Op-Ed: Road to bad laws paved with good intentions
March 23, 2005
National Review Online
By John R. Lott Jr.
The last ten days have seen three horrific multiple-victim public shootings: the Atlanta courthouse attack that left four murdered; the Wisconsin church shooting, where seven were murdered, and Monday's high-school shooting in Minnesota, where nine were murdered. What can be learned from these attacks? Some take the attacks as confirmation that guns should be completely banned from even courthouses, let alone schools and churches.
The following are exerpts from Lott's excellent op-ed, which can be found in its entirety here.
Ohio school officials admit total prevention impossible
The Sandusky Register is reporting that area school officials are admitting "no district can make itself immune to the type of tragedy that occurred Monday in Minnesota."
From the story:
- Superintendent Wayne Babcanec said the Norwalk school district has systematic plans in place to deal with a number of situations -- bomb scares, hostage situations, even tornados -- that could occur within its schools.
But, he said, there is no "fail-safe method" to prevent a crisis from happening.
"You can never be prepared for something (like) what happened in Minnesota," Babcanec said.
On Monday, a Red Lake High School student stole his grandfather's "police-issued weapons" and murdered the police officer and his female companion. He then stole his grandfather's police belt, firearms, bullet-proof vest and patrol car and headed to the school, where he bypassed passive security measures, which included a metal detector, video cameras, and even the vaunted "no-guns" signs. The shooter killed an unarmed male security guard before opening fire on students and teachers. An unarmed female security guard was forced to flee. Defenseless security guards, teachers and students were unable to stop him, and he finally took his own life.
Again, from the Register story:
- Many schools have emergency plans for a number of scenarios, said William Lally, superintendent of the Erie-Huron- Ottawa Educational Service Center.
School officials confer with local law enforcement in determining their response plans, which undergo revision every year at most schools, Lally said.
At schools in Erie County's rural districts, sheriff's deputies have taken part in "quick action deployment training" for the last four years, staging crisis situations at different schools each year, said Sheriff Terry Lyons.
They've also implemented security measures, such as numbering windows and doors and practicing lock-down procedures, he said.
Some schools, including Perkins Township and Sandusky, have school resource officers, who Lally said are both security consultants and deterrents to anything like the shootings in Minnesota.
But even with the officers and the possible use of hand-held metal detectors, which every Erie County school received under a grant, no school can be completely protected, Lally said.
"School buildings were not built to be fortresses ... they were built as pleasant learning environments," he said. "If you have someone manning (a metal detector), the first person (a gunman) is going to shoot will be the person manning that station."
"You try the best you can to have things lined up, but you just don't know," admitted Sister Mary Jon Wagner, superintendent of Sandusky Central Catholic schools. "... You just don't know where it's going to come down."