Interesting piece on “10 Myths About Mass Shootings.”  I honestly don’t like the overall implication that it is hopeless to do anything to improve matters as the lesson from other, more sane, countries is that clearly, it does not have to be that way.  That said, most of the analysis seems pretty on target.  Anyway, due to a conversation with a friend today, this one I found particularly interesting:

Myth: Students need to be prepared for the worst by participating in lockdown drills.
Reality: Lockdown drills can be very traumatizing, especially for young children. Also, it is questionable whether they would recall those lessons amid the hysteria associated with an actual shooting. The faculty and staff need to be adequately trained, and the kids just advised to listen to instructions. Schools should take the same low-key approach to the unlikely event of a shooting as the airlines do to the unlikely event of a crash. Passengers aren’t drilled in evacuation procedures but can assume the crew is sufficiently trained.

So, according to my friend, his kid’s elementary school responded by have three of Cary’s finest there all day and escorting the principal and vice-principal around the school.  This served to seriously freak-out kids who had no reason to believe they should be freaked out.  My friend mentioned a neighbor kid who was now totally afraid to go inside her house without her parents.  I responded that you have to know your kid and share appropriate information, i.e., had a good conversation with my 7th grader, David, and have completely shielded my 1st grader, Evan, from the story.  My friend replied that the parents had not told the kid anything, but the insane over-reaction at her school is what led her to learn about it and get all freaked out.  Well done FW Elementary.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

2 Responses to Overreaction

  1. Mike says:

    Much of that article is simply opinion. That’s why it’s labeled “myth” and “Reality” rather then “fact”. Much of it is someones reality, but not everyones.

    Personally, I don’t see a problem with having a secure school. Many already are fairly secure due to problems with vandalism during the summer months. Door glass is often reinforced wire type, the doors themselves are metal in metal frames with very good locks. Securing the doors during school isn’t a bad practice, nor frightening. I don’t know why it didn’t work in this instance. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t learn from it and improve security measures in our schools.
    To not do so would be negligent.

    BTW, my old senior high school actually looked like an old prison with spot lights on the roof, the entire building built of large stone blocks and big concrete style bricks. Many Canadian medium and low security prisons look like schools except with high fences and razor wire.

    And do you really think children are not finding out terrible news on the school ground? The few things I remember about grade school (besides necking with Cheryl in grade seven behind the baseball backstop) was all the information going around, about all sorts of things, some of it pretty awful. Much of it wrong or blown out of proportion. I bet plenty of young children sat through the news with their parent and were told “Don’t worry, that kind of thing doesn’t happen in our neighborhood.” (which is very likely true) And they will go to school and talk about it.

    Finally, people should remember that although this one incident is truly horrifying, each year thousands of children and teenagers are killed with firearms. The Newton tragedy was literally a drop in the bucket compared to the usual number of children killed by firearms due to drive by shootings, accidental shoots and murder.

    A few of the people the United States citizens can thank for the unending gun violence are
    Justice Scalia
    Justice Roberts
    Justice Kennedy
    Justice Thomas
    Justice Alito

    In 2008 these justices on the Supreme Court of the United States gave new meaning to the term judicial activism and overturned longstanding jurisprudence and the handgun ban in Washington DC, and also ruled it unconstitutional to enforce laws requiring firearms to be kept in safes and or with trigger locks when in the home. So instead each year hundreds, sometimes thousands of adults are charged with child endangerment or negligent homicide because a child got a hold of a weapon and shot someone, or him or her self.

    I wonder if they regret their decision, or if they continue to rationalize. Well, Scalia clearly doesn’t have a heart or conscience, or even any decent reasoning skills left. But what about the other Justices?

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