Shootings: Why Don’t Schools Have Better Security? by Ryan McMaken

Here’s one solution to school shootings, and it might even work. From Ryan McMaken at

Whenever there is a mass shooting in the media, commentators rush to figure out on what to blame the latest violence. Predictably, those who want gun control blame gun control. Others blame mental illness — and perhaps a lack of government programs related to it. Some others blame racism or ideology, as was the case with the Aurora theater shooting when one ABC talking head concluded the shooter must a “Tea Party” member within hours of the shooting. And then there’s the Republican politician who blamed the same shooting on “the ongoing attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs.”

The odds of dying in a mass shooting remain amazingly small, as Healthline notes “The lifetime risk of dying in a mass shooting is around 1 in 110,154 — about the same chance of dying from a dog attack or legal execution.”

Nevertheless, the need to create a theory showing exactly what causes these shootings remains strong in many observers. Often, these theories are followed up with some demand for a change in public policy, whether it be gun control, more health care spending, or changes in education and social policy.

What all of the strategies have in common, however, is that they depend on very indirect solutions related to social engineering while ignoring the most proximate cause of the tragedies in question.

Those who think they can abolish school shootings with gun control, for example, must also then ensure that weapons cannot be attained by illegal means, and that potential murderers will not accomplish the same ends by using other improvised weapons.

Similarly, those who think that addressing mental illness must also assume that all potential perpetrators will receive treatment.

Even more fanciful is the idea that the FBI and other police agencies can be counted on to competently profile, and observe every potential shooter. The FBI’s record in this regard is rather sub-par, to say the least.

Moreover, these policies can take years to be implemented, and also require extremely broad, hard-to-enforce changes in policy. These policies also bring with them considerable downsides to the public at large in terms of financial costs and in civil liberties. Expanding FBI power to impose surveillance on every weirdo in America comes at a cost. Banning weapons — and then enforcing that ban — comes at immense cost as well.

To continue reading: Shootings: Why Don’t Schools Have Better Security?


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