armed teachers, Bath attack, being safe, Columbine, deterrence, Dr. John R. Lott, feeling safe, Gun Free Zones, human nature, irreality, reality, Robb Elementary School, school attacks, self-imagined elite, SRO, virtual signaling
Many questions remain unanswered in the Uvalde attack, but in any school attack, only one truly matters: when the killer—or killers—has breached whatever defensive measures exist (usually, few or none), what is the school prepared to do, then and there, to stop the killer and save lives?
For most American schools, “preparation” means run, hide, lock doors and call the police. We’ve seen the results of that kind of preparation. Before the Uvalde dead are buried, and before the wounded leave the hospital, we’re having yet another “conversation” about how to prevent school attacks. Let’s examine two approaches, the irreality based approach, and the reality based approach.
Irreal: this approach is the default of D/S/Cs and the American education establishment (I know: same thing). Such people create their own reality to conform to their political goals and feelings, and try to force everyone to live in it. Because they are the self-imagined elite, their ideas can never be wrong; they are non-falsifiable, and no amount of contrary actual experience can cause them to admit error. Their idea of conversation consists of “shut up, you racist.” Thus do “gun free school zone” signs signal their virtue and allow them to feel safe, because they’re all about feelings. Their defensive ideas include the excision of police officers from schools because they carry guns, and guns—and police officers—somehow soil a pristine educational environment, trigger the ultra sensitive and cause all manner of microaggressions. The horror.
Occasionally, when their polices fail in ways they can’t ignore, such as when students and teachers are killed, they bow to political pressure from deplorable Normal Americans and implement additional defensive measures such as stocking classrooms with canned vegetables, which upon an armed attack will be handed out to children who will throw them at an attacker. Some schools are more earth sensitive, employing buckets of rocks. Other schools have become more militant, issuing tiny wooden bats to teachers, or rather than veggies and rocks, employing hockey pucks. One can imagine rank upon rank of tiny children engaging in volley fire of veggies, rocks or hockey pucks, ala Rourke’s Drift. The irreal somehow fail to come to grips with the reality of little children fecklessly trying to throw things at armed killers simultaneously shooting them dead.
To them, the mere thought teachers and other staff might be armed is the highest moral outrage, and they would know, being morally and intellectually superior and eternally outraged. A teacher’s job is to politically and sexually indoctrinate students, and occasionally, to teach the basics, not to carry a gun, which would only be used to kill misbehaving students or somehow cause other calamities. No one can feel safe if there are guns anywhere near a school! Besides, they don’t have police training. Being inherently irony challenged, they don’t recognize they, the people who hate the police, want to disarm, defund and abolish them, call them racists, stupid brutes and monsters, are the very same people whose policies rely on the police for salvation when those policies inevitably fail and real safety, not feeling safe, is all that really matters.
Their irony disability is nowhere more obvious than their raging determination to disarm the law-abiding, and to pass anti-liberty/gun measures that would not have in any way inconvenienced or stopped any known school killer since the 1927 Bath, MI school attack, which was done only with explosives. They ignore the psychology of killers and focus on the tools they use. That their goals would do nothing to make children safer, would greatly diminish individual liberty and greatly increase their political power over all Americans are feature, not bugs, because feelings.
Such are their answers to the question that matters.
Real: this is a very different approach that rejects feelings and political ideology and focuses on what actually works. It takes into consideration, first and foremost, human nature and what is known about the psychology of school attackers. It builds on the lessons learned from past school attacks. As I’ve previously written, there is no single foolproof way to identify and intercept school attackers. Single attackers, who may or may not say or write things others find disturbing are particularly difficult to identify and intercept. Humanity is rife with odd people who say and do disturbing things, yet never harm a soul.
The real accept it is impossible to deter all attackers, therefore they focus their efforts on defense in depth, making it as difficult as possible for any attacker. They do not rely entirely on the police because experience has taught when an attack occurs, the police virtually never respond in time to save lives or apprehend or kill the attacker. They do not hate the police, but understand the realities of time, distance and the small number of officers available.
The real know “gun free school zone” signs do not work, because their failure has been consistently demonstrated, particularly since Columbine in 1999—23 years ago. Reason informs them those intent on the mass murder of children will not obey any gun or other law, and this too is consistently demonstrated. They also understand schools where teachers and staff are allowed to go armed—and that fact is regularly advertised—are actually safe, and feelings are irrelevant. When teachers are armed, signs advertising that fact actually work to deter school attackers.
They know this because of real world experience and the impeccable research of Dr. John R. Lott, who has revealed armed schools are truly safe schools:
After the Columbine school shooting 20 years ago, one of the more significant changes in how we protect students has been the advance of legislation that allows teachers to carry guns at schools. There are two obvious questions: Does letting teachers carry create dangers? Might they deter attackers? Twenty states currently allow teachers and staff to carry guns to varying degrees on school property, so we don’t need to guess how the policy would work. There has yet to be a single case of someone being wounded or killed from a shooting, let alone a mass public shooting, between 6 AM and midnight at a school that lets teachers carry guns. Fears of teachers carrying guns in terms of such problems as students obtaining teachers guns have not occurred at all, and there was only one accidental discharge outside of school hours with no one was really harmed. While there have not been any problems at schools with armed teachers, the number of people killed at other schools has increased significantly – doubling between 2001 and 2008 versus 2009 and 2018.
I’ll not get into every potential method of hardening schools, things such as fences, vehicle barricades, single entry points, hardened doors and windows, video systems, etc. I’ll address that in detail when I update my school attacks series in August. Once again, our focus is on what happens then an attacker has defeated those systems—all can be relatively easily defeated–and is in a school, armed and ready to kill as many children and staff as possible?
The real know “gun free school zone” signs are free fire zones, hunting preserves where killers can be assured of little or no resistance, and historically, ten minutes or more before the police can possibly be in a position to stop them. At Uvalde, as we are learning, the killer had more than an hour. They support school resource officers, but they know they are not enough.
No police agency has the budget to place a full time SRO in every local school. Therefore, a SRO, if any are assigned, will commonly have to cover three or more elementary schools. Most commonly, patrol officers will stop by schools for brief visits when they’re not otherwise too busy. In any case, it would take an attacker little time to determine when an officer is or is not present. Even a full time SRO would likely not be present when and where an attack occurred. Robb Elementary School had multiple separate buildings. Unless the SRO was in the building attacked, and near the point of entry, they would likely have no idea what was happening until multiple people were killed.
The real know being present, armed and ready when and where the attack occurs is of vital importance. At Newtown, the first officers did not enter Sandy Hook Elementary School until nearly 15 minutes after the attack began. By then, the killer had been dead by suicide for nearly five minutes. At Parkland, the first police officers did not enter the three-story building on a multi-building campus until just over 11 minutes after the killer began shooting. Their response was seriously hampered by a security video system on a 20 minute delay, a fact no one told them. The killer had abandoned his weapon and left the building five minutes earlier. In both attacks, the killer had as much time as they chose to kill, and no one present could stop them. At Robb Elementary–the SMM Uvalde archive is here–the killer had more than an hour. In the next article of this series, I’ll explain why the realities of policing contributed to that unconscionable delay.
The real know willing, armed teachers do not need comprehensive police training. They only need to know the law relating to the use of deadly force, when to shoot and how to shoot accurately, and any additional training in tactics their districts can provide. They also know teachers must carry their handguns, concealed, on their persons. A firearm is no good to a teacher if it’s locked in a safe, in a desk drawer or otherwise unavailable when they’re confronted in their classroom, in a hallway, on the playground, or when supervising kids waiting for busses.
The real know sane people will be grateful teachers set aside a few minutes in a career to save lives, and they also know it is likely they’ll never have to set aside those minutes. School attacks, thankfully, remain rare. The real think like their children, like my students. School attacks would occasionally come up in class, and when I posed to my 15-17 year old students a scenario where an attacker was coming down the hallway, approaching our classroom, all were enthusiastically in favor of my having a gun to save our lives.
The real know anyone who would say, or whose policies would mandate: “well, the attacker killed my children, but thank goodness no teacher was armed, thank goodness there were no guns in the school,” is as reality challenged and morally depraved as it is possible to be.
Final Thoughts: Which view, gentle readers, will offer actual safety, rather than merely feeling safe? Which view is nothing more than virtue signaling rather than hard won recognition of human nature and reality? Which view has the potential to deter attacks, and when deterrence fails, to end them with no, or minimal loss of life?
Among the best things about arming staff is it is low cost. Teachers provide their own weapons and ammunition. Schools can also augment SROs, if they exist, by employing volunteers, retired military and law enforcement being an obvious and capable pool. However, no one knows their buildings like teachers, and teachers are always present, then and there, when attacks occur.
Implementing such programs carries with it the tendency to over-mandate, requiring the same guns, holsters and other gear for everyone, which defeats the purpose. Not everyone can conceal every handgun with equal ease, and not every handgun and holster works for everyone. Establishing rational guidelines for caliber, etc. and allowing college educated people to make decisions that work for them is the best course.
What say you, gentle readers? How is the question best answered? How best might the Uvalde attack have been deterred, or stopped?
Even the BORTAC guys said arm the teachers and staff.
As to hand gun choice, my combat pistol instructor told us of a grandmother he trained who could put 22LR through a target’s eye socket all day long. The gun needs to fit the user. Different size hands and so on. 9mm glocks are great for most people. Me, I’ve used the 1911 my entire adult life and I just get it.
When I was in high school, we carried rifles and shotguns in the rack behind the seat. None was bothered with it. I was in the rifle club and we brought our 22s to school, placed them in the principles office with a ammo can full of rounds. When I was in college attaining my nursing degree I carried everyday and a backup in my back pack with my books and supplies. No one knew. They were safe. I was an MP in the Army for five years and a Reserve Deputy Sheriff.
Same in my high school in Ft. Worth. Deer rifles, shotguns, and 22’s.
Florida seems to be rising to the occasion. I would not be surprised to see Texas catch up now that they know they have a problem.
More on carry guns. A Kahr PM9 is a very small and accurate 9mm pistol but in my case the grip is too small and it moves around in my hand too much. Also, coming from the 1911, I hate the long trigger pull. A Glock is probably best and if teachers start carrying on a wide scale, Glock will probably build something just for them. Maybe a scaled down Glock 43.
Mike McDaniel said:
When I taught in a small, Wyoming High School, PE classes would step out of the gym door into a nearby cornfield to practice skeet shooting.
Then there is the question of who is funding and encouraging this mental case? “Sal” was a mental teen without a job who was flopping on a mattress on Granny’s floor after he was evicted from his Mother’s home. He then shows up at the school with guns, accessories, ammo, and kit valued at $5,000 to $10,000. Then there is the nice girlie wardrobe that he was photographed in, along with a “Tranny” flag. Someone found a sicko, armed him, and hoped for the worst. The incompetence of the local schools and the local police was a bonus. You have to ask, “Who has the resources and who would benefit from finding, and arming a population of mentally ill, light skinned deviates?” This was no “accident”.
Elmer Fudd said:
I wonder if there is a judge in this guy’s background such as Yamhill County Judge Ladd Wiles that had given a marijuana bootlegger a free pass for shooting at children with a 12 because he missed?
Is there an attorney in this guy’s background such as little Geoffrey Silverman of Oregon, husband of Columbia County Deputy District Attorney Kim Silverman, who continues to argue that his client isn’t a threat because he only loads buckshot in his 12 gauge shotgun?
Silver Sunday said:
“ Being inherently irony challenged” so true! It is maddening.
I am all for teachers voluntarily carrying.
As a woman, concealing on your body can be a challenge…it requires a commitment to figuring it out. Also if you didn’t grow up around them, it takes time to normalize them in your mind. You have to tell yourself, it is perfectly reasonable to have this gun. I am a good guy/gal. Guns in the hands of good guys can save lives.
This may be a huge paradigm shift for the teachers who may know perfectly well this is the only answer and they will step out of their comfort zone to adapt to it.
Glocks hurt my hand, I tried a few versions but just didn’t sit right. Yes, personal weapons and holsters to suit the person who is carrying.
The 30 something parents who masked their 2 year olds, and injected their 5 year olds will most definitely reject this idea. They believed OBGYNs telling them the injection was “safe” for pregnant women.
They are terrified of two things, guns, & germs, wait there’s is a third…losing “friends” on social media.
I hope sober minded realists prevail.
Mike McDaniel said:
Dear Silver Sunday:
One of the reasons D/S/Cs are constantly pushing gun control measures that would have no effect on criminals is they’re trying to weaken the GOP. They know they can always count on some useful Republican idiots to support their unconstitutional, totalitarian schemes.
Somebody Special said:
There is a simple rule to answer your questions. The only person guaranteed to be there to help you when you need it is you. Plan accordingly.
I watched the video, with horror, as the parents in Uvalde were pepper sprayed and arrested for being willing to do what those officers were not. And the left is arguing that I, and people like me, are too incompetent to have a weapon to protect myself and my family and I should relinquish that responsibility to the police. There is a proverbial snowball’s chance of that.
Mike McDaniel said:
Dear Somebody Special:
Do read Update 4 in this series. We are indeed primarily responsible for the safety of our families and ourselves.