Sunday, December 16, 2012

Stranger Danger - Can we protect ourselves from the Adam Lanza mentality?

CNN blog "Dec 14, 2012 · 20 children, six adults and the shooter are dead after shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, on Friday..."

I work at multiple schools.  We, as teachers teach the children "Stranger Danger" (SD) drills to let them know the steps they must follow when there is a possible threat.  SD is a weak defense.  This is how it's done.

A message is sent over the loudspeaker alerting us of possible danger in or surrounding our school building. 

We account for our children.  Some may be in another location i.e., restroom, nurse's station, office, other classroom.  We hope they are being sheltered by another staff member.

We look up and down the hall to see if there are any stray children about.  These, we harbor in our rooms.

We lock our doors.

We cover any glass adjacent to our doors with paper.  This is so that the intruder can not look in.

Then, we instruct our students to huddle down quietly in the dark until the danger passes.

What's wrong with "Stranger Danger":

Our door locks need to be checked regularly to make sure they lock easily.  It's not uncommon for a teacher to waste minutes having to jiggle the key to get her door to lock or unlock.  Sometimes, the locks don't work at all.

Covering glass adjacent to classroom doors.  Imagine having to tape paper over the glass while your students are at a heightened level of excitement/panic.  Some schools have classrooms with large walls of glass.

We are not instructed to barricade the door or use any type of door jamming device.  A gunman can break into a classroom, if he really wants to.  The lock can be broken or shot off.  Violent persons sometimes have a revenge mentally.  They want pay back for some ill will that has been done to them. 

The "Stranger Danger" method needs to be revamped.  

Via Colori Street Painting 2012 
As our population increases, the chances of mass murders will increase.  There will naturally be greater loss of life at each incident, too. 

Two thoughts have been mulling around in my head:

     I agree, something needs to be done about the mentally unstable persons in our communities.  Perhaps, some type of daily computer monitoring.  But, let's take a step back and recognize that caregivers and others in contact with the mentally ill are most responsible.  I don't know what Adam Lanza's (mass killer) mother did to help her son.  I don't know what steps she took to help him.  Being a single parent of a child with mental issues is taxing.  Perhaps, she was doing the best she could, but that's the problem.  Those who knew Adam's issues and let things slide are at fault, if there is anyone whom we must point out.  Point out we must.  Not for revenge.  Not to appease our feelings.  Simply to try to change every one's thinking and actions - to educate, so that murders and suicides decrease.

    Gun enthusiasts must treat their privilege to bear arms with greater caution.  I think of how those in the medical profession must safeguard and be accountable for the powerful medicines they prescribe.  Other professionals, those who deal with dangerous tools, weapons, etc. are required to take measures to keep these instruments out of the hands of others.  These individuals face fines, prison time, and possible loss of license.  Why aren't civilians who own weapons held as accountable?  Perhaps if Nancy Lanza, gun enthusiast and mother of mass murderer Adam Lanza, had taken rigorous measures to store her weapons, twenty-eight people would still be alive today.

(I know there is more to say.  These are my elementary thoughts on a sensitive issue.)