There was a tragedy last week in San Bernardino – yet another school shooting, only this time it was the estranged husband of a teacher that took to gun violence because he couldn’t handle his emotions. A young boy died, a woman was murdered, and another child was tragically hurt. Children in classrooms adjacent were traumatized. The shooter also took his own life.
Domestic violence is what the police are calling this latest tragedy. Sadly, the breakup of a marriage has led to the deaths of three individuals, and will have lasting effects on those children and adults who were present.
The school’s reaction to this however is what concerns me. They have now installed security doors so visitors have to be buzzed in past school staff. Driver’s licenses must be presented, to be scanned and printed, which the visitors will now have to wear. Fingerprinting will be instituted for all who are going to be on school grounds. Even a parent dropping off a forgotten lunch will have to go through this new security protocol.
My issue with all of this is that NONE of it, would have prevented the tragedy that sparked it. The man who walked on campus, past his ex-wife’s co-workers and students and chose to do unspeakably vile things would not have been prevented by any of the new security measures. He was the husband who had been the school before presumably, so he would have previously been fingerprinted. The driver’s license would also have been recorded, and since he was a husband of a teacher, the staff would likely have buzzed him right on through.
I am not a fan of the overreaction to tragedy that is so de rigueur today. It seems that every chance is taken by those in authority and power to tighten the screws of fascist control over our lives. We have become a society that is so afraid of dying that we are pursuing everything we can to guard against all possible harms, at the expense of our freedoms, liberties and common decency.
The loss of life surrounding this latest gun shooting is horrific, and I’m not here to say it isn’t. But we must keep all things in perspective. When we lose perspective, we lose our ability to see real solutions. The installation of a fingerprinting and driver’s license protocol for access to a school is not a real solution to the danger – it’s feel good set dressing. It’s a Potemkin Village of Protection.
It’s an excuse for an extension of authority and control, with no hope of addressing the underlying issues. We had a similar situation two weeks ago on the global stage.
The Syrian President allegedly authorized the use of chemical weapons against his own people and 80 plus individuals, including children, were killed. Allegedly the images were so shocking to the current American President that he authorized the bombing of a military airfield in Syria. Forgetting the costs involved in attempting to bomb an airstrip – which was not rendered useless – and looking solely at the effect it had on the American public, the President saw an uptick in his popularity.
Now, I’m against the use of gas on people, but I’m also against the use of bullets. In the current Syrian civil war over 400,000 people have been killed and millions displaced. Millions that the current President feels we should do nothing for, until there are images of dead children that tug at the heartstrings. He’s all in favor of taking action when he can use a surgical bombing to create a Potemkin Village of Proactivity. I’m sorry, but the 400,000 people who were killed by bullets, starvation, lack of medical care and yes, even other chemical weapons, are just as dead as the 80+ in the most recent attack. Why was he not concerned with their deaths?
The convenient outrage at the deaths of children seems to coincide far too closely with the motivation to increase his poll numbers. Will this latest bombing lead to anything? Besides an increase in profits for the bomb makers, probably nothing more than an increase in “security measures for our benefit.”
Do I believe that we should do something to prevent school shootings? Of course. Should it be the mass fingerprinting of visitors? Of course not. School shootings happen because people who are connected to the school have a reason to shoot there.
Do I believe that we should do something about Syria? Of course we should, it’s a human tragedy of epic proportions. The loss of human life, and damage to the world history by loss of archeological digs is tremendous. Should we bomb an airfield and leave it operational? Seems like a waste of money and political will.
David Pisarra is a Los Angeles Divorce and Child Custody Lawyer specializing in Father’s and Men’s Rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He welcomes your questions and comments. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 310/664-9969.You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra