A nation of unprofessionals?

Published 7:47 pm Monday, May 28, 2018

By Joe Bass

School shootings are increasing in frequency. People that pay attention to the news might notice two government patterns regarding its efforts to deal with the problem.

The first pattern involves promoting the idea that government “professionals” alone can solve the problem. The second pattern involves the idea that “unprofessional” citizens cannot help other than alerting government to potential shooters. These two patterns are heavily promoted by government officials, and the mainstream media regularly supports the idea that citizens are not capable of doing much of anything as opposed to government’s professionalism.

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Government officials’ position is that given enough taxpayer dollars, they can ensure school shootings will happen “never again.” Except when pressed on the subject they state, “Well…we can’t plan for everything.” With that statement they return to highlighting their efforts to ensure it will happen “never again.”

Government officials mainly focus on “hardening” schools. Activities include locked doors after students are in, only admitting visitors through a visual identification review through a video monitor or placing a front door monitor inside the only open door for visitor identification; monitored hallway cameras; armed police officers roaming the halls; and so on. Plans also include well-rehearsed “duck and cover” and “secure in place” drills in case a shooter gets through the security measures.

Parents might think about how effective the professionals’ plans might be. First, consider the situation at Santa Fe, Texas. The already-in-place plan included every ideal feature of the best plan possible, according to a Washington Post article. The school had won a Texas award for its plan and implementation. The obvious gap in hardening is that doors have to be open while hundreds of students are admitted. If students are bunched up to be individually admitted, a killer can attack in front of a school. The Santa Fe shooter simply walked in the necessarily open door.

Second, parents might think about the possibility that an attack can come from outside. All hardening plans ignore the 1989 school shooting in Jonesboro, Ark., in which a 13-year old and an 11-year old pulled a fire alarm, killing five and wounding 10 more outside the building.

School hardening plans do not include a killer using a vehicle to plow through bunched up students waiting outside to get on buses. And plans ignore the possibility that a killer might attack a bus out in neighborhoods.

Voters might consider the idea that unprofessional citizens could do more to protect students in schools and along bus routes. A Marine veteran teacher was only a few doors down the hall from the Santa Fe shooter. Armed concealed carry permit holders are common in Virginia grocery stores but not in schools. Two armed citizens killed an attacker at a restaurant in Oklahoma City last week. An unarmed teacher tackled a shooter in his classroom in Indiana, but, to save students’ lives, he had to get shot three times.

Is America still the “home of the brave” or a nation of unprofessionals that are not capable of much of anything?

Joseph L. Bass is the executive director of ABetterSociety.Info Inc., a nonprofit organization in Hobson. Email him at ABetterSociety1@aol.com.