Friday, December 21, 2012

Why police in schools is a bad idea

Short answer: it won't do anything useful, it will be expensive, and it will further the Police State.

Long answer: It's Security Theater.  Expensive, intrusive Security Theater.

The world is full of soft targets.  Someone motivated to shoot up a soft target has lots of choices.  There's nothing that we can do to change that.

But it gets worse.  If the proper reaction to the Connecticut school shooting is to put armed police in every school, then the obvious proper reaction when an evil nut job shoots up (say) a hospital is armed police in every hospital.  Then when nut jobs turn their sights on libraries, we put police there.  Then grocery stores, then Starbuck's, then gas stations.

We've seen this game before, played out by the TSA: terrorists take guns onto planes and so we have metal detectors.  Then they put bombs in suitcases and so all our luggage gets X-Ray'ed.  Then they take bombs in their shoes and we have to take our shoes off in security.  Then they use liquids and mothers can't take bottles of breast milk.

It's a stupid game and we should stop playing.  There literally is no end, either to the TSA's idiocy or to Wayne LaPierre's.  Actually I just lied - there is an end, and it's called a Police State.  No thanks.

The mistake that the War On Terror™ warriors make is the same as the mistake the gun banners make, which is the same mistake the NRA just made.  Sprinkling Magic Government Security Dust™ on something doesn't make anything more, you know, secure.

It's been said over and over that there are only two things that have made air travel safe in the 9/11 age: reinforced cockpit doors and passengers who know that they have to fight for their lives.  It's harsh to say a week after the kids were gunned down, but the same thing applies to mass shootings.  The school had locked doors, what was lacking was the ability to fight for their lives.  That applies to schools, hospitals, libraries, stores, and to all the other infinitude of soft targets.

Neither the gun banners nor the NRA are willing to talk about this.  And so they talk about pretty lies that are security kabuki,

It's a stupid game and we should stop playing, because lives literally are on the line.


Paladin said...

I certainly see your point, and what you foretell is possible and perhaps even probable as an end result. I think arming and training school staff or vetted volunteers from the community is vastly superior to using police in schools and I fully support that end.


We've used police in schools in both the town where I live and the town where I work for years now, without any of the 1984 style jackboot police state results. Not to say it can't happen eventually, but so far no ill effects and more importantly nobody has walked into any schools here and slaughtered anyone.

Your personal preference for armed teachers aside, can you honestly say that you believe having an armed police officer inside Sandy Hook when the murder arrived would have been "useless" ?

There is a tendancy among people, myself included, to oversell the downside of potential solutions to a problem that aren't our number one pick. I'm a redunancy guy myself. I like to have a plan A... and then a Plan B, C, D, etc. I would love to have armed teachers in the schools. However, I recognize that that dog won't hunt in many places. We should try our best to convince people that it will, but I would caution against overselling the "uselessness" of having cops in the schools in areas that won't budge on arming teachers. We might find ourselves cutting off our noses to spite our faces.

Just a thought. If you honestly think that having and armed police officer in Sandy Hook would have been useless, then preach on and I'll be quiet :)

Sean D Sorrentino said...

I think you are missing something.

An armed School Resource Officer costs the Wake County (Raleigh, NC area) School district $37,838 per year per officer. Wake County has 169 schools, 105 of which are elementary schools. Just putting an SRO in each elementary school will cost nearly $4 Million.

The fact that they can't afford this is a feature, not a bug. We must slam them against the financial wall on this. We need to pass a law that mandates armed security at schools, either a uniformed SRO or armed staff. When many of the smaller counties get the bill, they will opt for armed staff. We give them a choice, and they will have to decide which to choose. If we try to mandate armed staff, we'll get nothing, and no security at all.

We can pretend that we want SROs, but in the end we'll get armed staff because that's all the districts will be able to afford.

kx59 said...

From a theoretical standpoint I agree completely.
If we fail to show up at the "game", we will lose by default and become felons by the simple stroke of a pen.
The "other side" cannot be dismissed simply because they are irrational moonbat sheep.

Paladin said...

Obviously, that should be "redundancy" as in not burning your bridges behind you.

Not "redunancy", the definition of which I don't know. Grade me on a curve. I'm a dog catcher :)

AussieAlaskan said...

Always enjoy reading your blog, Borepatch. Again, a breath of fresh air - I agree with you entirely.

AussieAlaskan said...

I should have added, you had me when you mentioned they couldn't fight for their lives - no one could - that is the problem.

Six said...

It can work Borepatch, relatively cheaply and in a way that won't end up with an agency like the TSA. It's all about local involvement and local control. I can absolutely draw up and help implement a program that will recruit, select, train, equip and employ a group of armed police volunteers that can be on station in every school in the country in a very short time. We should talk.

ASM826 said...

Preach it, my brother.

Alan said...

I expected to be disappointed in the NRA press conference, I didn't expect to be appalled.

The answer is never more government.

Skip said...

We have had RSOs at our schools for years.
Curtail fights, drugs, stop outsiders, and who knows what that big black and white out front has stopped.

Broken Andy said...

Wait a minute, from the perspective of the students aren't schools already a police state? What am I missing here?

Anonymous said...

One positive aspect that intrigues me about having 'civilian' volunteer security in schools, as opposed to established police (etc), is that any licensed to carry civilian would be a teacher in the Second Amendment just by default. Such people with the ability to interact with students would be able to defend the Constitution and the liberties therein defined, as well as teach students what the government is not allowed to do.
Perhaps paying these volunteers a nominal wage would offset the costs of gas and meals while still maintaining a volunteer facade.
But as pointed out by better minds than mine, I don't see much more coming of this but more police state (regardless that schools are already a 'police state' by their nature).
My unbidden .02c...

Jehu said...

Why not just dump the notion of gun-free zones and allow anyone with a valid CCW to carry in the schools and in other supposed soft target areas that are presently 'gun free'?
In Florida, for instance, nearly 5% of the population has a CCW permit. You can make that change with a stroke of a pen, and at nearly no price. At large schools, you'd expect to have quite a few armed people at any given time if say 1 teacher in 40 is carrying concealed (this assumes that teachers are only half as likely to have CCW permits). The uncertainty provides a lot of protection also, because it creates the realization in the minds of the attacker(s) that everything MIGHT NOT GO ACCORDING TO THEIR SCRIPT. That realization seems to be a strong factor---witness that very few mass killings have happened outside a 'GUN FREE ZONE'.

Goober said...

An armed, uniformed officer in a school would just be the first target for a shooter. A quick speed bump to crest before laying into the rest of them like the coward that he is.

One uniformed guy isn't the answer. Allowing teachers to be prepared to defend themselves and their students is. The bad guy would have no idea of which teacher to target, and wouldn't be able to get them all, even if he was very good. That's my solution.