When the worst idea for school security isn't nearly bad enough
Dominic Preziosi February 10, 2013 - 11:44am
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.