Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sky Marshal Schools

Arming Classrooms: A Preliminary Personal Benefit Analysis

Its highly ironic that where I winter in a developing country that they were more advanced about security than we are still: metal detectors at each mall entrance (larger malls) with armed but smiling security. Trust me NYC schools are fine, for more than once in the South Bronx I had to summon an engine because I couldn't gain entry to those big steel doors in an elementary school for asthma calls. Just arm the school security officers, a relatively small investment for NYC that I'm surprised we never implemented.  For rural/suburban areas, I'm not so sure if they can provide effective staffing.

Banning assault weapons is way overdue, and constitutional gun regulations will by needs be "grandfather" them in since de facto confiscation is not allowed to my thin knowledge. But please do scoop up the magazines and so forth, we have to start somewhere and soon. I have been examining the issues and arguing them, and we're sadly way behind other developed democratic countries on this one, comparatively the same or worse as we were on health care until recently. Stopping the "Iron Pipeline" is what we are primarily concerned with here in NYC. Rural areas are more prone to long law enforcement response times (I was an emergency response official in the Hudson Valley) so their prime considerations include not succumbing to suicide by firearm, performing spousal homicide, or otherwise putting themselves and their families at risk of firearms accidents or getting burglarized especially if the domicile is a vacation home.

Using NY state as an example this will not be very effective since the school district taxpayers can not afford much higher expense. Small towns are lucky if they can afford even a police department, and if available the school cop as a solo patrol is vulnerable to attack (on breaks, pulled away for other duties, long back-up response times, etc.).

My father (died of cancer at 54) was a NYC teacher, and they had no such security officers back then and he forgave a lot of violence directed at him and even though he was shaken by it, he was uninjured and got over it. These days the School Safety people (real title) are only mostly at the entrances if they have a post there at all. My older son was mugged on a stairwell when he attended high school, and at the time the DA wouldn't even prosecute the crime as a strong armed robbery, which it was (I'm biased, I have 10 years as a Police Comm Tech senior dispatcher).The friends that I had who were then Asst. District Attorneys in Manhattan were surprised at that but juvenile cases are apparently handled differently. In that case an armed officer would have made no difference, but today we're talking about securing the main entrances from domestic terrorists (for lack of a better word), where in high schools these portals are more difficult to monitor.

Silly suggestions are being heard all over the "red states" proposing that teachers should be armed as if they were pilots, placing undercovers in classrooms as if they were sky marshals, and the like. I put forward that these ideas are not only ridiculous in terms of unrealistic expectations of our already underpaid teaching and administrative school staff, but only creating further hazards as well. I've recently read commenters complaining that in the midst of the Fort Hood shooting, although on a major military base that soldiers were not armed to deal with the situation. Well there's good reason not to walk around most places with everyone's weapon locked and loaded unless you're in an active war zone, and that's because your base firearm accident rate would skyrocket ! Fratricide can spiral out of control.

Has no one seen the video of the 2 bank robbers coming out of the bank wearing full body armor and kevlar helmets with semi automatic assault rifles keeping a couple hundred police officers at bay ? What makes you believe that a teacher who has only taken a basic, say 250 hr "NRA" course and having no bulletproof vest (which may not stop a high velocity rifle round) is going to perform equally well ? Most civilians can't even "pull" well on a perpetrator in a sudden high stress situation. Be serious about serious protection if you're concerned and don't come up with harebrained schemes. Anyone who is even going to think about proposing such foolish "feel good" programs needs to leave this to the professionals.

So all said, getting armed officers to remain on post manning metal detectors at the malls, and substitute installing fancy expensive glass doors with simpler, cheaper and heavier gauge ugly plain steel ones would go a long way towards securing these points of access. The detectors may be an inconvenience but may save your life besides your property, and the steel doors that just aren't allowed to be opened during the school day can go a long way toward protecting those vulnerable in our schools from various threats especially including an impulsive psychotic or sex offender.

Oh, and Ted Nugent eat your heart out. You'll never be this good.



Bank of America shootout


In an attempt to distract from an emerging debate over how much to strengthen gun laws, Newsweek and Daily Beast special correspondent Megan McArdle called for people, even children, to be trained to "gang rush" active shooters. The Department of Homeland Security, however, recommends that people evacuate or hide in response to an active shooter, and to take direct action only as a last resort and when your life is in "imminent" danger.

Virginia Tech victim parent

Virginia considering arming teachers

New Yorker:

"Would even another, much larger school massacre bring about change? If the numbers are on a truly epic scale—an American scale—perhaps enough people will finally say “enough.” If someone murdered a hundred schoolchildren in a single day with guns, would a majority of Americans agree to true restrictions on them? What is our national threshold for shame?"

Virginia mental health budget slashed


Sky Marshals

South Carolina

States allowing carrying guns, other issues at state level affecting gun safety

Right wing media

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