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Archive for March 21, 2018

March 21, 2018 — The folly of protection schemes

One of the earliest jobs your Founder had was as a summer intern for an agency in a major mid-Atlantic state.

It was in the central office that ran the state’s prison system. I spent time with the legal team, with the deputy director’s office, and with a group that dealt with planning and logistics.

The experiences gave me a pretty good depth of knowledge as to how applied policies worked in the real world.

I got an appreciation for written policies and standards, documentation, and for policies which may seem contradictory at first varnish, but made sense once explained.

One such policy was that the guards at every prison were unarmed. The Hollywood scenes of prison guards with rifles slung over their shoulders as they overlooked the yard were just fiction.

Why? Because arming prison guards means that prisoners would have a ready and available supply of weapons to help make their escape. That’s why, in most prison systems, weapons are kept in an armory, well out of reach of the inmate population.

It’s this principle I cycle back to when I track the debate as to whether to put armed police officers in schools in the wake of school shootings that have terrified American students and parents alike. Putting a so-called “resource officer” in a school as a potential deterrent against desperate and sometimes mentally ill individuals may sound like a feel-good measure, but what that does is put a weapons or weapons within easy reach of members of the school population.

We’ve kind of had this debate before when it comes to recent combat in the Middle East. American and allied troops used to be able to take care of themselves and respond to threats coming at them whether they were car bombs or snipers. But now the military has been spending millions of dollars on something called “force protection,” which are security guards for troops.

Many of these people in the force protection game are ex-military who are actually earning twice the salary of the troops they protect, and make millions of dollars of no-bid contract dollars for well-connected insiders.

I shudder to think what the size of the school-protection racket is going to be if more districts start putting armed guards in schools during the day.

And worse, what the effect on the children will be.

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