Home > Uncategorized > Dealing With Fear: Do Locked Doors, Armed Guards, Safety Drills, and Surveillance Cameras Allay Fear or Promote It?

Dealing With Fear: Do Locked Doors, Armed Guards, Safety Drills, and Surveillance Cameras Allay Fear or Promote It?

Today’s NYTimes included a lengthy article by N.R. Kleinfeld describing the fear that is gripping many people in our country as a result of the recent rash of mass killings in public places. This report echoed many reports I heard over the past several days on public radio talk shows where the callers frequently made reference to the drills in schools that have become standard orating procedure in schools for the past 16 years… and it dawned on me that anyone who is the parent of a child who has attended school over the past decade and any child who attended school over the past decade has been inculcated with the idea that at any time a menacing “shooter” may enter the school and take lives at random. Basically, anyone under the age of 50 has had their deepest fears reinforced as they gaze into the security camera’s eyes to get buzzed into their child’s school or attended a school with security cameras, armed guards, and regular drills to prepare themselves for the seemingly inevitable shooting that will occur in their school. Two quotes from the article reinforce the notion that school is a scary place to attend:

This woman said she planned to have children in the future, probably not for a decade, and yet she had already made the decision to home-school them.

Arthur Grupp, 64, who is the head custodian of an elementary school in New Hampshire, said, “Every time I lock the doors at school, I think about it.” His school was having a Homeland Security training session just as the violence in San Bernardino unfolded.

An actuary could try to reassure parents that school is safe and the chances of getting shot by a terrorist or random gunman are far smaller than getting shot accidentally by a gun stored in one’s home or getting hit by a car on the way home… but locked doors, surveillance cameras, and armed guards speak louder than statistics. Is it any wonder that our nation seems paralyzed by fear?

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