Thursday, January 10, 2013

Sandy Hook Tragedy - Response, Part II

The tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School seems to have offended our sensibilities more than other such tragedies because of the ages of the victims.  But in reality, this tragedy was not significantly different or worse than other such events – innocent lives should never be lost at the hands of a crazed or deranged person.  The term “gun violence” is always a prominent part of stories about these events, and the anti-gunners capitalize on that fact to put their emphasis on the wrong word:  the crux of the problem is violence, not guns.
While not the warm and fuzzy, politically correct philosophical ideal, it is nonetheless an absolute fact that it is simply and literally impossible to identify all the people who will do bad things and/or to accurately predict what bad things they will do and/or when and where they will do them.  Period.
Since bad things will undoubtedly happen regardless of our wishes, intentions and preventive efforts (because there is no such thing as absolute security, meaning some system/strategy that will protect against any conceivable or possible threat at all times), it behooves us to have the best mitigation, response and recovery strategies in place to protect everything important (meaning people, physical things and information).
Security must be considered at least as important and necessary as our attitudes and endeavors related to fire, which we have embraced and incorporated wholeheartedly:  While it is nice to idealize that people and things won’t burn and hope that “…it can’t happen here,”  yet we still design and implement (and pay for) reasonable and sometimes mandated fire protection precautions into our buildings; and install fire control systems and have fire response equipment in our buildings; and have regular fire system inspections; and have extensive fire plans that are reviewed and updated regularly; and have regular fire drills; and have internal personnel properly trained to deal with fires; and have Fire Departments to come and put out fires when they occur; and have plans to maintain and/or resume operations after a fire event. Why is the same not so for security?
Why are places with adequate and sufficient fire control systems and procedures not considered “fire traps,” but places with adequate security systems and procedures are considered “armed fortresses?” When I walk into a building and see sprinklers on the ceiling and fire extinguishers at key places and evacuation route maps and “No Smoking” signs on the walls and a fire truck parked outside, I get a feeling of comfort – the thought never crosses my mind that this building must pose some grave fire danger.  Why do we not put commensurate emphasis on security?   Why do we not see alarm systems and CCTV cameras and monitors and uniformed – perhaps armed – security personnel as an indication of concern for our safety and security?
Logic and consistency do not seem to be traits held in esteem by anti-gun proponents, because in virtually no other situation do they condemn the tool used in a bad consequence as the cause or culprit:  When a porch pulls away and falls from a house killing/injuring partygoers, the hammer is not blamed.  When a pedestrian is killed by a drunk driver, the car is not blamed.  When an editorial or cartoon is written that enflames and angers the masses, the typewriter/computer is not blamed Only when it comes to guns is the tool rather than the actor condemned.
We learned (or should have learned) from Benghazi that diplomatic and bureaucratic and philosophic options are meaningless at the time of an attack, because without proper response capability good people die.  When my family is being threatened with grave harm and I am not present to intervene, I do not want a philosopher or psychologist or social worker or a book of social ills analysis there – I want “…rough men (who) stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.”