Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Bringing Coal to Newcastle - Tronna Style.

The gun culture in Toronto remains relatively undisturbed by the ministrations of a few layers of government and the investment of millions in social service fixes. And now the latest greatest idea - mini cop-shops in troubled high schools.

The notion initially raised by an inquiry into a shooting death at a Toronto school a year or so back, was jumped all over by no less than Toronto's top cop Chief of Police and 'imperator praetorii' Bill (I'm a lot smarter than I look) Blair. Bill sees this as a wonderful opportunity to put the 'pleece' were they can get to know the kidz, build some community and develop that ever-important trust. Not only that they'd be on the down-low for some timely and positive 'intel'.

The schoolboard types might have had a different vision than the one the Chief has in mind. They'd envisioned a cool cat sort of cop, clad in chinos and an untucked hawaiian shirt - schmoozing with the kids over fries in the caf. Somebody setting a good example and discouraging any rampant gangbanging. That ain't what the chief has in mind.

He wants his people in the uniform to which they've sworn to be true in their hearts - blancoed, buttoned, shakoed , belted and shiny-booted defenders of the common weal and unflinching upholders of the law. A quasi-military presence in an all too unstructured clearing house for the nefarious teenager. He also wants them armed.

Now if you think about the reason they'd be there in the first place, because of a macho gun culture that seems to be expanding rather than going away, I would guess that somebody else with a pistol at school would make sense to some, but it doesn't make a lot of sense to me. 'Yeah, but what about the day somebody decided to go Columbine? Wouldn't some protection be a good idea?'

Maybe, but if I was going to go Columbine, guess who would be the first target? If there was a cop in the school, he's got another gun to use. In fact, if memory serves, weren't there security people at Columbine when that happened? Security, police included, often have a strong sense of self-preservation at such times, which often limits their role to assisting survivors and making notes about what happened after the perps have shot themselves.

Somehow I think, arms in the school are the antithesis of the message that needs to get out, no matter how responsibly they're borne. I think the Chief is as 'batty' on this issue as he was on those fortress walls and security systems in police parking lots. But then, this is really about the new hires he'll need - the expansion of the guardian empire and a strong offense will shut up the defense.

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