A week after an American tragedy, what have we learned?
1. When Twenty Minutes Is Forever. According to the CNN timeline for the Sandy Hook tragedy, “Police and other first responders arrived on scene about 20 minutes after the first calls.” Twenty minutes. Five minutes is forever when violence is underway, but 20 minutes — a third of an hour — means that the “first responders” aren’t likely to do much more than clean up the mess.
This has led to calls — in Texas, Tennessee, Virginia, St. Louis — for armed officers or staff at schools. Some object. But we have people with guns protecting airports, hospitals and politicians. And leading anti-gun crusaders like New York’s billionaire Mayor Mike Bloomberg and press lord Rupert Murdoch are protected by armed security teams that could probably topple some third-world governments. Why are our children less worthy of protection?
Then there are our homes. If police took twenty minutes to respond at a school, how likely are they to get to your house in time? For those of us without “security teams,” the answer isn’t reassuring.