Officials face delicate balance in face of threats

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

“Is this our reality now?” one observer posted in social media, with a link to the story about Denver-area schools being shut down in the face of a “credible and general” threat.

The action seems appropriate, with one of the schools affected being Columbine High School, which will mark the 20th anniversary Saturday of the attack that killed 12 students and a teacher.

A massive manhunt is under way for an 18-year-old woman, Sol Pais, 5-5, who was spotted near Columbine, wearing a black T-shirt, camouflage pants and black boots.

The Florida woman is reportedly obsessed with the massacre, flew into Denver over the weekend and purchased a shotgun.

Only after she is caught will it be possible to determine whether school officials took the right action, but few would argue with it now.

Over recent years, area school officials have faced criticism for what some see as over- or under-reaction to similar school threats, which, thankfully, have turned out to be little more than threats.

They’re in a difficult position; does one shut down a school because of what may turn out to be a threat called in by a students who simply wanted a day off? What if the threat turns out to be real; could they live with the results?

Tourists visiting countries like Mexico or Israel return of stories of armed guards on duty everywhere. School field trips in the latter usually include a trained guard equipped with an assault rifle.

Should we begin posting armed guards at our “soft targets” like schools and theaters?

Let’s hope and pray it doesn’t come to that.

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