Monday, December 23, 2013
Common sense and school shootings
School shootings have tended to dominate the news in recent years. Here’s one man’s view based on some of the incidents and the research. First, over the long haul, school shootings, like violent crime in general, has been going down (in spite of more guns and more licensed gun carriers). More young people die in swimming pools than in schools. Roughly 50 times as many young people are murdered AWAY from school than are murdered in school. This is not to downplay the tragedy of school shootings, but to provide some perspective. Secondly it’s time to get serious about target-hardening and becoming proactive. These young people tend to send out hints of their plan. A planned school shooting in Trinidad, CO was arguably thwarted by a tip to a school resource officer. Everyone has got to pitch in and start sharing information. Given young folks’ obsession with social media, that should be an obvious place to start watching. In the Arapahoe High School shooting the killer approached the school with his shotgun in open sight. How/why did he get into the school? The presence of an armed deputy who intervened relatively quickly arguably saved lives. Security cameras, door locking systems, metal detectors and armed police or trained security guards and/or armed, trained staff seem like a good investment. Hasn’t anyone heard of the concept of “target-hardening?” The la-la-landers will whine that such actions will harm the “learning atmosphere.” It seems to me that a feeling of security would help that atmosphere. Young people are flexible and will adjust. How long does it take to restore that atmosphere AFTER a shooting? After a while, no one at the school will notice the changes anymore. The wackos and pathological gun haters and fearers will continue to argue against armed, trained protective people in school. Get over it and get real about solutions! It would seem that security needs to be priority one. Perhaps schools need more counselling and more cracking down on bullying to help the potential shooters before they let loose. Perhaps parents need more awareness and need to check on their kids more. Schools and others have got to get proactive. Parent are required by law to send their children to school. School boards and administrators have a responsibility to these students. When obvious safety mechanisms are not in place, boards and administrators should be held accountable. Let’s top wasting time arguing about gun control, guns and get some things done that might actually work.