Tuesday, September 29, 2015

COLUMN: Raptor

When it comes to advances in security and safety, you can consider me a fan. If you want to introduce a new airbag system to make cars safer, I'm listening. If you want to design a shoe that makes my gimpy ankle more reliable, I'll hear you out. If you come knocking on my door to sell me a new home security system (like you did two months ago,) I'll likely buy it (like I did two months ago.) Time and again it holds true: If you want to catch my attention, appeal to my weenie fraidy-cat nature and I'm all yours.

In order to be the hard-hitting action hero journalist that you've come to rely on every Monday, my life is constantly on-the-go. Such is my dedication to news gathering that I seldom have time to do mundane things like, I dunno, read the actual news. Ergo, I'm a master at the hustle-bustle art of headline skimming. That's the very task I was deeply involved in today when I encountered a safety advance so new and ground-breaking that it even took me by surprise. Yet there was the headline staring me in the face on KWQC's website:

"Raptor keeping Davenport school kids safe."

Well, I'll be. All this time, I guess I just assumed Jurassic Park was fictional. As we all know, using frozen dinosaur DNA to build an army of deadly velociraptors for a tourist attraction would be a foolish endeavor destined to tragically backfire. Who would actually go through with such a cockamamie plan? No one, that's who. Clearly, science should be focused on more pressing matters -- like using frozen dinosaur DNA to build an army of deadly velociraptors in order to protect our local schoolchildren.

This could be a real game-changer. I mean, let's face facts. These are scary times we live in, and there are a good number of people out there who are clearly Up To No Good. Now, I'm no expert in psychotic villainy, but if I were some kind of sketchy creeper out to choose a target for evil, I'd probably avoid the school with the bloodthirsty prehistoric monster guarding the perimeter. I'm onboard with this one.

Imagine the savings in court costs alone. "Not guilty by reason of insanity"? Try guilty by reason of no longer having a head. Game, set, match, lunch.

Now, I know what you namby-pamby hippie types are probably thinking. "But Shane," you say, "this is dangerous. Kids could get hurt."

Well, okay, sure, somebody might lose an appendage from time to time. But in this age of advancing safety concerns, I think we need to allow for a little collateral damage now and again. If keeping our schools safe means that Little Timmy might occasionally get a leg or two removed, I think that's a fair price to pay for absolute security. Plus, hey, one day Big Timmy can TOTALLY pick up girls with his sweet I-fought-off-a-velociraptor story. Everyone wins.

Just think how many different ways having a meat-hungry dinosaur around would assist in the modern educational experience. For one, it'd be a great incentive plan for P.E. Having been one of those always-picked-last-in-gym-class kids, I speak from experience when I tell you that the powerful jaws of a velociraptor might have been the only thing capable of making me climb that stupid rope in the Presidential Fitness Test.

And just imagine the health benefits that would come into play. There's a big push now in making school lunches healthier, right? Well, if I knew that there was a hideous meat-eating monster prowling the halls, I'd probably set the cheeseburger down and opt for a delicious bait-free salad instead.

Plus, you wouldn't have to pay for a security team to constantly monitor the halls. A velociraptor would do the job in exchange for room, board, and the occasional live whole cow. The benefits here are obvious. Way to go, Davenport!

What's that, you say? The Davenport schools haven't REALLY employed a velociraptor to work security? Bummer. I knew I should have read the rest of the article.

Well then, I can only assume that when it says "Raptor keeping Davenport school kids safe," they must be referring to the raptor classification of large hunting birds. Like, say, a genetically engineered giant bald eagle or something? I hadn't really thought of that option, but I'm pretty sure if I were a kid, I'd dig having an army of eagles to do my bidding. I'm not quite sure what my bidding would BE at that age, but what girl would say no to a prom invitation that arrived via carrier falcon?

Rats. I just read the article. It's not a dinosaur OR a giant bird. What a let-down. Instead, "Raptor" is the name of a new software package that some Davenport schools have just installed. Instead of the traditional process when a person enters a school (paperwork and vetting and rigamarole,) Raptor can scan a person's ID and instantly perform a background check. If the screening clears, Raptor issues a high-tech hall pass that can then track that person throughout their visit.

In other words, it's kind of revolutionary and cool and probably the exact sort of thing that our local schools need to ensure safety. It's just not the kind of stuff that action movies are made of. Then again, I suppose if life were an action movie, the last person you'd want starring in it is your own child.

So I'll let you keep Raptor, Davenport, and I'll even applaud you for making the upgrade. Just next time, pick something with a more appropriate name, like maybe the VisitorTron 3000 or something. And if anybody out there ever DOES use frozen dinosaur DNA to build an army of deadly velocipators, give me a heads up, because this hard-hitting action hero journalist will want to be the first -- to flee in terror.

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