NEWTOWN, CT – SCHOOL VIOLENCE. What is our problem?
By: Joseph A. LaSorsa, CPP
Security Expert and Consultant
This tragedy is one of the hardest of all of the past incidents to deal with because of who it affected and how it affected them. We should keep in mind, however, this is not one of the traditional school violence incidents. This perpetrator was an individual who was an unknown to the school administration and an outsider. There’s a clear common element in most mass shootings – the perpetrator was mentally ill or completely went off the deep end when committing this heinous act and the perpetrator was focused on Targeted Violence and intent on inflicting mass harm in the effort.
In the Newtown incident, it seems the shooter’s mental condition deteriorated rapidly and/or too quickly to be noticed and to have had any positive intervention.
What can we do?
- Should school districts conduct Security Audits and Assessments to evaluate their current security policies, protocols and security systems? Of course.
- Should security policy dictate more stringent access control measures be put in place? Absolutely.
- Should the school administrators request to have their physical security systems upgraded? Of course.
- Should school security policy dictate the use of security guards on their premises during and after school hours? Yes.
Individuals and media pose and throw out questions like: should schools have metal detectors? Should they employ armed guards? How much security is enough? These are questions and issues which can be considered by consultants and administrators on a case by case basis, however, the answer is not in militarizing our society and it’s institutions. We need to enhance security countermeasures across the board and understand the main cause of the problem we are facing in our society today, which is the lack of institutionalization and proper treatment of the severely mentally ill.
Let’s step back and consider a fact. Very few of us know of anyone or their relative or friend that is institutionalized. The asylums don’t exist in the numbers they existed years ago. Because of the current mental treatment trends, the mentally ill and criminally insane live among us and in our neighborhoods. We have had mall, movie theatre and school mass shootings. We have to ask ourselves: why are these individuals killing people? What is/was the root cause of their actions?
In addition to the above, the government and society watchdogs should monitor and control the sale of violent video games kids are allowed to watch instead of healthy diversions like sports and homework.
Erosion of traditional family values; doing away with God and Faith; society and the media sponsoring and selling violent video games; lack of institutionalization of the criminally insane – all combine to give us a lethal, explosive combination of nasty, violent ingredients!
Do we need to implement additional and stricter policies and procedures for the acquisition of assault weapons? Yes.
Do we need to be more security aware and vigilant? Yes.
Guns, like alcohol during Prohibition and illegal drugs today – will still be available to the criminals and those who are willing to pay the black market prices. A total ban will just insure that the only people possessing assault rifles will be the military, Law Enforcement and of course, criminals!!!
In order for our society to realize any serious positive outcomes of any gun control legislation or enhanced security measures across the board, we will also at the same time need to address the very serious issue of the limited number of mental institutions available capable of incarceration of the severely mentally ill and the criminally insane and society’s attitudes toward the treatment of the severely mentally ill.
These combined efforts are the countermeasures we can reasonably implement and hopefully, will be adequate enough to prevent or limit the type of disasters and massacres which have been occurring all too frequently.
Note: Questions about this article and or School Security issues can be addressed to the author: Joseph A. LaSorsa, CPP