Wednesday, November 6, 2013

School Violence

There is very little I can add to this article: Active shooters in schools: The enemy is denial.

A few excerpts follow:

“How many kids have been killed by school fire in all of North America in the past 50 years? Kids killed... school fire... North America... 50 years...  How many?  Zero."
"“In 1999,” Grossman said, “school violence claimed what at the time was an all time record number of kids’ lives. In that year there were 35 dead and a quarter of a million serious injuries due to violence in the school."
So why does Johnny Firefighter get an A+?
"There is not one stinking thing in this room that will burn!”
Pointing around the room as he spoke, Grossman continued, “But you’ve still got those fire sprinklers, those fire exit signs, fire hydrants outside, and fire trucks nearby! Are these fire guys crazy? Are these fire guys paranoid? No! This fire guy is our A+ student! Because this fire guy has redundant, overlapping layers of protection, not a single kid has been killed by school fire in the last 50 years!"
The enemy is denial.
“But you try to prepare for violence — the thing much more likely to kill our kids in schools, the thing hundreds of times  more likely to kill our kids in schools — and people think you’re paranoid."
An example.
“Come with me to the library at Columbine High School,” Grossman said. “The teacher in the library at Columbine High School spent her professional lifetime preparing for a fire, and we can all agree if there had been a fire in that library, that teacher would have instinctively, reflexively known what to do.
"But the thing most likely to kill her kids — the thing hundreds of times more likely to kill her kids, the teacher didn’t have a clue what to do. She should have put those kids in the librarian’s office but she didn’t know that. So she did the worst thing possible — she tried to secure her kids in an un-securable location. She told the kids to hide in the library — a library that has plate glass windows for walls. It’s an aquarium, it’s a fish bowl. She told the kids to hide in a fishbowl. What did those killers see? They saw targets. They saw fish in a fish bowl.
Unfortunately, I still see partial, denial-of-target strategies that simply make it easier for the shooter.  I see fire/evacuation drills where students are tidily assembled outside in long, closely spaced lines.  I see the rooms that lock-down occurs in....doors with glass panels and unreinforced windows immediately beside them.

It is sometimes necessary to invest in facilities as we ask the facilities to serve functions that were not comprehended when they were designed.  At the very least, I think the liberal application of tinted security film on all windows that are in, and next to doors is warranted.

I also endorse the idea of either holding hands in circles of 4-to-8 people and singing I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing or to train-dance.  Almost anything is better than to stand around like the Egyptian Air Force on June 5, 1967.


  1. School violence is very popular now a days in many countries.People need to focus on it.We have must understand this.Its really understand this.

    school violence

    1. Thank-you for taking the time to read my blog and to comment.

      I wrote another entry here

      I think we need a mix of broad spectrum strategies like hardening the target and specific strategies like identifying likely attackers.

      Our bodies react to threats in similar ways. Our bodies will mount allergic responses to produce non-specific mechanical barriers and traps to attacks. Our bodies also respond with elevated temperature, cortisol levels and pulse rate, which are fairly non-specific. Finally, as our bodies gather enough information to mount a specific attack, our lymph nodes enlarge and we produce antibodies specific to the threat.

      Generic is fast. Specific is slower. They can work together.

      Again, thanks for reading.