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Would metal detectors prevent tragedy?

By   /   February 13, 2013  /   Comments

Dougherty County’s interim school superintendent, Dr. David Mosley, has ordered increased use of metal detectors in the Dougherty County School System’s elementary schools.  He says that, should a tragedy similar to Sandy Hook occur here, he wants to make sure that everything has been done to prevent it.

Dr. Mosley, my question is, would it prevent anything?

Folks, metal detectors in schools were put in place to prevent students from bringing in weapons.  This sprang up nationally amidst an increase in gang violence that had spilled out from the streets and into inner city schools.  As Albany has a gang problem, this was a sensible move made years ago to use metal detectors in our middle and high schools.  Now, Mosley wants this done in our elementary schools.

To be clear, I don’t have an issue with the order per se.  My problem is that this is nothing but a security blanket that will make the DCSS feel like they’re addressing a potential problem (one that is debatable whether it even exists or not), without actually doing anything to address the problem.

Adam Lanza was not a student at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  As such, he wouldn’t have been subjected to a metal detector upon his arrival at the school.  Instead, he got through a locked door to gun down innocent children.  Honestly, I don’t see much more that the school could have done to prevent the tragedy, though an armed security guard or police officer may have ended the tragedy much sooner.

If Mosley wants to see all students get the metal detector treatment, and it costs the taxpayers nothing, then so be it.  I’m really not arguing against doing this, but I am arguing against the attitude that this will actually accomplish anything except making the DCSS feel like it’s being proactive.

Perhaps, if Mosley wanted to be proactive, he would look at working with mental health officials to help identify and treat those in our community that so desperately need that help.  After all, the one thing we see in the history of these events is how the shooters all suffer from some sort of mental health disorder for some time prior to the shooting.  A better grasp of mental health issues, and maybe removing the stigma that is generally associated with mental health issues so folks will get help, would do far more to prevent a tragedy like Sandy Hook than anything else.

Of course, Mosley is bucking for a job, so making people feel safe is probably far more important than a long term project that would be mostly invisible but actually make people truly safer ever would be.  To bad.

Tom Knighton is the Editor and Publisher of the Albany Journal.

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Owner / Editor / Writer

Tom Knighton is the publisher of The Albany Journal. In November, 2011, he became the first blogger to take over a newspaper anywhere in the world. In August of 2012, he made the difficult decision to take the Journal out of print circulation and become an online news agency, a first for the Albany area.

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