Letter to the Editor, Aug. 1
Locking doors is not enough
This is in response to the Wednesday, July 17, 2013, T-G article, titled "School security upgrade detailed," particularly the subtitle "Locked doors key to limiting access".
This will stop most of the people but it will not stop someone with threatening intentions. The Sandy Hook school in Newtown, Conn., of which this security change is a deliberate response to, was locked down. The doors to the school were locked at 9:30* a.m. each day, after morning arrivals, requiring visitors to be individually admitted after visual and identification review (Baron, James, The New York Times, and Dec. 14, 2012).
Adam Lanza shot his way into the locked down school building at approximately 9:35 EST on the morning of Dec. 14, 2012 and by no later than 9:49 (14 minutes later) had murdered 26 people. The locked down policy did not stop him. The school public address system likely helped more people to survive by broadcasting that danger was present.
Had someone in the school building been trained and able to get a physical advantage over this intruder, his actions might have been minimized.
It is reported that three personnel including the principal responded courageously to the initial gunfire sounds and two of the three were immediately shot and killed. Expecting video and locked doors to stop a person intent on harming others is not enough!
Sandy Hook is reported to be the only school in Fairfield County, Conn., school district without onsite police presence prior to the shooting. This change was approved by the Newtown school board on Jan. 31, 2013 (48 days later). Is late better than never?
At best two staff members need to be trained and armed (redundancy in the system) so such an event could be responded to differently. These people locked their doors at 9:30 a.m. and expected different results. Had personnel been more empowered to address this situation (with more than limiting access) with a police presence, lives likely would have been saved.
Newtown had had only one murder in the previous 10 years. Painfully much change has come from this tragedy with more change hopefully to come. Police training in some cities has changed in response to this event. In school shootings going forward, they are being trained to shoot to kill (but they cannot if they are not there).
This person took 26 lives and fired 155 rounds of ammunition in less than 14 minutes. He was not very efficient or more could and likely would have died. Police were on the scene as he ended his life. Trained and armed personnel need to be onsite. I assert that this school system has financial culpability to all the people involved for being financially frugal. The replacement school building itself is projected to cost $57 million.
Charles M. King
Cascade graduate and parent
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