Thoughts on our response to the massacre at Sandy Hook

Len Harding
By Len Harding

Read an article in Sunday’s (29 Dec 2012) Enquirer Local section regarding security in the schools in the wake of the Sandy Hook Massacre. There are numerous suggestions in there to address the problem of unarmed school children sitting in classrooms. None of them addressed curbing violence in society or limiting gun supplies.

You’d think we would begin to suspect that this phenomenon is related to the ferocious violence we tolerate everyday like domestic battery and violent political ads.

What if it’s just people with a tenuous grasp on reality taking our violent metaphors and similes too literally.

One of these security programs, ALiCE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate), requires students and teachers “to distract” the assailant by “running or jumping and making noise, even throwing things at the shooter.”

This sounds like the warnings printed on tourist brochures in Yosemite for those occasions when the hiker encounters a bear. As we all know, the outcomes of such encounters depend entirely upon the mindset of the bear. Hungry bear = useless advice.

ALiCE is a bargain because those who pay to learn from the experts at Response Options (ex-SWAT guys) will, in turn, teach the material to others back in their districts. Sort of a militarized version of the “each one teach one” reading program. Except “Each One” is highly effective and run by volunteers.

Milford Schools are adopting the program this coming year. Our school system is going to try out something that is so patently absurd because, apparently, all of the alternates are even more absurd. If we approached forest fires and floods the way the NRA has us addressing school massacres . . . oops, I take that back. That’s exactly how we approach fires and floods: do nothing except wring our hands after each disaster – and talk a lot about how to prevent the next one. You know how that goes: “After all is said and done, a lot gets said and little gets done.”

I wonder how they’ll pay for it. Will the teachers pay for it themselves like they do their required professional training/credential and educational upgrades, or will they perhaps be reimbursed like they’re supposed to be when they spend their own money on school supplies? Maybe they will receive state money to cover basic training costs – after all it involves firearms, and three quarters of those fools in Columbus got there because they worship guns.

But, I can see how people find this an attractive “solution.” We want teachers to educate our kids without giving them too much homework; to teach them civility while being treated uncivilly, to lie to them about sex; and to take the blame when things go wrong.

Why not ask them to run out and confront crazed killers and throw erasers at them? After all, we don’t pay them much and it’s easier than actually trying to curb gun violence. Especially since the NRA is ever-so-much stronger and richer than the NEA. I’m just sayin.

Len Harding is a retired consultant, technical writer and historian. He lives in Clermont County.