Saturday, January 19, 2013

False Security in Times of Crisis

In the wake of recent school shootings, an entire nation is scrambling for action, meaning, and a means of feeling safer.

One troubling trend, in my humble opinion, is the offering of free self defense lessons to teachers. A recent article in our local paper was a fantastic PR score for the martial arts school hosting the clinic.

From the news article: "Teachers can lock the door and hide when an armed intruder enters their school. But that isn’t their only option. Ryan Hoover of We are Fit to Fight at Ryan Hoover’s Extreme Karate wants to give school employees training and alternative ways to handle a shooter on campus with a newly created “Safer Campus Now” program."

The seminar trains teachers - in one day - how to rush and disarm an armed gunman with bad intentions. This reminds me of another issue I have with marital arts schools who give out black belts to small children. This false sense of security is of little use if a child is simply picked up and carried away by a grown kidnapper. 

Similarly, rushing an armed gunman, with a day's knowledge of training under your belt, is probably a really bad idea. I can imagine how administrators squirm when they see such advice ... it's counter to school policy, and to common sense.

As a life-long martial artist, I have always been taught to A) run from a gun or B) comply to the greatest extent possible. Testing my reflexes and punching power is not worth my life; here, buddy, take my wallet - that's the general consensus in the fighting arts community.

A school shooting is different in the sense that the shooter doesn't want a wallet - he wants to inflict injury on a wide scale. But martial arts seminars are not a very realistic answer to this complex problem, skillful PR coups aside.

photo credit: Gaston Gazette

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