I can’t believe I even have to write this post.

We live in a nation where special interests control laws. Here’s how: The special interests (insurance, guns, pharmaceutical, etc.) have stockpiles of money. People who work for these special interests are called lobbyists. Lobbyists make their way into the circles of politicians through networking and doing favors. Lobbyists know that politicians want to remain politicians, and the best way to do that is to buy media that keeps their brand/profile in a positive light in front of their constituency (aka advertising. aka propaganda.) Except media is expensive, so lobbyists offer to donate money to the campaigns of politicians in turn for certain political “favors.” This practice has become the norm in Washington on both sides of the aisle for a range of special interests. One such powerful special interest is gun lobbies (if not the NRA directly.) They basically say, “Here’s a ton of cash for your reelection, we simply ask that you don’t change the laws. Gun ownership is already legal. Don’t make it illegal.” Or something like that. Politicians take the money, send thoughts and prayers to victims every time there’s a mass shooting, and because time heals all wounds, and the American public has the attention span of an ant, things settle down and everyone goes back to normal for a little while until the next tragedy.

So far in 2018, 23 students have died from 18 occurrences of guns being fired at schools. It’s mid-February. 

I don’t believe gun laws will ever change. That is, not until we get money out of politics so that the law of reason can rule again.

When money motivates policy, only the one paying wins.

Because we’re nowhere close to anything like reasonable gun laws in America, and we’ll never ever ever ban guns altogether, I’m always shocked how we react with the news of another school shooting.  Everyone goes into shock and then demands that the laws change. We stomp our feet and shake our voter cards for a few days, and nothing happens. Ever.

Special interests win, and the rest of us lose. But hey, we still have our right to own guns.

I’m not going to sit here and write about the number of guns in America. But it is shocking. We like guns. A lot. And 99% of everyone who owns a gun is a responsible owner who is merely stockpiling them to prevent our government from rising up against us. Amirite? #Murica

Bottom line—gun laws are far FAR away from changing. 

I admire those who continue to fight to change these laws, however. Please yes, keep fighting and voting and one day when money is removed from politics, maybe more just and reasonable laws will emerge concerning guns. But that’s not going to happen tomorrow.

And tomorrow another shooting will occur at another school. Guaranteed.

And we’ll repeat the cycle of demanding change, but nothing will happen soon enough to prevent the next tragedy.

There is, however, one way to prevent bloodshed. One simple, obvious way—metal detectors in every school.

Guns are already banned from schools so that’s not working. But if a student were to walk into school with an AR15 concealed under his coat, he’s going to set off an alarm when there’s a metal detector present (yes, assuming he goes in the main entrance.) No metal detector, no way of knowing.

No, metal detectors cannot stop someone from firing a gun in the school. But they can alert security, which in turn may prevent excess bloodshed. And no, metal detectors will not keep guns out of every school. But if a kid knows that there’s a good chance his plot will be foiled, I’m guessing he’ll be less likely to attempt it. (Would love to see a long-term study on it, and will eat my words if I’m wrong.)

We have to do something. We can’t just keep complaining with no action. Right? We have to do something.

When I recently proposed the concept of metal detectors in schools, the opposition to the idea stated that it would feel like a prison. Sadly, I understand this. But if it prevents one angry teenage boy from murdering his classmates, then that’s the chance we have to take. Or else we can just keep praying for change. That’s working out great.

Don’t tell me that there’s too much bureaucracy to make this happen. That’s no excuse for not trying.

Don’t tell me the tech doesn’t exist in a way that we can make detection devices less like entering a prison. Perhaps the tech can be built into walls? I don’t know. But I do know that anything is possible. This is detection, not interrogation. Also, this is 20-fucking-18. We just put a car into outer space.

Don’t tell me we can’t afford to do this. We are the wealthiest nation in the history of the world. We have the money to do … anything. At the very least a study should be done to determine costs.

Not doing anything is unacceptable.

I want to hear real solutions to keeping our children safe. Not hypothetical scenarios based on hope or fear that may take years to initiate. Solutions. Now.

We can’t just sit around and complain until the next time a shooter blasts through a school. And we can’t just wait until the next election cycle without doing SOMETHING now.

Put metal detectors in every school. Now. You got a better idea? I’d love to hear it.

The thing I fear more than bad guys with guns is desensitization. When that happens, humanity is truly lost. Never give up this fight. But in the meantime, let’s do what we can to protect our children. We simply must.


Jim – father of teenage daughters in high school.

The River of Life
Women, A Poem by my Daughter

Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.