Jon Caldara

Jon Caldara

There has been only been one benefit from the absence of in-person education over the last year. There have been no school shootings.

When school comes back in the fall there could be a horrific rash of them. Gun-phobes, our president and the media will blame and attack gun owners. But those who canceled in-person schooling will be responsible.

The government-mandated lockdowns over the last year were the largest assault on individual freedoms the west has experienced since World War II, and the ripples from it will injure us for years. It will particularly hurt our children who have been denied over a year of education, social interaction, relationships, camaraderie, extracurricular activities, sports, and emotional support and service.

Kids in psychological distress aren’t getting the help they need. Friends and school staff aren’t seeing the warning signs of kids in trouble and getting them help.

Putting developing minds into house-arrest like criminals serving a year and a half sentence is going to have massive ramifications to those growing minds.

Beyond our horrendous government deficit we’ll be forcing them to pay when we’re dead, we should be ashamed of what we have done to this generation.

And the toll is just beginning to mount. Teen suicide rates are growing at a disturbing rate. Likely all of us with high school-aged children have learned of a suicide in our kid’s world. I know I have.

These deaths won’t be registered among the COVID dead, nor should they. They should be listed under the category “government lockdown dead,” if only we’d count this category. In an alternative universe we’d declare days of remembrance and fly flags at half-mast for these people we’ve killed via lockdown.

I am unaware of any governmental agency, federal, state or local, that is working on a cost-benefit analysis of their lockdown actions. I doubt there will be such an accounting, for it would have to catalog the businesses that are no more, the jobs lost, the bankruptcies, the cost of delayed medical procedures, the cost of mental damage due to isolation and suicide.

The reality is mentally disturbed boys, after a year of festering loneliness and anger, will be coming through your kid’s school doors this fall.

To add to this toxic brew, many school districts are falling for the “defund the police” movement, reducing or eliminating police inside schools, known as school resource officers.

Violence is coming back to our schools. We are fools not to realize this and take action now.

It is time to build on the over 30 school districts in Colorado that are training willing staff how to stop a shooting and then stop the bleeding until help can arrive.

That’s right. They have willing staff take intensive firearms and medical training via a program called FASTER (Faculty/Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response). This program is housed at Independence Institute where I work. Check it out at

Twenty-two years after the Columbine tragedy our children still go to school without people armed to protect them. This is unforgivable.

If you find the idea of trained, armed school staff objectionable, did the armed pilot on your last flight freak you out?

After the 9/11 attacks, the Federal Air Marshal Service realized it had the same problem as our schools — too few trained, armed personnel. There could never be enough air marshals in planes. So, the service accepted help from willing flight crews by training pilots to be armed.

About 10 percent of all commercial pilots volunteer to carry concealed guns. They are trained for only one thing — stopping a threat on a plane.

School staff members take similar training — only to stop a shooter in the limited scope of a school, not give traffic tickets, battle drug rings or anything else resource officers do. Those schools are no longer attractive danger zones.

Imagine if 10 percent of school staff was trained and armed like our pilots. Schools would become places of great safety.

Or is your child not worth it?

A more cynical person might think that some just don’t want to protect our kids in school. Nothing scares people into mass gun control more than a school shooting.

When violence happens, know government lockdowns helped cause it, and your school district could have stopped it with trained staff.

Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute in Denver and hosts "The Devil's Advocate with Jon Caldara" on Colorado Public Television Channel 12. His column appears Sundays in Colorado Politics.

Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute in Denver and hosts "The Devil's Advocate with Jon Caldara" on Colorado Public Television Channel 12. His column appears Sundays in Colorado Politics.

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