Sunday morning I watched the Trumpster being interviewed by Chris Wallace, and if it were not for the fact that he was talking about nuclear weapons, I found his comments so stupid that they were actually entertaining and fun. And what they brought back to me was a memory from the fourth or fifth grade when every month or so we would be told to get out of our seats and huddle under our desks to protect ourselves from an A-Bomb blast, which was over when the teacher yelled ‘all clear.’
While my mind was reliving those ridiculous drills, a public notice flickered on the television screen that the high school in Yonkers was going to conduct an ‘active shooter’ drill, an exercise that the Yonkers PD has done several previous times beginning in 2014. What is referred to in the industry as ‘Active Shooter and Intruder Response Training’ has become a big business since the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012, and just to make sure that such training is as relevant as possible, a training outfit called Strategos International offers training specifically designed for schools, hospitals and faith-based organizations too.
Of course if it were up to the NRA, all you need to do to protect any workplace, school or other facility that might be a target is to make sure that every adult on the premises is walking around armed. This was basically the organization’s initial response to Sandy Hook, but when the public response to Wayne-o’s loony “good guys with guns stop bad guys with guns” speech was not overwhelmingly positive, the NRA then issued a report called ‘National School Shield,’ which recommended 40-60 hours of firearm training for school employees who could then carry around guns.
How often does a gun go off at an educational institution? Nobody has a comprehensive answer, but the research group at Everytown calculates that it has happened more than once a week since the beginning of 2013, of which roughly half of these 174 shootings took place in K-12 schools. And I’m not about to get into the stupid argument over whether a ‘school shooting’ is really a ‘school shooting’ if it takes place in the school playground rather than in a school building itself.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, roughly 90% of all K-12 schools control physical building access, which is always the best way to monitor threats to safety, and 28% of all schools are patrolled by security personnel carrying guns, in the case of high schools, professional security personnel are present 63% of the time. The percentage of police in schools has been fairly constant since 2005, which certainly predates all the hue and cry about school security post-Sandy Hook.
The biggest problem in dealing with school shootings is not how to secure the building, but identifying who among the current or former student body might be capable of carrying out such a violent act. Because a school shooting, like all school violence, is usually precipitated by someone who is either a student at the time of the incident, or was a student at that school and returns with a gun intending to right some past wrong.
Crouching under a wooden desk is about as much of a positive response to nuclear attack as giving someone a week-long course in armed force and then have them walking through a school hallway looking for a kid with a gun. The whole point of nuclear non-proliferation is the recognition that once the weapon is out there, the chances of it being used go way up. Trump seems to be unaware that this is why a basic consensus exists that the world needs to be a nuclear-free zone.
The same argument can be made about gun-free zones which, despite the nonsense peddled by the NRA, make every place safer if guns aren’t allowed. And it’s no violation of anyone’s 2nd Amendment rights to leave the gun at home.