Tuesday, April 17, 2007

How Do We Protect Our Schools?

Yesterday's carnage at Virginia Tech was a grim reminder that there is almost no escaping a truly determined murderer. At least, that's the case at this time. However, is there anything we can do to protect our schools in the future?

Obviously the administration at Virginia Tech made a terrible blunder when they didn't alert the media, their staff, and their students when the murderer made his first kills before 8 AM. They claim that they thought he'd left the campus and that they had believed the kills were due to a domestic dispute. Of course their underlying motive was that they didn't want the bad publicity. Remember, universities are intensely political.

Two hours after that, the murderer struck again in a different part of campus, killing another 30 people in addition to his first two victims. And, of course, wounding over 20 others. We are indeed lucky that he stopped at this number. It could have been twice that and / or he could have had an accomplice.

But what else could have been done? I heard a student calling a local radio show, suggesting that anyone with a license to carry a gun should be allowed to do so on campus, from now on.

What a terrible idea! I can certainly see older, wiser faculty carrying guns as long as they're in good shape and it's not likely that a student could wrest the gun from them. But the problem is that we're dealing with teenagers: Simply because they're attending college doesn't make them any more mature than when they were attending high school. They still have the raging hormones, the inflated passions, and the lack of self control. Remember, studies show that the human brain isn't fully developed until age 25, and the part that remains undeveloped is the part which is responsible for self control and decision making.

I've also heard it suggested that armed policemen should roam the campus. Perhaps that might help, but unless there are policemen blanketing the campus, the same scenario could still be repeated.

The answer is sad, but very simple. We need to enclose every campus with a fence tall enough that it can't be scaled, and solid enough that it can't be cut or rammed through. We need to have several gates positioned along the walls, with metal detectors embedded in each entrance. We need armed guards at each entrance, screening the students as they come and go.

In other words, in order to effectively protect ourselves, we need to go back to the feudal solutions of yesteryear and create fortresses once more.


green said...

Sadly, even the feudal suggestions that you make probably won't work. As you say, if someone is determined enough to commit mass murder like that then they'll find a way to do it.

Ed Abbey said...

I think I would feel much safer in a world where most people don't carry handguns, than a world where everyone carries one. That is why I am all for the banning of handguns (not all guns) and assalt rifles. Yes it will only make it a black market thing and won't stop them but it makes my previous mentioned world where most people don't carry handguns a reality.

Hans said...

In this case living behind the high walls would not have worked. The gunman would have been living with you.

Over the course of the next few weeks I'm sure this story will be dissected over and over again. We'll get a lot of would've, should've, and could'ves because hindsight is 20/20. Foresight is not as clear.

It's just a tragedy, a terrible tragedy.

Paul said...

Who can determine the prevention of such? Remember Waco? Jim Jones? Columbine? Many others? What makes you think fences and feudalism even have a cough of a chance? They don't work along our southern border.

This is no one's fault for "not protecting." A crazed person performed something unspeakable. Who knew?

There was an ironic news story on our front page yesterday before the carnage. (Kansas City Star) The Nat'l Rifle Ass'n lamented that there are no presidential candidates to support this election--in either party.

It's way past time to remove weapons from the hands of just anyone.

Paul said...

I got to thinking...

You're proposal is already in place. Prisons. And isn't ironic that prisoners are so well protected?

Anonymous said...

I have a few opinions on this subject and some of the resulting subjects. First I don't think we should go anywhere near not allowing people to have guns, I'm sorry but it is my right to be able to protect myself against criminals and the government if need be. My boyfriend is a police officer so it happens that we have several weapons in the house at all times and everyone in the house knows how to use them in a safe and effective manner.

My second thought on this whole incident is lack of respect. Although nothing will justify what this young man did, do you think that the lack of respect our society as a whole has for each other is a conributing factor? If we showed more respect for people that are different than ourselves and raised our children not to mock others that are different, maybe something like this would be less likely to happen. Maybe this young man simply had a mental illness, or maybe he was treated with such a total lack of respect that it pushed him to this act. Again nothing excuses this behavior, but the general population is so disrespectful, from children to adults the way we treat each other is pretty terrible.


The Lazy Iguana said...

The tall wall will not work. V. Tech is a large campus, with many tens of thousands of students. Only some of them live on campus.

Shutting the place down would be like evacuating a small town. When I went to UF in 1992 there were over 30,000 students - and that did not count graduate students.

The campuses are huge. It would take miles of wall and require many access gates. You would need special access gates just for the pizza deliveries to the dorms. It would all make tuition more expensive.

And then when you do shut the place down - where do students go? Back to the dorm where two people were already killed? Somewhere else?

Saur said...

Ange, good observations. I would only say that a lack of respect is probably the least of the guy's problems. I suspect that as we delve further, we'll find that he has a military background of some sort in S. Korea, where he's from. He DEFINATELY had mental illness or (at least) serious moral deficit.

Paul, but... prisoners ARE well-protected. So we know it works. And no, it's no one's fault if it were merely an open campus situation. But it became the university's fault when they didn't immediately contact law enforcement outside of the university and notify news outlets so that people coming to school would be alerted.

Hans, au contraire. The murdered may have still been living among them, but he would not have been in possession of a weapon.

Ed, the problem is that banning guns means that only criminals would then own them. And many of us at that point would risk becoming criminals in order to protect ourselves and our families.

Green, it wouldn't be infallible, but it would make it a deterrant.

Saur said...

Lazy, please see what I said to Paul, Hans, and Green. I know what you mean, and problems would not be easily solved, but it's not insurmountable. In fact, it would be relatively easy to police the situation at that point and certainly people could be kept within the walls until the danger went away from outside. But the point is, the danger would be OUTside. If, by some freak chance, a gun got INside, secondary plans would be in place (all buildings would be on lockdown, etc)

Hans said...

I stand corrected.

May I refer back to Benjamin Franklins quote that I used to comment on your March 26 post.

"They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security" - Benjamin Franklin

Do we want to live in a police state constantly guarded by walls?

Hans said...

I guess my point is that we need to avoid the knee-jerk reactions right now. Grieve for the victims and when the dust settles take a hard analytical look at what happened. We don't need another Patriot Act. A knee-jerk reaction to 9/11.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Hans, agreed: No Patriot Act 2 PLEASE! And a police state is not the answer. HOWEVER, having an enclosed and secure campus is hardly introducing a police state. I am happy to grieve for the victims, but they've died in vain if nothing is done to prevent such a tragedy in the future.

Hans said...

Where do you stop? Every University? Every school period? How 'bout grocery stores? We'll end up with a world full of walls, check points and radom searches. That's not living, that's just staying alive.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Hans, as they could've told you in the Dark Ages, sometimes "living" IS just "staying alive". I know of no other definition. If you mean it's not living WELL, I would have to agree. But it's better than the alternative.

Hans said...

Saur- This isn't the Dark Ages and I'd have to disagree, there is much more to living than staying alive.

When you say "But it's better than the alternative" be very cautious. Those are the very first words that can send you down a steep and slippery slope. Your toes are hanging over the edge. Let the dust settle and the emotions die down and than take a look at would've, could've or should've been done.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Hans, to get a take on my attitude toward the Patriot Act and the government's continued attempt to encroach upon our liberty, please see:

The Terrifying Overreach of the FBI
The Dangerous Encroachment Upon Our Liberties
Things That Alarm Me: Some of the Encroachments Upon Our Liberties
Concentration Camps in America
Government Claims the Right to Open Your Mail
Wiretapping: Oops! Nevermind!

Obviously I am VERY concerned about our continuing loss of freedoms. But living in a safe environment is assuredly NOT one of them. By your reasoning, we should eschew alarm systems in homes.

Ed Abbey said...

Banning guns would only mean criminals would have them is a tough argument to go against. However, I would feel safer with all the criminals having handguns than having soccer moms and barney fife dads with no handgun experience packing heat. I've read one to many stories of children shooting each other with their parent's guns or adults getting killed because they chose to play hero instead of just giving some two bit crook their wallet.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Ed, I understand, but outside of the "criminals only owning guns" argument, we are also facing the fact that it's a constitutional right.

Bryan said...

But I believe that is just what the globalists want to see happen, Saur. It's a conditioning process of sorts to get people used to a police state mentality. And I for one don't want to see our schools turned into concentration camps with armed guards and strip searches being the norm. And don't think that won't happen, because it will. Think of the psychological impact on our children!!

Have you researched the possibility that these tragedies just might be stage-managed events designed to instill fear into the population with the reason being to separate us from our Constitutional rights? Do the research, you might be surprised. Remember the Manchurian Candidate? Just a movie, sure, I understand that. But our own CIA, which was set up by former Nazis after WWII, now has almost unlimited funding to pour into black-ops projects like mind control.

My goal is not to frighten people, but to awaken them.

undergroundlogician said...

If not guns, let's give tax cuts to those who have martial arts training, with the specific skill to disarm someone with a gun, or dis-leg them or dis-face them...create enire Ninja communities. No one in their right mind would try anything and risk having their heart ripped out of their chest. I think our populace has got to toughen up.

I think this massacre is a perfect example of what happens to a helpless populace when criminals have the guns. I hope we can ward off the discussion long enough to allow the grieving families time to do just that. Then let the training begin.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Bryan, excellent counter-points. Thank you. You are, quite possibly, correct. Odd how Cho filed down the serial numbers, isn't it? What are your thoughts on that?

Underground Logician, wonderful thoughts! You're on to something!

Three Score and Ten or more said...

I'm afraid that the wall and everything that accompanies it would be: first, a failure second, a total abrogation of anything that approaches education. I even question your assertion that the two hour delay had to do with publicity. If someone shot another person in Lakewood or Ocala, especially when it appeared to be related to a failed romance, would the automatic reaction be "call out the guards, lock down Ocala (or Lakewood)community, no one in or out. Of course not, the first reaction would be to look for evidence and try to find the killer. The rest of the community would find out about it on the evening news. VTech is larger than Lakewood and only slightly smaller than Ocala. It is a community with a trained and professional police force (Trust me, in forty years in the university I have seen the university police forces metamorphasize from a bunch of rent a cops to professional organizations, most of them well trained and managed). The behavior was typical of a good professional police force.

Ed Abbey said...

I'm for the right to bear arms but that doesn't have to mean handguns. Rifles and shotguns are a lot harder to conceal and sneak into places. Both have legitimate purposes such as hunting wildlife and home defence. Handguns serve no real purpose other than to kill other people.