Election |Political Rants by Judy @ 1:05 PM
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During the 2002-2003 school year, there were 16 school-associated violent deaths of students in the United States. This included 3 shootings, 6 suicides, 2 murder-suicides, 4 stabbings and 1 “other.” Granted that this is 16 too many, it still translates into less than one violent death per 1,000,000 students enrolled, or 0.0001%. Kids ages 5 to 19 are at least 70 times more likely to be murdered away from school than in school. I’m not trying to discount these deaths. If it were my kid I’d be devastated, and my heart goes out to the families and friends of those that died. But the fact remains that I probably have a better chance of winning the lottery than of having my kid die from violent crime at school.

Hudson, Mass., population 18,000 or so, is a quiet, predominantly white, relatively affluent community about 30 miles from Boston. Hudson bills itself as an, “unpretentious community with a strong sense of tradition, a tolerance for differences and a willingness to embrace change.” There are about 3025 students enrolled in Hudson’s 6 public and 3 private schools. The city-data.com crime index for this period is low — 66.9 vs. the US average of 330.6. In 2002, there were 255 total reported crimes in Hudson, of which 3 were assaults. There were no murders in Hudson, in school or out, in 2002. Zero. Nil. Goose egg. Nor were there any in 2001.

What does the second paragraph have to do with the first? This from an AP news article on Yahoo:

Election Booths in Schools Draw Concern

Tue Sep 28,10:23 AM ET Elections – AP

HUDSON, Mass. – Dozens of parents have signed a petition asking town officials to remove election booths from schools out of concern for terrorism.

Say what?!? Parents in Hudson are that afraid that terrorists are going to strike the small schools in their sleepy little town? Why?

Sally Morgan cited the potential for terrorists to try to disrupt the Nov. 2 presidential election, as well as the school hostage crisis in Russia earlier this month in a petition sent to the town’s Board of Selectmen.

Ah! I get it! Half a world away in the midst of a brutal, decade-long revolution, a school hostage crisis ended in a bloody battle between Chechen freedom fighters and Russian commandos. That’s sure to be repeated in Hudson! And because Dubya wants us to be afraid, in the vain hope that fright will (1)encourage us to vote for him and (2) keep the focus away from the real issues.

Somehow I think that Sally’s logic may be a little flawed. But Sally isn’t alone:

The petition, signed by 125 parents, asks town officials to move polling places to more secure locations such as the town library, fire stations and churches.

Is a church or library really more secure than a school? That makes me wonder a bit about Hudson’s priorities. Let’s keep our books and altars secure. Damn the kids! ???

Selectman Joseph J. Durant argued that pulling the election booths would rob students of an opportunity to see how democracy works. He also denied a threat to children exists.

“I think when fear and insecurity is introduced into Americans’ everyday lives in something as simple and fundamental as this, it is a sad state of affairs,” he said.

I have to agree with Durant on this. We should not be living in fear. We should not be teaching our children to live in fear. There isn’t a bogeyman behind every bush. There isn’t a terrorist stalking every school. Chances are very small that we will be blown up at our polling places as we vote. Chances are vanishingly small that doing so would interrupt the election enough to change the outcome. The citizens of Hudson are pretty darn safe.

Morgan has also taken her concerns to the town’s School Committee, which has reviewed voting day security at the schools.

Maybe that will calm Sally down a bit. If not, I have a lottery ticket to sell her.

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