Sunday, May 20, 2018

On School Shootings

I am going to express my opinions about school shootings.  Let me start off by saying that I am a member of the NRA and am a strong advocate of all of the articles in the Bill of Rights.  I am as much in favor of free speech, free assembly, protection of individual property rights, right to avoid self incrimination, states rights, others, and the 2nd amendment.  Until there is a Constitutional Convention that might start picking all of these apart, I'm 100% in to supporting the current US Constitution.

First, school shootings have been going on for a long time.  Here's a list from Wikipedia.  You can elect to discuss the merits of any of the shootings on that list and say that they are or are not relevant.  Have fun.  But what is true is that schools are places where there are lots of people for a lot of time.  There are a lot of them.  The "law of large numbers" would seem to apply here.  I have to wonder what we might find, comparatively, if we did a search for work-place shootings.  Or for shootings are night clubs and bars.  Or at any place where lots of people go on an almost daily basis.

I just listened to a Scott Adams Periscope broadcast in which he points out that if the USA wanted to, it could eliminate all school shootings.  It isn't really that hard to secure a single building (or set of buildings) to prevent those entering the building from bringing long-guns or handguns into the building.  It takes money.  I'm not a security expert and neither is Scott.  But I see the TSA doing this at airports.  If you have served on a jury, you see this happening at the entry to court buildings.  There are limited entry points.  People and their possession are screened. Anyone that refuses to be screened is not admitted.  There are armed guards that that will deal with people that elect to become violent during this process.

Scott points out that when we send our children to school the chances of our individual child ever being the victim of a school shooting are nearly zero.  I went to schools for 17 years.  Never once did I witness a school shooting.  In all of my life I have never known anyone that was shot or had a family member shot at a school.  Most people are in that same circumstance.

So in order to prevent school shootings people have to be willing to fund securing schools with physical controls (fences, walls, scanning machines) and security staff (screening staff, armed guards).  That takes money, and it might affect the aesthetics of school facilities.  Clearly, school districts all over the USA are deciding not to do this, but to spend their money on salaries, pretty buildings, retirement funds, benefits, tablets for students, extra-curricular activities (band, sports, clubs, trips, busing, others).

School shootings, believe it or not, provide a couple of benefits to a select few people.  They are emotionally charged and sensational events.
  1. The news media benefits from school shootings.  They sell more papers with "School Shooting Kills 10" headlines.  They get more TV viewers seeking information on the latest shooting in a place 1,000 miles away.  I really get no benefit or pleasure, and am not improved as a person by getting this news.  Those people that are victims don't get any benefit from being part of the news.  Maybe the news should consider stopping their taking advantage of these sensational events?
  2. Some people with political agendas benefit.  Those political group agendas include anti-gun rights, anti-immigrant, pro racists, pro mental health, anti-violent gaming, anti-violent TV and moves, anti-terrorism.  You might be able to think of other agendas that try to leverage school shootings to "prove their point".
I am offended by all of the attempts to leverage a school shooting to political benefit.  I think that is  despicable to create a false causal relationship through manipulation of tragic circumstance to try to prove any of these points.

The issue is that school districts are failing to do anything meaningful to prevent school shootings.  That failure might or might not be negligent.  The statistical probability of any school district being struck by this is small.  Spending a lot of money to prevent something that is almost certain not to happen would be a bad decision by anyone's standard.

So let's talk about what we can that is free and that doesn't tear apart our Constitution?  Here are somethings that come to mind, or have been talked about:
  1. Stop gathering students in one location, school buildings. Use distance learning and teach remotely.
  2. Allow adults at schools to be armed.
  3. Ban or severely limit the benefits of shootings.
Maybe you can suggest some others?