The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

An ideal situation exists in the county


February 22, 2018

To The Eagle:

A positive and refreshing aspect of the news coverage following the school shooting in Broward County, Florida, was that the usual lefty political hacks yelling about gun control were quickly sidelined to make way for rational analysis of how we local folks could do a better job of defending our kids. The shooter had broadcast a series of connectable dots, but there was no civic antenna or receiver to organize the information into an intervention, nor any physical defense mechanisms in place for the school. No one really failed, but there were warning signs ranging from FBI to social internet media to local gossip that went unnoticed or unheeded until lead was flying.

Obviously, neither school administrations, local police, nor the FBI, can investigate every complaint or rumor, but they can open lines of communication that would make it easier to discern developing problems or patterns of behavior. Airport-type security with metal detectors and armed security guards is way over the top for most school systems, but a simple chain link fence limiting access to school grounds, and limited building entrance with school staff and students assigned to scrutinize all entrants to both building and grounds would be enough to discourage most would-be assassins, who are angry and unhinged, but not stupid.

In this county we have an ideal situation: A single student body to defend on one campus in three buildings, excellent school administration, school board, and sheriff’s department that already have a good track record of communication. Building a fence could be a joint county/school district project using local volunteer labor and modest funding. Acting with alacrity, we could accomplish this without heavy-handed hindrance or help from either state or fed.

In the past, Wahkiakum County has botched several opportunities by letting ourselves be pushed around by state bureaucracy. Long ago we lost a major financial resource by letting our timber go into the state timber trust (of the four small counties relying heavily on timber, only Pacific kept theirs out of the clutches of the DNR), and more recently, we got bullied by the ecology and health bureaucracies into water and sewage treatment we couldn’t really afford. This may be the time to show some local initiative while we still can.

This is a small, rural, out-of-the-way county, so a school shooting, or a terrorist attack, will probably never happen here – until it does.

Howard Brawn

Puget Island


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