As regular readers know, I’ve long advocated for the only effective means of deterring, and should deterrence fail, stopping school attacks: empowering teachers and other willing school staff to carry concealed handguns. To find my most recent multi-part series on that topic, enter “school attacks, 2021” into the SMM home page search bar. I’ll be updating the series, as I do annually, beginning around or about September, 2021.
Sadly, while something of a movement to allow what I’ve recommended has been taking place for several years, most American schools remain victim disarmament/free fire zones—they’re utterly unprotected. After the overdose death in custody of violent felon/addict George Floyd, and with the BLM/Antifa “mostly peaceful protests,” which birthed the defund the police movement, many schools that had a minimal police presence on their campuses either kicked officers out, or officers were removed as their agencies were defunded and officers resigned or retired in droves because they weren’t allowed to do their jobs and when they did, were more likely to be prosecuted than criminals. With not nearly enough officers to staff patrol shifts, there was no possibility of officers working schools, even if schools wanted them, and many didn’t.
Circa February, 2022, with midterm elections on the horizon, D/S/Cs, who rule many American school districts, are in panic mode, and many–not all–are desperately trying to back away from their political insanity. Some are even denying they ever wanted to defund the police, why that was all Republican’s fault! Some are begging anew for police presence in the schools–why did you leave in the first place?
While all of this was happening, many school districts tacitly admitted there is a need to be prepared for attacks on schools, which remain rare, but do happen. To that end, some districts have devolved to farce worthy of the Babylon Bee. I last wrote about some of those educational clown reviews in Millcreek, PA Schools: Gone Batty in April of 2018. I began that article thus:
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.
Not to be outdone in the utterly ineffective school defense arms race, Millcreek, PA schools upped the ante:
‘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-News reports, 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.’
By all means, take the link and read the whole thing to get the full effect of the mental deficiency, the sheer battiness, of those thinking such toys in any way effective against armed madmen. Now, the battiness has moved to Michigan, where a particularly pucked up method of active shooter defense has hit the ice, as The New York Post reports:
Stocking classrooms isn’t just about having enough pencils and paper anymore.
An Oakland County, Michigan, teacher has shared some alarming but potentially necessary advice with her fellow instructors on a craftier way to combat an active shooter in the classroom.
Her worst-case scenario suggestion went viral on TikTok with 2.1 million views, as other users discussed the dire state of American schools.
Carly Zacharias, a Berkley School District [high school] Spanish teacher, shared the video Jan. 3, created with the help of her students.
‘Hey teachers! So if you’re just like me you’ve probably been doing a lot of thinking recently about your school safety,’ she began. ‘I just had an idea … feel free to steal it.’
I have these big windows along my back wall. My kids know that Plan A is always just to get out of that middle window and run across the street,’ she explained.
‘But of course Plan B is barricade the door and fight, you all know this,’ she says referring to her colleagues in academia.
She points out that the wooden door to her classroom, which can be locked, also features a large glass window pane — allowing an intruder to easily break through.
Such is the case with virtually every classroom door in America, an issue I’ve been pointing out for years. At least Zacharias has a grip on reality sufficient to recognize that weakness. Beyond that is where her grip on reality fails:
‘So I thought: What can I give every single student just something to prepare themselves?
Enter: the hockey puck. Zacharias lifts the puck to her camera as she describes why they make the perfect kid-friendly, deterrent. ‘It can really hurt you, especially 30,’ she said, referring to what would happen if 30 regulation pucks — each 6-ounces of solid rubber — were hurled at the shooter at once.
Oh dear. At least this is better than a bucket of rocks that have to be first issued to students before they can be thrown at a shooter who will be killing students and teachers long before the rocks can be handed out. In that terribly limited sense, Zacharias’ plan is something of an improvement in the “certain to get lots of people killed” Olympics.
She’s already implemented the protocol in her classroom. Since finding that the new desk accessory was distracting for some students, she also recommended taping the puck to the bottom of their desks, ‘that way kids can use them if they need them.’
‘Obviously it’s just a deterrent, but it definitely makes us feel a little bit better,’ she concluded.
“A deterrent?!” I’ll certainly give Zacharias credit for recognizing the danger, but none for tactical knowledge or even common sense. While a hockey puck propelled by the power of both arms wielding a hockey stick, the twisting of the torso, the momentum of the hockey player, and the low friction of ice can attain considerable velocity–the most skilled, strongest players can propel a puck over 100 MPH for very short distances–the very shape of the puck makes it a suboptimal projectile off the ice, particularly for people who have not practiced throwing that particular projectile. In the ineffective projectile sweepstakes, a baseball would be superior, but admittedly harder to tape to a desk. I won’t even get into the reality the kinds of tape necessary to secure a puck long term would also make quickly retrieving the puck difficult, and would surely leave sticky residue that would hamper accurate throwing.
But we’re essentially arguing about how many hockey pucks can dance on the head of a pin.
In school attacks, what matters is time and distance. In only a tiny handful of attacks have the police had any hand in saving lives and/or stopping an attacker. In the 8th edition of the 2021 series, I provide a representative scenario, an attack on an elementary school by a single killer, using common firearms (not “assault weapons”). I’m very generous in apportioning times and police response. Take a moment to take the link and see what I mean.
Let’s take Ms. Zacharias’ classroom as an example. A single killer, using only a .22LR caliber handgun—ten round capacity–and a 9mm caliber handgun—15 round capacity—pulls open her door and begins to shoot. These were the weapons used by the Virginia Tech killer, his attack, to date, the most deadly school attack done with the use of firearms.
Let’s say Ms. Zacharias has 30 high school students in her room. By the time anyone in the room understands what’s happening, will they be more likely to panic, scream and cry, freeze, began to run about, or calmly and dispassionately try to pry the hockey pucks out from under their desks? Will they, as Ms. Zacharias forecasts, be able to throw those pucks, en masse, which will require each and every student to stand up—that’s a bit harder than usual as they’ll have to slide out from under their desktops; it’s easier to get into a school desk than to get out—turn to face the killer who is presumably still firing and waiting for everyone to show their readiness, bombard the killer as one? Will they all—those not incapacitated, dying or dead—be able to propel those pucks with sufficient velocity and accuracy to do more than anger the killer? How many will actually strike him? And after the first 19th century volley fire of pucks, from where will the second volley come?
Remember: in such events, time and distance matter. Firing a handgun accurately is difficult under stress, but inside a classroom distances are short, making hit probability higher. Let’s say the killer empties his 9mm handgun—16 rounds—in about 25 seconds, which is a generous time frame. Let’s further say he decides to stay in the classroom until he kills everyone there, which is not what has historically happened, but we’re straying a bit to make a point. In that 25 initial seconds, he has wounded or killed 1/3 of the class, 10 kids, likely the closest to him.
In that time, only a very few kids have managed to remember they have hockey pucks taped under their desks, and have managed to free them and have begun to try to stand up. In the meantime, the shooter has changed magazines—it only takes a few seconds—and has once again began to shoot. He’ll shoot first at movement—the eye is drawn to it—shooting those trying to stand up, even if he doesn’t recognize they have something to throw at him. He has a very effective distance weapon; they don’t.
With one magazine change, the killer will have 42 rounds for the 31 people in the classroom–11 rounds in his .22LR handgun–and can fire them all easily within 45 seconds. If he decides, as most school attackers have decided, to simply fire a single magazine, or nearly so, into the classroom, and then move on, it’s virtually certain not a single kid would have a chance to take a puck in hand.
But what if the class was prepared? What if they heard gunfire and locked the door and were all ready to throw their pucks? Consider the Parkland, FL attack where the killer maimed and killed some of his victims by merely shooting through closed and/or locked classroom doors and windows. He never entered the classrooms. Of what use would pucks be then? Who is going to want to stand exposed so they can throw a hockey puck?
How much worse would things be for elementary age students, far smaller and weaker than high school kids? And as to potential deterrence, would a determined killer not merely wear a motorcycle helmet with face screen or a similar bit of protection, if they bothered at all?
I trust, gentle readers, you get the point? Again, bless Ms. Zacharias, but her concerns and energies would be best used by recognizing the realities of gun fighting, the first being: bring a gun. The police will virtually never be on site in time to save lives. The only people capable of stopping an attack, potentially before anyone is injured or killed, are the people who know the school—the tactical ground—best and who are everywhere present when and where an attack occurs: willing teachers and other staff carrying concealed handguns.