People are panicky when it comes to schools and gun-shaped objects. They don’t even need to be particularly well-shaped gun-shaped objects if we’re being perfectly honest. By now, we all know how some schools reaction gun-shaped Pop-Tarts, for example.
However, one school went into lockdown after they saw a man with what appeared to be two guns following a woman with a baby.
A 21-year-old man carrying two Airsoft guns triggered a lockdown at Kamiakin High School on Tuesday morning.
People spotted Ismael Valladares of Kennewick armed with what appeared to be a handgun following a woman carrying a baby near Arthur Street and West Metaline Avenue.
Nearby Kamiakin High School was locked down until officers arrived.
It turns out the guns were airsoft guns and the woman in question was an upset girlfriend.
In other words, no one was really in any danger. However, Valladares was still arrested and booked on “on investigation of obstructing law enforcement and unlawful display of a gun.”
So, was the school right or was this just more of a case of gun hysteria?
Honestly, I think it was a little of both.
For one, the school’s lockdown was probably the right call. Unless someone can see the orange tip on an airsoft–and a lot of people either remove them or paint them to hide the color–it’s best not to play around. While there didn’t appear to be a threat to the school itself, locking down the school meant a gunman wouldn’t be able to enter the school and gain hostages.
On the other hand, we live in a world where the mere sight of a gun creates panic in a lot of folks. They see guns and freak the hell out. Nothing suggests that Valladares was threatening with the guns, only that he had them.
I’m not saying Valladares is a good person with upstanding values. The fact is that he dropped the guns as the police were trying to stop him, which suggests he knew he was doing something wrong.
What I am saying, though, is that there’s something a bit troubling about the idea that just seeing a gun creates fear in people. Especially if there’s no other threatening behavior.
And yet, I’m also saying the school was probably right to err on the side of caution. After all, these aren’t their children. It’s best to exercise caution under such circumstances.
Yeah, I know, I feel more than a little confused about the two positions myself. My point, though, is that it’s sad that I do think of it as “caution” to see a school react in such a manner. It shouldn’t be that way. I do think that a more armed society would negate the need for such cautious as someone like Valladares wouldn’t be much of a threat even if they’d been real guns.
Of course, I can’t help but think that if someone armed with a couple of firearms really wanted to take hostages at a school, the lockdown wouldn’t have been sufficient to prevent it. Armed teachers, however, would have.