Jogger Causes Lockdown at School

Hi Readers — Another day, another dose of wacky overreaction. Luckily, this one comes pre-analyzed by a reader named Kim, who describes herself as the “mom of a 5-year-old girl who is determined to raise her to be even more Free-Range and self-confident than I was as a kid.” A noble goal — and, as you’ll see — a lovely write up of a ridiculous event. – L.

Dear Free-Range Kids: I  was going to mention this article in a brief comment in response to your post about the grandfather who was falsely reported as a pedophile, but the further I read, the more I realized that there was just too much to speak on in just a few lines.  So I’m sending you this link so you can read it for yourself:

Jogger Causes Lockdown at School in Franconia

I won’t rehash the article here, but I do want to point out a few things that bothered me about the story:

  • This is southeastern PA, and it is the middle of January.  News flash, people…it’s cold outside!  The guy was wearing a sweatshirt when he went out for a jog.  Kudos to him for exercising!  (I’ll bet he won’t be jogging by the school again anytime soon, though.)
  • Now, if the sweatshirt was one of those hoodie/zip-up mask kinds, I can understand that it might look a little freaky to a kid, but still…a third grader in our church’s Sunday School was wearing one last weekend too, and he kept zipping it up over his face.  No one, as far as I’m aware, reported his presence to the police.
  • The guy was JOGGING by the school, not lurking in the woods for their entire recess period, potentially scoping out victims.  And he didn’t actually have a gun in the first place.  Says the local police chief, “We are not sure where [the children] came up with the idea of a man carrying a gun.”  Ummm…perhaps from 1) their active imaginations or 2) from hearing the adults around them constantly talking about how dangerous the world is, even in the boring old ‘burbs?
  • “…parents, teachers and administrators of Souderton Area School District live with the notion daily that something tragic could happen in the district.”  Yeah.  Or something tragic could NOT happen in the district, just like it didn’t happen on the day in question.
  • Seriously…six or seven different police and fire departments, including ambulances, EMS teams, and K9 units were called out, surrounding neighborhoods were searched, the school was put on lockdown, and everyone just shrugs it off as an unplanned practice drill?  Am I the only one who thinks this kind of response might have been just a teensy bit excessive?  They hadn’t reported a crime in progress, after all, just a potentially suspicious looking person in the vicinity.

I could rant on and on, but I’m sure you can do a better job of pointing out the same things that are bothering me about it. – Kim

Lenore here: No, actually, your rant pretty much covers everything that my internal rantometer was pinging on, so thank youfor our daily sanity check!

Aghhhhh!!!! Call the cops!  

77 Responses to Jogger Causes Lockdown at School

  1. Steve January 16, 2013 at 9:27 am #

    The link to the article seems to be broken.

  2. Steve January 16, 2013 at 9:28 am #

    NEvermind, it’s fixed now

  3. Nanci January 16, 2013 at 9:36 am #

    My first thought is that some smart kids will figure out this is a good way to get out of school. Big test you didn’t study for in the afternoon, say you see someone suspicious “with a gun” out the window. Lockdown for the rest of the day = no test! I find it disturbing that they were praising the kids for reporting this and saying they did the right thing. They are reinforcing to the kids that it may not of been a bad guy this time but they’re out there so stay alert and keep looking for them and report anyone you see. They are not teaching the kids to use common sense, but to fear everyone, everyone is a potential threat.

  4. Jenna K. January 16, 2013 at 9:40 am #

    We have had similar happen here more than once in the last couple of years. Cops and firemen called on and schools put on lockdown due to “suspicious” persons, who all turn out to be some passerby. I guess now a black hooded sweatshirt is something you shouldn’t wear when in the vicinity of a school. I’ll have to let my husband know, as all of his hoodies are black.

    On a light note, I know we’ve talked about fingerprinting for volunteering at school and I’m pleased to report that my husband is volunteering to teach six Fridays in a row a business development course to the elementary school kids and he didn’t have to get fingerprinted.

  5. Lisa January 16, 2013 at 9:44 am #

    Hrmm…after reading the article, I’m not sure I agree with this post (and I usually do agree with just about everything on the blog, so I’m not being a troll here!).

    Three (not just one) kids saw someone they thought had a gun on or near school property. How they came to that conclusion might be questionable (like you said, it might be because it’s all they hear about right now), but once they report it, the teachers HAVE TO take it seriously and report it. Nowhere in the article does it say that they reported it because the guy was wearing a sweatshirt or covering his face – they reported it because the kids thought they saw a gun. I don’t think that’s overreaction.

    How the police then reacted, with a lockdown and search of the neighborhood, *might* have been excessive, but you really can’t tell from what you see in this article. Sounds to me like they talked to the guy (how lucky he left his sweatshirt outside), figured out there wasn’t a threat, and cleared things up as soon as they could.

    Some kids saw something they thought was dangerous, reported it to adults they trust (isn’t that what we want them to do??), and the adults acted accordingly, based on the very rare but still possible threat, using the information the kids gave them. But the kids were mistaken. THAT’S ALL. I don’t think you have to turn it into anything more than that.

    Just as not every adult is a predator, and not every free range situation is going to equal death to our children, not every adult reaction to a perceived threat is an affront to a better free range society. I’m in vehement agreement with you on the crazy no-tailgating policies and helicopter parenting and the need to build more trusting communities, but I just don’t see where this particular situation was a gross overreaction.

  6. Selby January 16, 2013 at 9:50 am #

    Nanci, I agree! I was thinking that if schools keep up all the lavish praise and high-fives for the kids who reported this non-existent threat, there’s going to start to be competition on who can throw the place into the biggest lockdown.
    “Mine brought in six cop cars.”
    “I got the SWAT team here!”
    “Yeah, well I got the cops, SWAT and a helicopter!”

  7. m January 16, 2013 at 10:07 am #

    This is the part I find disturbing:

    “six or seven different police and fire departments, including ambulances, EMS teams, and K9 units were called out, surrounding neighborhoods were searched, the school was put on lockdown,”

    Once an overreaction starts, we all pay for it. We pay for the time, energy, gas, and resources used to cover a non-event, and we pay for it again when a real emergency, or three, are having somewhere else in town, and the police, fire department, and ambulances are all tied up elsewhere.

  8. m January 16, 2013 at 10:14 am #

    Also, we are all aware of “copycat” crimes. It’s not just adults. The kids in every school in the area now know they can disrupt an entire school simply by reporting anything suspicious. And with schools completely over-sensitive to reports like this, anything can be seen as suspicious. Including a bundled up staff member on a cold day, a father picking up their kids, or apparently anyone walking, driving, or riding past a school.

  9. Cyn January 16, 2013 at 10:32 am #

    Not trying to excuse the overreaction, but maybe… just maybe it was a “good” thing? It shows that this town is capable of organizing its resources in a hurry and sending them to the site of an emergency quickly. Not all areas are as prepared for a crisis (natural, manmade, or even just imagined).

  10. Marcy T January 16, 2013 at 10:49 am #

    I find myself agreeing with Lisa upon reading the article. The kids reported seeing a guy in a mask running along the tree line with a gun. With that information and the state of gun culture in the US, I can understand a lock-down. I wonder how adamant the kids were that there was a gun. Were they asked leading questions? I agree it sounds like a gross overreaction on the part of emergency services. I can see that everyone would want to follow the book and “better safe than sorry” along with the strong possibility of wanting to be there to help or even be the hero of the day. I’m hoping in their evaluation of the days events they will realize that it was too much and design a better response protocol.

  11. Alecta January 16, 2013 at 11:15 am #

    Oh man, this is a school in the district I went to! Someone I know works there and told me that not only did they lock down the school, they locked down nearby schools too. There was a fire drill in the school at the same time as the lockdown and they had to call the administrators to see if they could evacuate (because a second shooter in the school could have pulled the alarm to get the kids out to shoot them).

  12. Kelly January 16, 2013 at 11:20 am #

    Maybe this would make a good case for having security camera’s around the school that just track for a 2 hour loop or so. Then they could review the footage and see that it’s not a threat.

    I’m sure they’d probably call anyway because no one wants to be the one who underestimates a problem that turns out to be real. (i.e. September 11th where they probably get info about things like that multiple times a day but get creamed if they turn out to ignore one that’s real. Overreacting is safer to your image.)

  13. Lisa January 16, 2013 at 11:43 am #

    I agree that the disturbing part is : “six or seven different police and fire departments, including ambulances, EMS teams, and K9 units were called out, surrounding neighborhoods were searched, the school was put on lockdown,”

    I think kids *should* report anything they see as concerning to a trusted adult (I also think these particular kids could use a conversation about what exactly they saw that seemed concerning, because it clearly wasn’t a gun). I would like to see the adults then use some discretion and common sense in deciding what requires action, but I wouldn’t want to think kids aren’t being taken seriously either. However, when the report was made, the police could have sent ONE officer in a car to talk to the man, and THEN determined whether further response was needed. Yes, that’s right – if they wanted to know what someone was up to, ASKING would be a reasonable first step. Better yet, since all the guy had done was jog by the school, an administrator could have gone out and checked in, or could have simply watched as he jogged out of the area. Actually, from the sounds of thing he was already gone (and home, having removed his black sweatshirt) by the time the police arrived… leading me to believe that there was really no issue at all. My daughter’s elementary school is across the street from a public park (not to mention having public sidewalks around it) – should people be afraid of getting reported to the police for simply walking/jogging in the area?

  14. Lollipoplover January 16, 2013 at 11:53 am #

    “Once an overreaction starts, we all pay for it. We pay for the time, energy, gas, and resources used to cover a non-event, and we pay for it again when a real emergency, or three, are having somewhere else in town, and the police, fire department, and ambulances are all tied up elsewhere.”

    Souderton school district is not far from Upper Dublin, which is the school district that had the lockdown for an umbrella shortly after Sandy Hook. Clearly, fear spreads.

  15. Warren January 16, 2013 at 12:07 pm #

    Kneejerk reactions, over the top security changes, locked doors, cameras, and on and on.

    It is only going to get worse, until our children are in lockdown all day long, on the off chance something happens.

    Penn. has already stated they are putting armed guards in the schools, and Utah sent teachers for gun handling training.


  16. Donna January 16, 2013 at 12:08 pm #

    @Lisa – Yes, three kids reported. But the article doesn’t say three kids SEPARATELY reported it which means that most likely three kids playing together convinced each other that there was a gun. That is in essence one kid reporting it.

    I’m not going to fault the school but I will the culture in the US that has kids even looking for guns in joggers passing by the school. And which has kids seeing make believe guns in passerbys.

  17. delurking January 16, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

    Let’s summarize the article (not the post):

    1: Three children report seeing a man with a gun and mask near the treeline.
    2: School goes on lockdown and police are called.
    3: 1 hour and 30 minutes later, police were pretty sure that there was no gun; all clear was given by police 1 hour and 50 minutes later.

    Now as to the “6 or 7 different police and fire departments..” thing: That is because they are looking for a person in the woods, and dogs are helpful for that. Since small-town police departments don’t keep lots of dogs (they might each have one), on the rare occasions when they need to search with dogs, the dogs and handlers of a few different departments participate.

    Also, I suspect that the Fire/EMS assistance amounted to: “OK, we are on standby if you need us.”

    Seriously, if this upsets you, what do you think is the appropriate response if three children report a guy with a mask and gun in the treeline near a school?

    Lisa (11:43), if three children report a guy with a gun by the woods, you think an administrator should be required to walk into the woods to investigate before calling the police?

  18. Lollipoplover January 16, 2013 at 12:59 pm #

    @delurking- What is happening is we are seeing school lockdowns for every blessed event. Should kids report suspicous activity? Absolutely. Should we automatically assume an attacker with guns is going to kill us as a result? NO.

    The week after Sandy Hook my niece told me her school was in lockdown. A neighbor of the school reported suspicous activity outside. The shades were pulled down and the kids had to crouch down in their classrooms.
    What was the suspicous activity?
    The janitor was taking the trash out.

    I hope we carefully think through how many times we hit the “Panic” button regarding schools. The better safe than sorry reasoning only goes so far when we let fear dictate how we teach our chldren.

  19. delurking January 16, 2013 at 1:06 pm #

    OK, Lollipoplover, try answering the specific question.
    Three kids report a guy with a gun at the edge of the woods near the school. What should be done?

  20. Lollipoplover January 16, 2013 at 1:20 pm #

    &#feff;Johnson said the parents, teachers and administrators of Souderton Area School District live with the notion daily that something tragic could happen in the district.

    “We worry about buses and transportation every day. We make our plans, but one of the things is, we are always aware that something like this could happen,” he said, referencing incidents like Sandy Hook. “We have to set that aside so we can function, but it never ever leasve our mind that something like this could occur.”

  21. Lollipoplover January 16, 2013 at 1:26 pm #

    I don’t understand how we are living in such paranoia that we expect (like the quote for the article, that I posted too soon) a Sandy Hook to occur on a DAILY basis.
    Of course they should investigate. There was no shooter or anyone with a gun. Why didn’t it stop there?

    They actually tracked it down to a smelly running jacket to find this runner. I run daily and sometimes wear a beenie hat with my hood up. It’s cold in Pennsylvaina- this is normal running gear. Why are they praising the boys who cried wolf?!

  22. LRH January 16, 2013 at 1:30 pm #

    Oh yes, people are really on-edge excessively for something like this to happen. This was a massive overreaction. Even if, and I stress IF, a call to the police was warranted because the children THOUGHT they saw someone with a gun, then there should’ve been, after the mess cleared up, a talk regarding using better judgment and not inducing panic over what was nothing.

    To wit: there is a responsibility for using discernment & judgment before you go around making such accusations, and “it’s better to be safe than sorry” isn’t always the answer. People don’t like being falsely accused, you can ruin someone’s reputation over nothing, and it wastes resources–and that is a relevant point also. Moreover, it creates an atmosphere of uneasiness, nervousness, jumpiness, all of which are counterproductive towards being able to actually learn in a classroom.

    Also, it can make one not believe someone when there that person yells “man with a gun” or whatever even when there actually IS something to what they’re saying, because of the misunderstandings from before. Anyone remember “The Boy Who Cried Wolf?” The blame wasn’t assigned to the persons who didn’t believe the boy, but to the boy on account of all the prior occasions when he cried “wolf” and there was none. True, that was something he did maliciously not as a well-meant misunderstanding, but the same effect can occur from it.

    If 3 kids did think they saw a man with a gun, then calling the police was probably the thing to do, and not because of Sandy Hook, but just because period. Again, though, once it was determined that such was not the case, people needed to calm down, relax, go about their day, and yes the children, while you don’t want to discourage them from feeling free to report any suspicious activity, do need to be enlightened on how they need to use better judgment in the future because of the problems that can come from false alarms. After awhile, people get tired of the false alarms & switch them off, or tune them out, and they’re not wrong for doing so.


  23. Suzanne January 16, 2013 at 1:35 pm #

    I think what should be done is for an adult to look where the kids are gesturing, does an adult see a man jogging? yes. Does this person appear to pose a threat? no. Ok let’s move on. Is the jogger out of sight now? Ask the child to describe what he saw, does it sound like a gun being described? The appropriate response would be to take the children seriously and then ask questios to clarify what they are describing. It sounds like the adults in this situation jumped on the kid’s assumption and ran crazy with it. Here is another option. Look around do you see anything suspicious now? If the adult was not able to confirm that a threat was present then the best option would have been to reassure the children that all is well and than them for bringing their concerns to your attention.

  24. Lisa January 16, 2013 at 1:39 pm #

    @delurking, the first thing IMO should be asking the kids exactly what they saw. Clearly, these kids didn’t see a gun (it has been established that the man did not have one). What did they really see? It *sounds* like they saw a man in a black hooded sweatshirt passing by (not lurking). I believe that the correct response in that case is to do NOTHING.

    If they saw someone with something that looked like a gun (perhaps a toy gun? I don’t know what else one could perceive to be a gun) and couldn’t tell if it was real, I could see locking the front door to the school and an administrator checking outside. Not searching for a man in the woods, which would obviously be a job for police… but checking if, for example, there was a person at the door trying to gain entry. If the man (having been seen by kids who saw something looking like a gun) tried to get into the school, by all means call the police. If he just jogged by, why is any action needed?

    I hope parents are talking to their kids tonight about controlling overactive imaginations, and not accusing people unless they have a reasonable expectation that they are correct. I hope administrators are considering whether there should be adult verification of something before calling the police (not investigating, but looking to see if in fact there IS someone lurking. Kids say there is, adult looks out the window or door (or perhaps there is an adult supervising on the playground? The article said they reported it immediately to teachers – could one of those teachers not have looked up, seen that there was noone there, and moved on with their day?) If noone else saw this guy, or if he did indeed pass by, why the over-the-top reaction?

  25. delurking January 16, 2013 at 1:50 pm #

    Re: Lollipoplover:
    “There was no shooter or anyone with a gun. Why didn’t it stop there?”

    It did stop there. When they found a guy who had run by the school wearing a black sweatshirt, it stopped. Perhaps you have no idea how long it takes to search an area for a hidden person; it is clear from the article that the search was stopped because the person matching the description was found.

    Re LRH. A massive overreaction? OK, what should the reaction have been?

    Once it was determined that there was no danger, which took all of 1 hour and 50 minutes (including travel time, search, and interview), people went about their days.

  26. marie January 16, 2013 at 1:50 pm #

    Three kids report a guy with a gun at the edge of the woods near the school. What should be done?

    I would hope someone would evaluate the report by asking: Is it illegal to carry a gun or to be at the edge of the woods near the school? Where I live, open carry is not illegal. Being near the woods is certainly not illegal. Not even if kids imagine you are a bad guy.

    Perhaps the principal could have stationed someone at the doors of the school just to make sure the guy was up to no good but calling the cops because someone LOOKS suspicious?? A guy who was last seen running away from the school? A simple, “Thanks, kids, we’ll keep an eye open for that guy” would have worked.

    It shows that this town is capable of organizing its resources in a hurry and sending them to the site of an emergency quickly.

    What emergency? When armed cops converge on a location full of kids, the potential for misunderstandings and accidental shootings skyrockets. Especially when there are multiple agencies involved, the probability for miscommunication is quite high.

  27. marie January 16, 2013 at 1:52 pm #

    From the article:
    …police found a black sweatshirt hanging on a shrubbery outside a home.

    Did any other Monty Python fans chuckle at “a shrubbery”?

    Plus, who hangs their sweatshirts outside on a shrub?

  28. Lisa January 16, 2013 at 1:57 pm #

    @Suzanne, you put that much better than I could; thank you.

  29. delurking January 16, 2013 at 2:10 pm #

    You shouldn’t have to wait for a crime to be committed before calling the police, and the police shouldn’t wait for the law to be broken before investigating somethings that looks suspicious.

    So, you seem to think the lockdown was reasonable, since you think putting all of the children inside and people at the doors was the right thing to do. Furthermore, from the article: “three fourth-grade students on the school’s playground reported seeing a man in a black sweater and black-hooded mask with a gun along a nearby tree line.” Where did you see that he was last seen running away from the school?

    As to “what emergency”: It is clear that the cyn is referring to a future emergency. This was not an emergency, but they reacted well so he has more confidence that they will be able to react well in the case of a real emergency.

    It looks to me that you are grasping for things to criticize.

  30. delurking January 16, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

    Suzanne, Lisa;
    You have evidence that the adults ran crazy with kids’ assumptions? The most plausible reading, absent more information than is in the article, is that three children (~ 10 years old) reported seeing a man dressed in black with a gun and a mask near a tree line, and that the teacher did not see him. I am rather surprised you think the appropriate response is to ignore it.

    And all of you saying the children should be admonished for making a false report are nuts. These sorts of events are rare, there is no rash of false reports.

  31. Joel January 16, 2013 at 2:51 pm #

    * a pounding on the door like someone is trying to break in *
    Man opens door to find 20 men in black body armor all with assault rifles pointed at him plus an APC with a .50 cal , he’s grabbed dragged out thrown on the ground beat into a coma all the while they are screaming stop resisting arrest. Then claim to news the guy was the jogger and was cooperative, inspite of leaving the guy brain damaged the DA claims it was policy and procedure.

    That’s possibly close to what happened when the found the guy.

  32. Havva January 16, 2013 at 3:00 pm #

    A few thoughts come to mind.
    1) I can sort of see the school’s desire to react since multiple kids reported seeing a man with a gun. However, as I see with my daughter daily. You can’t solve anything if you are frantic. It’s bad enough how easily she gets frantic, last thing I need is adults demonstrating frantic reactions and calling it ‘appropriate.’ Which brings me to thought 2…

    2) There are, and should be a range of ways to respond to a threat. I thinks others have covered pretty well the range of responses, and how to gauge the threat level.

    FYI the high school I attended had two students injured by a pipe bomb detonating. They didn’t feel the need to call out every resource available. We got one ambulance, 2 sheriffs, and students were told a lie that “the rumors are false.” No one ever made bomb threats before or after.

    3) My husband’s school had bomb threats made against it almost monthly. Which they responded to each time by confining all the students in the gym. (He figured the frequent threats were from students trying to get out of tests.) Also for anyone who has seen the movie “Heathers,” you know which “what if” I can imagine for them.

    4) Of course I know better than to dwell on “What ifs” because I can make anything dangerous if I try, and these ‘dangers’ are more likely to drive me crazy, than to actually happen. I was just reading about a teacher suing a school on ADA grounds because she has a phobia of younger children and her district moved her to a middle school. In the article a psychologist, Patrick McGrath, “said most phobias begin with people asking themselves, “What if?” and then imagining the worst-case scenario.”

    So Lenore, looks like the director of the Center for Anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorders near Chicago, can confirm that worst-first thinking is in-fact a way to go crazy.

  33. Hineata January 16, 2013 at 3:16 pm #

    @marie – I wondered that too, about whether it was actually illegal to be carrying a gun in that area, whether the jogger had one or not – which he apparently didn’t anyway…

    Maybe it’s because I’m a teacher, or maybe it’s because I’m from Down Under (or On Top, depending on which map you look at!) and am therefore chronically naive, but personally I would have been questioning the kids for some time before I took any action. Kids have the wildest imaginations. I went out for lunch one day last year, and while I was gone a few kids from the intermediate which backs on to our school climbed the fence (into our school) and refused to go back. These particular kids being known to the police, and it being illegal these days to just up and throw them back over said fence, the cops were called to dispense a little ‘legal advice’ to the wee darlings, who predictably buggered off before they arrived.

    By the time I got back in the school gate (the single community police car having gone by then), kids were telling me that a/armed gunmen had stormed the field, b/someone had been kidnapped and killed, (one story being it was a little girl, and the kids had definitely seen her lying there dead)
    and/or c/one of the teachers had been seriously hurt by the aforesaid crazed gunman.

    I know it’s the ‘done thing’ to take kids seriously these days, but I don’t think it’s always such a good thing…..

  34. missjanenc January 16, 2013 at 3:19 pm #

    @delurking… what is the definition of suspicion in these cases? Some might think in these cases it’s more like paranoia. Remember the Salem Witch Trials.

  35. Heath January 16, 2013 at 3:24 pm #

    You know what’s funny is that I was jogging the other day, and my route took me by an elementary school. Some classes were already outside for recess. I noticed a Fire Chief truck (the pickup kind) driving toward me and slowing down. When he got near me, he was just staring at me. At first, I was like, “WTF is this guy staring at?” And then I realized he was checking to see if I was some kind of threat (or at least that’s what I took from it). Granted, I was wearing black shorts and a black t-shirt (it’s still warm here). But I thought it was funny/sad, because this town has almost no crime, whatsoever.

  36. Pee January 16, 2013 at 3:24 pm #

    If no staff could see the person, it seems the school should be to separate the kids and get each ones story and description of the person and the gun then determine if there was a person and if there was a gun. It’s something that can be done very quickly, just a few minutes. Then proceeded with the police if necessary.

  37. LRH January 16, 2013 at 3:29 pm #

    delurking I think the point being made here is that it’s sort of a ridiculous thing that someone does nothing more than dare to jog in their neighborhood & is mistaken as a would-be school shooting participant. Needless to say no one here is advocating that we ignore everything, but when it gets to the point that these sorts of false alarms occur, it is getting overboard. False alarms can happen in any culture & in any era, I am pretty sure, but it is our assertion that they are occurring more & more since Sandy Hook. Further, in the past few years (althoug no one has pinpointed what constitutes “past few years” in a more precise numerical representation of things), even prior to Sandy Hook, schools have been getting quite a bit more nuts themselves. When a child who is deaf & has the name “Hunter” can’t sign-language his name because the sign for his name looks like a gun & people think he’s threatening others, that’s an overboard reaction. The examples have been cited here & are numerous.

    No one is saying that there should have been no reaction at all to what the children saw, others here have outlined what they think a more reasonable response could’ve been. The point I’m making, and I think is perhaps the point of this article–a person ought to be able to jog in their own neighborhood & not be subject to harassment that seems to be based on people being over-the-top in their reactions & level of nervousness since Sandy Hook & being fearful and reactive in a way that goes beyond normal & healthy vigilence (obviously vigilence is a GOOD thing) and seems to be becoming a bit more than that. Not everyone is going to be as understanding as that jogger was, you know, “well in this day & age you have to check things out, I understand.” You get people who, much like Henry Louis Gates, kind of what to receive an apology and to subsequently be left alone once it’s been established that they’re not the bad guy.


  38. Yan Seiner January 16, 2013 at 3:34 pm #

    Well, if you tell a kid that every stranger is out to kill them, then tell them to be extra careful and fill them full of scare tales about strangers carrying guns and to report every stranger you see, it is any wonder that the kids saw a man with a gun?

    It could have been grandma pushing a stroller, and the kids would have been convinced that she had a Thompson submachine gun in the stroller.

    People will see what you tell them to expect to see. Tell kids to be on the lookout for a stranger with a gun and they will find one. Give a dog a treat every time they find something, and pretty soon the dog will be finding “something” when he wants a treat, not when he actually finds it.

  39. Heath January 16, 2013 at 3:50 pm #

    ^^^ Excellent point, Yan!

  40. Steve January 16, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

    Worst First Thinking is being taught by our schools, so what else can we expect?

    Many school still won’t allow students to walk to school because it’s toooooo Daannngerous!!!

    These over-reactions are only the beginning. We are almost THERE. Program everyone with negative “What-if-thinking and the nation will be paralyzed.

    But don’t you dare take the psych medications away from the students and their teachers — Oh, No! Those only “cause” irritability, agitation, aggression, violent thoughts, and thoughts of suicide. Let’s remain blind to the meds as a primary cause of school shootings.

    Interestingly, Walter Williams just wrote an article at, that begins like this:

    “When I attended primary and secondary school — during the 1940s and ’50s — one didn’t hear of the kind of shooting mayhem that’s become routine today. Why? It surely wasn’t because of strict firearm laws. My replica of the 1902 Sears mail-order catalog shows 35 pages of firearm advertisements. People just sent in their money, and a firearm was shipped.

    “Dr. John Lott, author of “More Guns, Less Crime,” reports that until the 1960s, some New York City public high schools had shooting clubs…”

    …and he says a lot more.

    and then there’s this one,

    Psych meds linked to 90% of school shootings

  41. Warren January 16, 2013 at 3:55 pm #


    I have no problem with the school calling the police, as long as they did not exagerate the report.

    I spoke with a couple of cops I know, and they said the appropriate response would have been to send two cars, on out front, one out back to investigate and evaluate.

    To me that seems the better approach, rather than turn the area into a war zone.

  42. Donald January 16, 2013 at 4:44 pm #

    I have a feeling that it’s going to get worse before it gets better. When people live in the fear hysteria, they see things that aren’t there.

    ”We are not sure where [the children] came up with the idea of a man carrying a gun.”

    It will take a few more incidents like this before the general public understands that the fear hysteria itself is MORE harmful

  43. Lollipoplover January 16, 2013 at 4:55 pm #

    Donald, I can guess where these kids came up with the idea of a man with a gun:
    Play any video game with a villian/terrorist that involves shooting.
    The bad guys usually wear hats or masks.
    Tell kids that bad guys are out to get them while they are at school and that schools need to be protected with armed guards.
    Don’t be surprised when their imaginations run wild and the innocent jogger turns into an armed gunman.

  44. Jenne January 16, 2013 at 4:56 pm #

    There *is* a federal law, which 2nd amendment enthusaists complain about, that has restrictions on whether you can carry a gun within x hundred feet of a school.

    There are two things at play here: a few kids freaking out (for real or as a gag) probably riled up the entire recess group– that’s been going on for as long as there’s been public schools– and something more drastic than 2 cop cars was probably necessary to call the kids down at this point in news history.

    Then there’s– let’s call it “Alice’s Restaurant Syndrome”– “I want tell you about the town of Stockbridge, Massachusetts, where this happened here, they got three stop signs, two police officers, and one police car, but when we got to the Scene of the Crime there was five police officers and three police cars, being the biggest crime of the last fifty years, and everybody wanted to get in the newspaper story about it. And they was using up all kinds of cop equipment that they had hanging around the police officer’s station.”

    There’s one other problem here, and it’s pretty clear and not much to do with kids. The emergency training (such as Citizen Emergency Response Training) put out by Homeland Security does in fact use a Chechnya-style school occupation as one scenario. (How do I know? I just had CERT training and I’ve talked to Emergency Responders who worry about this.) When you have a report on the emergency radio of a guy with a gun at a school, responders are going to think of that. Dispatcher calls for police over police radio for a possible armed person at the school, anyone who has a police radio is going to be upset and worried. The lockdown is just as much for their emotional safety as that of the kids.

  45. Jenne January 16, 2013 at 4:59 pm #

    P.S. Steve– there’s also been some pushback on the More Guns Less Crime thesis, as in this analysis:
    Ayers & Donahue, “Shooting Down the ‘More Guns, Less Crime’ Hypothesis” —

    Not taking sides, just pointing out that there’s always 2 sides to every story.

  46. Jenny Islander January 16, 2013 at 5:03 pm #

    A rep from Anchorage introduced a “concealed carry for teachers” bill. It’s on the front page of my local paper. Local teachers point out, quite logically, that we already have people authorized to carry firearms on school property and exhaustively trained in how not to cause more trouble than they could possibly prevent. They’re called “police.” The school cop has such a good relationship with the kids that they picked him as one of the judges in last week’s talent show.

    The article also related a piece of info that makes me less nervous about hoo-uh semiautomatic fetishism taking over the local culture. One of the school extracurriculars out in the villages* is target shooting. There’s no reason why the old target shooting program couldn’t be restarted here in town* as well.

    *Alaskan English. Village = small, typically isolated, generally old, mostly Alaska Native. Town = “that place with the public buildings and stores,” no matter how small; also, a larger, younger, typically less Native community than a village, often with an airport that can accommodate small passenger jets.

  47. Matt in GA January 16, 2013 at 5:43 pm #

    At least this story gives me another opportunity to post about the middle school in Arizona that went on lockdown because of a large burrito:

    My all-time favorite stupid lockdown story! The burrito never gets old.

  48. CrazyCatLady January 16, 2013 at 8:01 pm #

    I like to jog. I sometimes wear sweats. With hoods every once in a while. I live in an area that gets cold – below freezing. I have teeth that are sensitive to the cold (thanks dentist for filing them down instead of the crowns!) So I wear a fleece mask if it is cold. I bet the guy was listening to music while he was running – that is what they were seeing in his hand – some device that usually goes in a pocket that the sweats don’t have.

    Makes me want to go running, in a hoody, near a school. See what happens to a woman running during school hours.

  49. Steve January 16, 2013 at 9:43 pm #

    Jenne, Said:

    P.S. Steve– there’s also been some pushback on the More Guns Less Crime thesis, as in this analysis:
    Ayers & Donahue, “Shooting Down the ‘More Guns, Less Crime’ Hypothesis” —–

    Thank you!

    You just demonstrated “perfectly” what I was talking about when I said:

    “Let’s remain BLIND to the meds as a primary cause of school shootings.”

    It’s so much easier to argue over a Red Herring (guns) than work on a solution to getting harmful medications out of the bodies of a national population that fantasizes they are being helped by them. Our economy would be even worse if the drug companies were taken down by strong legislation to protect “the innocent,” and the resulting chain of events.

  50. hineata January 16, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    @Steve – extremely bored this summer, so let me just launch in once more on guns….if there was only very limited access to guns, then people on meds would find it a lot harder to find guns to go on rampages with. Guns do matter, in that in order to commit mass murder with a gun, you actually have to be able to access one. Guns are not Red Herrings – they are weapons. I have never heard of a school shooting where the perpetrator was armed with a fish – maybe things are more advanced where you live.

  51. mollie January 16, 2013 at 10:35 pm #

    “And all of you saying the children should be admonished for making a false report are nuts. These sorts of events are rare, there is no rash of false reports.”

    Gosh, I can remember making “false reports” ALL THE TIME when I was in grade school. Even though I grew up in the relatively-laid-back 70s, all of us kids were still told not to get into a car with anyone who offered us candy, and guess what we “thought” we saw on the road during boring summer afternoons? Why, a man in a car, leaning out the window, offering us… that’s right… candy.

    Sometimes we’d ramp it up ridiculously to try to scare each other: “I saw a man in a white van, and he was leaning out the window with a pair of SCISSORS!” “Yeah! Me too! I saw him too!” And then, who knows, maybe we even “reported” this to one of our parents, who probably smirked at us, gestured to the freezer to get a popsicle, and shooed us back out the door to play. Did they call the police? Um, no.

    I agree wholeheartedly with the person who commented that not coincidentally, all the “bad guy” gunmen in the horrifically graphic video games these days are wearing the same “uniform”: black ski mask, black sweatshirt… and they have a gun. Well, it doesn’t take a 10-year-old long to make a crazy leap in their mind when, in fact, they’ve seen nothing but a hand.

    I’m surprised there aren’t more kids reporting “gunmen” all the time in the US, it’s all the adults talk about these days, and kids want to help out, so they see things that aren’t there.

    I don’t know how many school children have accurately reported a gunman ready to shoot people at school before a shot is fired. It’s probably 100% of the time that the shooter becomes “visible” only after the gun starts unloading its ammo, and by then, there won’t be any discussion.

    If one of my kids said they saw someone with a gun, I would make sure we were in a safe place, and would calmly start by asking them to describe, “through the video camera” (completely objectively) what they actually saw. Describing things objectively, and without judgement or conclusion about their significance, is, possibly, the “highest form of human intelligence,” according to one sage of centuries past, but few of us cultivate this. We love jumping to judgements and conclusions.

    So. You saw what, exactly? Okay, you saw a man wearing a dark mask. And what else? He had a gun? Can you tell me exactly what you saw that led you to use the word “gun”? Oh, he had his hand in his pocket, and it seemed to you like there was possibly something else in his pocket too? But you didn’t see it? You just saw his hand in his pocket?

    That kind of conversation. And to those who would say, “Oh, that takes too long, and people could die,” I ask, “Would calling a group of highly aroused, armed officers into a situation with lots of children present better meet your need for safety and protection if there were, in fact, no threat to the children in the first place?”

  52. AW13 January 16, 2013 at 10:56 pm #

    @hineata: Of course you couldn’t have a school shooting with anything other than a gun. A gun is the only thing that shoots. You can certainly have a school killing without one, though, and this is why guns are a red herring. Guns are not necessary for mass killing. And since when have criminals ever had problems finding weapons when they wanted them anyway?

    On the jogging issue, I agree with LRH. I’m a woman and a runner. I don’t run at night, mainly because I’ve almost twisted my ankle on uneven sidewalks too many times due to poor light, but I do run on the bike path in the summer. I have thought that it would be nice to have a means to protect myself. Not much happens on the bike path, and only very, very rarely does it happen to strangers. There have been mountain lion sightings, though. Point is, if I want to run alone with a gun for my own protection, I am well within my rights in my state to do so. Why should the assumption be that I’m out to hurt someone?

  53. mollie January 16, 2013 at 11:06 pm #

    “Guns are not necessary for mass killing.”

    Depends on the gun, I guess. Some of them are definitely not for toasting marshmallows.

  54. Donna January 16, 2013 at 11:53 pm #

    “Guns are not necessary for mass killing.”

    But they certainly make it a whole helluva lot easier. “Assault” weapons have absolutely no purpose other than to hunt humans. Large numbers of humans at once. That is what they were developed for. Why exactly are they so necessary for law-abiding people to have?

    “And since when have criminals ever had problems finding weapons when they wanted them anyway?”

    Except none of these mass shooters have been criminals prior to the shooting. They have been almost exclusively white and middle class and have all killed with legally purchased weapons. Street weapons are not that easy for non-criminal, middle class white boys to obtain. Sure, my clients can get them regularly (and it isn’t even as easy for them as some think) but they know different people then the vast majority of middle class, white young men.

    Further why exactly is the “criminals will do it anyway” argument even remotely valid? There are very few laws on the books in Georgia that I have not represented someone who was in violation (and those that I haven’t, it is because they are not enforced not because they are not violated). Should they all be invalid – the entire legal system eradicated – based on the fact that criminals who will break laws exist? I wasn’t aware that laws were only valid if there is guaranteed 100% compliance.

  55. Meagan January 16, 2013 at 11:54 pm #

    I’m with Delurking. I think everyone acted appropriately from what is stated in the article. No, the kids shouldn’t be admonished – we WANT them to tell us when something worries them. No the adults didn’t overreact, we WANT them to trust our children and teach them to trust themselves.

    The only thing I find disturbing (and sad) in the story is the fact that the kids saw a gun where there was no gun. Yes, this is absolutely a sign of our fear based culture. But no, the solution isn’t to ignore reports by children because we all know kids make-stuff-up/overreact/have-active-imaginations. I’ll trust my kid if he says he sees a man with a gun thanks. I’m ok with overreacting as a result of believing in his instincts.

  56. Warren January 17, 2013 at 7:22 am #


    So to get this straight, you are okay with the area being turned upside down, filled with emergency responders, on the alleged sighting of a gun?

    Kids actions were fine. School reporting the sighting to the police was fine. The response and over reaction by the police and other emergency service was not fine. Over the top, and wasteful. Law enforcement officers should know better than to react out of fear, because of something that happened somewhere else.

  57. Lollipoplover January 17, 2013 at 8:38 am #

    The fact that this story is even news speaks volumes that society truly believes elementary schools are under attack. That mad men with guns are lurking in bushes, waiting to ambush. A random act of violence can happen anytime, anywhere, to anyone.

    I wonder how different this story would be if one of the emergency responders from a neighboring town died in a car accident or caused a deadly one rushing to the scene…of a jogger mistaken for a masked gunman.

  58. AW13 January 17, 2013 at 8:41 am #

    @Mollie: That wasn’t quite what I meant. My point was that guns are not the only way to cause a mass killing. Bombs would be much more effective.

    @Donna: Adam Lanza became a criminal once he killed his mother and stole her gun. Yes the gun was purchased illegally, and not by his mother. And not all semi-automatic weapons, under the descriptions in the law, were developed for “hunting humans”. Several rifles that are frequently used for hunting animals are included by this list. If I choose to go target shooting with a semi-automatic, why should I not be able to do so? And the “criminals will do it anyway” fight is a being used here, I think, because laws such as these do not have a large effect in reducing the amount of weapons that criminals use after the ban. The semi-auto ban from 1994-2004 did not make that large of a difference in the amount of semi-automatic guns used in the perpetration of crimes.

  59. AW13 January 17, 2013 at 8:41 am #

    Oops – the gun was purchased legally and not by him, but by his mother. I should not type before coffee.

  60. Taradlion January 17, 2013 at 8:52 am #

    If kids reported seeing a gun, then the school should take action. I guess I, like others, am wondering if they “saw” a gun because with all the lockdown drills and adults around them acting like there is a very good possibility that someone is GOING TO come to the school and start shooting any day now, they are paranoid. If it likely there is a gun, then there is a gun.

    I live in NYC. Last year, we had a minor earth quake. I felt it on the 25th floor of the building I was in. We (other adult and I) feared it was either a building/contruction collapse or explosion/terrorist attack on the subway below. Why? Because those things, though rare, do happen in NYC and earthquakes generally don’t. It’s the old, “if you hear hooves, think horses, not zebras”….unless you’re in Africa. The kids are now thinking gunman not jogger.

  61. madcapitola January 17, 2013 at 10:10 am #

    @Donna – The weapons were legally purchased by OTHER PEOPLE… stolen by the shooters (in the large majority of these cases).

    Every criminal has a first crime… and they aren’t all caught while committing it. Also, it seems an odd jump in reasoning to decide that a person’s lack of (provable) criminal activity prior to a major gun crime somehow proves that the gun was the inherent cause of the major gun crime.

  62. Emily January 17, 2013 at 12:04 pm #

    I wear a lot of black, so I guess I’ll make a mental note not to jog near any schools, for fear that some paranoid teacher/administrator/yard duty parent who’s been background-checked to the hilt, doesn’t assume that I’m some insane murderer.

  63. Donna January 17, 2013 at 1:08 pm #

    In almost all cases, the weapons were legally in their own homes and they knew how to use them. Unless you consider the fact that my daughter walked into my room yesterday and took my hairbrush a crime that should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, I think characterizing these guns as STOLEN is a bit ridiculous. In fact the parents only claim theft because they were used for a crime. Had they been used for hunting dinner, even without permission, I highly doubt anyone would have been arrested. And Lanza didn’t kill his mother to get the guns. It has been stated that he used the guns to target shoot. He killed his mother because he was a killer.

    Madccapitola – That is not what I said. Every gun advocate states that illegal guns are readily available. And they are to people who live the criminal lifestyle, whether at the beginning, middle or end of their criminal career. These crimes are committed by middle class, white boys with no criminal past and who likely don’t know a single criminal. In fact, they don’t appear to know much of anyone. It is not going to be easy for them to get a gun off the street.

    AW13 – Assault weapon bans are not put in place to stop all crime. In fact, society couldn’t care less about all crime since the vast majority happens in places we don’t care about and to other criminals we don’t care about. We only raise a brief eyebrow if they happen to catch a “good” bystander in the process. It is being put in places to try to stop mass killings that effect citizens we do care about.

    Further, the arguments are still ridiculous. Lengthy prison sentences and the death penalty have been proven to have absolutely no deterent effect whatsoever and do not decrease crime but all hell would break loose on the US if we tried to get rid of them. The fact that criminals won’t obey the law is never an argument for doing away with the law.

    And it also completely mosses the point. The vast majority of guns on the street were stolen from houses where they were legally purchased. If houses don’t have legally purchased assault weapons, fewer assault weapons will be available on the street. Will killers still kill? Yes, but will have less fire power.

    And since when do our hobbies override public safety? I like to drive really fast. I don’t see why the law should prohibit me from driving at 100 mph whenever I want. The law should bend to my wishes and be changed, right? I can think of hundreds of laws that are strictly public safety laws that alms would like to be changed to be abe to engage in something that they enjoy – drugs, prostitution, traffic, to name a couple. Why don’t we get rid of them all?

    And they are not saying you can’t taregt shoot, you just can’t do it with a magazine containing 11 or more shots. If you need 11 shots to hit a target, you need a different hobby. If you can’t make the herculean effort of reloading after 10 shots, when I’ll assume the targets are not shooting back, I don’t know what to tell you but I don’t have much sympathy either.

  64. Warren January 17, 2013 at 2:38 pm #

    And again, the discussion breaks down into a heated debate about gun control.

    Everyone is so ready to jump on the gun control bandwagon. Guns are not the problems, people are the problem.

  65. AW13 January 17, 2013 at 3:03 pm #

    @Donna: I never said that the ban was meant to deter ALL crime. But the proposed semi-auto ban IS meant to stop crime done by semi-automatic rifles, correct? And it doesn’t deter it effectively. And as the vast majority of gun related crimes are done using handguns, exactly what purpose does this assault weapons ban serve? Wouldn’t our time and resources be better spent trying to figure out why middle class white kids are becoming killers?

    Re: Adam Lanza – if the gun was not his and he took it without permission and with no intent to return it, then yes, he did steal it. And I never said that he killed his mother in order to take the guns.

    Re: hobbies: if your hobby isn’t hurting anyone then no, the laws should not regulate it. Speeding is putting others on the road in danger. Having a car in the driveway is not. (And for what it’s worth, I do think that drug laws in the US need to be rethought, and I do think that prostitution should be legal, if for no other reason than that these women deserve the legal protection from rape and assault that we who do not work in the sex trade get.)

    I did not consider reloading to be a “herculean effort” when I was shooting as a child, and I don’t now. In fact, I never said a word about the high capacity magazine restrictions. I was speaking about the rifles themselves. I don’t care one way or the other about high capacity magazines. And that point was made in response to why someone might find it necessary to have – although there are few things in life that are “necessary” to have, and a lot of those things kill and injure people, and yet, we allow law-abiding citizens to use them while placing restrictions on criminals that limits their ability to do so. Driving is the first thing that comes to mind.

    Anyway, my original point was that if I want to go jogging with a concealed handgun for protection, I should be able to do so without being considered a danger to society. As for the rest, I’m done with the discussion. Everybody has their line in the sand for governmental interference/restriction and I’ve reached mine. YMMV.

  66. AW13 January 17, 2013 at 3:06 pm #

    **a lot of those unnecassary things kill and injure people

    I’m not so hot with the proofing today.

  67. delurking January 17, 2013 at 3:19 pm #

    Warren: “war zone”. You think two officers is the right number. How many were there?

    LRH: ” I think the point being made here is that it’s sort of a ridiculous thing that someone does nothing more than dare to jog in their neighborhood & is mistaken as a would-be school shooting participant. Needless to say no one here is advocating that we ignore everything, but when it gets to the point that these sorts of false alarms occur, it is getting overboard. ”

    We are a country of 300 million people. What is a reasonable rate of false alarms?

    Lollipoplover: “The fact that this story is even news speaks volumes…”
    It was published in the Pottstown Patch. Here are a few other headlines from that paper:
    “PA-born and raised musician to play it Sanatoga”
    “Lost dog, Chase, found”
    “Montco Mommy ends weekend looking like Rocky Balboa. Yet another illness befalls the busy mom.”

  68. Amanda Matthews January 17, 2013 at 4:10 pm #

    I’m going to guess these kids live in the neighborhood of the school, and therefore this guy is their neighbor – perhaps if they went outside more and weren’t so afraid of strangers, they would know the guy and therefore not overreact to him jogging down the street. If it were my kids that reported this, I would have them go over and apologize to the man, and talk to him so that in the future he is not a “stranger” jogging past the school – and then think hard about how to make my other neighbors not strangers to my kids.

    @delurking “That is because they are looking for a person in the woods, and dogs are helpful for that.

    Wait, how does that help unless the dogs have the scent of someone specific they are looking for? Wouldn’t they just find EVERYONE in the woods? Is it against the law for ANYONE to jog in those woods? Or are you saying they should go harass every guy in the woods?

    “Perhaps you have no idea how long it takes to search an area for a hidden person”

    I’ll bet it takes a long time when there ISN’T a hidden person! This man was not hiding; he had jogged home.

  69. Warren January 17, 2013 at 4:23 pm #

    •Seriously…six or seven different police and fire departments, including ambulances, EMS teams, and K9 units were called out, surrounding neighborhoods were searched, the school was put on lockdown,

    This is what is posted above. Compared to the more reasonable response of a couple of cruisers to investigate, yes that is a war zone.

    And in my opinion, and the opinion of my friends, members of the Ontario Provicial Police, two cars sent to investigate and evaluate is the proper response. And I will take their recomendations, over those of a highly overemotional delurking. Thank you very much.

  70. Lollipoplover January 17, 2013 at 4:45 pm #

    This story was the leading news story for the metro Philadelphia area last week:

  71. Warren January 17, 2013 at 9:59 pm #


    Check out Lolli’s link. And tell me if that doesn’t resemble an urban war zone. LOL.

    Thanks Lolli.

  72. pentamom January 18, 2013 at 9:50 am #

    “We are a country of 300 million people. What is a reasonable rate of false alarms? ”

    It’s not the “rate” of false alarms, it’s what it takes to trigger them.

    Kids looking outside a window and saying they saw someone passing by, with or without a gun.

    Not stopping, not hanging around, not lurking in the bushes — passing by. And no further investigation by the administration before they call the police to say — what? Someone was passing by the school a few minutes ago and might have had a gun?

    Even that “report” shouldn’t automatically trigger more than a single officer showing up to find out more. You don’t have to wait “until a crime is committed” before taking more action, but you should at least wait until something that *could conceivably be a crime* looks like *it might actually happen.* The whole point is that school safety is NOT so precarious that a single report of someone doing something that was neither illegal nor dangerous, *without more information,* should not be treated as something that even NEEDS followup.

  73. delurking January 18, 2013 at 5:36 pm #

    “It’s not the “rate” of false alarms, it’s what it takes to trigger them.”

    And we can infer from the low rate of false alarms that it takes a fair amount to trigger them. It is unfair to assume that the children were unsure of what they saw, and unfair to assume the teachers didn’t interrogate the children thoroughly enough before calling the police. We simply don’t have that information. You will never reach zero false alarms.

    Warren: It doesn’t look like an urban war zone. Look at video from wartime Baghdad, Mosul, Srebrenica, or Sarajevo online. There is no comparison.

    “Wait, how does that help unless the dogs have the scent of someone specific they are looking for? Wouldn’t they just find EVERYONE in the woods? Is it against the law for ANYONE to jog in those woods? Or are you saying they should go harass every guy in the woods?”

    Yes, they should speak to everyone who happens to be in the woods. It isn’t harassment, since for the most part it will take ~ 3 seconds to figure out if someone is a threat or not. What is the alternative, to ignore reports of a guy with a gun at the treeline?

    “I’ll bet it takes a long time when there ISN’T a hidden person! This man was not hiding; he had jogged home.”

    Yes, that is correct. Since it is impossible to prove a negative, you have to search for long enough that you have a high confidence that you haven’t missed anything. Can you describe the course of action you think is more appropriate when responding to a report of a man with a black shirt, black mask, hood, and gun at a treeline near a school?

  74. Warren January 18, 2013 at 9:24 pm #


    Really, you believe police tactical teams, K-9 units, paramedics are a reasonable reaction to the intitial call from the school? Road closures, parents not allowed to the school, news teams and everything else that went on? This was reasonable?

    You also want the police to stop everyone they come across and question them. There used to be police like that, with SS on their uniform, and they would demand your papers.

    delurking, give your head a shake, and come back from Sandy Hook.

    The kids did right. The school did fine. The first responders were way over the top. One or two cruisers to investigate was all that was called for. Anymore than that is pure kneejerk reaction to Sandy Hook.

    As a matter of fact the senior law enforcement officer that called for such an all out tactical action, should be re-evaluated, in his position.

  75. Momof2 January 22, 2013 at 11:33 am #

    We live directly across the street from our children’s elementary school. Our house is a split level, so the living room is raised up higher. The picture window overlooks the playground. On the rare occasion I’m home during a school day, I’ll hang out in the window and watch my children play during their recess period – see who they’re playing with, what they’re playing. Who doesn’t like to watch their kids unbeknownst to them? The recess monitors eventually notice me in the window and you can see they start to get nervous, so I just continue to stand there and make them nervous. You’d think by now they’d realize it’s a mom in the window watching her kids. LOL!

  76. Richard January 22, 2013 at 1:20 pm #

    As a 29-year-old male cyclist I am apprehensive every time I bike by an elementary school for this very reason. This, despite the fact that I’m a substitute teacher in my town and regularly teach at the very schools in question.

  77. Williams Dunbar April 9, 2013 at 11:51 pm #

    watch the newet movie scarymovie5 here: