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As many of you have been over the weekend, I too have been knocked back in thinking about the tragedy in Connecticut. Among all the other horrific feelings, one thing I cannot imagine, how hard it was for the principal or teachers who tried to stop the mentally unbalanced person attacking their school.

Why can we not immediately give them fairly low cost, and non-lethal methods for helping to stop or slow-down an intruder? Teachers should be carrying pepper spray in their pockets. Tranquilizer guns should be available like fire alarms, behind breakable glass (in rooms or offices) but not hallways. There are anesthetics available today with reversing agents so there is less chance of accidental overdoses. Stun guns are another possibility.

I am having trouble understanding how we can leave our schools so defenseless. Security guards are expensive and with just one stationed they are easily overcome or not in the right place at the right time. Wide-spread training of personnel with non-lethal methods/tools could be effective and allow the protection to be broader.

I realize that of course having these non-lethal tools in schools could lead to accidents but they would mostly be non-lethal, recoverable events.

It is too hard to make schools like airport security or prisons. Parents being able to participate in education is a wonderful thing and scaring our children on a daily basis is not going to help their psychological well-being.

However, we cannot leave the adults and children, our wonderful and best resources, so unprotected. We have smoke alarms, tornado drills, and food safety inspections, where are the protections from other humans?

Older children and workplaces in general can be taught standard defenses such as chair-throwing etc., but these do not work in many cases as the shock of the real situation is different even for adults, and they do not work for young children (that is so hard to write, yes I'm a parent and couldn't let my child leave my sight yesterday).

I'm for strong gun control (I grew up on a farm hunting - and yes, there must be a way to make a few exceptions but that would still lessen the number of guns). But we must be doing more than working towards gun control and providing stronger support for mental health treatments (another necessity). We must immediately give protection even if someone is wielding a knife or abusive in any way.

Let's get out there and support protection for our communities through non-lethal means. I just cannot imagine having to face an intruder with no options. Those who did are truly heros. Let's help out all our other heros, the teachers, principals, school administrators and assistants, therapists, janitors, and cafeteria workers who work every day in helping to educate our children.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Or we could (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    just work to make access to guns much much more difficult.

    All societies have mental health issues yet no other developed nation has the number of gun related deaths and injuries that the US does.

    How about aiming for a society where schools don't have to be turned into maximum security locked down institutions. Much better for all involved.

    •  those other developed nations (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      happy camper

      have universal health care, with counseling and what not.

      what if we fixed those problems?

      Please don't dominate the rap, Jack, if you got nothin' new to say - Grateful Dead

      by Cedwyn on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 06:56:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Agreed, AND (0+ / 0-)

      in our aim to better society, we can work to turn our schools into something other than what they are pushed into being today. Teach these children about the history of our life and living together on the planet and how and what works instead of how to compete in any given area and come out on top of all the rest socially or monetarily.

      There is a reason for schools being targeted by these young men. The so called "winners" aren't doing the shooting.

      Big and intense things happen to kids in school. We all have memories, good and bad.

  •  You can't kill a lot of people in a school... (0+ / 0-)

    ...on a typical day unless you can get into a classroom, so why not just close and lock the doors during classes? And why not have solid doors--not aircraft-grade, just not full of glass?  It would cut down on the daydreaming, at very least.  I think a total re-make of our schools would send the wrong message about the real problem, which is guns, but why not do something low-cost that would make it somewhat harder to kill a lot of kids in a small amount of time? Obviously controlling access to the school as a whole isn't going to work beyond the highly imperfect way it works now.

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 07:08:52 AM PST

    •  A solid door makes sense- (0+ / 0-)

      but what would you do about the windows? Do we want our kids in classrooms with no natural light, no benefit from what light and view can add to the atmosphere? Should kids in the land of the free be expected to learn in fortresses?

      •  Many schools have classrooms built that way (0+ / 0-)

        Mine was, in the 1970s. I can't say that I found it to be an especially pleasant learning environment, looking through the tiny slit of a window near the door.

        A friend of mine went to a school designed by the same architect that designed San Quentin. He said it definitely showed.

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 11:22:52 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  "...scaring our children on a daily basis..." (0+ / 0-)
    •  Israel requires military service- (0+ / 0-)

      which I presume includes extensive training in gun use- for everyone over 18.
      Are you suggesting we follow their example?  

      •  Not necessarily. (0+ / 0-)

        One size doesn't fit all. But they have taken decisions. We have not, in the main.

        I'm suggesting that if deterrence of criminal mass murderers is the immediate goal (no matter their choice of "tools"), these minimum conditions are necessary:

        1. Societal consensus must exist that certain venues are worthy of extra ordinary, publicly supported deterrence measures, most usually on a situational basis.

        2. An attacker must know what the punishment is likely to be (e.g. for mass murder/attempted mass murder) and in the event, may be dispensed summarily in self defense, but with certainty if they survive.

        3. An attacker should be convinced that an effective defense mechanism sufficient to thwart his aims is more likely than not.

    •  If I wanted to live in Israel, I would (0+ / 0-)

      "don't seem overly scared" I think is something you can't judge from a photograph given that these kids live with gunfire every day. I suspect that has negative effects on them even if this particular image doesn't reveal it.

      And finally, I'd note that she's a sitting duck for any sniper. She's got her attention on the kids, where it belongs. She's not scanning the crowd for gunmen.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 11:25:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  We can remove all glass openings (0+ / 0-)

    large enough for a person to enter and teach our children in dark bunkers.....

    Or we can end the madness and control our guns.

    In the meantime, we can live in fear and do whatever makes sense in a crazy world.

    If cats could blog, they wouldn't

    by crystal eyes on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 08:14:55 AM PST

  •  None of the methods you discuss (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    would have been practical defenses for any of the school attacks I'm familiar with.

    Where would you put pepper spray in a place where it was simultaneously accessible at a moment's notice and yet always safely under control at all times? How many classroom days do you imagine losing to pepper spray accidents?

    Most places are soft targets. Malls, movie theaters, hospitals, parks.

    We need to focus our energy on prevention during the planning phase, before a bullet is fired or a gun is drawn.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 11:20:37 AM PST

    •  And it's easy for a shooter to wear a gas mask (0+ / 0-)

      with eye protection, as was done in the Aurora shooting.

    •  You are being to negative and not practical (0+ / 0-)

      Sorry, but what can be done should be done while of course prevention should be taking place. However, multiple avenues should be explored at once.

      Since I work in a school I know what is possible. There are safety locks on pepper spray and as I said, even if a kid happened to accidentally release it, it would not be a significant problem 99.9% of the time unless there was an allergy.

      Things do not need to be under control at all times, there just needs to be a consideration of what is the greater problem.

      Why are people so negative on here and not willing to consider ideas that of course need thought and modification but dismissing them out of hand is not helpful.

      •  I'm a school board member (0+ / 0-)

        so I'm pretty tied in to schools and how they work.

        These attacks are still vanishingly rare at any one school. The 'false positive' rate - accidents and the like - would be far far larger than the times when it could be used.

        Your idea that it "would not be a problem" if there was an accidental pepper spray release I think suggests you have not thought it through. How much learning time are you willing to give up to accidental pepper spray? It would be a big problem and intensely disruptive. If it had a clear benefit to a regular threat that would be a very different calculation.

        The attacker will always have the advantage of surprise. It is a formidable advantage. If someone walks into your classroom and starts shooting, there is no time to get to any of the measures you mention, even if they are on your person.

        The teacher has responsibility for the safety of her charges. She cannot hunt/stalk the predator while also getting her kids away and safe.

        The best defensive weapon we have for classrooms is a cell phone in the teacher's pocket, so that any teacher can call 911 and get real help in pronto.

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:28:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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