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Trusting, Insular Communities:

The New York Times writes about the recent school shootings:

It is not clear what led [the shooter] to seek out a quiet country school in Lancaster County, Pa., but it is possible he chose it because he knew that it belonged to a trusting, insular community, where there would be no one to stop him from entering with a shotgun, a rifle and an automatic pistol.

What does this mean? If I'm not stopped from entering a school while heavily armed, is it likely because the community is "trusting" or "insular"? Would a more cynical community have said "Hey, wait a sec, you're carrying three guns into the school! We don't trust you!" Would a more worldly community have said "We're not like those hicks down the road -- we know that guns can actually kill people, and strangers who go heavily armed into a school are likely up to no good?"

My sense is that the only thing that could have stopped this murderer is someone else who's armed -- whether an armed security guard (something that even many non-trusting, non-insular schools don't have), an armed teacher, or someone else who had the requisite firepower (and willpower). Better yet would have been someone else who's armed but who's not in uniform, since even an armed but uniformed school guard could easily be surprised by the killer, who could murder him and then go inside with impunity. One can debate the merits of allowing teachers to be armed. But if one is going to talk about why there was "no one to stop [the killer] from entering with a shotgun, a rifle and an automatic pistol," that's the debate we should be having -- stressing the community's being "trusting" and "insular" as a possible cause seems to me a red herring.

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