In the March 23, 2007, David Levinsky article Hostage drill prepares school for crisis (phillyBurbs.com) Burlington County Times, we find that Burlington Township High School recently had a disaster drill in which a scenario of gunmen taking hostages was played out. OK, so in this day and age to have the cops come in for practice runs under controlled circumstances probably isn't such a bad idea. People without a properly-maintained inner compass will sometimes target schools, unfortunately.
What strikes me as odd, and not too bright, not to mention rather unhelpful, is that the fictional maniacs in this set-up were cast as:
...members of a right-wing fundamentalist group called the “New Crusaders” who don't believe in separation of church and state. The mock gunmen went to the school seeking justice because the daughter of one had been expelled for praying before class...Words fail me. (But please keep reading, because I'm going to give it a shot anyway, at least from a tangent or two.)
It could be worse, I suppose. The school might have been one of those where history teachers have given up teaching about the Holocaust and/or where talking about Crusaders is, in effect, taboo. Not that Crusaders was used appropriately above, but at least it hasn't been erased from their vocabulary yet. Maybe kids at this school district will now be curious about what a Crusader is, and get their hands on non-PC sources, and not be too poisoned to give those non-PC sources a fair read? (Yes, I know, that's really, really stretching for a silver lining. But I'm a silver lining type of person. Live with it.)
I had a relative who, when I went to visit her, spent her days being afraid someone might use a garage door opener while she was around and thus expose her to what she thought would be unhealthy radio waves -- but who had a fridge crawling with mold, contaminating what she ate. What can I say? Some people are like that, ignoring real threats because they don't have time left over from worrying about stuff that's never likely to hurt them. But at least she doesn't work in law enforcement or school administration.
Now, I'm still holding out hope that I've totally misread what happened at Burlington Township High School. I come from a part of the world with a strange, lively, and imaginative sense of humor that often displays itself when people are talking about disasters (it's a variety of gallows humor, I expect). It's barely conceivable to me that they might have thought this was soooo outrageous that it was funny, providing a much-needed aspect of comic relief to an otherwise dreadful duty. (Face it, sometimes really, really outrageous things are funny, simply because they are so absurd.) If anyone finds any evidence for that sort of thing in this case, I'm all ears.
Oh, wait, a brilliant thought has struck me. Let's see if the district has anything to say that might clear this up (...pause while your hostess googles...). Ah, yes. Here's the district's statement in its entirety (no direct page link available):
Oh, good. They don't hate Christians after all, or consider them alien beings, or try to make them leave their faith at home. I feel better.
STATEMENT REGARDING MARCH 22, 2007 EMERGENCY EXERCISE
Burlington Township, NJ - Concerns have been shared regarding the emergency management exercise conducted at Burlington Township High School on March 22, 2007, in conjunction with the Burlington Township Police and Fire departments. The main goal of the exercise was to practice our lockdown and evacuation procedures, and test our abilities to respond to an emergency situation.
Any perceived insensitivities to our religious community as a result of the emergency exercise are regrettable. It was certainly not the intent to portray any group in a negative manner. We cherish, respect, and celebrate the diversity of cultures and faith that exist within our community.
Our schools have respected and supported staff members’ and students’ right to pray. Students and staff have held morning prayer vigils. There are various prayer groups within the High School as well as an established Bible club.
It was still a very odd choice of bad guys, though. Wasn't it? And straight out of a secular-leftist playbook of the most irrational sort, too.
Notice to my local school district: Let's not try this here, shall we? And (looking at another aspect of all this) really, it's OK by me if you portray groups that have declared war on humanity in a negative manner. Sanity trumps mindless suicidal niceness any day, in my book.
hat tip: for the Burlington County Times article, I started at the second-to-last link at Bookworm Room: The Islamist War on children continues, and kept following links back to the source.