Not even BBC World is immune

A story this morning out of Germany that a former student at a vocational school came back with weapons and killed seven students and three instructors, before going on the run and shooting various other people at random across two towns. The shooter was killed in a confrontation with police. Clearly, this is a tragedy caused by a deranged individual. A tragedy that happened to begin at a school.

So the BBC host asks, doesn’t Germany have a history of this sort of violence? To which the correspondent replies, yes, in 2002 there was a prominent school shooting, and some politicians say that since then nothing has been done to improve the security at schools.

Two shooting in a seven year period does not a trend make. There will always be deranged people, and there are many possible things we could do to try and catch them early or limit the damage they can cause. But putting metal detectors and sentries and cameras in schools is a feel-good measure for adults that has no practical benefit. In this case, if the school was too difficult a target, the shooter would have simply gone someplace else, like a shopping mall, or a town square, or a train station. But really, what obstacle do metal detectors, cameras, or guards pose to someone who wants to kill and is equipped to do so?

BBC, you, like so much of the rest of the media, are asking the wrong questions. This is not the only example, just a recent egregious one. Encouraging this sort of alarmism and push for security theatre is counterproductive and carries many hidden costs. Give it a rest.

Addendum: Right on cue, a “rampage” in Alabama today in which a gunman took the lives of nine people and burned down his mother’s house. Dare I take the liberal position that denying this man access to guns may have better limited the scope of his damage than, say, metal detectors in public buildings?