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Monday, 2 October 2006

Another unintended consequence of overregulation


Today, Charles Roberts strode into an elementary school building brandishing an arsenal of weapons. He ordered the students against the wall and began singling out the ones he intended to kill.

What's unusual about this scenario is that it was a 1-room Amish school. What did Roberts have against the Amish? Nothing, as it turned out. He chose this particular school because, unlike the public schools across the country in the wake of Columbine, it wasn't locked or guarded.

Amish aren't likely to start locking down their school buildings just because a loony decided to make them an easy target--any more than they'll give up horses just because somebody gets killed by a runaway buggy.

But stand by for some officious meddling by those who think they can legislate away bad behavior. They'll compound their original (useless) regulations with something new targeting the Amish themselves, thus making them suffer twice from this crime.

But it won't work. Note that most of the school shootings this week were at public schools.

Posted 10/2/2006

I have to report that in the three days since writing this post I did in fact discover the existence of an Amish group that gave up their buggies due to a high accident rate. Too many of their members were dying in auto-buggy crashes, and they gave up this part of their heritage. But even more troubling is news of how easily small private country schools (many of which are not Amish) were affected by this event: already school entry doors are being locked for fear of this happening again.

This fear of 'copycat crimes' is logically fallacious. The odds of any one country school being targeted by a pedophilic assassin are remote. So it happened once; yeah, it may happen again. But whenever a barn is burned down by lightning, must every other barn owner in the country immediately be required to carry fire insurance? Yet the odds of an Amish boy being struck by lightning, or his barn burning down, are far greater than his sister's chances of being raped or murdered in the classroom.

IF Amish children continue to be targeted because they meet behind unlocked doors, THEN it may be time for the Amish to review their historic stance of non-resistence. Certainly the Plain People in Haiti have a level of comfort with deadbolts and padlocks. But until life in Pennsylvania becomes as precarious as life in Haiti, over-reaction is the greatest danger--as is the loss of freedom that inevitably comes with it.

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