Hold that open line! And beware Rapert's safety device | Arkansas Blog

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Hold that open line! And beware Rapert's safety device

Posted By on Sat, Sep 19, 2015 at 4:17 PM

click to enlarge QUESTIONS RAISED: Only the state fire marshal objected when Sen. Jon Woods and Daniel Hogan pushed through a bill allowing sale of a school door locking device in Arkansas schools. Now they are coming under criticism from safety experts.
  • QUESTIONS RAISED: Only the state fire marshal objected when Sen. Jon Woods and Daniel Hogan pushed through a bill allowing sale of a school door locking device in Arkansas schools. Now they are coming under criticism from safety experts.
Here's the football Saturday night open line. LRPD is investigating a homicide in the 1500 block of South Peyton (incident apparently began at 12th and Fair Park).

Ever visit the Arkansas Times Facebook page?

I linked there to this morning's items about where Razorback football games should be played and a whale of a conversation is underway — some 228 comments last time I checked. Highly spirited. Whew, pig!

* CONSUMER ALERT: There is this on the wires tonight.

A report from Ohio quotes safety experts questioning the safety of classroom barricade devices, including one marketed by a company in which Sen. Jason Rapert is an investor and which got a boost from the 2015 Arkansas legislature with passage of legislation over the opposition of the state fire marshal that loosened the state fire code to allow such devices.

Check out the story. Rapert has been touting sales of the Ulockit Security Systems that is marketed by a Conway friend.

Expert testimony of the fire marshal was ignored in Arkansas. The bill to help Rapert's company passed with not a single vote of dissent in the Senate. You think maybe politics had something to do with it? Rapert didn't vote, presenting a modest semblance of lack of conflict. Sen. Jon Woods, the special interests' friend, presented the bill with Conway cop Daniel Morgan, quoted in the story from Ohio.

You can't say the Arkansas expert didn't try to get legislators' attention. He raised questions similar to those in this report:

Those opposed to the devices say they're complicated to install under stress and could lead to dangerous unintended consequences - including blocking authorities from an attacker inside a classroom.

"Unlisted, unlabeled, and untested," said a July report by Ohio's building codes board critical of the devices. Nevertheless, the board was forced to update its codes to allow the devices after lawmakers approved them this summer following testimony from manufacturers and parents of school children.

Hogan, leading the marketing for the company in which Rapert is an investor, responds in the story — not with a counter to the safety arguments but an appeal to terror (sound familiar Rapert fans?) He said schools are dealing with a "different evil" that requires extra protection.

We don't have to just stick with, 'Be scared and terrified, and not know what to do.' There are all kinds of options that we can do out there," Hogan said.

Armed and ready. That's Rapert's motto.

Rapert tweeted the other day that his company had sold Osceola schools on the system.

Ted Thomas, a former Republican legislator and chairman of the PSC by Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson appointment, was also identified as an investor in the Rapert-Hogan company.

* SHUT THE HUCK UP: Mike Huckabee continued his run for president on an anti-gay platform, blasting President Obama's appointment of a gay man to be secretary of the Army. Homosexuality is not a job qualification, the Huckster declared. The problem here, of course, is that people like Huckabee believe it should be a DISqualification. 

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