Signs Of The Times: Ohio School Hosts 'Counter-Terrorism' Bus Hijacking Drill

from the our-old-nemesis,-fear,-conquered-and-re-established-yet-again dept

Nothing makes schools safer than preparing for eventualities that will likely never happen. Fire drills may seem mostly useless, but fires are still common enough that a little precaution is a good idea, especially since schoolchildren tend to rank nears cats on the Herdibility Index.

But a simple fire drill can't teach today's kids about the number one threat to buses and bus safety -- a hijacking by some sort of terrorist.


Leonore Skenazy at Free Range Kids finds the whole thing (correctly) baffling.
Yes, it's a terrorist drill on a school bus.

I truly could not understand from this report (or Googling) if the students knew the attack was fake or not. They probably did, or just imagine the lawsuits. Nonetheless, it is nothing less than bizarre that while they were being "hijacked," school administrators and sundry responsible adults sat in folding chairs in a parking lot across town watching a big-screen live feed of the event.

And then, as the audience watched, into that lot drove — the bus! A waiting SWAT team took over, puncturing the bus tire and "liberating" the hostages.
Compare that writeup with 13abc.com's, which makes it sound like those excluded from the "counter-terrorism" drill are some of the unluckiest students alive.
ROSSFORD, Ohio - A training exercise this Rossford Wednesday morning left students literally hanging on to the edge of their seats.

In the scenario: A school bus is en route to an event when suddenly it's hijacked! A camera inside the bus captured the whole thing while an audience of school teachers, administrators and transportation directors watched it all unfold on a live feed.

The hijacker even tied some of the students up and told them to keep their heads down. The bus eventually ended up at Owens Center for Emergency Preparedness.That's where first responders and SWAT teams were ready to move in.
This is most notable for its injudicious (and apparently sincere) use of an exclamation point, which makes it sound more like a sudden but somewhat expected turn of events in a lousy YA novel rather than a bit of perverse showmanship in servitude to the War on Terror. Skenazy points out that the DHS considers bus drivers to be point men in our nation's anti-terrorist efforts, as buses are theoretically "soft targets" for attention-seeking hijackers.

Now, the kids who participated were informed that something out of the ordinary would be happening during this bus trip to a parking lot according to Chief of Police Glenn Goss:
Thank you for your concern for the students and children within our school district and community. I too would be concerned for any child who unwittingly was held hostage, tied up and threatened at gunpoint. The problem is: none of this happened.

This was a well planned training exercise in which all participants (children and bus driver included) knew well in advance that they were participating in a training exercise to prepare for such an event to take place – which is very possible in our world today.

Each student and participant signed waivers that acknowledged their participation in this training.
There it is again -- the baseless claim that a bus hijacking is "very possible in our world today." And the addition of "our world today" makes it clear that Goss has bought everything the DHS is selling -- that we are in infinitely more danger today than we were pre-9/11. The more "dangerous" our world is, the more "necessary" these training exercises are, and the more "necessary" they are, the less likely anyone is to roll back policies or cut off funding.

And, make no mistake, this drill had everything to do with the War on Terror.
The Rossford Police Department is very proud to be part of a community that prepares for such incidents, even though we hope we never encounter them. Our proactive approach to counter-terrorism, active killers and other such incidents hopefully will save lives in the future…especially the lives of our children.
Thank god for the "proactive approach." It allows agencies like this to advance the notion that kids should live in fear and trust their government. And it's nice to know that "active killers" are being prepared for. I would hate to see federal dollars being thrown at "inactive killers," the kind that can't be bothered to load their weapons, much less get off the couch. Altogether, the whole thing looks like nothing more than an excuse to break out the SWAT gear and let the locals know where all those tax dollars went. It does absolutely nothing to make anyone safer.


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  1. icon
    art guerrilla (profile), 22 Aug 2013 @ 10:41am

    Re: SWAT toys

    uh huh, give a kid a hammer, and everything looks like a nail...

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