Oh lord, did I take a boatload of crap for Friday’s column castigating the press for falling for the Pitzen hoax. Then, weighing in on Monday’s report of a man carrying a rifle into Batavia High School on social media was even worse!
Even one of my former managing editors joined in the jumping-all-over-the-messenger-in-an-effort-to-kill-him festivities. How many times do I have to tell you that I’m a man without a country?
But in the immortal words of the late, great philosopher Tom Petty, “I won’t back down” because what terrifies me even more than our current insipid partisan divide is the stark and rapid decline of our capacity to take a critical approach to any topic or event whatsoever.
And God forbid if the unfolding scenario deliciously fits neatly into the viewer’s specifically stilted narrative, then all freakin’ bets are off.
Whether it’s the Coventry Catholic School kids at a D.C. protest, the entire Jussie Smollett saga, or Geneva, Illinois, teachers considering anyone with a mildly opposing viewpoint to be some sort Anti-Christ, demonizing the opposition and jumping to conclusions has become a national sport.
Though I would tend to expect more from educators in this race to a frothing at the mouth rabidity bottom, it’s yet another reason D304 is one of the most overrated school districts in Illinois and I’m happy my children are done with it.
But I digress!
When it was abundantly clear from the start that no one had simply strolled into BHS with a visible rifle, and I said so, you’d think I just reported the Batavia Target had run out of blond hair dye. Put more simply, the ensuing reaction was beyond absurd.
But before we continue, let me clearly state that the citizen who made that report did exactly the right thing. It was odd that they drove to the police station instead of calling 911 (I confirmed that with Tri-Com), but law enforcement had to react exactly as they did. Every last millimeter of that building had to be searched – with dogs – to ensure the safety of those students.
So, when I talk about folks running around in circles while shrieking “the sky is falling,” it’s the generally indiscriminate social media rabble to whom I’m referring. Because anyone with half a brain knew there was no BHS shooter. Here’s why:
1. If you’re gonna shoot up a school, arriving 1.5 hours before the bell rings would be a very strange choice.
2. If you’re gonna hide in the school to lay in wait for the students to arrive, then you’re not going to meander into a building containing innumerable security cameras with a visible rifle. You’d somehow hide it.
3. If someone does walk into a school with a visible weapon, the shooting starts right away, as has been the case in virtually every past incident.
4. Could the potential shooter have had one target in mind, as one individual posited? No! Because walking through a camera laden school with a rifle in an effort to hide somewhere to pick off one person wouldn’t work out very well.
5. And no! You shouldn’t send your children to school under these circumstances because, even if there is no shooter, the police aren’t going to let anyone into the building until it’s been cleared. So, there’s no need to ask that question.
I know it seems illogical to say there’s a logic to school shootings, but there always is. Review each one and you’ll quickly see the similarities. And if we apply that kind of experiential critical thinking, we may actually be able prevent history from repeating itself.
But no! Instead of applying just five percent of your brain cells, most of y’all would rather shriek, howl, sow the seeds of all sorts of needless fear, and make the situation far worse for the authorities who had to effectively contend with it. I’m sure the Batavia Police and D101 were besieged with unnecessary calls at a time when they were trying to deal with a very delicate situation.
Though school shootings clearly occur and the requisite precautions must be taken, they are so rare, the odds of your child – or anyone – dying in any mass shooting (not just at school) are a slim .0012 percent. To put that in perspective, you have a greater chance of getting hit by lightning 28 times over the course of your lifetime.
This conservative theory that we’re so bleeping important that everyone and everything is out to get us has got to go, because it’s driving most of you completely nuts – and that wasn’t a very long trip to begin with!
But the biggest Monday irony was, when my no shooter theory proved to be true, the attacks on yours truly actually increased, because none of y’all can conceive of the possibility that you might have overreacted to something.
C’mon people! Part of the successful critical thinking process is being able to admit when you’re wrong. That’s how we learn. And it’s much easier when you finally realize that you’re not nearly the most important person on the planet. But no! Instead, to requote Mr. Petty, “You believe what you want to believe.”
All it took was a minimum of applied logic to deduce there was no shooter. And if we don’t regularly start applying critical thinking soon, it’s gonna get real ugly real soon.
So, let the attacks on me commence!