"Stop that. Stop it, will you stop that. Now look, no one is to stone anyone until I blow this whistle. *Even*
...and I want to make this absolutely clear...*even* if they *do* say "Jehovah." - LIFE OF BRIAN

...In other news, a school district in Pennsylvania has approved stoning for school shooters. I kid you not.

So what exactly is stoning. Where do we get the concept of hurling rocks at bad guys?

Commonly, people point to the Torah. The laws apply towards various things such as stoning an ox that gores someone, stoning people for working on the Sabbath, curing God, pretending to be a virgin while getting married, or forbidden sex.

Then there are the oral traditions known as the Mishnah (or Mishnayot). This is comprised of six orders broken down into seven or twelve tractates, if I remember it correctly. The offenses are somewhat stringent:
  • one who has sex with his mother – הבא על האם
  • or with his father's wife – ועל אשת האב
  • or with his daughter-in-law – ועל הכלה
  • or two human males that have sex with each other – ועל הזכור 
  • or with cattle – ועל הבהמה
Unless the school shooter is using his penis to kill people, I really don't think these laws regarding stoning should reply.  Let's see if the other rules fit:
  • a woman who uncovers herself before cattle (just her head or her whole body? not sure) – והאשה המביאה את הבהמה
  • a blasphemer – והמגדף 
  • an idolater – והעובד עבודת כוכבים
  • The idiot that sacrifices one of his kids to Molech – והנותן מזרעו למולך 
  • Anyone that occupies anyone with familiar spirits – ובעל אוב 
  • a witch  – והמכשף
  • a wizard – וידעוני
  • Sabbath-breakers – והמחלל את השבת
  • one who curses his father or mother – והמקלל אביו ואמו
  • one who has assaulted another guy's fiance – והבא על נערה המאורסה
  • Anyone that seduces men to worship idols – והמסית
  • the one who misleads a whole town – והמדיח 
  • a stubborn and rebellious son – ובן סורר ומורה
Hmm.  We'd have a lot of welted kids if we took typical teenage angst into account.  Parent-cursing and stubbornness are par for the course. Also, I'll point out that Harry Potter and his ilk would suffer much pebbling.

Stoning (Rajm) is illegal in some states (Afghanistan and Iraq, for example) due to being a wee bit too barbaric (though it's practiced extrajudicially). Civilized Arabs prefer lashes though, to be fair, it all depends on the branch of Islam.  I'm pretty sure legalized stoning in countries like Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Iran, Yemen, Somalia etc has its focus primarily on those sexual sins. 

Is it too late to point out that several human rights organizations condemn the practice because it's a form of cruel and unusual punishment and torture? It really doesn't belong in the classroom.

That takes us to the article itself, quoted here:

SCHUYLKILL CO., PA (WCMH) - A Pennsylvania school superintendent says each classroom in his district has been equipped with a bucket of stones to use as a last line of defense against school shooters.

Dr. David Helsel, the superintendent of the Blue Mountain School District, testified before Pennsylvania’s House Education Committee in Harrisburg last week, as local station WNEP reports.

“Every classroom has been equipped with a five-gallon bucket of river stone. If an armed intruder attempts to gain entrance into any of our classrooms, they will face a classroom full students armed with rocks and they will be stoned,” Helsel said before the committee.

Helsel added that his teachers, students, and staff have been given active shooter training, and they routinely hold drills for active shooter simulations. He said the rocks are seen as a last resort.

A senior at the high school told WNEP he and other students like the plan, saying rocks are “better than books and pencils” when it comes to protection.

"See? It's not stoning! It's self defense!"

It's lapidation - the act of throwing rocks at one that has done society wrong. Technically, "a method of capital punishment whereby a group throws stones at a person until they die. No individual among the group can be identified as the one who kills the subject."

"He's not dead! It made him run away!"

Congratulations. You've just pissed the shooter off. It made him duck into the damn hallway to reload. When he comes through that door again, it will be heralded by a barrage of bullets, you idiots.

I'm also not comfy with teaching students that they can use rocks to thwart or punish people that wrong them.  Nor am I comfy with pitting rocks against bullets. How many students will die in the process?

Just how will these rocks be supplied?  Will they have selective sizes to match the students' palms?  Wee rocks for first graders, larger stones for high school?  Will there be a second bucket of massive rocks specifically set aside for footballers and the weightlifting team?

They'd be better off with ballistic vests.  And no, I'm not a supporter of door barricades. They lock the authorities out of a room and can make it difficult for students to leave.  "Trapped like rats" comes to mind, especially if the shooter has an accomplice already in a classroom, or if someone opts to shoot out a window to gain entry. The scrum at the door will only pile targets in a single location.  There's also the problem of hindering quick egress should the shooter start a fire to flush targets.

This bucket o' stones idea is right up there with taking your kids to SeaWorld to swim with angry piranha.


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