Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Armed and dangerous

Today we were visited by Officer Steve from the Morristown Police Department who talked to us about terrorism. Specifically, terrorism and the Rabbinical College of America. Though we've had no threats, there's always the worry that we're on somebody's list. Everything I wrote here, unless otherwise noted, are his words. Yes, I was the dweeb in the back taking notes. I'll save the editorializing for the end.
What is the goal of a terrorist? To kill as many people as possible. And he or she are not worried about the dying. They expect it. As long as they go down in history, they'll be happy. So our goal is to make sure that no one ever gets the opportunity. The best way to do this is, in the words of the immortal Vince Lombardi, to make our defense a good offense. And this is exactly what President George W. Bush has done since 9/11. You think we haven't had a terrorist attack since then because we're lucky? Anything who thinks so is a moron.
So what can be done at RCA? The college has received a grant to get video and surveillance equipment, along with new locks and other safety devices.
In Israel there are armed guards in every school, bus, and public place. If G-d forbid there was an attack on a school here in the United States of America, we'd have to do the same thing. And we don't want to have to do that. Aside from the incredible coat involved, it would mean that students were living in fear. Such a situation is not conducive to learning.
But let's say there was an incident? We were introduced to the concept of "Lockdown". Everyone in the school is to get into a classroom or other safe place and lock the doors behind them. Stay out of sight, don't listen when someone bangs on the door, and make sure to stay away from anywhere that is visible to the outside. Let's say you're in a bathroom? Get inside a stall and crouch on top of the toilet. And don't use your cellphone either. Any noise will alert terrorists that someone's inside. Obviously, if you can report to the police then that's very good. But don't be calling people that don't need to be called.
The students at RCA are training to be leaders, and they often don't listen to other people. This is not a good thing in this instance. The students need to learn that when a police officer or member of the fire department tells them to do something, then they should do it and not ask questions. Later they can ask questions. In general, a school shooting takes less than ten minutes in general, so they're should be plenty of time for discussion afterwords. This, by the way, is a very important point. The enemy of the shooter is time. The more time it takes him to do something, the less time he has to go around shooting. Even if he blows up a door, if there's desks piled up awaiting him, it'll take time to get through them. He might just decide that it's not worthwhile. And if he does come through, then the sheep, the students, have to take to the offensive. Throw stuff at him, distract him, do everything possible to minimize loss of life. Obviously, do this in an intelligent manner.
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So that was about it. Of course we had the obligatory twenty minutes of asinine questions from bochurim asking about every "what-if" on the planet. I sincerely hope that the rest of the world is like this, and they also ask stupid questions. Because I've only been among bochurim, and they certainly seem to be very good at it.
The officer also mentioned that one of the goals of the strengthening of the yeshiva is to turn it into a hard target instead of a soft one. So if you see something suspicious, say so, because if a terrorist realizes that the school's a tough nut to crack then he won't bother trying. That's also one of the reasons I'm blogging this. Because if someone is reading about Morristown, then he should know that we have close to 150 crazed bochurim here who'll do anything to stop you and your nefarious plans. I'm not even joking.

63 comments:

LE7 said...

Everyone asks asinine questions. Everyone. I usually leave most lectures/speeches/classes/etc. when people start asking questions.

Except for when it gets rowdy. I went to hear David Horowitz speak last year at UWM. The questions were the best part. All the muslims we're threatening his life and he was yelling back.

Dovid said...

Come on TRS now you gave away all the tips. Now they know to open the doors to each stall instead of just looking for your feet.
Don't worry, each bochur is armed with heavy blunt seforim.

LE7 said...

Even in the bathroom?

Anonymous said...

Ohhhh but they don't know that you guys have kutach brewing in the back there... that should most definitely scare them away, don't you think?

The Real Shliach said...

LE7: phew.

Dovid: whoops.

LE7: well, they be generally have an uncle john's or something, which should take care of business.

Anon: is that why zal smells so bad?

Anonymous said...

No, zal smells so bad because of smelly socks. Oh ya, that is a good way to scare thems terrorists away. Or is that why they wear masks?

The Real Shliach said...

Come come, today's fashionable bochurim all dryclean their socks at least once a week.

Anonymous said...

Uh huh. Ye', masks - good idea.

The Real Shliach said...

I always thought the masks were to stop them from pigging out when they passed by the kitchen.

Anonymous said...

Oh really? Never knew that. You mean they are chalishing for some kutach but they are not permitted to have any because they are fleishik) (as in they're animals)
Good thing I'm anon. so they can't punch me in the face...

The Real Shliach said...

Since when did being fleishik stop someone from eating milchiks? Cows do it all the time.

Ah, the joys of anonymity. I lost that a long time ago.

Leo de Toot said...

Dear Mr. R.S.
Yet another little irony of life - we are the one's taking precautions (their madras's where they teach hate and suicide bombing against Jews are quite safe) yet we (i.e.,"Israel") is criticized as the evil aggressor by the rest of the world! I think that, taking a page from the days of the Irgun, the Haganah and, not to mention my favorite, the Stern gang, bochurim should be provided with weapons (depending on age and maturity, these would range from baseball bats to Uzis) and if, G-d forbid, the enemy arrives he would be dealt with accordingly.

If I might be permitted to paraphrase: "... we shall fight in Morristown,
we shall fight on Eastern Parkway and Ocean Parkway,
we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Yeshivas, whatever the cost may be,
we shall fight in the classrooms,
we shall fight on the landing grounds,
we shall fight in the dormitories and in the bathrooms,
we shall fight in the hills;
we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this yeshiva or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the shluchim, would carry on the struggle, until, in G-d's good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old."
(you cannot beat Winston for a rousing speech)
Leo de Toot.

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

Leo: ROTFLMAO.
Seriously, why should a yeshiva be different than a corner deli where every counter has at least one weighted baseball bat under it.

The Real Shliach said...

LtD: I love it.
Modeh: one is always worried that weapons might get into the wrong hands. Also, let's say terrorists came in dressed as Jews-the cops would have no idea if the guy carrying a gun was a Jew or a terrorist!

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

Easy. the three corpses on the ground riddled with bullets would be the terrorists. Then of course shouts of allahu akbar might be a giveaway. But seriously, we should be able to protect ourselves because even the hypothetical best police force only gets called after something has already happened. If weapons falling into wrong hands is a concern (which it shouldn't be. One day Iy'h I'll write a book about it) then there are weapons which can only practically be used for defense such as mace or similar homemade products. (Never used it boruch Hashem.)

The Real Shliach said...

If only life were that simple. As officer Steve pointed out, a gun in the hands of someone who is not trained properly is a very dangerous thing. Also, one of the Rabbis tried to get one, but it was going to be so difficult to get a license, especially for the school...

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

I didn't mean a gun. They can blow up in your face. They can jam they can miss you can shoot yourself chas veshalom while trying to get the safety off. I agree, anyone without serious military or law enforcement modeled training should not have a gun (including myself). I specifically mentioned weighted bats and mace for that reason. While you can learn to use a heavy stick to great effect anyone can hit a guy over the head from behind. Also, some things are just sechel. For instance shatterproof glass (even when it breaks it doesn't turn into shrapnel) and alarmed doors.

If there was serious threat of a terrorist attack I would want to be with someone who had a gun and was trained to use it. May I suggest canvassing all the baalei tshuva in your yeshiva for a former bodyguard or someone who did an army hitch? Or find an Israeli over 21.

LE7 said...

Heck even I can shoot a gun... it's not so hard. Go learn all of you!

Crawling Axe said...

So train the bochurim how to shoot guns. And yes, it’s hard to get a license, what with the country being socialist and so on…

Can you imagine Mumbai happening in Texas? The mamzeirim will be riddled with bullets in seconds. Also, Texan police would not be as shlemazletik as Indian. (“We are still storming the building… for the 12th hour.”)

LE7 said...

It's not hard in Wisconsin...

Crawling Axe said...

Maybe socialism is not so prevalent there (yet). Is WI red or blue?

Farbrengen said...

BS"D
Leo- I like your entire comment!

I'm very into frum people knowing how to defend themselves. As much as "HaKol Kol Yaakov, v'haydayim yadai eisav", I still highly believe that in addition to our Torah, Mitzvot, and Tefillah, trained self-defense and ofense is major assest if not necessity.

BTW, learning how to shoot is really not so hard. (LE7, why is it that the girls here know how to shoot and the bochurim don't? What on earth are they teaching us in the our schools?!?)

Cheerio said...

it's actually a serious point - why not teach the bochurim how to shoot? take 'em all out to a shooting range and bang! watch the skinny ones go flying!
it's a goshdarn lot of fun.
(Farbrengen - i'm shocked! all the boys i know (brothers, family friends, and assorted relatives) love shooting. it's one of my family's favorite activities.)

Farbrengen said...

BS"D
Then it must be a Berkely thing... I don't know too many bochurim, but of the ones I know of, I have a lot more shooting experience then they do!

The Real Shliach said...

maybe it's just me, but I've never really had a taavah to shoot a gun.

Cheerio said...

just try it once....
farbrengen - yeah, there's a jewish cop close with the ferrises who started it all. then we did it in Gan Izzy, and now all the Berkeley families do it.

Farbrengen said...

BS"D
TRS- I don't enjoy shooting at all. It feels dirty and meaningless, but all the same, I know how and I'm b"H good at it. Just trying it once, and knowing you can do it puts a lot of faith in yourself and your ability to protect yourself and those around you.

Cheerio- How often do you go?

Nemo said...

Such a terrible way to die - crouching like a chicken in a bathroom stall ...

Nemo said...

I hate to be the lawyer raining down on everyone's parade, but it's against Federal law to have a gun in Yeshivos.

(FYI everyone, I fired my first gun on Saturday night.)

Nemo said...

BTW, there's a guy that just arrived in Tiferes from Philadelphia who did a four year stint in the Marines.

LE7 said...

Wisconsin is blue because of our two "big cities," everywhere out side of those two counties is red country.

I don't like shooting, it sort of scares me and whatever, but I think it's a useful skill.

Crawling Axe said...

Bichlal, if you are ready to fight for your life, you are less likely to be attacked. This is mostly applying to walking on a street and being approached by a robber, but it also applies to other situations.

It's the wimps who get attacked.

LE7 said...

Or you can do what I do: appear crazy.

Whenever I have to walk late at night alone, especially when I'm carrying some sort of satchel, I walk in the middle of the street if possible and talk/sing to myself. No one wants to attack a potential crazy.

Nemo said...

When I walk back from the crime-ridden parts of Philly to the more gentrified area that I live in, I know that I'm safe when I start seeing college girls walking around ... I know that if someone is going to get victimized, it wont be me ...

Farbrengen said...

BS"D
Nemo, that kind of reminds me of a very bad subconscious practive I have picked up on. When crossing a one-way street, I try to walk at the same pace as someone else crossing, but on the side further from on-coming traffic. So if c''v a car comes...

The Real Shliach said...

I love when I miss the conversation for six hours and then by the time I get online I have nothing of intelligence to contribute.

Cheerio said...

that's kinda like when you don't read blogs for a few days and then you want to subscribe but you don't have anything to say, or the point you wanted to discuss got diverted two days ago.

The Real Shliach said...

The solution is, go online more.

LE7 said...

Bad soln.

The Real Shliach said...

?

LE7 said...

Sorry. Bad solution.

Soln is chemistry shorthand for solution.

The Real Shliach said...

Oh. What would you suggest?

LE7 said...

You got me.

Crawling Axe said...

Wait, don’t you have the Prairie Home Companion in Minnesota?

The Real Shliach said...

Therefore what?

Crawling Axe said...

Or you can do what I do: appear crazy.

That requires no special effort on my part. I mean, I lived in New Orleans, always on an edge of a ghetto (you can’t really live not on an edge of a ghetto in NO, since it’s everywhere, with “white” streets sandwiched between ghetto streets), and was not attacked or robbed even a single time.

(Of course, I only walked just before, during or just after Shabbos, so maybe the locals knew that I didn’t have any money with me.)

Most of my friends were robbed at some point at least once during our college years.

Crawling Axe said...

Therefore what?

I was just thinking of you being proud of being a Minnesotan. I suppose that was a non sequitur sentence. As is this one.

The Real Shliach said...

Ahh. Yeah. I am proud of being from the great state of MN. As much as I'm from it, which isn't too much. I am not proud at all of Garrison Keilor.

Crawling Axe said...

Who?

Crawling Axe said...

Oh.

But do you agree with what he says about MN and the general culture? I used to listen to it on National Palestinian Radio (I was never so liberal to fall so low, but there was nothing else to listen to during the sphera or 3 weeks, and my car’s engine made a noise which I had to distract myself from), and fell some sort of connection (at least bechitzoinius) with description of life (at least in winter season).

The Real Shliach said...

It's not really like that in the Twin Cities where I live. I mean, it is a little, but he exaggerates it a lot. But yes, the winters can be brutal.

Crawling Axe said...

Hmm…

Any big Universities looking for Neuroscience postdocs in MN?

The Real Shliach said...

That's you?
My dad was a pediatric neurologist. Go to the U of M. Great school.

Nemo said...

And if you stop by UMN, ask them what the hell is up with my application. Seriously, I never got a yes or no.

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

I would know how to shoot a gun but where I live has the strictest gun control laws in the nation. In fact recently laws regulating SHARPIES of all things were introduced in city council and they were stricter than some states' gun regulations. I was thinking of joining the army but my rov talked me out of it. I would still pass the APFT though.

The Real Shliach said...

Nemo: They were too nice (Minnesota) to tell you no.

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

No school is ever too nice to say no. The rejection letters go out first because they're much more fun for the admissions office. "We regret to inform you that you are not shpitz enough for our prestigious institution to charge you ridiculous fees for the honor of letting us dictate your schedule for four years. While we would love to accept you, you are simply too stupid and would detract from the chashivus of our professors who -- as career academics -- can not be reasonably expected to be forced to share breathing space with normal human beings."

(I shouldn't complain. I got into my second choice school w/o trying)

Crawling Axe said...

So, are you saying that Minnesotans are nice?

That’s a turn off...

The Real Shliach said...

Sounds about right. Not that I would know.

The Real Shliach said...

Why is it a turnoff?

LE7 said...

Thanks for the transcription of the rejection letter. I've never actually seen one of those. (Okay I got one once for a cello scholarship, but it didn't read exactly as such).

Nemo said...

Yes, I, who know rejection well, can attest to the content of the letters. Some letters are downright mean while others more diplomatically remind you that you are no better than the 6,000 other people that applied. Here's a hint for applying to schools: if the letter comes in a small envelope,* don't bother opening it because it is a rejection. If it comes in a thick packet - joy to the world!

* This rule isn't across the board. The letter I received from UMN came in a small envelope, but it was actually a hold-letter, not a flat rejection.

LE7 said...

I feel like one of my acceptance letters was in a small envelope, but it was from a small private college.