Dear Representative Richardson and his reply

Paulie Brading

Sent to Rep. Dennis Richardson on 12/17/12:

While the nation is reeling and hearts are broken you appear to be politicizing a tragedy for political convenience. I serve on the Medford School Board and have attended monthly safety meetings for five years. Thanks to passing a bond to upgrade all 19 schools we focused upon safety with state of the art video cameras, fencing, gates and staff training. In addition we have armed school safety officers in each high school and middle school. Administrators receive training and the building staff engage in unannounced school school lock downs on a regular basis. I would be happy to facilitate a meeting with you and the Medford Police Department to provide you with accurate information regarding school safety.

I urge you to be careful what you wish for. It appears you are advocating an arms race in our public schools. Give the teachers guns and the shooters arrive in body armor. Teachers will need bigger guns with armor penetrating ammo. Bigger guns like RPGs or shoulder fired missles just might work or rapid fire military weapons. Next we'll erect blast walls around each school. Armed civilians do not stop mass shootings.

There are reasons that the state of Connecticut banned guns guns in schools. There are reasons the Medford School Board fought, at great expense, the ability of a teacher to have a concealed weapon. The school board prevailed in defending school safety by keeping guns out of employees hands.

Like you, many men and women dream they could take out the shooter at Sandy Hook Elementary. I question your chances going up against a troubled individual bent on slaughter.

Sir, the times have changed. Mental institutions were defunded during the Reagan administration and dangerous mentally ill people took to the streets.

One of my dearest friends and former colleague was the principal at Thurston High when Kip Kinkel went on his killing spree. I have given guns in schools deep thought. I urge you to think harder about what you are advocating. I urge you to think harder about what you are advocating for staff to have guns in our schools. I urge you to be careful what you wish for Representative Richardson.

Paulie Brading, Vice-Chair
Medford School Board

Part of Richardson's reply:

"Thank you for taking the time to update me on what is being done for Medford's middle and high schools. As far as political convenience is concerned, I, at least, am focusing on school safety and not using the tragedy in Newtown to demand gun bans when more than 250 million guns are already in circulation in the USA.

"In short, when a shooter, knifer or baseball bat/hammer-bearing madman knows he is the only one armed on a school campus, the school board or administrators have failed to adequately protect our children and educators. If, after Sandy Hook, you can say Medford's students and teachers in all of Medford's schools are adequately protected, I would like to know how you are able to justify your conclusion.

"If your response is that the school district should spend more money on security by adding armed safety officers to all elementary schools, in addition to current expenditures for middle and high schools, how many more teachers will be laid off for that decision. My suggestion is for the school board to find a more affordable way to provide campus response for the remote, one in a million chance of a mass murderer showing up at one of the Medford schools."

My reaction:

Richardson has received national media attention for his stance. Today he has a guest editorial in the Medford Mail Tribune restating the content of his blast email he sent out yesterday.

I urge BlueOregon readers to send comments to Rep. Richardson regarding his stance that at least three employees should be trained and armed in every school in Oregon.

Your take?

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