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Nervous officials

Published September 05. 2013 05:00PM

Ever since Rockne Newell, 59, allegedly burst into the meeting of Ross Township supervisors on Aug. 5 firing guns and killing three people, other municipalities are considering safety measures at their respective township buildings and borough halls.

Lehighton Borough Council spoke about locking the doors of council chambers once their meeting begins, installing security cameras, or adding metal detectors.

In Penn Forest Township this week, one suggestion was to have an armed security guard present at the meeting. Some supervisors seemed willing to pay for security protection for themselves, but yet they won't add a police department to protect the residents.

Several other municipalities talked about similar protective measures.

What happened in Ross Township certainly was undeniably a traged.

Any more, every time a tragedy happens, it seems we Americans react with exaggerated precautions.

• After the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, schools locked down, some districts talked about arming school officials such as superintendents and principals, and there were metal detectors placed at some buildings.

• After 9/11 and then the shoe bomber's arrest, airport travel became extemely more burdensome for everyone with metal detectors, taking off shoes, special secure areas, etc.

• Then there was the Oklahoma City bombing, after which concrete barriers were strategically placed around many public buildings.

We won't go into the pros and cons for such security. At schools, our youngsters certainly need protection.

Did you know that in 1927, in Bath Township, Mich., a school board treasurer became angry over losing an election and planted a bomb in his truck.

Andrew Kehoe first killed his wife, fire-bombed his farm and set off a major explosion in the Bath Consolidated School, before committing suicide by detonating a final explosion in his truck. A total of 38 elementary students and six adults were killed and about five dozen people were injured.

In 1949, Joseph-Albert Guay packed a bomb made of dynamite in the baggage carried by his wife. The explosion occurred after take off leading to the death of all 19 passengers and 4 crews. Then in 1955, Jack Gilbert Graham packed a bomb containing dynamite in a suitcase carried by his mother. The explosion killed all 39 passengers and all 5 crew members.

There always have been crazy people out there intent on creating havoc, and there always will be. And, it's impossible to stop everyone.

Of course it makes sense to take precautions to prevent mass killings.

However, hiring security guards for municipal meetings isn't the answer.

It would evolve into other major expenses: Security guards for tax collectors, playgrounds, outdoor concerts, maybe even school plays.

At some point, the luxury of our democracy will evolve into scenarios you see exist in third-rate countries; whereby no matter where you go you see armed guards.

What happens, then, when innocent lives are lost by over-reaction from such guards? Or the armed guards are unscrupulous?

Let's not lose our ability to move around and congregate freely.

Of course we don't want to see another Ross Township incident. It's possible we never will. Let's not over-react.

Don't you think the terrorists are pleased with the havoc they caused in our airline industry?


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