Friday, December 21, 2012

Hey Wayne - You are Disingenious, Wrong and an Idiot

 Update: statement from SPS on the NRA statement.

We are forming a joint working group with the Seattle Police Department to study all recommendations for improving our school safety, and this effort will begin early in 2013. Together, we will formulate sustainable plans for implementing improved safety measures across the District.

The security of our students and staff is our highest priority, and we look forward to working with our staff and community partners to implement improved safety measures across the District.
End of update.

I rarely call people names here.  Not useful and there are better ways to say you disagree with people.

But head of NRA, Wayne LaPierre - an idiot.  Here's what he is saying in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary school shootings:
  •  "How can we possibly even guess how many, given our nation's refusal to create an active national database of the mentally ill?"  Wayne, your group doesn't even support an active national database of gun owners.
  • All schools need armed security personnel.  He almost makes it sound like a jobs program.
  • If there had been an armed person at Sandy Hook, 26 lives would have been saved (I note that Columbine DID have an armed security person.  How did that work out?)
  • "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun", he said.  Apparently, NOTHING else matters or can be done.
  • To that end, the NRA will fund an initiative to develop a "National School Shield Emergency Response Program" for schools that want it, LaPierre said.
  • Schools remain a target for criminal gunmen because they are not protected by armed security the way other important institutions are, he said.
  • "There exists in this country, sadly, a callous, corrupt shadow industry that sows violence against its own people," naming games like Grand Theft Auto and films like Natural Born Killers and American Psycho.  Uh, Wayne those "shadows" major film companies and entertainments companies whose stock is traded on Wall Street.  And, there is no research that truly shows that this violent entertainment creates violence or violent people. 
  • "A child growing up in America witnesses 16,000 murders and 200,000 acts of violence by the time he or she reaches the ripe old age of 18. And throughout it all, too many in our national media … their corporate owners … and their stockholders … act as silent enablers, if not complicit co-conspirators."
    Again, Wayne, it takes parents, who turn on and off the tv and buy and watch these games and films.  Look in the mirror if this issue is your complaint - who is at fault?

  •  NRA president Dave Keene's somewhat contradictory statement to reporters: 'This is the beginning of a serious conversation. We won’t be taking questions today.'  

    What LaPierre is saying, really, is that we are a nation of crazy people and we should continue to expect these killings and the best way to handle that is to have armed guards at every school.

    What does that say about our country?  Is that who we are?  Is this what we accept about ourselves?  

    Where is the notion that we spend money ON the mentally ill, not bring armed guards into every school?  

    Arming schools does NOT solve the problem.  That's the issue he misses entirely.  So he either dumb or an idiot.  I choose the latter. 

    Let's go have a quiet, peaceful and safe holiday and come back in the new year with a renewed sense of getting this right for our schools and our country.  I have some suggestions and I'll put them out after the first of the year.


Po3 said...

Leaves you feeling so very sad.

Eric B said...

If this is really the best they can come up with, they deserve whatever they get. It's frankly ridiculous to expect that there might be a national database of people with mental illness when our sacred freedoms prevent a database of gun owners. Not to mention the whole issue with doctor-patient confidentiality. Or that having a database doesn't do you any good if you can't check the database against all gun owners (not to mention family members as in this case).

It's appalling that they think this is a reasonable enough sounding solution that they can skate off of any responsibility.

Charleston Reader said...

So I guess it's OK to uphold the Second Amendment by trashing the First Amendment.

Anonymous said...

How are they going to pay for all these security people? The same people that want guns for everyone don't want to pay any more taxes.

Give up Charleston Reader, the second amendment says a well regulated militia. Our guns are anything but well regulated. Even Scalia has said that certain regulations are allowed.


Anonymous said...

In that same "not sustainable" department, apparently even though the District does not have such a policy, one elementary school (Stevens) and West Seattle High School have decided on their own to have a lock down policy that defies logic and if we learn from unfortunate school violence history, will not make our kids any more secure.

At WSHS, their website announced that all their doors will be locked from now on except for one set of doors in the courtyard (on the other side of the school from where the main office is, and completely on the opposite side of the school from where the yellow school busses drop off students). There is no one checking all day who comes & goes through the open doors, so how can this possibly make the school safer?

Additionally, all other doors are locked even in the morning before school starts, and after lunch, so all students and teachers alike have to use only one door! The students feel "locked out" and are asking why they are the only high school in the district which has this new policy?

---not sustainable---

Melissa Westbrook said...

Not Sustainable, they likely have cameras that are monitored. I have a hard time understanding one set of doors being open; do they buzz visitors in at the main door?

Why is this possible you ask? Vast principal discretion.

Anonymous said...

No, I have it from many sources that cameras are not monitored at all. That would be like paying security a full time job just to monitor cameras! The one set of courtyard doors which everyone has to go through are wide open to anyone entering (not locked and no buzzer system at all)- that is the false sense of security.

From those doors anyone can go upstairs in all direction, towards the gym or down the halls to classrooms, the library, etc all without passing by the main office. You almost have to go out of your way to find the main office from those doors, so no one is monitoring anyone's entry at all.

Students are passing around a petition aginst the lock down policy, as they feel "locked out" of their own school.

----not sustainable----

Anonymous said...

There is no door buzzer. They must plan to park campus security there. I wonder how getting the whole school in one door is going to work out for them.


Anonymous said...

NRA says this "volunteer force" can be found for free with local volunteers.

Sounds like a great plan (sarcasm intended). That's what we need, people hanging out at a school with guns for FREE, looking for kids who look suspicious- like they might be dangerous. Just like a neighborhood watch for your school. Kids, parents, teachers, don't wear hoodies!


Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, I know at some schools the monitors for cameras are in both the security office and front office. That does sound odd and I'll have to ask about it after the first of the year.

Unknown said...

As the Nation Reflects So Should We
We here at Seattle School District Exposed would like to take a moment to acknowledge resent events. The loss of 26 innocent people (20 children and 6 adults) at Sandy Hook Elementary has rocked us and the nation to the very core. Our deepest sympathy and condolences go out to the families of the victims and the families of children who's lives have been forever changed.

It has been no secret that SSDE has felt the the Seattle School District has been failing to adequately provide security and protection to our children. In light of this recent tragedy we feel obligated to once again bring this matter to the forefront.

After looking into the matter during the school board election we have found that while "Security Specialists" are assigned to High Schools and Middle Schools no Elementary School has been assigned one. The rationale behind not giving Elementary Schools "Security Specialists" is that there aren't enough "severe" incidents at Elementary Schools to need "Security Specialists". In short, employing a "Security Specialist" to stay at an Elementary School is not cost effective. A better business model being employing "Security Specialists" to mobile patrols that conduct checks and respond to Elementary Schools.

The ideal situation would be that no school would ever need security. This however is sadly not the case. While the need for security has been reduced to triage, it has been applied wrongly in this situation. The school districts criteria for security has obviously been about severe instances among students. When one looks at the elementary level of "severe" instances one must look out side the student body for the threat, children are more vulnerable to adults than any preteen or teen. It is the violence of others that we must take into account.

Every High School in the district has at least two security guards some three. Every middle school has one. But not one is assigned to an Elementary School. These "Mobile Security Specialists" are to make security checks and respond to "Severe" incidents at Elementary Schools. The thought that they respond to trouble is somewhat comforting, but that they would have a response time like the police is not.

This is something that we feel needs to be addressed. This is not meant to be confrontational or political, now is not the time for hyperbole. We as a community, and as a city, have to look at these children and ask ourselves if our pride is worth more to us than protecting our children.
Let us know what you think.

Let us know what you think.

Email us at NICKESPARZA@seattleschooldistrictexposed.com

Anonymous said...

The NRA have shown by their statements today that they are utterly, morally bereft. Through their policies and lobbying influence, they have blood on their hands. Their entire attitude is mind-boggling.

Is it time for those of us who want more stringent gun regulations to join the NRA and force a policy change?


suep. said...

@---not sustainable---
All the SPS schools my kids have attended keep exterior doors locked from the inside except for the front doors. It seems to be pretty standard protocol. That way, only one entrance needs to be monitored and strangers can't slip into the school from all entrances. Staff and students are still able to exit from any doors at any time. It's not that complicated or hard for kids to figure out which door to enter. How exactly does this "defy logic"?

It seems an exaggeration to call this a "lockdown" policy -- unless you are saying those two schools are locking all their interior doors as well, in which case, that would likely be a fire hazard.

Anonymous said...

suep- Does that include high schools (with open campus policies)? Were all other doors locked even before school started, when kids are actually trying to get into school ontime?

I am interested in finding out more about overall district policies & practices. If high schools, did your schools have only one main entrance with the office having a good view of the entrance? (WSHS has three main entrances, all with parking, because of the remodel & situation between three roads. Only one entrance, now locked all day, has a view from the main office).

I understand when elementary schools use this type of closed door policy for many reasons, but at the high school level with open campuses and kids coming & going all day long to off campus classes, lunch etc. it usually is different.

And, yes, the new policy at WSHS requires all teachers to lock their classroom doors from the inside after the bell rings also. It might be safer, but it sure is disruptive, and surely adds to the student's feelings of a "lock down". Whether all the doors are key locks or push button locks I do not know- good question.

---not sustainable---

Eric M said...

At my school, there's an entrance door that's always locked from the outside. So students and/or anybody come to the outside door and tap and wave on it until someone feels sorry for them and lets them in.

All the exit doors MUST be openable from the inside, without a key. And they should be, for obvious safety concerns.

So, "locking doors" is a fiction. Utterly.

Eric M said...

Oh, and every classroom I've worked at in SPS was equipped with doors that could only be locked from the outside of the room, presumably where a shooter might be.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Eric could speak to this but I know some RHS teachers lock their doors after class starts. This is not so much for safety as they do not allow late comers to straggle in. (I think there is a 2-3 minute leeway or if someone has a note.)

Anonymous said...

I teach in a small school in Nevada, 75 miles North of Winnemucca. There is no full time law enforcement in town. We are near one of the poorest, most violent Indian Reservations in the country. (Think guns, drugs, and alcohol)

When I heard of laws proposed allowing teachers to carry a gun, I was not pleased..... But that was before we did a shelter in place lockdown drill a few days ago.

Airline pilots who are trained in using a gun can carry in the cockpit while flying.

I carry a TI-83 calculator in my pocket while at school. I would seriously consider getting training with a gun and carrying a holstered pistol if permitted to do so at school.

I am now keeping my door locked but my classroom is complete visible through large windows with nearly every location vulnerable to any gunman just outside the building.

In 2008 in Winnemucca an incident took place ... 2 victim's were shot and then the murderer was killed by private citizen packing a pistol (and a permit).

I do not see a full time security person being hired but I think a few well trained teachers packing heat would be an improvement in this situation.

There are lots of guns in rural Nevada. Most of the population hunts deer, elk, and antelope etc.

-- Dan Dempsey

dw said...

Melissa, I concur with your overall assessment, and I think the proposal these guys are putting out is both misguided and unworkable. Call me a lightweight, but I just don't want even more guns around.

However, I do want to correct you on the topic of violent entertainment.

And, there is no research that truly shows that this violent entertainment creates violence or violent people.

This is similar to what those who want to ignore global warming say. "There's no proof!", "Look at *this* study!". Of course there are a few studies that look at specific issues and don't find perfect correlation. But just like with global climate change, there are heaps of evidence to back up the overall claims. There is LOTS of research showing deleterious effects of growing up immersed in violent media, both movies and games. Seriously, I just did a search on "research violence games movies", and you can find plenty of research.

You can also find studies quoted by The ESA (Entertainment Software Association) to the contrary, but remember, they have BILLIONS of dollars at stake. It's no surprise they work hard to promote specific studies that carefully contradict specific parts of the larger body of research, not to mention common sense. I've played many a violent game in my younger years, and I'll tell you firsthand that it does affect you, if only for a limited time. Aggressive driving games can also affect your real-world driving decisions, without a doubt, even if it's only for a limited time afterward.

The truth is that everyone responds differently, and it also depends how deeply you immerse yourself in these worlds. Someone who plays a couple hours once a month with a group of friends is going to have different long-term effects than someone with no friends who plays for several hours each day in their basement, surrounded by posters of guns. It's not fair to say that everyone who plays these games will have problems (that's where the "doesn't create violent people" claims come in), but it's also not accurate to say that kids who play these games aren't affected.

I hope your response on this point was due to an overall reflex to disagree with everything LaPierre wrote, and not a true belief that the extreme violence found in a lot of our media these days is benign.

Unknown said...

I do think playing violent games and watching violent movies DOES make a person a lot less sensitive (especially if done while growing up). I think, of course, some violence has grown out of it but if there is a large study showing many people moving in that direction, I would appreciate a link.

But no, I don't think it's benign.

Charlie Mas said...

I don't think that having an armed guard at the school - either a police officer, a volunteer, or a teacher with a concealed carry permit - is an effective defense against an armed assault nor do I think it is an effective deterrent against one.

I could be wrong, but I just don't think the people who do these things are planning on out coming out alive anyway, so their own mortal danger won't slow them down. If they plan the thing at all - I don't think they are typically well-planned - it will only serve to select the first victim.

Moreover, while mass shootings like this and other attacks by strangers are the ones that garner the headlines and remain in our thoughts, they do not account for a significant share of gun deaths.

The NRA talks about "bad guys with guns", but "bad guys with guns" don't pose as much of a threat to law-abiding citizens and "good guys with guns".

"Bad guys with guns" are much more likely to shoot other bad guys. Bad guys also get shot by the police. When law-abiding citizens are the victims of shootings, however, they are usually the victims of people they know.

These gun deaths are due, largely, to irresponsible gun ownership. The gun owner either did not handle the gun safely, or didn't store it safely, or didn't appropriately control access to it.

The most common events are:

The gun misfires and shoots someone when the shooter didn't intend for it to shoot at all.

The gun is too accessible and used in a fit of pique, at the top of an argument.

The gun is taken by someone who should not have access to it at all and is misused.

Some who oppose gun control laws say that the laws will not be followed by criminals. Fine. Criminals are not the major threat. The laws would have big benefits if they were only followed by law-abiding people.

We need laws that require gun owners to pass a gun safety test and a test that shows they know how to safely operate each firearm they own. No more "I didn't know there was a round in the chamber" shootings.

We need laws that require gun owners to safely store their firearms. No more "I was so mad I went and got the gun and shot him." A trigger lock may be all that's needed in some cases. A gun safe would be better.

We need laws the require gun owners to control access to their firearms. No more leaving them in the car glovebox where they could be found by children, people who have not taken and passed the gun safety test, or car prowlers.

Sure, these laws would only be followed by "good guys", but right now it is the "good guys" who don't do these things who pose the greatest risk to law-abiding citizens. Getting them all to take these ordinary, responsible precautions would go a long way to reducing gun deaths in America.

dw said...

I think, of course, some violence has grown out of it but if there is a large study showing many people moving in that direction, I would appreciate a link.

The reason I suggested a search, rather than posting a link is that it's like asking for a link for proof of global warming. There's so much data out there that it's nearly incontrovertible. BUT, whatever link I choose will be biased in some way, and it's easy to find a study that contradicts the general findings. One needs to look at the overall research as a body of work to make sense of it.

But here are a couple, quick finds from page 1 search results:

http://www.apa.org/science/about/psa/2003/10/anderson.aspx (American Psychological Association)

http://www.psychology.iastate.edu/faculty/caa/abstracts/2005-2009/05ga2.pdf (dozens of references)

Of course there are studies on the other side as well, mostly sponsored by the ESA or a researcher named Ferguson. They cherry pick data and the specific topics they choose to report out, and they don't feel very credible. "Report: Video Games Help With Eye-Hand-Coordination and Leadership Skills"

I don't think anyone would argue that even the most violent video games or movies can make a perfectly balanced person with a strong moral backbone into a crazed killer. But I do think it's very clear that they do push many people toward increased violence through desensitization, especially when it's done in gory first-person detail, i.e. you are the killer, killing over and over and over, thousands of times. For some people (especially kids/teens, or those who are already a little less than balanced in their life skills), it's easy to imagine this type of gaming resulting in bad actions in the real world. Fortunately it's extremely rare that it happens on the scale of Sandy Hook, but bad things happen every day in cities across our nation that are not headline-worthy.

dw said...

Charlie writes an interesting analysis that I'm going to pick apart.

I don't think that having an armed guard at the school - either a police officer, a volunteer, or a teacher with a concealed carry permit - is an effective defense against an armed assault nor do I think it is an effective deterrent against one.

I could be wrong, but I just don't think the people who do these things are planning on out coming out alive anyway, so their own mortal danger won't slow them down. If they plan the thing at all - I don't think they are typically well-planned - it will only serve to select the first victim.

I disagree with almost this entire first section.

Having an armed guard at a school or (several) at a mall, or teachers with concealed carry permits would almost certainly be at least somewhat effective as a defense against the Sandy Hook type assaults.

First read this: We Know How To Stop School Shootings (I can't believe I'm quoting Ann Coulter, but it's worth reading -- intelligent arguments require an understanding of various points of view.)

In these extreme assault style incidents, the perpetrators are looking for maximum damage and maximum attention. They go to weapon-free locations for a reason ("Mass killers may be crazy, but they’re not stupid.") More armed citizens means less chance for them to succeed in a huge way. Most of the media reports we read don't talk about all the examples where a citizen was able to stop the carnage early, before it turned into a Sandy Hook.

As for coming out alive, it's true, these guys do not plan on coming out alive. But they DO plan carefully in advance, and they plan for control. Notice how most of them commit suicide rather than allow themselves to be captured. They simply do not want to be taken alive. In some cases all it took was for a weapon to be pointed at them, at which point they took their own life. So it's not that their own mortal danger doesn't slow them down, it does. It just isn't necessarily a deterrent to planning out and launching an attack in the first place.

The flaw, however, in the "more concealed carry" argument is that there are plenty of locations to target. Unless we arm a sizable portion of our population, these guys are just going to find another place to target that's less likely to have firearm carrying citizens. So I mostly agree with your statement about merely selecting the first victim.

But the big thing the folks wanting many more concealed weapons in general are missing is everything else that is not a well-planned extreme assault. Everything else you write after the first two paragraphs is spot on, and what the NRA and their follows are ignoring.

I will reluctantly agree that it may be advantageous to have some small percentage of our citizens carrying concealed weapons, for the reasons Coulter talks about. But it's not a more-is-better scenario, for all the reasons you've pointed out. And of course everyone should be required to undergo strict background checks, be subject to waiting periods, etc., and committing any kind of crime with a weapon should have mandatory very long sentences. Very long. No excuses.

hschinske said...

Columbine had an armed guard.

Helen Schinske

westSeattleSteve said...

While the Ann Coulter article is interesting, it has its own blind spots. After the Port Arthur Massacre, Australia passed extremely strict gun control laws. There hasn't been a mass shooting since.
1986 - 1996 - 11 mass shootings
1996 - 2012 - Zero mass shootings
Other gun deaths in the country have gone way down as well.

dw said...

wSS, good info.

What kind of strict gun control did they pass? (I guess I can just go look it up, but mostly wanted to say thanks for the info).

I too believe that the Coulter article has blind spots, more like pointing out a few trees and missing the forest. The thing I'm wondering is how tight things can reasonably and practically get clamped down.

It would be great to have a society where no one outside law enforcement had firearms, but reality is rarely simple. What about rural areas where wild animals pose a danger? Do we outlaw hunting? Could you allow rifles, but nothing you can carry in your pocket? Would a ban on assault weapons help, or would loonies just load themselves up with a stack of more traditional weapons? What about the question posed by all the gun advocates: the "bad guys" will never pay attention to the law, and they will find a way to get guns. If they have no fear that any regular, law-abiding citizens have firearms, will we be in more danger? I think that's not an unreasonable worry, but all this makes me want to go read up on how things are implemented in Australia and the overall results (not just mass shootings).

I don't know the answer, frankly. And every country (maybe even every region or city) has a different blend of citizenry, so I don't even believe there's a perfect solution that works across the board. A big worry I have is that right now there are already people making gun parts on 3D printers (yes, they work!), so we are very close to a situation where there is no practical way to enforce a ban, or to even keep track of individual weapons. These guns only last a few shots (right now, they will certainly they will get "better" over time), but people will be able to literally "print" a gun and throw it away, with no record of its existence. Very scary times ahead folks.

Anonymous said...

And if an armed teacher, principal, good samaritan, or wannabe hero shoots, maims, or kills an innocent bystander, that person should be charged with negligent homicide. People can have guns legally, but they are fool if they think a gun class or regular target shooting will prepare them for a Sandy Hook or an Aurora carnage. Even soldiers who have seen combat situations regularly will tell you there's no guarantee or there's enough experience that's going to save themselves or their friends. (And even the best trained shoot themselves, their friends, and innocent people too.) To be that prepared for a quick draw/reaction scenario, you would have have to live it regularly. To live day in day out with that flight or fight madness will turn you into a nervous wreck. Professionals call it PTSD. Othewise, you are a psychopath.

Save the heroes for the screens and video games.

gun wise