By Alan Gottlieb and Dave Workman

Three fatal attacks on school property in less than a week; more than 20 since February 1996 when a 14-year-old youth strolled into a junior high school in Moses Lake, Wash. and opened fire, killing two students and a teacher.

The dirty little secret of all these atrocities is that they happened in so-called “Gun Free School Zones.” Prior to the enactment of that horribly misguided federal legislation and its state-level clones, one never read about school massacres because there weren’t any. The Gun Free School Zones Act transformed the public school landscape into a free-fire zone for whackos by removing any possibility, however small, that an armed teacher, student or private citizen might be present to intervene. As a result, monsters like Colorado’s Duane Morrison or Pennsylvania’s Charles Roberts, and a host of others have committed mayhem, courtesy of gun control fanatics who pressured Congress and state legislatures to pass such statutes.

The exception is Luke Woodham, who shot up Mississippi’s Pearl High School in 1997 after slitting his mother’s throat. Midway through his spree, Woodham encountered Vice Principal Joel Myrick, who had rushed to his car to retrieve a .45-caliber pistol. Myrick aimed the gun at Woodham’s head and held him until police arrived.

You read little about Myrick’s heroism, and less about his handgun, in press reports.

After the Pennsylvania attack on an Amish school in Lancaster County, anti-gun Gov. Ed Rendell had a remarkable moment of candor when he admitted that tougher gun laws would not have stopped the gunman. “You can make all the changes you want,” Rendell said, “but you can never stop a random act of violence by someone intent on taking his own life.”

His remarks were largely ignored because nobody wants to admit that Rendell is right about this, same as they overlooked Myrick and his gun. Such facts don’t fit the anti-gun agenda.

It is time to re-consider gun-free school zone laws and the zero-tolerance mentality such laws foster. Inflexible regulations aimed at keeping kids safe also place teachers in jeopardy. A teacher in Lacey, Wash. was recently suspended for having a gun in her purse. Licensed to carry, she was afraid of her estranged husband, against whom she has a domestic violence protection order, and has filed for divorce. But now she’s in trouble; allegedly victimized by her spouse and again by the law.

We can no longer afford the empty-headed Utopian illusion that such statutes keep anyone safe, because they don’t. Like other restrictive gun control measures, this one has been a monumental failure, and it is literally killing our children.

Nobody is suggesting that all teachers arm themselves, but scrapping the law restores that option. School massacres didn’t happen in the days when high schools had rifle teams, and when it was common in the fall to find both teachers and students with rifles or shotguns locked in their cars. That was before “gun” became a four-letter word among self-described “progressive liberals” who championed gun-free zones.

If what’s happening at schools today is “progress,” we might be better off – and a lot of students would still be alive – if we were back in those unenlightened days when school kids riding down country roads with .22 rifles across their bicycle handlebars alarmed nobody.

In the wake of our most recent school shootings, reaction from the gun control crowd has been pathetic. Brady Campaign President Paul Helmke blustered that “we need to do something about that.” He suggested a national dialogue, as if more talk will stop suicidal maniacs.

His bunch has done enough already, with the help of gun-grabbing Congressional demagogues like Charles Schumer, Dianne Feinstein, Nancy Pelosi and their far left colleagues, and an all-too-cooperative “mainstream” press. They gave us a law that leaves our children and their teachers vulnerable to the whims of any nutball looking for 15 minutes of fame because of real or imagined problems or perversions.

Restrictive gun laws do not prevent crime and the notion of a gun-free school zone is a myth. More restrictions on law-abiding citizens will never stop people like Morrison or Roberts who proved yet again that feel-good laws have defrauded American citizens, and especially our children, of genuine safety.