In courthouses there are metal detectors. In airports there is also TSA.

Courthouses have higher stakes, and airplanes can be used for an aerial attack, while schools are very numerous. It would make security expensive and impractical.

But would it be fair if we value our offspring at least as highly, as we value the WTC or Pentagon buildings? I don't see a good reason why my kids wouldn't be protected while attending a public school, while I cannot even bring a water bottle on an airplane.

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    Many things would avoid more school shootings. The question is probably how expensive and acceptable they all are. You basically answer your own question in the second paragraph. Super-tight security for all schools would be extremely expensive. There are better alternatives, I guess. Oct 29, 2022 at 12:54
  • Any option is better than actually taking care of kids with issues so they don't turn to things like these
    – TurtleTail
    Nov 1, 2022 at 11:36
  • Maybe public schools cause some of those issues in the first place. You are in some big compulsory institution, away from your parents (because they work rather than trach you stuff), with abusive teachers and equally abusive peers (often times, children of criminals), you get a respiratory infection each month or two... And you sit in class all day. Public school is a terrible place, and you put plenty of kids there. No wonder some have a desire to play with a gun :-) Jan 10, 2023 at 8:59
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    @Jacob3 There is a difference between preventing an unknown person shouldn't have access to a school from entering and a known person who does have access from entering and causing violence.
    – Joe W
    Apr 17, 2023 at 20:37
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    @JoeW, Correct! It won't prevent students from harming each other. Thanks for correcting me. I won't delete my previous comment, in order to preserve the conversation.
    – Jacob3
    Apr 17, 2023 at 20:44

1 Answer 1


The security in courthouses and government buildings is primarily there to protect the judges and public servants from the public, who enter and exit through separate ways from each other.

And in addition to separate exits, there are secure and guarded carparks, panic rooms, and various other kinds of strong internal security - right down to the presence of bailiffs in every courtroom (and probably scores in a courthouse in total, who unlike the judges are expected to be sacrificial during an attack), and a judge who sits at a high bench which is difficult to scale quickly from the public side and probably bulletproof.

And judges tend to ride in heavy cars, and may have police minders and escorts if they are particularly at risk, and they rarely congregate in large numbers in the same place. If there would be queues for judges to enter a courthouse from the street, then they would stagger their start times to eliminate the queue, or rework the entire building to increase the number of entrances (and sufficiently man each of them).

So too in airports, the security is primarily designed to protect buildings and installations into which a large aircraft may be flown, and to a lesser extent the aircraft itself, not to protect the passengers, and scarcely even to protect the staff (who are probably never specific targets anyway).

The public in these places, meanwhile, are usually relatively easy to attack - at least in the same sorts of numbers as are claimed in a typical school shooting.

At courthouses and especially airports, there are often dozens if not hundreds of members of the public stood in queues or waiting halls, who could be sprayed by guns or blown away by explosives, particularly if the assailant had no intention of escape.

If you look at from this perspective, it's quite obvious that the public cannot be protected in schools because they aren't protected even in the examples you adduce!

Nor are the public protected in a wide variety of other everyday settings - pubs, clubs, theme parks, and so on.

The real solution is probably a stronger sense of civility and shared community, stronger control on weaponry, and stronger means of avoiding or resolving extreme grievances that underlie many of these attacks.


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