Only one question matters in the school violence debate: when a shooter is attempting to enter a school, what will be done to protect the lives of students and staff?
Asking what can be done to prevent mass school shootings is a secondary matter. Honest commentators — with the background and experience to know what they’re talking about — should be aware that in a constitutional republic, school shootings cannot be altogether prevented, and that gun control can have no effect. The worst school attack in history — in Beslan, Chechnya, leaving 300 dead and 700 injured — took place in a liberty-restricted state with democratic pretensions. Deterrence is possible, but not with past or current policies; the actual defense of the school during an incident is the heart of the debate.
At enormous expense, schools can be hardened, which may help to deter some potential killers, and which may slow down, to some degree, less intelligent and prepared killers. Unfortunately, “slow down” implies seconds, not minutes. Equally unfortunate: the money necessary to harden schools to the point of truly credible deterrence that could slow or stop killers to any meaningful degree is not available during the Obama economy.