Some guy in Tea exercises his Second Amendment right to stroll down the street with his shootin' iron. The tip line goes crazy, the school district goes into lockdown, the police "sweep through all three schools... and look for anything suspicious" before someone figures out the guy (the suspect, the threat, the potential terrorist?) was just one of thousands of God-fearing, camo-and-ammo-wearing South Dakotans getting ready for hunting season.
And not one news outlet mentions the phrase "false alarm." KELO celebrates this exercise in warrantless searches as "Practice in Lockdown Policy." Superintendent Jerry Schutz says the unnecessary disruption and panic for parents made him feel even more comfortable about Tea's wonderful security policies. Declaring mini-martial law when not a single law has been broken is apparently so fun, the school continued to limit access to the building even after the lockdown.
I am able to find one commentator, USD student Chris May, who sees something other than a fruitful exercise in school safety here. He's troubled by the media and the culture of fear:
What I find troubling is that is that a man was seen with a gun and instantly everyone is scared. What has the media done to us? Seriously!? I remember stories from my dad about how they could keep guns locked in their vehicles. Has the biased, reactive, media made society think this negatively about a man simply carying a gun near his house? Moreover, to think so negatively about it that not only was the closest school put on lock down but also the remaining schools in town? Did the events of Columbine, Virginia Tech, and other school shootings and the lack of recognition of all of the days without school shootings make our reaction this severe?...
As a society we are accustomed to reacting to, mainly, the bad events without giving much notice to the good events. When we mold into this reactionary behavior we begin to impose more rules and proceedures for the sake of an "unreasonable sense of insecurity." I hope when I have kids and send them off to school that a whole city doesn't get shut down because I happen to have my garage door open and a gun visisble [Chris May, "The Power of Media," IdEA 310 Chris May's Class Blog, 2009.09.25].
Indeed, when I went to class at DSU Wednesday, I parked behind a truck with two guns in the rack. No campus lockdown that day.
If I put on my wingnut shoes (I do keep a pair around), I could see in Tea's "security measures" fascism unbridled—children locked in, parents locked out, police on full alert conducting warrantless searches, and everyone smiling and saying, "Great work, team!" when it turns out there was no reason to conduct those actions in the first place. I would think such actions would constitute a greater, more concrete threat to liberty than anything passed in Washington during the last eight months.
The conservatives around Sioux Falls (including some legislators?! I so want names) will line up to tremble before Orly Taitz's delusions of a fake birth certificate. But they ignore a police lockdown triggered by one man's lawful behavior.
What am I missing here?