The Q at Parkside

(for those for whom the Parkside Q is their hometrain)

News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Off Topic

I can't really write more random musings without acknowledging the grief in CT. The only thing I'm sure of is that crazy is crazy, and the best we can do is try somehow to mitigate the number and severity of wounded when a human goes ballistic. That this happened to children hurts more, freaks us out, but somehow I can't help thinking it was bound to happen one day. As a matter of fact, schools have felt the same way for quite some time, at least since Columbine.

I didn't know this. I heard from a colleague this morning that "lockdown" drills are common outside NYC. Children at a school in New Paltz are required to spend 45 minutes huddled in a corner of the classroom completely silent with the teacher shutting off lights, closing blinds and locking doors. When possible, the kids are put in a closet. The police come and judge the school's readiness. Readiness? Readiness for crazy?

I feel very uncomfortable with that. The idea that kids are being traumatized by preparations for essentially an extremely unlikely case of (basically) a terrorist entering a building seems like forcing all kids to imagine the unthinkable on a regular basis. I understand this was done during the early cold war; drills for useless fallout shelters were common. But we as a country actually thought that an attack was possible, maybe probable, and that hundreds of thousands would die, not dozens.

But I guess the point of such preparations is to lessen the number of victims in a heinous anomalous act. Gun control that limits the number of rounds shot could help, and gives heroes a chance to jump the guy. But really, to me, the story is about insanity. The lesson drawn is like that of the suicide bomber who only "thinks" that the act is justified somehow. It's insane, it's awful, and humans throughout history and around the world are capable of losing it and fulfilling our worst nightmares. And it's about copycat crimes, I suppose. Maybe video games. But mostly, "crazy." We can teach children about crazy, right? Evil? I think that's a bit of a stretch, unless it fits into your religion somehow.

But at least for now, it's an incredibly uncommon act that scares us all senseless. Is there really a "call to action" here? If it doesn't involve the issue of the mentally ill, I don't know what's the point. Stocking schools with their own mini militias seems incredibly stupid and would lead to random janitor or teacher killings, or kids getting hold of the guns.

Ugh. Along with the guy who pushed someone to his death on the subway tracks, chalk another victory for criminally crazy. And how delicate the brain must be to go so haywire.


Bob Marvin said...

"drills for useless fallout shelters were common" That must have been in the late '50s--early '60s. When I was a small child in the early '50s (before the fallout shelter craze) we had shelter drills where we huddled under our desks--it was drummed into us that we were to do this in real life as soon as we saw the flash of an exploding A-bomb. I guess the powers that be acknowledged that such drills were truly useless once the Soviets developed their own H-bombs, which would have vaporized everyone in NYC.

At least the current drills might actually save lives, although at the cost of considerable psychiatric damage. IMO real gun control would save far more lives, but see the article on p. A25 of today's Times for an account of Newtown's opinions on THAT matter :-(

Anonymous said...

These "lockdown" drills happen in NYC DOE schools as well. Every school building is required to do a certain number of lockdowns each year.

Anonymous said...

Many schools (usually in urban areas) have metal detectors installed. 88 high schools in New York City have metal detectors and for the other 300+ schools, the NYCDOE forces them to have random metal detector scannings at least once a month or two. These 88 high schools in NYC have students pass through metal detectors daily, some get late to class due to long waiting lines and beeping, but in my opinion, it's worth it. I'd want my child to attend a high school with metal detectors—even if it's a hassle. Schools have become so vulnerable in our society that anyone can just sneak in to a class and shoot, but metal detectors drastically reduce crime rates in schools. I'd love to see metal detectors installed at EVERY public school in the Unitsd States. Safety is the priority here, not anything else.

Anonymous said...

United* sorry.