Law enforcement tends to snoop and investigate, while a soldier would simply delay and/or destroy an armed threat. The task would be full-time and human intensive. There would have to be safe-guards to limit the role to appropriate soldering. Likewise, there would have to be very careful selection and training of those charged with the task to avoid problems.
What do you think? I am not familiar enough with military culture to assess the viability of this.”
Here was the response I received:
Not a bad idea, but there are one or two problems that I foresee. The first is the challenge to the Posse Comitatus Act, which basically says that we can’t use our military for domestic policing. You make the argument that the military wouldn’t be doing police work, but rather defending against an enemy. It would definately be viable if there were a calculated enemy threat (even an internal enemy threat), but I think that the Pentagon, congress, and human-rights-ish folks wouldn’t agree if it is based on dis-connected loonies.
Each Governor could, however, call up the National Guard without triggering a Posse Comitatus challenge. You would then also have less resistance from the Pentagon based on personnel and logistics costs (i.e. these are guys who live out in the neighborhoods anyway, who just draw their weapons and gear from the local Armories…rather than a significant strain on deployable/combat power from the active force with a long logistics tail to deploy and support, say every school in Idaho from their home-base in Ft. Carson, Colorado.
I’d recommend that course of action (using the National Guard), and that is something that is within every Governor’s perogative.”
So, there you have it.