New Castle News

Schools

December 17, 2012

Mitchel Olszak on Connecticut Shooting: Will another rampage matter?

NEW CASTLE — It’s my expectation that last week’s deadly school shooting in Connecticut will produce a series of predictable results.

We’ll see the outpourings of grief and expressions of outrage. Less visible will be the struggles of families who lost loved ones and are trying to cope with the horror thrust upon them.

The ongoing police investigation will piece much of the story together. It will paint a picture of the killer and perhaps even develop a motive for why he went into an elementary school and took 26 lives before killing himself.

But there is no real motive for such a crime. It is an act of inexplicable insanity, the product of a disturbed mind most likely driven by an inner rage that strives to inflict as much pain as possible before ending it all.

As with any such tragedy, there will be moves across the county to beef up security at schools. Presumably, this will come at a significant expense many school districts can’t afford.

There will be steps taken based on the idea that quick action could prevent the loss of life. For instance, just east of us, school officials in the Butler Area School District have voted to arm their security guards.

This is supposed to provide a measure of comfort, but it doesn’t take much imagination to envision things going wrong once guns are introduced to crowded school buildings, past the metal detectors designed to thwart them.

Yet there have been calls — including from at least one member of Congress — to arm school officials. The idea is that once an intruder shows up with a gun, people trained to diagram sentences or solve geometry problems will quickly convert to Rambos, taking out the bad guys.

Such arguments operate from a fantasy view of the world, based more on myth and movie-making than any grasp of reality. Despite the prevalence of guns in America, these shooters typically take their own lives or else they are captured alive. Armed private citizens don’t save the day.

And that gets us to the topic of gun control, which already has surfaced in the public debate over the Connecticut shooting. It got a push from President Obama, who made an oblique reference to it in his comments following the rampage.

This is the same Obama who studiously avoided the subject of gun control in this year’s presidential campaign.

So there will be demands for tough action to control ownership of guns, or at least some guns or their accessories with some people. On the other side will be those who say it’s unfair to law-abiding citizens to restrict their constitutional access to firearms because of the actions of the emotionally deranged.

The practical result of any debates over gun control these days appears to be no legislative action, just a big rush to buy more guns. Calls for added gun restrictions seem to be the best advertising possible for manufacturers and marketers.

Maybe there will be discussion about identifying and treating the mentally ill. Yet the track record here is minimal talk and no real action.

In the end, I suspect things won’t change much as a result of these shootings. More money will be spent on security, which may indeed stop attacks in some places.

But the people determined to act out in this manner have plenty of soft targets to choose from. If it’s not a school, it will be somewhere else. Security is a feel-good measure of limited value. Against a determined madman with lots of firepower, it provides no solution.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Schools
  • Yauger.jpg Yauger’s Mercer County trial on hold

    A pending criminal trial for the former Midwestern Intermediate Unit IV executive director has been continued again in Mercer County.

    July 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Yauger.jpg Yauger now facing federal charge

    With Mercer County court proceedings pending this week, Cecelia Yauger faces federal prosecution for alleged business credit card misuse.

    July 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • school.jpg New Castle board adopts budget despite uncertainty

    The New Castle school board adopted its 2014-15 budget Monday but may have to re-open it next week. The $5.4 million budget, introduced in May, has no tax increase and will not tap into the fund balance. Taxes remain at 17.72 mills.

    July 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • Todora.jpg Board, staff bids farewell to superintendent

    Dr. Mary Todora will retire Monday from the Neshannock school district. “I remember eight and a half years ago when Dr. John Dietz (then-board president) called to tell me I got the job. I was thrilled,” Todora said at her final board meeting.

    June 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rich.jpg Vo-tech administrators get bonuses, no raises

    Lawrence County Career and Technical Center administrators will get one-time bonuses instead of raises next year. The joint operating committee approved one-year agreements that would freeze the salaries of director Leonard A. Rich and the principal, head custodian, cafeteria supervisor and computer technician.

    June 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • FrankAloi.jpg Frank Aloi: 50 years of school spirit in Ellwood City

    Frank Aloi is a true Wolverine. Aloi, who turned 73 Friday, spent the past half-century affiliated with the Ellwood City school district and its sports teams.

    June 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • FrankAloi.JPG Frank Aloi Retiring: Ellwood superintendent leaving amid budget woes

    Frank Aloi is retiring next month as Ellwood City’s superintendent of schools. Aloi, a 50-year district employee and its superintendent for nearly 12, submitted his retirement notice to the board during an executive session prior to Thursday’s meeting. His last day is July 16.

    June 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • school.jpg District mulls building sale options

    The New Castle school district is considering selling its three recently closed buildings through a sealed bid process.

    June 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Perfect.jpg Your Education: Shenango grad never missed a day

    They say nobody’s perfect. But for 13 years, Jenna DiGiammarino certainly was. When Jenna left last night’s commencement ceremonies at Shenango High School, she did so not only with a diploma in hand, but also with a flawless record of attendance dating back to Day One of kindergarten.

    June 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • 03.jpg Photo Gallery, Story: Three New Castle schools close today for good

    Today is bittersweet for New Castle Area School District elementary students and teachers. Three buildings packed with history as longtime learning institutions are closing their doors for good.
     

    June 5, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads
Poll

The film "Into the Storm," about a devastating tornado, opens nationally Aug. 1. What's your favorite storm movie?

Twister
The Day After Tomorrow
The Perfect Storm
Sharknado
     View Results