Little Rock School District headed in wrong direction on school security

Although most modern people do not have much tolerance for an argument that may include several steps, here goes anyway. What sane person would not be pleased to see the National Rifle Association, at long last, get what is coming to it. Even though I personally agree with most of the NRA’s agenda, it is refreshing to see this bunch of smug, power loving, system abusing, political bullies in the fight of their lives. The NRA follows a Mafia style of political intimidation in which even complete submission is inadequate to gain an endorsement.

The down side of this long overdue outpouring of national indignation against the NRA is that it is based purely on emotion, has become far too personal, and is marked by the kind of name calling that is far too common in American public life. So, even when we win, we lose.

It is my opinion that most of the proposed actions to make schools “safer” are not based on fact, good public policy or a respect for the rule of law. One or two of the proposals may have merit, but we will never know because there is never a national conversation – only a national shouting match which is always punctuated with the lowest kind of personal attacks.

This is the atmosphere in which the Little Rock public schools are responding to whatever it is they are responding to. Has there been any public demand for stricter measures, other than from political activists? This situation is remarkably similar to the climate in which drug testing has been imposed on all classes of decent regular folks. Additional school security is a new revenue stream for special interests of the same kind as the purchase and evaluation of drug testing kits. It is all about building political power by creating jobs for political favorites. Politicians benefit and taxpayers write the checks.

One man stood up at a recent meeting and proposed that the only way to deal with a mentally ill person with a gun inside a public school is by another person with a gun. This statement seems to have gone unchallenged, although from the ever sketchy television news reports, one would never know for sure. Here is an idea about this hypothetical mentally ill person with a gun. Why not start off talking? That is dull, anybody can do it, and it might actually lower the potential for a violent outcome. Now, I am not a parent, but I do wonder about the wisdom of hiring all these new guards. If you follow the news, the Little Rock Police Department, which has fairly high professional standards, has had some problems with the younger hot-shots who are still having trouble mastering self-control. In a potentially dangerous situation, do parents really want to invite an all-out gunfight inside a public school. What if some innocent by-stander got hurt? What if it were a child?

Yes, but what about Sandy Hook? The school had security barriers, which were breached by the shooter. Yes, an armed guard might have successfully shot the intruder. It is just as likely, under the stress of the moment, that he would have missed and turned up the emotional thermostat. It might have been worse, but that is speculation.

This is a fallen world and we are living in perilous times. Bad things happen. There are tragedies that come upon us and nothing can prevent them. We have to live with the real world and the actual possibility of accidents, crimes, illnesses, and terrible personal loss. It is very foolish to think that humans can control the forces of nature and our own human tendencies.

The Little Rock School District should do what is reasonable. Security cameras, good fences, good lighting, plainly visible identification for students and staff are all good sensible measures. More weapons, and inadequately trained rent-a-cops are not the answer.

And now a little something for railfans

The spirit of Kris Allen continues to rule American Idol

David Cook, Taylor Hicks, Kris Allen. These are the idols of the teenage girls who, armed with speed dial, have inflicted their nefarious will on the hapless and complacent American people. Philip? Good grief. Of course, I knew it was coming. It did not take a crystal ball to see Joshua disappearing from view and Jessica being defeated.

And I mean no disrespect to Mr. Allen, but I ask you this; who has sold more records? Kris or Adam Lambert? Maybe I am all messed up.

The consolation to those of us who foolishly watch this perverse spectacle year after year is the sure and certain knowledge that Jessica will far our produce pretty boy and earn a ton of money. Not since beat-box-boy took down Doolittle has there been a greater injustice on American Idol.

As a sidebar, let it be observed that permitting a 16 year-old participate in Idol is a tremendous injustice to the contestant. How is such a youngster supposed to balance school and career? What about having a childhood? Oh, yes. How terrible modern and patriarchal! Maybe this is a bit like planning somebody’s life, but Jessica might look back someday and wonder what happened to her youth. Now, all her mistakes will be big mistakes – and expensive. Darned shame.

I am getting pumped up for Hell’s Kitchen. Now there’s a reality show with some integrity.