Thursday, April 12, 2018

Going "batty" in Pennsylvania...

This morning, I learned that a school district in Erie, Pennsylvania has decided to "arm" teachers with miniature baseball bats.  William Hall, superintendent of the Millcreek Township School District, says, "We're not going to be sitting ducks... We're not going to hide."

The wooden bats, which cost $3 each and are eighteen inches long, are supposed to be symbolic as well as functional.  Teachers are supposed to remember to fight back, rather than turning off all the lights and hiding from active shooters.  The bats remind teachers that anything in their environment can be used for fighting back.  Even though the bats could never be a match for an active shooter, Mr. Hall says, "I think a bat could disarm a pistol with a nice swing."

Okay...  well, I guess I don't oppose reminding teachers to fight back, if that's what they are inclined to do.  However... it seems to me that passing out miniature baseball bats is akin to arming teachers with rocks.  I can't imagine being in a situation where someone is firing a weapon on school property and having the presence of mind to throw rocks at them rather than hiding.  It sounds like something I'd see on Scooby Doo or something.  Why not arm teachers with marbles or banana peels so the shooters can be stopped Home Alone style?

Mini baseball bats?  Really?  Sounds to me like a "home alone" kind of solution. 

The school district distributed 600 of these $3 mini baseball bats.  That's $1800 that could have been spent on something more effective.  I suppose a case could be made that at least they're doing "something".  But I'm not sure passing out "souvenir" style baseball bats is going to do much in the long run.  In reality, what are the odds that a teacher is going to be close enough to an active shooter to disarm him or her with a mini baseball bat?

In Mr. Hall's defense, the bats are supposed to be part of a larger effort to make the schools safer.  They are doing other things, like installing a concrete barrier between the parking lot and a walkway and having more police patrols around the schools.  Maybe those measures will help make the schools safer.

I'm not sure what's in the water in Pennsylvania.  Another school system in the state has armed each classroom with river rocks.  David Helsel, the superintendent of Blue Mountain School District in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, said that a shooter who dares invade one of his schools will be faced with a classroom full of students with rocks and be "stoned".  I mean... I guess it's "something", right?  But how likely are river rocks going to be effective in an actual shooting situation?  Seems to me there would be a lot of panicking going on.  Sure, students can throw rocks at the shooter, but if he or she has a semi-automatic weapon, how likely is it that throwing rocks is going to be effective?

I don't know... seems to me the better solution is to get rid of the guns or at least make available weapons less deadly.  I know that would be a difficult thing to do, since there are already so many weapons out there.  But it seems to me it's the only way.  On the other hand, I'm just an overeducated housewife, so what do I know?

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