It almost sounds like a joke, or the opening scene of some wistful, nostalgic prose pastorale: two boys walking along an autumn trail with a pellet gun -- an air rifle! -- planning to hunt squirrels. They were walking, in fact, up the long-gone Monon railroad line, right past the former blacksmith's shop where my Dad, at the ripe old age of 16, bought the bolt-action .22 rifle presently locked up right down the hall. (You could do that, back then.)
That stretch of the path also passes within a few blocks of an elementary school, just then letting out. Or, as the news story's lede puts it, "Two juveniles with a pellet gun prompted a lockdown at Orchard Park Elementary School...." Yeah.
The report ends, "Officers will be investigating the incident and will work with the
Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office to determine if any charges should
Gee, air gun, no shots fired, legally possessed. Squirrel season runs from 15 August 2013 to 31 January, 2014.* Looks to me like the young would-be squirrel-hunters should be in the clear (barring any age-ist BB-gun nonsense buried in state law). Can the school administrators be charged with reckless endangerment? Hysteria? Arrant damfoolishness? One could hope -- but don't hold your breath.
* With daily bag limit of five. We're in no danger of running out; every year, squirrels produce a couple of litters of three pups each and, as DNR observes, while "[s]quirrels produce fewer offspring than other mammals..." they "...are more successful in rearing them." Ma and Pa squirrel are a little too successful for their own good. With few natural checks-- a squirrel is a match for most cats (at least the local red or fox squirrels are) -- Man's got to maintain the balance.
6 months ago