The Thinking 

A Sprawling Prison

December 15, 2012


LIKE COLUMBINE HIGH SCHOOL, Sandy Hook Elementary School is housed in a typical sterile and depersonalized school building. Almost 650 children between kindergarten and fourth grade attended the school before the shooting. America sees nothing wrong with these factory-style conditions for children. Schools are as appealing as prisons, and they will become more and more like prisons as they attempt to keep out the violent predators who hate them.

And as with Columbine, the bodies of the dead children were left in the building for many hours after the shooting, in this case until late that night, so that the experts could see them from every angle. Efficiency rules.

Sandy Hook Elementary

— Comments —-

Karen I. writes:

I live in a town that is about a 40 minute drive from Newtown. My daughter attends an elementary school much like Newtown’s. It has the same appearance and about the same number of students of the same ages. Yesterday, my son reported that all of the schools in the area had one or more police cars parked in the parking lots. His school had four. My daughter said the principal of her school was pacing in front of the doors. Her teacher told the class there was a shooting in another school and to never, ever let anyone in the side door near the school again. There was a lot of fear of “copycat” killings taking place, but the children were not dismissed early. I had to fight the urge to run into my daughter’s school, scoop her up and run out, never to return.

My son’s class was herded into the auditorium and told of the shootings. That is how one of his classmates learned his cousin, a student at Sandy Hook, may have been killed. School officials apparently did not consider that a child may have learned of the death of a young family member that way, though they certainly should have. We still don’t know if his cousin was a victim.

The news keeps saying we should reassure our children this can’t happen to them, and to try to act like things are fine as much as possible. I don’t know how to do that. I can’t lie to them.

I can’t write anymore now. It breaks my heart.

Laura writes:

Massacre drills are common at schools and there will be even more now. It terrorizes children and robs them of innocence.

Years ago, at VFR, I wrote that there is a very simple solution to these killings, and that is to arm at least three teachers (more in bigger schools such as Sandy Hook) with guns and train them to use them. The psychology of these killers is such that, I believe, they would be significantly deterred if the possibility that they themselves would be shot was real. But I have no hope of anything like that happening. instead of scaring off potential killers, schools scare the potential victims for years.

James N. writes:

You wrote, “The psychology of these killers is such that, I believe, they would be significantly deterred if the possibility that they themselves would be shot was real.”

I’m not at all sure about that. Never mind the deterrence. What I AM sure of is that armed male protectors would, most of the time, shoot someone like Adam Lanza dead at the latest after he opened fire, if not before. I would hope that armed female teachers and administrators would do the same.

What he did took time – it may have taken quite a bit of time. Even a trained shooter’s marksmanship deteriorates with rapid fire. There’s no evidence that Adam Lanza was a trained shooter. The only people who believe he could have snapped off 20 kill shots at moving targets before he was tackled or otherwise interfered with have never been to the range.

I would like to know how many adult males were in that building when this awful crime occurred.

Laura writes:

The reason why I say armed teachers would serve as a deterrent is that these killers are intoxicated by the power, by the prospect of being in total command. I think the last thing they want is to appear before the world as helpless and weak, which would occur if they were shot by someone in authority at these schools.

In any event, the solution is to arm teachers and administrators, preferably male ones. There is no need to subject children to years of lockdown drills in which their sense of security is dramatically undermined.

Terry Morris writes:

This is not intended to be disparaging towards Karen I. who has obviously been shaken by this event, but I found her comment stating that she had to “fight the urge” to remove her daughter from her elementary school and never to return, to be somewhat unnerving. At this point I don’t understand why anyone would fight such an urge, anymore than they would fight the urge to prevent their children from running out into fast-moving oncoming traffic. Were it simply a matter of the odds of their being killed in a similar attack, one supposes, the odds being greatly against it in spite of this latest massacre, “fighting the urge” would be justifiable. But we know this is not the only danger our children face in the godless public education system, not by a longshot.

You mention the prison-like atmosphere in these schools, something I have been complaining about for years. This kind of conditioning will have serious, societal-wide drawbacks in the future. Also, there is the issue of the drug-addled students who, in most cases, simply lack discipline and good parenting. Not to mention the teachers and school administrators who were trained in liberal Universities how to “educate.” I was very recently in a discussion with an E.R. Nurse who was relating to me some of the horrible things she had seen over the last three years. She mentioned several instances of young girls and boys coming in with complaints of severe “abdominal pain,” which, as it turned out, was the result of inserting foreign objects into their rectums. When I asked where they are learning this, she replied “From their friends at school.”And so on and so forth. As I said, one might just as well send his children into oncoming traffic on a busy public highway, resisting the urge to restrain them. Their chances of surviving unscathed are probably close to the same in either case.

Mr. Morris writes:

I suspect that the real story here is the lack in Adam Lanza’s life of any meaningful, positive adult male influences. And, of course, this is all by design in the society we currently live in. Which is why the elementary school in question is staffed by virtually all women, including teachers, counselors, the principal and superintendent. I take it Lanza was raised by a single mother, and we know what that generally means. In a sense his entire upbringing was like an incubator for bringing out the very worst in him.

 Clem writes:

I agree wholeheartedly with Terry. Today’s public schools are awful places for our children to be and for a multitude of reasons. Not the least reason for what happen in CT. However I just can’t wrap my head around the reaction of those who suggest we need armed guards at school. Bad enough we should have metal detectors and such. Not that it isn’t needed but that we just accept that is the way it is. That we willingly send our children into that type of environment says more about us, I think, that any evil doer, ideology and curriculum.

Carolyn writes:

I remember a wonderful little “grade” school two of my children attended. It was in the middle of an old neighborhood…all the kids walked to school. They had swings under the trees, high ceilings and old wooden floors. A dog wandered in each day and was part of the community. A great school! They tore it down eventually, and sent my kids to a wonderful “open space” prison…full of noise all day. Where the teachers had to put bookcases up to block out the sound. What a waste.

We also tear down old high schools and bus children miles and miles to “another world.” Nobody can watch the kids as they walk home from school.

Neighborhood schools or home schools are our only chance for saving these children.

Eric writes:

The school was typical in that it was deliberately isolated from the community that served it, located as it was at the end of a road and away from any other buildings or attractions. Like most public schools, the building communicated poorly with it’s surroundings, because it was intended to isolate children from their families and communities.

Within that building were seven hundred children and only a handful of adult protectors, most of them female, and none of them armed. The building itself was designed for control of its inmates, so a few adults standing in a few strategic places could control the comings and goings of everyone in the building. In particular, most classrooms would have only one entry and exit door. If the killer murdered the principal (which he did), and then entered a classroom (which he did), he could stand in the doorway and kill everyone in that room (which he did). The victims had no way to get out, and no way to communicate with anyone outside of the school. The powerlessness of persons within schools is deliberate and by design, although mass murder is of course not the object. The killer was able to take control of a building that was designed to control people, much as the 9/11 hijackers took control of airplanes and turned them into flying bombs.

The murderer of Sandy Hook was a product of similar schools, if not that same school, where he spent many years in close contact with hundreds of peers and dozens of professionally trained teachers on the way to becoming a sociopath. Many peers (but reportedly no adults) recognized that he was emotionally disturbed, yet nobody was able to help him or protect the community from his psychopathic rage. In his torment, he chose a school as a place to stage his final, desperate act. This cannot be an accident. He chose that place for a reason, however twisted it was.

 Laura writes:

Eric’s final point is so important:

He chose that place for a reason, however twisted it was.

These killers choose schools for a very obvious reason. They hate them.

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