There have been several posts, and much discussion, on a variety of related topics here lately. Responsibility, airline security, arming teachers, concealed carry, they all tie together. I don’t have any law enforcement background, no special legal knowledge, to apply here. What I have is 20 plus years in corporate America. That’s given me a glimpse into the mindset of the bureaucrat, administrator, and general low-level flunkie.
As part of my day job, I review process safety using a worst case scenario approach. You propose a scenario and then carry through all the possible outcomes. The real catch is identifying the correct scenario. Here’s my take on school security, as one example.
Most gun-owning parents view worst case as:
- Nutjob invades school – no one can respond, kids dead, parents grieve.
- Nutjob invades school – lawful armed response, nutjob dead, everyone ok.
So the worst case is “nutjob invades school”, and all the possible outcomes boil down to some variation of the above. Lawful armed response can mean security on staff (higher costs), parent volunteers (difficult to organize), or armed teachers. So the “armed teachers” idea comes into play. Here’s the administrator’s worst case:
- Armed teachers – teacher shoots kid, parents upset, police involved, I lose my job.
- Armed teachers – teacher loses gun, parents upset, police involved, I lose my job.
- Armed teachers – kid gets gun, parents upset, police involved, I lose my job.
- Armed teachers – nutjob invades school, teacher ineffective, lots of “I told you so” notes, I get transferred.
- Armed teachers – nutjob invades school, teacher stops him – yeah, like that’ll happen.
So the new worst case is “armed teachers.” To be fair, it is much more inclusive in terms of what could happen than the parents’ worst case. To be more than fair, despite all the media attention, the chance that this one school will be next in line is statistically insignificant. Until it happens. The odds of a different negative outcome (first three above) are much, much higher. But obviously something must be done for safety. Obviously?
One could pretty much do away with all security and glide by with no negative outcome for years (in my section of suburbia, anyway). Therefore most of what’s done is for show. With that in mind, nothing is showier than the LOCK-DOWN. For all the intelligent discussion about how lock-down doesn’t add to safety, I respond that, to most people, it looks safe. It gives the very real appearance of doing something. And “doing something” while risking nothing is the way of the bureaucrat.
The same concept applies to airline security. Armed passengers? The odds are much higher that they’ll shoot each other rather than stop a terrorist. Much better to strip search everyone. It gives the appearance of doing something.
Bottom line, the bureaucrats and administrators who somehow feel themselves responsible for our well-being have a much different prioritization than we do. The statistical approach to crowd control argues effectively against concealed carry. This applies to schools, airplanes, or just general public. Too many random variables are difficult to control, and control is key to the administrators in question. Your views on this will most likely be based on your opinion of the role of the individual versus the role of the state. If you favor the individual, you’re effectively in the minority.
So where does that leave us? As gun owners, we must be realistic about things. Arming teachers is most likely never going to happen. Sure, maybe a few select examples, but not in general. It would take another two or three 911’s to occur before they allow us to carry guns on planes. We don’t really want to see that happen. We’ve come a long ways with the fight for concealed carry, and for that we should be thankful. The castle doctrine is a great piece of legislation that should have never been necessary had common sense been applied to the courtroom.
I think the next big change in public policy will be the crucifixion of political correctness. We’ll finally wake up to the fact that most terrorist are, in fact, not white grandmothers from Topeka. And we’ll screen fliers accordingly. Border protection might finally happen. Maybe. These things are possible. Teachers with guns, not so much.