That restriction would have interesting consequences in the event of a fire. But in any case, think about Mr. Patrick’s language: In a nation that’s supposedly at peace, we should treat schools as “targets” that need to be “hardened.” What would that do to public education, which has for many generations been one of the defining experiences of growing up in America? Don’t worry, says the Federalist Society: Families can keep their kids safe by resorting to home-schooling.
Actually, if you take these proposals literally, they amount to a call for turning the land of the free into a giant armed camp. There are around 130,000 K-12 schools in America; there are close to 40,000 supermarkets; there are many other venues that might offer prey for mass killers.
So protecting all these public spaces Republican-style would require creating a heavily armed, effectively military domestic defense force — heavily armed because it would face attackers with body armor and semi-automatic weapons — that would be at least as big as the Marine Corps.
Why would such a thing be necessary? Mass shootings are very rare outside the United States. Why are they so common here? Not, according to the U.S. right, because we’re a nation where a disturbed 18-year-old can easily buy military-grade weapons and body armor. No, says Mr. Patrick, it’s because “We’re a coarse society.”
I know it’s a hopeless effort to say this, but imagine the reaction if a prominent liberal politician were to declare that the reason the United States has a severe social problem that doesn’t exist elsewhere is that Americans are bad people. We’d never hear the end of it. But when a Republican says it, it barely makes a ripple.