Magazine article Security Management

One in a Million

Magazine article Security Management

One in a Million

Article excerpt

This month's cover story is about security in K-12 schools, and it is all too apt. As we were going to print in early October, three incidents had just occurred.


One involved a gunman with no criminal record who shot 11 girls at an Amish school in Nickel Mines, Pennsylanvia; five had died at press time. Another involved a 53-year-old with a history of petty crime who entered Platte Canyon High School in Bailey, Colorado. He took six girls hostage, sexually assaulting some and fatally shooting one.

The other incident occurred at Weston High School in Cazenovia, Wisconsin, a community with only 300 residents. A student walked in and fatally shot the principal. In that case, the news reports noted that the school had no metal detectors or security guard. Why should it, said one commentator, given that it was such a small community.

On its face, that may sound like a reasonable conclusion. Statistically, despite these three shootings, the chance of any one child getting fatally shot at school is about one in one million.

But when people conclude from those statistics that security is not needed, they are making a common error. They forget that in addition to the risk level, they must consider the value of the assets being protected and the consequence of those assets being "lost."

In the case of our schools, the assets are the children, and their value is truly incalculable, as is the consequence of their being harmed. …

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