Only two weeks ago, I posted The Newest School Shooter Defensive Technology—Updated. For those that might have missed that article, the state of the art, at least at the Blue Mountain School District in Pennsylvania, is rocks, smooth river stones, which are kept in five gallon buckets (high-capacity buckets?) in classrooms and issued to students to throw at armed murderers. I explained, patiently and tactically, why rocks are a bad idea, and provided two illustrative scenarios:
Scenario #1: A single male shooter with a handgun opens the classroom door and begins shooting. Half the class is dying or dead before Mrs. Smith can reach the bucket. As the shooter is reloading, which takes only three seconds, she has time only to retrieve a few nice, smooth river rocks and cock her arm to throw one at the shooter, whose eye, attracted by her motion, shoots her. It takes him only fifteen additional seconds to shoot everyone else in the room. At least they died feeling empowered and safe.
Scenario #2: Mrs. Smith has heard the shooting in other rooms and has locked her classroom door, armed her students, who are scared to death. Despite the empowerment of their river rocks, many are sobbing hysterically. She gathers them together in a corner of the room, out of sight of the window in the door. The shooter shoots out the glass in the door, reaches in and unlocks it. As he enters, Mrs. Smith throws her rock, but misses, and a few of the braver students prepare to throw, but the gunfire has already begun. Because the students are closely clustered, single bullets often hit multiple students. Three fourths of the students, and Mrs. Smith, are injured or killed, and only eight rocks are thrown, only three of which actually struck the shooter, who did not appear to be bothered. At least they died feeling empowered and safe.
The ultimate point was firearms are distance weapons. Even handguns provide a shooter the ability to keep a sufficient distance between his gun and his victims such that they are helpless to stop him. Even if anyone were able to successfully close with a shooter, unless they are strong, aggressive, and sufficiently trained, they would be likely to simply be shot at closer range than others. This does not, of course, mean that one should abandon all thought of an unarmed attack on a shooter as a last resort, but when effective counter measures to school shooters are being considered, rocks should not be on the list, particularly if there is nothing between doing nothing and a last ditch, desperate attempt at survival.
I’ve also pointed out the uselessness and stupidity of relying on bullet resistant whiteboards (and here), and little bullet resistant blankets. But let us, gentle readers, move on to the latest entirely ineffective, feel-good method of dealing with armed attacks, this time from Millcreek, Pennsylvania. There must be something in the water in that part of the country. The Daily Wire reports:
A Pennsylvania school district came up with a novel way to help defend its schools from potential attackers: arm the teachers with bats — 16 inches long.
As the Erie Times-Newsreports, roughly 500 teachers in Millcreek will be armed with the bats. Schools Superintendent William Hall admitted, ‘The bats are more symbolic than anything. However, we do want to have one consistent tool to have at somebody’s disposal in a classroom in the event they have to fight.’ Referring to a 2008 Department of Homeland Security report that recommended first running away, or, if possible hiding, or as a last resort fighting if a school attacker showed up, he added, ‘It’s not about just hiding and waiting. There are options, and one of those is to fight.’
Jon Cacchione, president of the Millcreek Education Association, the union representing district teachers, said, ‘It’s to make people comfortable with the idea that they can attack and not simply go into hard lockdown and just hide, as we’d been told in our training up to this point.’
Hall said the district ordered 600 baseball bats that cost roughly $1,800 for a training session that was held.
Sigh. There is more, from The Blaze:
Other preventative and responsive measures include erecting concrete barriers along a school walkway, reevaluating existing security measures, and purchasing ‘Stop the bleed’ kits for classrooms, among other plans, which can be reviewed here.
According to the Erie Times-News, the school district created an online survey to gauge the temperature of arming teachers with firearms in schools to protect children, should Pennsylvania legalize the move.
The outlet reported that the response ‘overwhelmingly favored’ providing “at least some teachers or staff” with firearms.
So, of course, the last thing anyone would want to do is let teachers carry guns:
The only thing we’re not in agreement with as a group, although, certainly, individual members disagree, is the idea of giving teachers guns,’ Cacchione explained. ‘Having said that, we certainly don’t object to a greater presence of armed and certified police officers. But teachers are here to teach, not to be in the line of defense that carries weapons.
Of course not! The last thing any teacher would want when an armed intruder is on the way down their hallway to kill them and their students is a gun. Why, that would dilute the sanctity of the teaching profession and soil a pristine, non-violent educational atmosphere.
Let me be frank, gentle readers (who would you like to be?): I tire of endlessly repeating myself, but as long as people are determined to do such incredibly stupid, ineffective and actually dangerous things, all of us need to expose them, as often as necessary, to reality, and to the scorn they so deserve. Lives are on the line.
The bats about which they speak are not issued 20 to a room, but apparently, individually to teachers. A bat, used in this context, is nothing more than a particularly wimpy and ineffective club, and because these bats are only 16” long—that’s just 4.5” longer than a standard piece of copier paper—they weigh little and do little damage, in part because they’re so small, and in part, because they can be wielded with only one hand. In order for the bats to be even potentially useful, they must be constantly carried. What good will Mrs. Smith’s bat, safely locked in a drawer in her classroom to keep kids from playing with it, be if she is confronted by a shooter in a hallway, on a playground or in the cafeteria? The probability that teachers will carry silly little bats around, or take pains to ensure the bats are always at hand, is less than nil. This is particularly so because news accounts suggest the school district requires the bats be secreted away in classrooms.
I’ll not spend a great deal of time explaining why rocks and bats are not remotely effective deterrents, or why they will do nothing to save lives, other than to observe that for a little bat to have any chance to be effective, one must somehow close to within arm’s length of an active shooter, who presumably, will shoot and kill anyone trying to approach him. The fact that a little bat like this can be easily deflected by nothing more substantial than one’s forearm–and likely, a skull–is almost too obvious to mention, but these people seem entirely clueless.
At least the school district is purchasing ‘stop the bleed’ kits for classrooms, because their plans ensure students and teachers—many of them–are going to be bleeding if and when an attack happens. I doubt these people are sufficiently tactically intelligent to understand their refusal to employ the sole means of actually stopping an armed attacker when and where an attack occurs, and saving lives thereby, means they are contemplating and tacitly accepting some unknown number of wounded and dead.
But, as is virtually always the case, the bats are symbolic, feel good/feel safe measures, virtue signaling for the unprepared and the unthinking. Somehow, I don’t suspect if an attack occurs in this school district, anyone delivering a eulogy will say “at least they had the symbolism of 16” bats. We can take comfort in that.”