As every other American, I was appalled by the shootings and killings in Roseburg, Oregon. Schools are essential to bond our communities together, and the students are the concern of all of us. We all, together, share the grief.
So why is it that immediately we, as a community, as a nation, become polarized, standing on different sides of either more guns in schools or more gun regulations and refusing to see others’ viewpoints? Is there an alternative that can get us talking as involved citizens with a common concern?
Perhaps we should get out of our boxes and turn to man’s best friend for help. Dogs have abilities that far exceed what humans can do. A dog’s sense of smell can be thousands of times better than yours or mine. That’s why dogs are frequently used to locate bombs.
Can we not train dogs to sniff out and identify anyone who has gun powder on his or her body? If these canines are also trained as attack dogs, any person planning an evil deed would be stopped quickly.
You might ask, what if a student is out hunting all weekend and faces a dog Monday morning? Is that much different than going to school with alcohol on your breath? Students would learn they have a time period where guns should not be handled.
Obviously, dogs can multitask too. The practice of using therapy/comfort dogs in schools is growing. Students exposed to these dogs have improved social skills, increased self-esteem, and enhanced sense of compassion and fairness. The dogs that sniff for gun powder can also be friends to students.
Are there other alternatives to protect schools from malicious attacks? Perhaps you can identify some ways. Many ideas might be quickly shot down (pun intended, and my suggestion might be one of the first). But with more fl exible and varied ideas, perhaps we can begin to do what a community must do to thrive, have a rich and diverse conversation between its members. We are all creative, so let’s talk. Perhaps the politicians might hear us.