Our nation is facing a disease that must be addressed swiftly and judiciously. As a father of a young daughter, it is heart-wrenching every time a new school shooting or a mass shooting occurs. Parents, children, and Americans should not have to worry about their safety or the safety of a loved one in their daily routine. Our leaders have failed us as Americans, and they have also failed their mission to protect their constituents.
This is not the time for partisan politics, political games, or electioneering. It is time for real pragmatic solutions to address this horrific disease. As a veteran, I have seen first-hand how other countries deal with similar attacks against their society. Israel, which is continuously under attack, has a pragmatic approach – deter, detect, and deny the threat.
Deter, detect, and deny the threat is precisely the approach needed to prevent future mass shootings in America, especially our schools. We can start by realizing that no single firearm restriction will deter, detect, or deny someone who is motivated to carry out such attacks. That attempted attacks with explosives, knives, and other deadly instruments occur is proof of this – we must address the root cause.
Our schools, local law enforcement, and federal law enforcement should work in unison to deter, detect, and deny threats to our children, teachers, and the public. This starts with comprehensive security measures to make schools and other soft targets less appealing and move more challenging to attack. Currently, potential attackers are not deterred by existing security measures. Deterrence is more comprehensive than cameras, security systems, and trained security officers on site. It also involves addressing the mental health aspect of this disease. If we as a society can help these disturbed individuals before they choose a path of destruction, then we can help save the lives of both potential victims and the potential attacker.
Attackers often show red flags and telegraph dangerous behaviors before their attack occurs. This stage is where everyone in our society can play a role, beginning with the education of our children, teachers, counselors, family members, friends, and community as a whole to spot the warning signs of an individual behaving strangely. We also need to provide not only our federal law enforcement agencies but local law enforcement with the tools and resources required to detect and act upon the warning signs and red flags.
Lastly, we must deny the attacker access to the target. This begins with hardening our schools. Why is it easier to get into a school than a sports arena, concert, or museum? This disparity is not acceptable. We must harden our schools without making them feel like war zones. Denying the attacker is the last line of defense, and we must consider all options. Schools should consider installing doors or barriers that close quickly in case of such threats to cut off access to potential targets. Also, the days of having only one officer in a school with acres of land and facilities and thousands of students need to end. An increased presence of trained individuals or officers for larger schools is a must.
There are multiple ways to deter, detect, and deny attackers from achieving their evil goals. Our leaders have failed us, and unfortunately, this issue has turned into a partisan football. If elected, I will work tirelessly to protect our children, cure this disease, and work in a non-partisan fashion to deter, detect, and deny future attacks on our nation’s most precious and vulnerable targets.
Jeff Dove is the Republican nominee for VA-11