Connecticut School Shooting: Evil Knows No Rules

As school safety specialists, we must continue to train our people, audit our buildings and protect our charges.

Over the past two weeks since the attack at Sandy Hook Elementary, there have been numerous written works, and a multitude of pundits who have opined on the causes, and cures, of the attack at Sandy Hook Elementary.

In a way, it’s understandable.  The principal and staff of Sandy Hook did everything schools were supposed to do to prepare. They upgraded their access systems, they drilled their protocols, and they had loving, caring relationships with their students. In short, they did everything by the book.

The problem with evil is that it ignores the book. It is the nature of evil to be chaotic, to be the antithesis of order. It defies logic, protocols, and reason. We can say that the attack was senseless and irrational, but that is because we are operating on our own sense and reason. The evil that stormed into Sandy Hook had a reason, a rationale for doing what they did, but rather than attempt to immerse ourselves in insanity in an attempt to understand, we label it ‘senseless’.

Rather than face the evil to understand it, we seek panaceas; things that will make us feel better, instead of actually facing the evil face to face. Gun control, gun bans, new protocols, armed guards in schools, all address various symptoms of evil, but do not address its root causes. 

The root causes are beyond my pay grade.  I have my opinions, but in my position as a Director of School Safety, I am focused on the ground level, in keeping the schools in my care safe from evil.  It is a full-time job, for which I am allotted a less than part-time position, as is common in many school districts strapped for cash.  I cannot allow myself to be distracted by political musings and the cause du jour.  As the person who is primarily responsible for the safety of the 3,200 plus students, and 200 plus staff members, I have to sneak glimpses of evil, so that I may better do my job.

As school safety specialists, we are charged with knowing enough about evil that we can better predict when and how it will strike, and to do it without becoming evil ourselves.  We cannot be distracted by panaceas, by the cause du jours.  We must continue to train our people, audit our buildings, and stand between our charges and evil.  The fact is, we won’t always be successful.  We must learn, adapt, and drive on. 

If it’s not us, then who?

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Steve Satterly is the director of school safety for the Community School Corp. of Southern Hancock County in New Palestine, Ind.

Note: The views expressed by guest bloggers and contributors are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, Campus Safety magazine.

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