Any more kids harmed today?
And Tim half-snarkily replied:
Day’s still young.
This post at PoliceOne makes me regret my lame attempt at humor.
Police policy was not followed leading up to a school assembly where a student pulled the trigger of an assault rifle mounted on a police motorcycle and three children were injured by bullet fragments, authorities said.
Department rules state the rifle chamber should be empty when it is mounted, Police Chief Miles Pruitt said in a statement late Thursday.
The AR-15 was locked to the side of the motorcycle that was on display at Newman Elementary School on Wednesday during an anti-drug program when a student managed to fire it, Chino police spokeswoman Tamrin Olden said.
Fortunately, the three elementary school students struck by bullet fragments were only wounded. No child died that day. At least not at Newman Elementary.
“The preliminary investigation has shown that the established safeguards and procedures were not followed,” Pruitt said. “It is unfortunate that this event occurred and I will make every effort to ensure it does not happen again.”
Let’s consider what is meant by “every effort.” The police were brought into an elementary school for an anti-drug program. Assuming the elementary school was not suffering a plague of heroin abuse, this was one of the pre-emptive programs designed to scare kids straight. Instilling fear into little kids remains one of the best tools available for schools to make them good little citizens. If they pay close attention, they will get prizes for it in high school.
But even if we accept the premise that it’s worthwhile to introduce drugs into the world of elementary school students, and even if we accept that manipulating their fear to prevent them from using drugs is a worthy cause, how do we reach the point where we introduce police weaponry into the lesson? Do drugs, get killed by the cops?
It’s amazingly easy to avoid having a child shot by a stray bullet from a police AR-15 on a motorcycle. Don’t bring the motorcycle. Don’t bring a gun. Don’t ask the cops to come to your elementary school. Don’t let the cops come to your elementary school.
But accidents happen. Safeguards aren’t followed, and sometimes things fall through the cracks.
“I though Joe was going to make sure there was no bullet in the chamber.”
“Me? I told you to do so it.”
“I told you I had to set up the pictures of dead junkies’ bodies and you had to take care of the guns.”
One solution to such problems is to keep police, and their weapons, out of the reach of children. But that’s not the police solution.
How about teaching kids NOT to pull the trigger on guns that do not belong to them? I know that is not the point in this case…or is it? Was safety not engaged while the weapon is stored on bike?
I know kids are curious, every time I go on a campus some kid is trying to touch my sidearm it seems…I get that. But for the kid to walk up the bike, and start finger fiddling with a rifle?? Sorry, some adult besides the officer needs to be on the hot seat as well.
If only kids didn’t “finger fiddle” with the rifle, no one would have been shot. Sounds like the making of a new program for police in the schools, how not to finger fiddle.
To beat this horse to death is pointless. There are tragedies that cannot be avoided, and there are tragedies we invite into schools that should never happen. We expend enormous effort and angst to prevent the former while the latter happens because we beg for it. It doesn’t seem possible that police and school administrators can be this blind and stupid.
In the zeal to create the perfect world where no child is ever harmed, we’re doing an awful lot of damage. This cannot be the way a sane society functions.