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Stop Criminalizing Children in the Name of School Security

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/08/20/stop-criminalizing-children-name-school-security

Panic. That is what we’ve done to ourselves. It is in reaction to school shootings, other mass murders and the environment of extreme-danger shows (cop shows and now also military special ops shows) which have only gotten worse in the last decades.
The sense from this is that we are in constant danger of being killed from just about any corner. Look at police shows, westerns from the 1950’s and although they often solved their problems with some (visually mostly bloodless) killing of the villain, they were on a smaller scale without a SWAT team or ballistic vest anywhere. Those fictional narratives have a lot to do with how we view ourselves and perceive the world around us.
I don’t want to minimize the horror of those actually caught in mass shootings in general or school shootings as a category but I do want to bring attention to probability and to the generic question which needs to be asked.
1 - chances/probability: if you are the 1 out of 1,000,000 (or other number) then you are fully affected but the other 999,999 are not. That is what statistics are about, numerical relationships. Whatever the numbers are, those are the stats.
2 - chances of being killed in a school shooting are very small, somewhere less than the chances of being killed by lighting or shark, regardless of the horrid shootings which have occurred. (NOTE: It has been maybe two or three years since I last look at the stats but they haven’t moved that far)
3 - The Question: What are the leading causes of death for students, any causes.
3a - chances of being killed in a car ride for any student are several thousand times more.
3b- fatal health conditions and suicide also have far higher numbers.
5 - the amount of publicity or narrative awareness (TV dramas, movies) determines where we put our resources. The security measures as implemented take the oxygen away from preventing the most common source of death.
6 - The training also usually ignores the most common threats (such as car accidents) in favor of the highly visible but statistically rare events. Again, acting on fears, whether reasonable or not.
6a - a slight paradox here. Training for statistically rare events needs to take a larger share of the oxygen than for more common events because when such an event does happen almost all thinking goes out the window and because they are rare events there is little experience dealing with it until you yourself are in the middle of this. Even then, you are unlikely to be there again.
7 - the increasing militarization police-state environment we are creating is more destructive than protective and serves the power structures not the people. As always.

Normal adolescent behavior was pathologized—including forced psychotropic medication—before it was criminalized, largely at the behest of Big Pharma. Then the medications, whose “side” effects include suicidal and homicidal ideation, started showing up in noticeable numbers. It’s credibly estimated that 9 of 10 school shooters have been on at least one, and frequently more than one, prescription for anxiety, depression, ADHD or some combination thereof.

If we ignore this factor, it will no doubt be a relief to drug companies fearing exposure to liability, but until it’s addressed, we can expect more of the same. And if all the guns magically disappeared tomorrow, the disturbed and damaged among us could easily find other means to act out their revenge fantasies.


On a rare occasion I recently was listening to a radio program. They were discussing a new program in one of our three high schools. The name of the program that has a somewhat decorated interior room, (no windows) in casual walls and furniture, is the Zen Den. A place to go, or maybe be sent to, for mental refreshing of sorts.

I have mentioned before that this kind of place needs to be available for troubled adults as well. Might stop one or more of these emotional shooters.

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