People can and should take threats to schools very seriously. After all, they’re a prime target for the monsters that walk among us. We’ve seen that all too often, at places whose names are burned into our memories like Columbine, Parkland, Uvalde, and far too many others.
Yet there’s also a certain degree of paranoia that exists in our places of education, one that goes well beyond reasonable precautions and crosses that line into absolute hysterics.
A prime example of this happened in California last week. It seems someone left–**gasp!**–an empty bag in a classroom.
California Area High School in Washington County was put on lockdown Wednesday after an AR-15 round bag was found in a classroom.
The district said a teacher noticed the bag on her classroom floor. There was no magazine, ammunition or gun inside the bag.
California Borough Police were called and the high school was put on lockdown. The district said all lockers were checked by administrators and nothing additional was found.
“We take all real and potential threats seriously,” California Area School District Superintendent Dr. Laura Jacob said in a letter to parents.
Now, the student who brought the bag to school came forward. He said there was no threat and he wasn’t trying to scare anyone.
Of course, it’s difficult to know what they mean by “an AR-15 round bag” that the article describes. Other sources have called it an “AR-15 magazine bag” which isn’t a whole lot clearer. So far, I haven’t seen any photographs of this bag and we’ve had more than a few days since this event happened on Wednesday for them to surface.
But what we do know is that the bag was empty. There was nothing in it, and unless there were compartments that would only hold magazines, there are a ton of other applications for such a bag. Like, you know, carrying stuff.
See, what happens is that a lot of kids who grow up around guns and gun stuff see stuff like that and think it’s useful. Maybe Dad replaces a bag and gives it to his kid when he gets a newer one. The kid then uses this cool bag to carry non-firearm stuff because it’s cool.
Seriously, that’s how I got my first holster. My dad just gave me his old one. I didn’t even own a handgun and could barely have held one, but it handled my cap pistol (that looked like a nickel-plated 1911, for those who might be curious) just fine.
Anyway, the kid brings a bag to school that contained absolutely nothing threatening and the school absolutely freaked out about it. That’s the kind of paranoia I’m talking about.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Exercising a bit of caution for the next little bit might not have been a terrible idea. But AR-15s aren’t exactly concealed weapons. If the bag was carrying magazines, then the kid would have also had to bring in a rifle that’s not exactly easy to hide.
Without that, there wasn’t a threat.
The issue, though, is schools are supposed to be places where our youth are educated, but they’re apparently being run by idiots in some places. An empty bag is not a threat. It’s never been a threat and it’s never going to be a threat.
Yet they basically shut down school for the day with their lockdown because of just that, an empty bag.
Realistic precautions make sense. Alerting officials after seeing something that raises suspicion makes sense. Freaking out and disrupting everyone’s schedules over an empty bag doesn’t. It’s never going to.
At some point, we’ve got to get in people’s faces over this flavor of stupidity and adjust their attitudes on things that might be peripheral to firearms but aren’t actually guns.