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  • Donna Angevine

Musings From 2018 About School Safety

About ten years ago, I had an experience nobody wants to have. It’s on a lot of people’s lists of “worst fears” in fact - Home Invasion.

I don’t know what that phrase conjures up for you in your mind -- perhaps fear. As I sit here at almost the same hour the home invader made his appearance (3:00 am) I am acutely aware of how different my life has become as a result of that event but I am not afraid. I know that while the threat of home invasion is a possibility simply because I reside in a structure that someone could attempt to break into, my risk for that actually happening is low. Not only is my risk low, but I can take multiple steps to almost completely eliminate the risk of ever experiencing any kind of break in.

What I cannot do is eliminate the EXISTENCE of a potential home invader no matter what steps I take. People could easily see how futile it would be for me to spend any amount of time trying to control a person who might become a home invader. I can’t even wrap my mind around any kind of a logical “plan of attack” to accomplish such a goal. And spending any amount of time trying to effect change in the area of the threat would take my attention away from the control I do have for preventing a home invasion - which is to eliminate my VULNERABILITIES.

To give an example of how monumental a task it is to focus one’s attention on a threat as opposed to personal vulnerabilities I’d like to share a bit about a case I worked a few years ago. A high profile, high net worth individual with multiple layers of security around the family home was targeted by a mentally ill, homeless person who successfully entered not just the property -- but the home. This person was subsequently arrested for that break in. Tens of thousands of dollars were spent monitoring this single person. I was one of at least a dozen added security personnel for a single, KNOWN threat. What if there were potentially hundreds? Thousands? Tens of thousands? Do you see how expensive, not to mention labor intensive such an endeavor would be. You might be considered a little mentally ill yourself to think you can control the unknown as an individual person without benefit of paid protection. Yet that is what many are suggesting be the single focus for protecting our children in schools. Stopping unknown possible threats.

Our children are at risk from multiple, unknown threats and we cannot let our attention rest on that fact. Rather, we must take the steps we do have power to control and that is in the area of our VULNERABILITIES.

Look, if my home kept getting home invaded and I didn’t take any steps to shore up my defenses against that happening, and instead spent my time making phone calls to law enforcement asking them why they weren’t enforcing the laws against home invasion you’d all think I was crazy. Or at a minimum that I lack any common sense or personal responsibility.

Come on parents, I know you’re all scared for your children - show them YOU and THEY do have the power in this situation. Even if laws are changed -- that could take YEARS! And it takes the attention and resources away from what we really need to do which is to give our children a secure place to learn and grow TODAY.

As parents you must demand that immediate steps are taken to secure schools irregardless of any gun laws that may or may not be passed in the future because -- guess what? Criminals don’t obey laws! So, passing a law or a hundred laws is NOT going to protect your children. In fact, believing that any law is going to protect you makes you an ideal, soft target. Don’t do that to your children.

There are straightforward steps that can be taken right away to make our schools less vulnerable. Yes - armed security (two fold benefit- children are protected and our military veterans and retired law enforcement can have a second career).

And how about this simple step - bags and backpacks brought into schools must be clear. Don’t tell me YOUR child’s privacy is more important than ensuring the safety for ALL children. Kids shouldn’t be carrying those enormous backpacks around anyway.

I’m sure if everyone put their minds together to brainstorm solutions to reduce school vulnerabilities (totally in our control) as opposed to how to control the existence of a threat (totally out of our control) we could come up with multiple cost effective measures to secure our schools and our children.

Or we could all keep talking about whether or not there is a logical reason for a person to have an AR-15, staging walk outs, calling each other names and other inane behaviors, and generally making it easier for criminals and the mentally ill to continue to murder our future....


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