Before we even start discussing whether it’s a good idea for DISD’s police officers to be armed with "five assault-style rifles purchased for a new SWAT-like response team," according to the Morning News, let’s think for a minute about the headline on the story: "DISD squad armed to the teeth; SWAT-like Special Response Team ready for disasters, but some want more focus on basics."
You don’t have to even read the story to know the message the News wants you to take from this one: DISD has too many guns and isn’t handling basic security well-enough. Shouldn’t that be a conclusion that the reader derives AFTER reading the story, instead of beforehand?
Anyway, now back to the issue at hand. Is it a good idea for DISD’s internal police force, which is responsible for maintaining order on campuses, to continue arming its officers? Many already carry handguns, but the new special response team will be carrying more firepower – about $50,000 worth of new equipment. Well, for a group charged with protecting 200,000 students, faculty, staff and visitors, it makes sense to me to be prepared for almost anything, because we all know that sooner or later, almost anything can happen. The officers are training with Dallas police and following Homeland Security mandates, so it seems as if DISD is doing everything by the book, so to speak. And god forbid the public and media outcry if some bonehead holes up in a school with his or her own arsenal and a couple of hundred hostages, and DISD isn’t prepared to deal with the crisis.
So what’s the rub? Well, according to the News story, "one DISD officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, suggested that the department should instead focus on law enforcement basics, like supplying officers with radar so they can enforce school zone speed limits." Good point, anonymous one who perhaps was passed over for the special forces team, but that’s the extent of the "some want more focus on the basics" outlined in the story’s headline. Several other school and state experts basically endorsed DISD’s plan.
Not much smoke here that I can see. Meanwhile, today’s gun-toting story with bonus gun picture makes the front page, while yesterday’s story about DISD progress in academics was short and buried somewhere south of the Metro section’s mid-point. Some (or at least one) might say that indicates some unfavorable bias on the part of the News toward DISD…
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