Anne Morrison lives and works in La Grande. She is an attorney and a registered Republican.

Some people believe that I reject not only Donald Trump but his every word and policy. For example, that I disagree with denying refuge to victims of violence as inhumane and un-American and a violation of federal and international law. Or that I think our president threatens our very democracy each time he derides other branches of government or denigrates a press that holds government accountable. But to think I disagree with Trump about everything would just be wrong.

Since the Parkland school shooting, I’ve considered Trump’s proposal to place armed guards in every school and realized Trump is right. With armed guards at our schools, we can protect the rights of everyone who wants to carry a firearm AND the rights of people who wish to be protected from such people.

Trump’s proposal is not minor. Following the Stoneman Douglas shooting, Trump declared that the school needed 150 guards to protect approximately 3,100 students, about one guard per 20 students. The U.S. Department of Education estimates that approximately 76.5 million students currently attend American schools, kindergarten through graduate school. At Trump’s proposal of one guard per 20 students, we’ll need 3,820,000 guards to protect our children from the risk of becoming the next school carnage.

It’s not really clear how we’ll pay for the guards needed to protect our children from Second Amendment devotees gone bad. First, there’s the question of pay. The average starting teacher earns around $38,000. Certainly an armed guard, responsible for the safety of students and staff, who arrives early, stays late and attends after-school activities, should earn as much. So the annual cost of Trump’s school safety program would be more than $145 billion. (For perspective, Trump’s plan would require 118 guards to protect La Grande’s 2,355 students, at an annual cost of more than
$4 million).

You might think $145 billion is a huge figure. But this is just a cost of protecting children in a world where firearms cannot be restricted.

Clearly, few schools could afford to hire guards. But this really isn’t a difficult question. Guards who protect students from shooters are really just protecting the Second Amendment. By preventing even more massacres, the federal government would eliminate the Second Amendment’s harshest critics and the strongest proponents of gun control. A tax dollar toward the salary of an armed school guard is a tax dollar spent in defense of the Second Amendment.

Concerns about cost shouldn’t be an issue. Trump has promised $12 billion to compensate farmers and ranchers for the costs of his trade wars. What’s another $145 billion for the safety of our children and protection of Second Amendment rights?

But the cost of protecting students while defending the Second Amendment is hardly one that all Americans should be expected to bear. We face an epidemic of shootings by, well, shooters. And because gun advocates are the ones who resist any restrictions that might reign in those shooters, it only makes sense for them to pay the true cost of their unrestricted right to bear arms.

School safety, at $145 billion per year. There really are things that Trump and I can agree on.

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