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Be Very Afraid
Topic: Just When You Thought It Could Not Get Worse
Posted by Everyman - 12:04:33 EST

Government - local, state and federal - has the responsibility to see to the safety and security of its citizens, of you and me, and ours. It takes daily custody of our children and gathers them, daily, in its public schools, at least five days a week, where it will look after them as might be required.

Government requires us by its laws to give it custody of our children, beginning at age 5 or 6, and continuing to age 16 or beyond, unless we are able to persuade it that we are capable of home-schooling our own children to the satisfaction of the statists we have empowered to educate our young.

We travel - fly - only with government's permission, only in compliance with its dictates and its regulations, all meant (or so we are led to believe) to keep us safe and secure. We doff our shoes, our liquids, and our laptops to serve that worthy purpose, they say. And we believe.

security

We are asked to believe, in the face of considerable evidence to the contrary, that while our children are in mandatory government custody, they will be protected and kept generally safe from harm, and certainly safe and secure from sudden, terrible injury or death.

The government, after all, is often tasked with protecting our otherwise public spaces, to make sure that they are not, cannot be, invaded by unauthorized people determined to hurt society in some way, to keep would-be trespassers routinely out of places they should not be able to go.

The needed security measures are hardly state-of-the-art. Glass in first floor windows that is very difficult, perhaps impossible, to break. Secure locks on the doors that can be opened only by people inside the buildings where the protected are asked - made - to gather, locked doors that can be opened from a secure place inside the building manned by those authorized to be there, in case of emergency and the need to evacuate the building quickly and efficiently if the need arises to do so.

We count on government to make our places secure from those who would do us and our family members grievous harm, to have readily at hand the means to repel those who would do unspeakable harm to our loved ones, to us, and to maintain the ability to use those means however might be necessary to keep us and ours safe and secure.

Today, in the lee of the horrific assault on our children in Connecticut a few days ago, we know, to our sorrow, that it is just one more task that government cannot, or will not, do, well or otherwise, and that, as a result, our safety is in play, our children are at risk.

Blame the guns?

Blame the mental health people?

Find excuses, raise distractions?

Demand accountability from others.

Accept none.

Arrange for the enabling media and the cable news contributors - the self-identified experts, many of them in thrall to the government power and competence that should be under discussion - to talk and write about anything other than the almost inconceivable lack of competence of government to do what it must do to justify its existence, the wholesale taking of so much of our personal and national treasure. See that they talk and write about anything other than the inability of government to keep its promises - even the express or tacit promises of protection of life itself - and so ensure that ultimate accountability will not be the buck that stops on government's desks, anywhere, anyhow.

How difficult, then, is it - could it be - to keep unwanted adults, who oould be armed and dangerous, who might be crazy enough to try to do harm to our children, away from them?

Not very.

Be careful out there?

If only.

Update:

On television and in the movies, people gain access to a locked building or room by shooting at the door, or at the lock.

And so it must be . . . so.

Adam Lanza, the Newtown murderer, used weapons stolen from his mother who had them legally and registered them under Connecticut law. He reportedly shot his way into a locked school.

Maybe we should begin our discussion with a focus on how, exactly, that is done, how it happens that a securely-locked door, maybe one with a deadbolt solidly in place, is defeated with a firearm.

You start.

Further Update:

But spare us all the notion that there's nothing to be done other than to engage in another, never-ending polemic over gun control - as if guns, unlike people, can be effectively controlled - or the proper treatment of so many conditions of mental impairment.

For example:

stopping

My friend Dale McClellan is the president of a company called Special Tactical Services. A former SEAL, McClellan has devoted his life to thinking through problems like this and crafting solutions. His company trains elite military and police units on the skills and tactics needed to use all sorts of lethal and non-lethal weapons in all sorts of situations, including the "active shooter" school situation. He called me Friday night about the Newtown shootings.

Dale has kids the age of some who were killed. He's outraged, and properly so, that we can't rely on school personnel to defend our kids for even a minute. He has a plan to deal with these situations that could save countless lives.

"The first part of the problem," McClellan said, "is that teachers and school administrators aren't trained. They need to have training beginning with situational awareness." That means understanding their surroundings, what signals indicate a potential problem and how to properly react in those situations. "The whole idea is to have the teachers and principals do what's necessary to buy time — it may be two minutes or twenty — for the cops to arrive and deal with the active shooter."

So what should they do, and how should they be equipped?

McClellan said, "There's a lot they can do. First and foremost, school rooms could have ballistic doors with magnetic locks which would prevent most shooters from getting into the rooms."

When there's a shooter roaming the school the teachers can do more than sit in a corner with their children and wait for the police.

"The next thing schools should have — in every classroom — are what we call ballistic blankets. They're made of Kevlar or other ballistic material and can stop most handgun rounds and most high velocity fragmentation rounds. Why not have the teachers get the kids into a corner and cover them with ballistic blankets? Sure, it'd be scary. But if you have fire drills kids get used to, they can get used to proper lockdown drills. Kids would learn to cooperate and communicate, and that's another condition of buying the time you need to protect the kids until the police roll in."

"I'm not in favor of arming teachers with guns," McClellan added. "It would probably cause more problems than keeping them unarmed."

Is there anything more the teachers and school administrators can do?

"Sure," McClellan told me. "But it's a big bite you have to chew carefully. It requires training and education and of course the money to install the equipment, but is there really any cost you wouldn't spend to secure your child’s safety? For example: provide the teachers and school administrators with controlled access to a non-lethal means to defend themselves and the children under their care. The school, properly secured during lockdown combined with a controlled access system to these capabilities, would possess a significant deterrent and, moreover, provide a last resort tool to mitigate the threat if the innocent adults were cornered with no escape available.

Awkward, possibly difficult to implement properly, costly, unsettling for those - children and adults alike - who would be asked to participate.

Effective?

Yeah . . .

That, too.

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