Originally published in Anorak.co.uk
IF you missed last week’s “mad gunman terrorizes American schoolchildren” news story, this time out of North Carolina, don’t feel bad; these days they’re common enough that it’s not reasonable to expect any one person can keep up with them all.
Still, last week’s story was notable for two reasons: One, nobody actually got shot; and two, the gunman was on the school’s payroll. Seriously: Administrators at Eastern Wayne Middle School later sent parents a letter explaining that they sent a masked gunman to various sixth-grade classrooms as an “enrichment lesson on exhibiting good citizenship and observing your surroundings.”
It’s unclear exactly what good-citizenship lesson the kids were supposed to learn — “sphincter control,” perhaps — but it’s a lucky thing none of the kids tried anything heroic, like disarming the gunman, because any student who did that would surely be kicked out of school.
Again, seriously. Last March, that’s exactly what happened to a Florida high school boy after he disarmed a fellow student who was aiming a loaded weapon at a third classmate. School spokesmen justified the hero kid’s suspension because, “If there is a potentially dangerous situation, Florida law allows the principal to suspend a student immediately pending a hearing.”
See? The school was only trying to avoid harm from a potentially dangerous situation, and when you’re in charge of guiding impressionable youth, it makes perfect sense to teach them “Never stop a gunman from shooting his intended victim, lest you create a potentially dangerous situation.”
More and more American schools honestly believe “fear for their lives” (without trying to defend themselves, because danger) is a perfectly cromulent lesson to teach kids. Last May, the New York Daily News ran a story discussing this trend, under the incredibly depressing headline “Gun attack drills more realistic, intense as schools brace for a possible ‘active shooter’ incident.” To list just a couple of examples:
A suburban Chicago high school ran a “code red” drill with the gunmen shooting blanks in January. Last month, an Indiana school ran a shooting drill replete with blood and a body count.
Last year, an El Paso, Tex., school set up a shocking surprise lockdown simulation that enraged parents like Stephanie Belcher, whose son sent her a panicked text message.
“He said, ‘I’m not kidding. There’s gunshots and people screaming and we were locked in a storage closet,’ ” Belcher told KFOX-TV. “These kids thought that their classmates were being killed and that they could be next. There’s no excuse for that.”
Like hell there’s no excuse—as a school district official explained, “It’s an active shooter drill. We do this every now and then. If you warn too many people, then the simulation is not effective.”
Bad as it is when schools send gunmen to aim empty weapons at students, it’s worse when the weapons are loaded. Last month, when three middle-schoolers in Port Charlotte, Florida (yeah, Florida again) climbed on their school’s roof after classes, police arrived with loaded assault rifles and an M16, all aimed at the kids.
Most “hey, kids, stay off the roof” rules are put in place with the intention of keeping the kids safe, in which case aiming sniper weapons at them might sound counterproductive, but a school district spokesman justified the police reaction on the grounds that “I don’t care if [the kids] are in kindergarten or if they’re seniors in high school, they know the rules.”
As an American patriot obligated to defend my fellow countryman, I remind you that “Death is an appropriate penalty for disobedience” is a completely non-psychotic belief for any authority figure to hold, especially a professional educator entrusted with children.
Incidentally, anytime there’s a school shooting resulting in an actual dead-kid body count, the press goes completely gaga running stories alleging how maybe America wouldn’t have so many murderous crazies if only we’d make health care available to the mentally ill. “The neglect of mental illness exacts a huge toll, human and economic,” whined a typically unpatriotic headline in Scientific American.
Yet for all the legitimate critiques one might make about the modern United States of America, any claims that we neglect mental illness are libelous bullshit. We do not neglect our mentally ill people over here; we pay them six-figure salaries and let them administer our schools.