Bad advice to children

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

In Burleson, Texas, all the 8,500 students in the public school district and their teachers have been trained to deal with all sorts of situations ranging from tornadoes to first aid.

Included are instructions to fight back if threatened by anyone with a gun. One of the instructors in this fight-back program, a major in the British army, says it beats getting under a desk and praying for rescue.

The passengers on the 9-11 flight that was supposed to crash into a Washington, D.C. structure, possibly the White House or the U.S. Capitol building, fought back and caused the plane to crash in Pennsylvania. They have justifiably been hailed as anti-terrorist heroes, but they were adults and chose to risk their lives in what they knew was likely a desperate attempt to thwart terrorists bent on death and destruction.

Telling schoolchildren to put their lives on the line is another matter entirely.

In most situations it is better for anyone, adult or child, to cooperate with someone who threatens the use of deadly force. There are exceptions in which death seems to be the inevitable result of cooperation and adults must determine when such situations exist.

However, as a general instruction to children, it is better to tell them never to fight someone who has a deadly weapon.