Important Lessons All Around

The students of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are back in prison and are already learning some valuable lessons:

Survivors of the deadly school shooting in Florida have resisted new security rules that ban all but clear backpacks at their school.

Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, adorned their bags with signs, badges and slogans protesting against the measures.

Seventeen people were killed in the shooting on 14 February.

The attack led to an extensive social media campaign, culminating in a national march for tighter gun control.

But students have argued that the new bags will not prevent future attacks and infringe their privacy.

The first lesson, obviously, is that it sucks being punished for something you didn’t do.

The second lesson is probably a bit more subtle but the students have identified what the faculty who imposed this policy never comprehended: security theater is not security. Those students who are claiming that transparent backpacks don’t prevent future attacks are entirely correct. First of all, weapons can still be hidden in transparent backpacks. One can easily toss a weapon in a hollowed out book, pencil case, or tampon box. Moreover, an attacker doesn’t have to sneak a weapon into the school, they can just walk in with the weapon and shoot anybody who attempts to stop them.

The third lesson should be the most obvious but is probably the least obvious: laws (or in this case, policies) are irrelevant. While the school may require students to use transparent backpacks, the students have found the policy burdensome and are violating the spirit of it by concealing the contents of their backpacks behind signs and other obstructions. The words on pieces of paper that are the actual physical policy are unable to control the will of the students. This is why laws fail to prevent the behavior that they’re aimed at preventing. Gun control laws can’t stop individuals from acquiring of manufacturing a firearm. Transparent backpack requirements can’t stop individuals from obscuring the content of their backpacks.

Unfortunately, I have little faith that these lessons will be comprehended. The students, being interred in a government indoctrination center, are at a severe learning disadvantage due to the indoctrination that they’re being told is an education. The faculty were likely the product of the same indoctrination and are therefore also hindered from learning. And few people allow new knowledge to alter their beliefs. If new knowledge doesn’t support their beliefs, they will perform the mental gymnastics necessary to make it fit into their worldview.