Saturday, May 19, 2018

In Our Policies We Trust!

Yeah, I'm not through yet:

The school district had an ­active-shooter plan, and two armed police officers walked the halls of the high school. School district leaders had even agreed last fall to eventually arm teachers and staff under the state’s school marshal program, one of the country’s most aggressive and controversial policies intended to get more guns into classrooms.

They thought they were a hardened target, part of what’s expected today of the American public high school in an age when school shootings occur with alarming frequency. And so a death toll of 10 was a tragic sign of failure and needing to do more, but also a sign, to some, that it could have been much worse.

“My first indication is that our policies and procedures worked,” J.R. “Rusty” Norman, president of the school district’s board of trustees, said Saturday, standing exhausted at his front door. “Having said that, the way things are, if someone wants to get into a school to create havoc, they can do it.”

a)  NEVER say, when 10 people are dead, 9 of them students, one of them a teacher, and 10 more wounded, some of whom may yet did, that "our policies and procedures worked."  Because all you are saying is:  your policies and procedures are worthless.  Which they are but, do you really want to admit that?

b)  I suppose "if someone wants to get into a school to create havoc, they can do it."  So maybe the issue is:  why do they want to create havoc, and what can we do about that?  Maybe more importantly from a governmental point of view, what can we do to keep them from gaining the instruments to create such havoc?  Build walls?  More policies and procedures?  Yeah, I'm not seeing that as a viable answer anymore.

Norman said he saw school security as a way to control, not prevent, school violence. And the school district had some practice. In February, two weeks after the Parkland shooting, Santa Fe High went into lockdown after a false alarm of an active-shooter situation, resulting in a huge emergency response. The school won a statewide award for its safety program.

“We can never be over-prepared,” Norman said. “But we were prepared.”

His school board approved a plan in November to allow some school staff members to carry guns, joining more than 170 school districts in Texas that have made similar plans. But Santa Fe was still working on it, Norman said. People needed to be trained. Details needed to be worked out, such as a requirement that school guns fire only frangible bullets, which break into small pieces and are unlikely to pass through victims, as a way to limit the danger to innocent students.

All of these efforts, Norman said, are “only a way to mitigate what is happening.”

Sheer fucking genius.  So the student was right, it's happening everywhere, and get used to it?  10 is bad, but it could have been worse, so hey!  The system worked?  And besides, it's not your problem because school security can't do everything?  Well, on that we would agree.  Still, hardly the time for this conversation, I have to say.

WaPo even talked to the people of Santa Fe, who don't blame guns for this horror; but they don't know who to blame.  However, the burden of this problem is not on the people of Santa Fe.  The burden of this problem is on the children of America, and the parents of the children of America.  Will we continue to tell them there is nothing we can do except more security theater?  More guns in classrooms with bullets that hopefully won't do too much damage to the innocent, but somehow stop the guilty at the same time?  More walls, fewer doors, more guards and fear because we can't do anything about the chaos except to mitigate it?

I used to wonder just why apocalyptic stories where the near future is a dystopian hellscape full of death and perseverance only by the most brutal violence were so commonplace.  Now I know:  it's merely the present reflected back at us in art.  This is our legacy, and our bequest to our heirs.

God help us all, for we seem unable to help ourselves.

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