Last week, NBC News reported about a school near St. Louis that conducted an “active shooter drill” in which campus law officers and teachers instruct high schoolers on what to do “when you get shot.”
“‘Close your fingers and keep ‘em in,’” they were told, because, “’When the bad guy and the police come through, they’ll step all over you, and who will be saying they’re sorry?”
“’Nobody!’ the students cry in unison.”
According to the article, drills like this one have become more commonplace in schools since “mass shootings, from Columbine to Sandy Hook to many in between.” More schools have also devised new forms of “the standard lockdown drill … programs teaching kids self-defense,” and “proposals to train teachers with firearms.”
For sure, parents and community leaders take these measures to assure themselves that they are doing what’s necessary “to keep kids safe.”
But, as the article painfully noted, what these schools are doing – ostensibly “for the kids” – doesn’t really seem to do much good.
“School shootings are indeed increasing, despite the proliferation of drills and heightened security measures,” the article noted. And there is ample evidence that these efforts to exhort school children to take more “responsibility” for their own safety when they’re being attacked by a deranged gunman is nothing but an excuse for adults who refuse to take responsibility for the real causes of armed violence.
Indeed, as gun safety advocates Moms Demand Action and Mayors Against Illegal Guns recently reported, “Of the K-12 school shootings in which the shooter’s age was known, 70 percent (20 of 28 incidents) were perpetrated by minors,” three-quarters of whom “obtained their guns from home. In 16 cases – more than a third of all incidents – at least one person was shot after a schoolyard argument or confrontation escalated and a gun was at hand.”
So those two things – proximity to guns, and the mental states young people in our country are too often inflicted with – seem to be the issues to address. But apparently that’s too difficult. And what we have instead is “responsibility-shifting” from the adults in charge to the least capable in our society – our children.
“It is what it is,” goes the mantra of the day, and young people just have to learn to bear with it and “keep ‘em in,” because if you get stepped on, nobody “will be saying they’re sorry.”
The demands we’ve chosen to impose on our youngest citizens today – to cultivate “grit” and make every potential pitfall in life a matter of personal responsibility rather than a societal condition – are not confined to security.