Last Saturday at a flea market in Portsmouth, VA, the police found some man who had some outstanding warrants. When they approached, he managed to barricade himself in a bathroom. Nothing in the story mentions a weapon or suspicion that he might have a weapon of any kind. Nevertheless, the nearby Portsmouth campus of Tidewater Community College “was put on lockdown as a precaution and the ramp from I-264 to Victory Blvd was closed to traffic.”
Friday morning, at L. C. Mohr High School, in South Haven, MI, a student became very angry and walked off. As she left, she said she was going to “blow the school up.” The comment was reported but only after she left the school grounds. The school then went into lockdown, “confining students to their classrooms and locking entrance doors.” Eventually the student was contacted (made difficult since the school had her phone), and she came back to talk to the police and deal with the consequence of her actions. There is no evidence that she meant to bomb the school.
Of course, that was not the only school that went into lockdown Friday. Some kid made a comment about having a gun in his locker at Buhl High School in the Twin Falls area of Idaho. The school was put into lockdown and an entire interdepartmental gun search was carried out, complete with a ballistics dog. There was no gun.
Before that, on Valentine’s Day, a student was seen with a shovel at a high school in Meridian, ID. He was getting it for a teacher who had asked him to retrieve the shovel from his car. But the shovel somehow interpreted as a weapon, resulting in the local police with “tactical weapons” descending on the campus “within seconds.” The school was in lockdown for two hours.
Something similar happened in Yuma, AZ earlier in the month only with no shovel:
“The militarization of government schools has reached a point at which a tangible ‘threat’ like a shovel is no longer necessary. On February 5, three schools in Yuma, Arizona were placed on lockdown as the result of what was later described as a “rumor” of a gun on campus. Officers from two local law enforcement departments and two federal agencies – many of them kitted out in full combat attire – were mobilized for the operation. Following an evacuation each of the school campuses was subjected to a systematic search. The students were held in custody for more than three hours before being released.”
Any high school student that makes a deadly threat even in anger needs to be swiftly and strongly taught to never do that again.
But, even if one of these lockdown responses was justified due to factors that I am not aware of, I have something in general to say about our school and community safety procedures.
We cannot go on living this way; it is insane.
You can’t be productive or functional under continuous “lockdown.” And we shouldn’t feel like we need to remain there. We are one of the safest countries in the Western world; we should be continually grateful, not fearful. Yet, simply putting the word “lockdown” into the Google news search engine, reveals that we are now, as a whole, Coward Nation.
We greatly fear any thought of the possibility of a threat to our safety. Our institutions are driven by paranoia.
We need to get over it.
The Lord warns us repeatedly in Scripture to trust in Him and not trust in horses and chariots. Horses and chariots were the Bearcats and Drones of the ancient world. God warns us against trusting those things, not only because Jesus is more trustworthy, but also because no one can ever feel safe from them. Having the biggest Armed Forces and the best-trained SWAT teams in the world only leads people to obsess over the imagined weak points in our protection. As we become “safer” we become more terrified. We demand more.
We will imprison ourselves. Maybe we already have. We need to repent and fear the Lord, to learn wisdom and be freed from fear.