Sunday, March 25, 2018

Pennsylvania School Has Strange, Rocky Solution To School Shootings

A sample of the river rocks at a school district in Pennsylvania.
Students are expected to throw these rocks if a mass shooter
invades a school in the district. 
As you surely saw on the news, hundreds of thousands of people, a large proportion of them teenagers. demonstrated Saturday to push for gun restrictions they hope would stop or at least diminish all the mass shootings this country experiences.

However, as you also might have heard on the news, a Pennsylvania school district has already solved the problem. Or at least they think so. Color me and almost everybody else, um, skeptical.

The Blue Mountain School District in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania says river rocks will do the trick.

You know river rocks. Those are the stones you find in brooks and streams that have been worn down smooth by the water. That smoothness makes them easy to pick up, grasp and throw at somebody you don't like.

Including mass shooters, at least in the minds of the people in this school district.

I'm not sure how a few river rocks thrown at a maniac assailant armed with an AR-15 would end the rampage, but what do I know?

BuzzFeed News quoted District School Superintendent David Helsel this way:

"If an armed intruder attempts to gain entrance to any of our classrooms, they will face a classroom full of student armed with rocks. And they will be stoned."

OK, now I'm confused. Does he mean the armed intruder will be stoned, as in, having a bunch of rocks thrown at him like those barbaric executions back in the olden days?

Or does he mean the people throwing the rocks will be stoned, as in totally high on weed? If the students are high, I can't imagine their aim would be all that good.

Anyway, Helsel continues: "We have some people who have pretty good arms. They can chuck some rocks pretty fast."

I don't want to disparage the fine student athletes in the Schuylkill County Blue Mountain School District. I'm sure members of the district's baseball teams can throw a mean curve ball. I bet the baseball and softball teams there are second to none.

Still, despite the athletic prowess of these students, I'm not sure if the speed of their rock throws can outmatch the speed of bullets from an AR-15.

But again, what do I know?

To be fair, this school district has other mass shooting protocols, including lockdowns and lock-ins, where students and teachers lock classroom doors in the hopes an armed assailant can't get in.

Still, the armed maniac could still get it, and Helsel doesn't want the people in the classrooms to be sitting ducks, nosiree!

So, each classroom has a five-gallon bucket of river stones. Helsel figures there might be 25 students  and a teacher in any given classroom, so that's a lot of people throwing stones.

But what happens when the bucket is emptied out.? Assuming anybody has survived to this point. Helsel insists it's better than nothing. "Under the circumstances, it is a better response than passively crawling under a desk and allowing someone to break into a classroom."

However, like all shootings and attacks, is Helsel right? A person shooting wildly with an AR-15 or something might not notice a kid cowering in the dark under a desk, but he or she would surely notice a kid pegging rocks at him.

Personally, I'd rather a person with a semi-automatic firearm not notice me.

It appears that at least some parents in the Blue Mountain School District are as dubious about this river rock safety plan as I am.

Regan Cameron Hutchins tweeted: "Welcome to Schuylkill County, where the people are dumb but the rocks are plentiful......When (daughter) Riley told us about the rocks - we thought she was kidding because it sounded like a fucking joke, right?"

I'm with you Regan. I almost didn't write this post because for the longest time I thought this story was something dreamed up and written by the staff at The Onion.

Helsel complained to BuzzFeed that media outlets were reporting on the river rock plan and "taking it out of context to make it look silly."

Oh, no, Mr. Superintendent. It really IS silly.

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