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When the worst idea for school security isn't nearly bad enough

Joe Arpaio, the Arizona law enforcement caricature who fashions himself as Americas toughest sheriff, has been generously offering the services of his Maricopa County posse to help patrol schools and prevent mass shootings. The all-volunteer posse generally works to harass immigrants, though Arpaio has also sent members on important out-of-state missions, like when he dispatched a group to Hawaii last year to determine the authenticity of President Obamas birth certificate. With more than 3,400 members, the posse would seem to have both the numbers and the dedication to eliminate school shootings and, by implication, their perpetratorsespecially when some of its members, as this Reuters report puts it, are trained and qualified to carry the same guns as deputies.Its hard to imagine how such a bad idea could be made even worse, but leave it to Arpaio to take us there. Hes brought in former action-hero player Steven Seagal to guide volunteers through various aspects of responding to a shooting, including room-to-room searches. The first session was held yesterday. From the same Reuters (not The Onion) story:

[Arpaio] enlisted Seagal to train his Maricopa County posse members at a school in Fountain Hills, a suburb northeast of Phoenix, with children used as stand-ins for scared students."I am here to try to teach the posse firearms and martial arts to try to help them learn how to respond quicker and help protect our children," Seagal said. ...To add realism to the training event, guns firing non-lethal rounds that leave a color mark were used.

Recommended as a tonic: Todays New York Times story on Gabrielle Giffords.

About the Author

Dominic Preziosi is Commonweal’s digital editor.



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Did the parents give permission for their kids to be used as targets in this variant of paintball?

Ok, I give up. What's so bad about teachng people how better to protect themselves?

Mark P .. do you think Steven Seagal could have taught the American Sniper and his friend who were both slain at a shooting range? Some Hollywood fast draw might be in order?

Better yet: do all the members of the posse have clean criminal records--are they clean for working inproximity to children.Mr Seagal has expertise in the martial arts and I hear actually has worked in law enforcement--even before his reality tv show. He is also a celebrity. I wonder why it was so difficult to find an expert to assist this posse from Arizona that they had to hop over to California.3400 people in the posse? Maybe they raffled off that travel gig to Hawaii.Hey Mark, what's wrong about going local? Do you think they lack expertise in Arizona?

I am torn on this. Steven Seagal is an Aikido (Japanese form of martial arts that is totally self defensive). It is a beautiful martial art but takes years and years to perfect to the point where you could actually transfer the skills from the "dojo" to the street. I have a lot of respect for the skill of Steven Seagal as a master. The video below shows how good he is at it. He gave a demonstration in Japan. the one hand, I respect any teaching that can be given on self defence. This will increase self confidence and have a lot of benefits.However, teaching self defence and dispatching posses to protect are two different things.

ed--I'm not sure I follow, but I don't think it's appropriate to make sport of the recent murder of an American hero, if that's what you were doing.Todd--Are you familiar with the parable of the Good Samaritan? Or should we only help the locals?

I feel sorry for people who live in AZ. But I think all people should learn self defense. Teach all kids jiu-jitsu, starting in pre-school and going through high school. Many benefits.

Mark, I'm thinking subsidiarity. Or maybe a Latina teaching that posse self-defense skills.

Shoot paint balls at my kids to get your mugs on television, and you'll have to pry your neck out of my cold, dead hands.

Also, in defense of Steven Seagal, I thought he did an impressive job liberating that battleship from Gary Busey and the terrorists.

Mark P you say you 'don't follow' my post.. so don't say I'm making sport of the men who were killed. I'm making sport of Seagal, a celebrity flake.. a well known flake who you seem to respect. .

ed--Thanks for the clarification. I don't know Seagal well enough to know if he's a flake or authentic, but I credit him for trying to help.

You left the "himself" off at the end there, Mark.

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