Aaron Feis, J. Christian Adams, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Noah Parness, NRA, Parkland FL, Republicans, Sandy Hook, school attacks, Sean Hannity, Sheriff Scott Israel, Virginia Tech
Evil exists. Evil is not an inanimate object. It is not a gun, not even an AR-15 or similar semi automatic rifle (there is no such thing as an “assault weapon”). It cannot be deterred, banished or eliminated by a policy or law. It has always been with us, and until the Almighty locks it away, always will be.
Yesterday, February 14, 2018, evil manifested most obviously at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, at about 2:30 PM local time. There is, as is usual with such cases, much we do not know about this incident, but in many respects, it is like every other school shooting. The killer, a 19 year-old former student of the school who would want his name mentioned here, is unharmed and in police custody, which is unusual. Most such killers either commit suicide, or hope to commit suicide by cop. He is charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder. Here’s what we know, via Fox News:
Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland thought they were having another fire drill when they heard shots fired. ****— equipped with a gas mask, smoke grenades and multiple magazines of ammunition — fired his AR-15 rifle as students and faculty barricaded themselves in classrooms. Other people ran into the streets as they heard ‘pop, pop, pop’ in the background.
Noah Parness, 17, told the Associated Press the fire alarm went off for the second time in the day at around 2:30 p.m. Parness said students were calmly filing out of the school when he suddenly heard several gunshots.
‘Everyone was kind of just standing there calm, and then we saw a bunch of teachers running down the stairway, and then everybody shifted and broke into a sprint,’ Parness said. ‘I hopped a fence.’ [skip]
Aaron Feis, a beloved football coach at the high school, was the first of the 17 people killed to be identified. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School football team posted on Twitter that Feis ‘shielded students from the shooter’ when he was struck with a bullet.
‘He was our Assistant Football Coach and security guard. He selflessly shielded students from the shooter when he was shot. He died a hero and he will forever be in our hearts and memories,’ the tweet said.
Of the 17 people killed, 12 of them died in the school, two were killed outside and another was pronounced dead on the street. Two people died in the hospital, police said. Another 15 people were taken to the hospital.
Feis, who by all accounts behaved heroically, was an unarmed security guard, reduced to using his body to absorb bullets. More on this later.
The killer was adopted, but his adoptive father died years ago, and his mother died only a few months ago from pneumonia. The killer was expelled from school last year after getting into a fight with his ex-girlfriend’s boyfriend. He was reportedly abusive toward her. He was living with the family of a friend. There is evidence his potentially dangerous behaviors, and perhaps even intentions, were widely known, and he was banned from entering the campus with a backpack(?!). A Youtube comment by the killer a few months old that was, to say the least, suggestive, was reported to the FBI.
An Instagram page apparently belonging to **** showed pictures of guns and knives. [Sheriff Scott] Israel said some of ****’s social media posts were ‘very, very disturbing.
The killer reportedly posted photos of animals he killed and potentially mutilated, which is a recognized sign of a potentially homicidal personality. He legally purchased his rifle.
The usual cries for gun bans were loud and immediate: Republicans have blood on their hands; the NRA has blood on its hands; all AR-15s must be banned; Republicans want to kill children, etc. As is common after such manifestations of evil, there is a compulsion to “do something,” anything that will prevent similar future abominations. There must be something, some law, some policy, some virtue signal that will change everything…
Even people who should know better were arguing for impossible, ineffective measures. Sean Hannity was stuck on a half-measure: put retired law enforcement and military people—armed–in every school in the nation. This is similar to the NRA’s post-Sandy Hook proposal to put armed security guards in every school. Hannity also suggested metal detectors and only a few entrance/exit doors. A Hannity guest, a former FBI Agent, if memory serves, even suggested establishing a federal agency to put federal security guards in every school. As we all know, nothing is more efficient and effective than federalization. Let us, briefly, consider these suggestions, in their own way, common and oft proposed following school attacks.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is a 9-12 school of some 3200 students. It features an enormous three-story classroom building and many additional buildings on a sprawling campus. There are many high schools throughout the nation larger than 2000 students, and as such, they are essentially small towns, and a horror show for responding police officers, who have no idea of the interior layout of the many buildings on their campuses. By all accounts, the police response was relatively rapid. No numbers have been mentioned, but a rapid police response is usually something on the order of five minutes—for the first, single officer to arrive. Keep in mind that means the first officer arrived some five minutes after the police received a call, and after the dispatchers were able to understand what was happening and send a radio call. By this time, the shooting had been going on for some time, and would continue for some time after the call was made. In this case, as is virtually always true, the police had no active role in stopping the shooter. The killer chose to stop shooting on his timetable, and apparently after abandoning his rifle, strolled out of the building with fleeing students. He was captured some two miles away.
Contemporary school “safety” protocol consists almost entirely of
“run, hide, barricade.” By the simple expedient of pulling a fire alarm, the killer completely defeated that supposed “safety” protocol. This is a trick I’ve avoiding mentioned until now, not wanting to give killers ideas, but it’s out of the bag, and copycatting can be expected. In addition, one student described what happened as the killer shot out the window of her locked classroom door, poked the barrel through the window, and shot four students cowering, supposedly out of sight. As I’ve often written, locked doors work only as long as a shooter isn’t willing to take the time—mere seconds—to breach them. Kids hiding, closely clustered together in a confined space, are easy targets.
Metal detectors and a few entrance/exit doors sound like a great idea, but are entirely impractical. This works at a courthouse or federal building when only a few people at a time need to enter, but at a school of 3200, that would only cause huge lines of students waiting to enter, lining them up perfectly for gunmen, and hopelessly disrupting any school schedule. Not only are schools not designed for this, fire codes would prevent it. But even if it were possible, multiple, armed personnel would be required to man the detectors, and to check out any false positive. Unarmed personnel would be little more than speedbumps to an armed killer.
And this is the problem with armed security personnel: money. School districts, unlike some colleges, do not have multimillion-dollar endowments. Scraping together the money to hire a single additional teacher is like pulling teeth. Mrs. Manor and I spend up to $2000.00 a year for supplies the school district does not have, for our teaching and students. Some schools have a single school resource/liaison officer, but most do not. Such people are police officers, assigned by their agencies, their salaries paid, at least in part, by their school districts. They’re normally assigned only to larger schools: high schools and occasionally, middle schools. Many are shared by multiple schools, dropping by elementary schools only a single day per week, or even less often. A single, armed officer is better than nothing, but the chance they’ll be present, when and where an attack happens, is slight. A smart shooter can easily be certain where the single officer is and attack elsewhere.
What about retired military or police personnel? Unless such people would be willing to work for free—a doubtful proposition—we’re back to the security guard/money problem. There are additional costly issues with security personnel, including state laws regulating such people, bonding/insurance, training, etc.
As for federal security police, one might be tempted to think they’re free because their salaries are paid by the federal government, but those salaries would almost certainly absorb every penny of the recent tax cut, and more. Federal services are never free or without a spider’s web of strings. As to their effectiveness, consider the wonders of the TSA, strip-searching grandmothers, and tiny children in wheelchairs and failing to find weapons and explosives in virtually every security test.
One could ban AR-15s, but there’s the matter of the unalienable, natural, fundamental right to self-defense, and the Second Amendment, written to affirm citizen’s right to keep and bear arms, largely to overthrow the kind of governmental tyranny that would be employed to deprive the people of arms. One might also consider that criminals, and people consumed by evil planning mass murder, are not about to obey any gun law. One should also observe reality: AR-15s and other semiauto rifles are neither “high-powered,” nor uniquely deadly. The Virginia Tech killer, on April 14, 2007, killed 32 and wounded 17 using two common handguns in 9mm and .22LR calibers, cartridges far from being “high-powered.”
Well then, we’ll just seize all the guns! This is the ultimate goal of the Left, but any such attempt, even an attempt to seize only a single class of guns, would provoke civil war–a hot civil war, and it wouldn’t matter who was president at the time.
I’ll not go into mental health issues other than to point out that after school shootings, hindsight often finds the shooters to be odd people who might have displayed signs that in retrospect, are troubling, but they have no criminal records sufficient to deprive them of arms, and never have they been adjudicated as mentally ill. The Sandy Hook Elementary Killer was known as an odd person. He saw many psychologists and counselors over many years, but not one found his behavior threatening, not one predicted his attack. In fact, a mental health commission established after the attack was careful to note mental health professionals cannot predict school attacks and cannot be held accountable for that inability. You might, gentle readers, wish to visit J. Christian Adams at PJ Media on potential causes.
The ultimate problem is human nature. Evil exists. Some people are simply evil, and evil people do evil things. Whether they are somehow mentally defective, their parents abused them, they are inspired by the author of evil, or even possessed by demons doesn’t matter to their victims. Thankfully, the number willing to carry out mass school attacks remains small, but they have always existed and always will, and there is nothing we can do about that. Nothing.
What does that leave us? What can we do, if anything, to deter, and if deterrence fails, to stop school shooters?
There is a simple method, one that would cost little, would effectively deter shooters, and alone, would allow school personnel to stop an attack, potentially before a single person is wounded or killed: allow willing, qualified school personnel—teacher and support staff—to carry concealed handguns.
Concealed carry licensees constitute a ready pool. Many teachers already have such licenses, but are not, with a few states being exceptions, allowed to carry on school property. Texas, for example, allows teachers to keep firearms in their vehicles on school property, and to carry concealed if their districts establish a policy allowing it, but thus far, few have. Most simply prohibit it.
In 2016, I posted an article with a model armed school policy. In that article, I established a fundamental principle:
Fundamental Principle: to have as many armed staff members present in every school as possible, so that when and wherever an attack takes place, there will be multiple armed and capable adults ready, then and there, at that instant, to save lives.
I recommend taking the link and reading that article, but for the moment, allowing every willing concealed carry license holder to carry concealed—the weapon must be completely concealed and always on the person—and publicizing the fact that all employees are allowed to carry, and many are, is the most effective possible deterrent. Unfortunately, this will be resisted because any school district that does not have the policy will be painting a target on the backs of their students and staff, and once nearby districts adopt the policy, they’ll have no choice. That’s right. They’d rather allow their students to be murdered than allow responsible adults to protect their lives.
The tendency to over-regulate must be avoided. To do otherwise violates the fundamental principle. Teachers must be allowed—within professional reason–to carry the handgun they can effectively conceal and shoot well. No teacher need be a police officer or trained to that standard. They need only sufficient skill with their handgun, and to know the law relating to the use of deadly force. Their handguns will only be removed from concealment if they need to save themselves or another from the imminent threat of serious bodily injury or death. Tactical training should be offered every year, but that would be the only real expense for any school district.
Even if a given school had no one carrying concealed, it would enjoy the deterrence benefit. For a school of 3200 students, and likely, 300 or so staff, it’s the only rational possibility. Multiple adults on every floor, in every hallway, in every building, ready and able to save lives, is the only policy that can save lives. To do otherwise, to do less, is to tacitly accept some number of wounded and dead. That number will always be determined by the number of officers on the street when the call is made, traffic patterns, their knowledge of the school facility, the lack of marksmanship of the killer, in other words, dumb luck.
School shootings will happen again; anywhere; anytime. We cannot prevent them, but we can deter and potentially, stop them when and where they occur.
The next time someone feigns shock at the mere idea of armed teachers, ask them this: an armed killer is walking down the hallway of the school where your eight year-old daughter attends class. It will take thirty rounds of gunfire before a phone call is made to the police, 45 seconds for the call to be dispatched, five minutes for the first officer to arrive, and five more minutes for him to enter the school and locate the shooter. Would you rather have multiple teachers armed and ready to stop the shooter, perhaps before he fires a single round, or are you comfortable waiting for that first officer, who stands a 50/50 chance of being shot and killed by the shooter?
Here is my most recent series of articles on this issue, which discuss every issue relating to school shootings in much more detail:
School Attacks: Saving Lives Or Saving Face, Part 1
School Attacks: Saving Lives Or Saving Face, Part 2
School Attacks: Saving Lives Or Saving Face, Part 3
School Attacks: Saving Lives Or Saving Face, Part 4
School Attacks: Saving Lives Or Saving Face, Part 5
School Attacks: Saving Lives Or Saving Face, Part 6
School Attacks: Saving Lives Or Saving Face, Part 7
School Attacks: Saving Lives Or Saving Face, Part 8
I also recommend a visit to my favorite Bookroom, for her take on the competing political philosophies involved.
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Mike, if we don’t trust teachers to use lethal force to protect our kids, why do we trust them to teach our kids?
Mike McDaniel said:
Exactly. Few know that teachers are vetted even more closely than concealed carry licensees.
Clark Carter said:
I agree that allowing the Second Amendment to work is the best solution, and that cultural decay is a root cause – but it is not the only root cause. A friend of mine had to move out of Maine because the school system threatened to report her for child abuse because she refused to medicate her child for being a boy. I sat for him once, and gave him a task and a bonfire when it got dark as a reward. I had no problem with him, he was a smart kid, full of energy and bored in school – he had no need to be drugged. Good facts at this website:
Kent Donnelly said:
I don’t know anything about law enforcement, having spent my professional life as a musician in a military band, an NPR broadcast professional, and a software engineer. But in my (admittedly non-expert) opinion, for a school the size of Parkland, there should be one armed professional officer per 500 (?) students. Even at a salary of $100,000 per year, the cost per student would be $200/year:
3,000 students / 500 students per officer = 6 officers
6 officers * $100,000 per year = $600,000
$600,000 / 3,000 students = $200 per student per year
The price seems high, before a gunman strikes. After, though, not so much.
The media will repeat their mantras: ” Trump,” “NRA,” and “AR-15.”
They will ignore or downplay the groups on the killer’s social media: CAIR, BLM, and Antifa.
Reportedly, he had previously beaten up his girlfriend. So, if he had been prosecuted and convicted of domestic violence or assault, it would have been illegal for him to buy a firearm.
And maybe we just need a law making it illegal to sell a gun to a registered Democrat.
Newt Gingrich just sent out an email proposing to arm teachers in school as the only solution to school shootings. If only someone had been proposing that for the last 5 to 10 years…..
Mike McDaniel said:
Me! Me! I’ve been proposing it for decades…
Can you believe it? Our intellectual betters are finally using common sense.
James W Crawford said:
The failure of the FBI to respond to warnings about the perpetrator reminds me of my brother’s murderer. In spite of hsving an arrest record that ran to over a dozen pages of computer printout, he was free on his own recognizance awaiting trial for yet another crime when he intentionally ran him down with a Doge van. I never ever considered blaming automobiles, auto manufacturers or the American Automobile Association for my brother’s death. However; I do blame the catch and release criminal justice system that has contributed to the historic decline in clearance and arrest rates that have been an irrefutable factor in high crime rates.
BTW, as the perpetrator of the Washington Navy Yard massacre demonstrated, if you ban assault rifles, criminals will only transition to shotguns. A 12 gauge shotgun chambered to fire 3.5 inch long shells can fire 18, .32 caliber, Double Ought buckshot with every squeeze of the trigger. For someonebwho has practiced reloading, the magazine capacity of a tube fed, pump action shotgun is effectively unlimited. Ditto for old style lever action rifles. Dont get me started on shotgun slugs which can be more lethal than a .50 BMG.
Occasional Thinker said:
Mike, using the fire alarm in a school shooting is not new. That is how the shooters at Westside Middle School in Jonesboro, AR got everyone out of the building in 1998.
On that note, both shooters, a 13 and 11 year old, were convicted on both state and federal charges as minors with mandatory release on their 21st birthdays. One was arrested and convicted of simultaneous possession of a firearm and a controlled substance shortly after his release. Since he was convicted as a minor, he was not a prohibited person after serving less than 2 years per person murdered and apparently passed the federal background check to purchase the pistol.
The other applied for a concealed carry permit and it ea denied only because he refused to provide place of residence for the prior 2 years (juvenile detention center). As he had completed the required training course, it is a good bet he had passed a federal background check also. At least one, and possibly both, had assumed new names and their juvenile records were well and truly sealed.
Roy Lofquist said:
“We have met the enemy and he is us” ~ Walt Kelly as voiced by Pogo.
It wasn’t the video games. It wasn’t the gun. It wasn’t the FBI. It wasn’t fluoride in the water. It was us.
“PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The last piece of legislation President John F. Kennedy signed turns 50 this month: the Community Mental Health Act, which helped transform the way people with mental illness are treated and cared for in the United States.
Signed on Oct. 31, 1963, weeks before Kennedy was assassinated, the legislation aimed to build mental health centers accessible to all Americans so that those with mental illnesses could be treated while working and living at home, rather than being kept in neglectful and often abusive state institutions, sometimes for years on end.”
“Few anticipated how quickly President Kennedy’s aspiration of reducing the institutional population by half would be realized. By 1980, the inpatient population at public psychiatric hospitals had declined by 75%. In 2000, approximately 55,000 remained in these institutions, representing less than 10% of those institutionalized just fifty years prior. The shift was especially pronounced among children and youth: by 2009, the institutionalized population had declined by 98%.”
Pull your heads out of your donkeys, disband the circular firing squads and pay attention. We did it to ourselves.
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I hope that coach and the three JROTC members that died protecting other’s were given military honors and 21 guns because they fought the good fight even though unarmed by law and paid the ultimate sacrifice. And as far as the ‘alleged’ shooter is concerned. Give him a legal trial, a review to insure all was done correctly. Then if found guilty he should dance on air. And his dance should be shown on every TV and every net channel nationwide. And as he dances the faces and names of his victims should play behind him.
Keep your powder dry and your faith in God.
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