Kansas City area schools are not the open places they used to be because of the mass shootings that keep occurring nationwide.
Doors stay locked, and visitors have to be buzzed in. In some cases they have to shed their belongings, walk through a metal detector, get wanded by security if they set off the alarm, and then show a photo identification and sign in with security as well as in the administration office.
Duck and cover disaster drills that used to be a feature in schools during the Cold War because of a nuclear threat from the Soviet Union and China have been replaced in some schools with drills in case an intruder enters with a gun intent on hurting children.
Pogo in an old comic strip had it right: We have met the enemy, and he is us.
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It would seem prudent now for all workplaces, hotels, restaurants, churches, entertainment centers, stadiums, arenas and other places where people gather that don’t already have intense heavily armed security guards to also institute disaster drills as protection against someone with a firearm entering wanting to cause mayhem. The mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., on Wednesday points to a recurring problem in the United States that shows no sign of ever letting up.
A heavily armed man and his wife on Wednesday opened fire on a holiday gathering of county health workers, killing 14 and wounding at least 17 others. The assailants, who wore black masks and tactical gear, were later killed in a shootout with police.
They were identified as Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27. Farook, who had worked in the country health department, was reported to have left the party angry after an altercation and returned with Malik to shoot up the place.
Because such mass killings have become as American as mom and apple pie, shooting prevention drills should also be a central part of life and survival in the United States. By one measure, mass shootings have occurred at a rate of more than one a day in which four or more persons have been left dead or injured.
The self-preservation, self-protection measures have to follow because neither state nor federal lawmakers are willing to do anything to strengthen gun control laws.
As a matter of fact, gun laws have been liberalized in the last few years in many states, enabling more people with no training or permits to carry firearms in the open. The rational is that so-called good guys with guns will prevent bad guys with guns from taking the risk of causing bloodshed and mayhem.
It is a foolish notion. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, firearms are responsible for 11,200 homicides annually in the U.S. To put that in perspective, the number of U.S. troops killed in the Iraq war from March 2003 to May 2012 was 4,425. That’s over nine years.
The number of people killed in the United States in homicides every year is more than double the number of U.S. soldiers killed in a terrible Middle East war zone. It’s an indication that the streets, homes and places where people gather in America are kill zones, too.
It has to end.