The Washington Post recently ran an article that was syndicated nationwide, “How many American children have hidden from gun violence?” The article examined the prevalence of lockdown drills, used to prepare students and staff for a possible active shooter, and the pyschological effect these drills have on children. The conclusion: Such drills, while perhaps necessary, can be profoundly traumatic to children.
That begs the question: As Grace church, aka St. Dysfunction, transitions to Fortress Grace, replete with “single-button emergency transmitters at the ready” during divine worship, rekeyed locks on exterior doors, additional outdoor floodlights and interior security measures, and new fencing, what is the effect on children, especially at Grace Episcopal School? Given Bob Malm’s efforts to stoke fears and manipulate perceptions, this is a legitimate question. My belief is that Bob Malm has deliberately caused stress and anxiety to staff, students, and parents as part of his efforts to get the upper hand in our dispute. If accurate, that conclusion reinforces the notion that Bob is a priest in name only, and has lost all sense of ethical boundaries.
Lest anyone minimize the potential effect on students at Grace Episcopal School, one need only look to Lisa Medley’s claims, posted on The Wartburg Watch, in which she claimed that parents have requested armed guards at the school. Leaving aside the fact that very few armed guards have training adequate to deal with an active shooter, and the fact that the last thing first responders need when confronted with an active shooter is to deal with multiple armed individuals, Lisa’s claim illustrates the damage caused by Dysfunctional Bob’s manipulative behavior.
Of course, I’m not a psychologist, nor do I have any way to assess the damage that may be caused by Bob’s fictional claims. But my gut instinct tells me that the harm is not inconsequential. If nothing else, Bob’s manipulation and dishonesty, and lack of ethics in this matter, sets a poor example for children who may be inclined to look up to a member of the clergy, no matter how unjustified it may be to regard Dysfunctional Bob in any sort of positive light.
There’s another wrinkle in all of this, which is the lack of common sense evinced by Jeff “Sugarland” Chiow. By virtue of his inflammatory rhetoric, now part of the public record, Jeff improperly sought to influence the judicial process, without any regard for the effect his dialogue would have when it inevitably went public. And even if his efforts to obtain a settlement that included a confidentiality clause had succeeded, this was a half-baked, foolish approach at best, for court pleadings are a matter of public record unless sealed; the latter is quite difficult to obtain. Thus, Sugarland’s references to “online rantings and ravings,” “domestic terrorism,” and more are all now in the public domain. As a result, generations from now people will be able to see these documents, and marvel that a member of the clergy thought that this sort of dialogue was appropriate.
But then, we’re talking about Dysfunctional Bob and a diocese that to this day declines to provide Bob with adult supervision, so no surprises there.