Becky Pringle, defense in depth, evil exists, Gun Free Zones, Lauren Robert, narrative-based reality, President Biden, Secret Service, Steny Hoyer, Teachers carrying concealed, Uvalde Texas, Vanity Fair
How best to secure schools against active shooters? Politically, there are two trains of thought: the made up reality view and the based-in-actual—reality view.
Among the most rational and grounded purveyors of actual reality are the members of the Secret Service Presidential Protection Detail. They know if someone truly wants to kill the President, and is willing to die in the attempt, they’re likely to succeed. What does this piece of real reality have to do with school attackers? As I’ve previously written, they’re difficult to detect and stop because there is no single set of sure, trip wire, warning signs. However, we do know:
1) They are determined to kill as many children and teachers as possible.
2) They are attacking “gun free,” free fire zones, not hard targets with an unknown number of people present who can and will shoot back or shoot first.
3) They usually intend to die, either by suicide or by the guns of the police, who will never show up in time to prevent as many murders as attackers want to commit.
The most important concept for those actually interested in securing schools to grasp is a clear-eyed understanding of ultimate reality: the existence of evil. Those who construct their own reality and demand everyone else live in it must deny the existence of evil. Such people commonly reject God, because nothing and no one can be greater than the self-imagined elite and their political reality. Therefore, their version of evil, divorced from the spiritual and religious, is opposition to their intellectually and morally superior policies. Their reality consists of inventing a narrative and making up whatever is necessary to support it. They do this with rhetoric and feelings, which is why “gun free” zone signs make them feel safe.
Those who live in the real world, the world God created, have no doubt of the existence of evil. They didn’t create it, but they have an obligation to fight it. Since they didn’t create it, they know there is no political solution. Evil doesn’t obey the law. Evil will always exist, thus reality-based steps must be taken to deter, and when necessary, destroy, evil. They use evidence and logically based action to address threats, not feelings. Their solutions allow people to the greatest possible degree, to be rather than feel safe.
Let us, gentle readers, examine the evidence:
On Wednesday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) pushed back against the notion that arming teachers would help prevent future mass school shootings.
‘CNN Newsroom’ host Jim Sciutto asked Hoyer about the value of the House passing symbolic gun legislation, knowing there would not be enough support in the Senate to get it passed into law.
Hoyer bemoaned that they had not figured out a message yet, ‘other than turning our schools into armed fortresses.’ He decried the arming of teachers, saying it would not make schools safer.
‘We haven’t found what those messages are yet, other than turning our schools into armed fortresses,’ Hoyer replied.
‘Now, look, I’m for having security officers in schools to keep our schools safe. I’m for keeping doors locked. But the theory that if we just give more and more people armed, whether they’re teachers, employees of the school, if we just give more and more people arms, somehow we’re going to be safer, that is absolutely not the case,’ he added. ‘It’s not the fact. And this happens nowhere else in the world. Not in big countries, not in democratic countries, not in dictatorships — no other country in the world has the gun violence that America has.’
Hoyer hasn’t “figured out a message yet.” No one is suggesting turning schools into “armed fortresses,” and other countries such as Israel have had great success in saving lives with armed school staff. Surely President Biden is reality based? Not so much:
Speaking at a Democratic donor event, Biden told the audience that while he owns two shotguns, he does not believe the Second Amendment covers all forms of firearms.
Additionally, Biden told donors at the fundraising event that the idea of armed school staff was severely misguided. He pointed to the rigor of military training as evidence that it is not easy to ‘blow someone’s brains out.’
‘The idea we’re going to provide – the way to deal with gun safety is to provide teachers with guns in classrooms?’ Biden said at the event. ‘There’s a reason why the military takes so long to train somebody. It’s not easy to pick up a rifle or a gun and blow somebody’s brains out.’
Mr. Biden obviously has no idea of the purpose and realities of military training, which is why our military is now fighting the war on climate, fighting for “trans rights,” and being indoctrinated into the mysteries of CRT and Wokeness generally. This is easy, because he is surrounded by some of the finest personal protection specialists in the world, armed with the weapons he would deny Normal Americans. Fortunately, millions upon millions of Americans, including teachers, recognize reality: when a deranged killer is about to kill them or the children under their care, it is morally and intellectually necessary they die, rather than the innocents they intend to kill. Let’s visit the media:
A Vanity Fair essay published on Tuesday — penned by politics correspondent Bess Levin and titled ‘Ohio Enacts Batshit Crazy Law Arming Teachers in the Classroom’ — began by accusing Republicans of doing little to prevent mass shootings while being ‘gung ho’ in offering ‘ridiculous ‘solutions’ that fail to address the actual issue.’
This is made up, narrative-based reality. In this view, the solution is laws that infringe on the Second Amendment, laws that would not have stopped any past school attacker, nor will they stop any in the future. Reality: people planning the mass murder of children, will not obey any lesser law. But what about teacher’s unions?
On Tuesday’s ‘PBS NewsHour,’ National Education Association President Becky Pringle argued that allowing qualified teachers to carry guns in school ‘puts more guns into schools, we know more guns equals more violence,’ and will put ‘pressure’ on teachers ‘that the society believes that they are the ones that should be defending our kids with guns.’ And also ‘won’t do anything’ because teachers won’t take up the option to carry guns.
Gentle readers, as I’ve been writing—the SMM Uvalde archive is here—the made up reality community doesn’t even want armed police officers in schools. But is Pringle right? Are teachers such universally meek souls they would prefer to be unarmed and helpless in the face of slaughter? They would truly prefer to die rather than admit their made-up reality is a lie? Not so much:
A growing number of Colorado educators have taken on the responsibility of arming themselves against a potential school shooter. More than 250 teachers and school staff members have completed the Faculty Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response (FASTER) program since its inception in 2017. The trainees represent 37 different school districts around the state.
‘The training is very intense,’ explained Laura Carno, Executive Director of FASTER Colorado. ‘All of our instructors are active duty law enforcement. They’re teaching these school staffers the same thing that they teach law enforcement in the academy on how to stop an active killer.’
Participants must already have a concealed weapons permit. The training lasts three days.
‘This is a matter of seconds and minutes until children could lose their lives and nobody wants that to happen,’ Carno said.
Demand to enroll in the program typically jumps in the days and weeks after a mass shooting. However, Carno said the demand since the mass school shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas is 10 times greater than anything she’s experienced before.
‘I think because of the horrific details that happened in Uvalde with law enforcement not going in, I think more and more parents and, frankly, folks in schools are saying we are our own first responders,’ she said.
This, gentle readers, is the real reality-based mindset. The Colorado experience is not unique. Across the nation, when teachers have the opportunity to learn and to carry concealed handguns on the job, they overwhelmingly respond.
A Brief, Model Policy: Teachers, like police officers, are among the most stringently vetted people in civilian life. Entry into their jobs requires records checks, background checks, fingerprinting, and extensive interviewing. We trust teachers with the safety of our children, yet as I’ve demonstrated, the self-imagined, made-up reality based elite would deny them the ultimate means of ensuring that safety.
As of 2020 there were nearly 131,000 public K-12 schools in America. There are surely more today—so many undefended targets. I’ll not go into all of the means of hardening schools. I’m very much an “all of the above” advocate. We must, however, keep in mind we cannot “harden” schools to the point they can’t function as schools. We can, however, ensure defense in depth, which begins with deterrence.
To date, most American schools have relied on thin sheet metal “gun free school zone” signs for deterrence. They have been a miserable failure. In fact, most mass shooting attacks—defined as four or more victims wounded or killed—have occurred in gun free zones. That’s real reality. Here’s more.
Arming willing teachers is the only method that provides the opportunity to deter attackers, and when deterrence fails, to stop them, or to limit bloodshed. As regular readers know, even when the police are willing to act professionally, we cannot rely on them to stop an attack. Experience teaches they will virtually always be too late, not because they don’t want to save lives, but there are few of them, and time and distance are always limiting factors. At Parkland and Newtown, the killers slaughtered as long as they pleased before the police could arrive and enter. At neither place—and this is virtually without exception true—did the police have any role in stopping the killing.
Any policy must be very public. Signs announcing teachers are armed and will use deadly force must be prominently posted at all schools. This must be widely and regularly publicized. All school staff, under threat of discipline, must never tell anyone how many people are armed. Even if a given school in a school district has no armed teachers on campus, even that school will enjoy the benefits of deterrence. Ironically, if the Smithville school district embraces this policy, killers will tend to go to the unarmed Johnsonville school district next door.
Initial training must include applicable state laws, and the law regulating the use of deadly force. It is not at all necessary teachers receive the comprehensive training of police officers, only that they receive the same training in the use of deadly force, and basic tactics. Ideally, they’ll run drills on room clearing and tactics in their own schools so they can better identify cover and concealment, and the most effective tactics in protecting their own classrooms, though this training would most likely occur as part of yearly refresher training after their initial training. Teachers would draw their handguns only when there is an imminent threat of serious bodily injury to themselves or others, which is the law in and out of schools.
Participation in the program must be voluntary, and based on training results, school officials must, with the advice of trainers, be able to disqualify those who can’t meet standards. The local police may or may not be an acceptable choice for training.
In any government endeavor, the tendency to demand unrealistic rules is always present. Mandates for the same gun, ammunition, holsters, etc. would render the entire program ineffective. For this program, what matters is concealability, and that changes from person to person. A handgun/holster combination useful for 6’ tall Mr. Jones might be a disaster for 5’2” Mrs. Smith. All ammunition must be factory hollow points to limit over penetration, and caliber choices, say .380ACP to .45ACP, and everything between those choices would be realistic. Laser sights, red dot sights and other useful accessories must be allowed. What works for the individual within realistic limits must be the standard.
All weapons must be carried, concealed, on the person. The whole point of this program is that teachers have the means, when and where an attack occurs, to stop a killer. A handgun in a lockbox in their classroom is of no use to a teacher confronted in a hallway, on the playground or watching the bus pickup zone. Training would obviously include how to carry concealed, and adopting habits that would prevent accidently leaving a handgun in a bathroom and similar common mistakes. Carrying a concealed handgun requires not only changes in mindset and wardrobe, but the establishment of new and effective habits. Police officers, male and female, have to do it. Presumably teachers, who commonly have much more education than police officers, are equally adaptable.
At least 10 states, Ohio being the most recent, allow teachers to carry concealed in schools, and just as with concealed carry generally, the horror show problems anti-liberty/gun cracktivists have claimed would be inevitable have failed to materialize. All of life is a matter of balancing risks. Far more people die in vehicle accidents than by gunfire, yet we would never think of abolishing motor vehicles. Their benefits clearly outweigh the risks. The same is true with firearms. To deny teachers the means to protect the lives of their students and their own lives because a teacher might someday make a mistake is not a real reality-based decision.
I’ll get into greater detail when I update my yearly school attack series, beginning in late August, but I trust the basics of an effective policy are clear. Carrying concealed in schools, done properly, will ensure no one knows who is carrying. As I’ve also previously noted, school attacks remain rare. It’s highly likely a teacher carrying concealed will never need to use their handgun in defense of others or self, which is as it should be. This policy is meant for the worst case scenario, when all methods of defense and deterrence have failed, and seconds are the determinate of life and death.
School districts that refuse to adopt it, should an attack occur, are tacitly accepting some unknowable number of wounded and dead. In accepting that risk, they’re probably not going to see blood in the hallways of their schools, however, every parent in those school districts needs to ask whether they’re willing to allow their public employees to roll the dice with the lives of their children. When there is a low cost, effective alternative, no one need take that risk.
I’m curious…. if everyone carries a gun it seems to me the responding police in pretty much all situations where the call was regarding an armed suspect… what’s to keep the cops from shooting the first person they see holding a gun? Like a teacher who just blew away the bad guy and runs into the hall to find the police.. smack into 19 cops?
True, we keep getting disappointed in what people are doing on any given issue. But your question suggests you’ve been bitten by the sound bite universe that exists everywhere today. “Cops” are not a single united entity with all channels reaching all parts. The reality is that, like any other organization, law enforcement is made up of mostly competent but some incompetent people so it’s them you have to worry about.
A 911 call reporting a shooter in a building is handled first by the dispatcher who answers the call. They are trained to ask for specific details and a well prepared caller will be read and able to answer those questions. So it starts with us because at any given time we may find ourselves in a building that an active shooter has managed to get access to.
Yep it’s up to us to provide the information which will prevent such an accident as you describe. Describe the shooter if possible – giving just color of shirt or coat, pants, shoes and the skin color of the shooter. To be extra helpful you should give the type of gun being used (supposing you’re not a gun-ignorant anti-gunner type). Shot gun, rifle or pistol? semi-auto or full auto? (you’ll know the difference by the number of shots fired in a few seconds. A full auto will fire 6 or 7 shots in ONE second. where is the shooter now? Is the shooter moving around from one area to another?
Next give the number of armed defenders in the building – describing a few quickly if you can. If you’re one be sure to describe yourself. (color of clothing, eyeglasses or no, beard, etc). Be sure to tell dispatch where you are and ask how you can be safe when making yourself visible to RESPONDING UNITS. Mention responding units – they may already be listening in on your call!
The above is from training and actual experience. I have been licensed to carry a concealed pistol for fifty years and in my state it’s mandatory that you tell any law enforcement officer that you are armed and licensed. This CALMS EVERYTHING DOWN AT ONCE. Police officers do not like surprises!! And I have been thanked for making my status known several times by officers I’ve encountered who were looking for a suspect.
So that’s the basic answer to “what’s to keep the cops from shooting the first person they see holding a gun?”
Mike McDaniel said:
What you said, and thanks.
Mike McDaniel said:
OK. I’ve said this before, but one more time. The police don’t get to shoot anyone just because they’re holding a weapon. They, and citizens, are under the same constraints when it comes to the use of deadly force.
Part of any such program will be training in how to interact with the police in these situations. Knowing there are armed teachers in schools greatly decreases, not increases, the potential for blue on blue accidents. There are other ways to reduce the danger, but I’ll not give anything away to potential bad guys.
No one can eliminate all risk in life, but once again, the risk of a possible mistake is a poor justification for leaving teachers and students unarmed and vulnerable.
I believe the concept “leave it to the experts” has run its course. There are no experts as we’ve seen with Covid and the event in Texas. Just American citizens, some better prepared than others, some not. We are all responsible for the safety and security of our country. From our local environment to our national borders. From the safety of our kids to ourselves. As citizens, we need to start re-shaping the political landscape to reflect this.
Mike McDaniel said:
Phil Strawn said:
Good points Mike. I know a few retired teachers and they wanted to arm themselves, but the schools wouldn’t hear of it. I’m not sure the woke Teachers Union would go along.
Mike McDaniel said:
Dear Phil Strawn:
That is certainly going to be a problem wherever teacher’s unions hold sway.
Here.. ran across this by accident. Archie Bunker on gun control.
Presumably, the teachers’ training would include the shoot/don’t shoot training that trainees receive in a police academy. The targets pop up, and you shoot the weirdo pointing an AK-47 at you. You don’t shoot the little kid holding a toy gun, or the uniformed cop holding a shotgun at port arms.
Also, the training would include what to do when the police arrive. Holster (or drop) your handgun, raise your hands, and identify yourself.
I would agree that hollow point ammunition should be used to prevent over-penetration. Although I could see allowing armor-piercing ammunition in the spare magazines or spare speed loaders, in case the attacker is wearing body armor.
Of course, the progressives would address that problem by banning body armor. Which would work about as well as their anti-gun laws and gun-free zone signs.
No.. sorry… “training” doesn’t work to offset all kinds of scenarios.. and those that “slip thru” and a death of a good guy comes through is not collateral damage to simply blow off. Shooting at a local Walmart… turns out 5 civilians are in there trying to address the shooter with their own conceal-&-carry. Cops show up responding to a shooter at Walmart. It’s bad enough all five civilians are doing their own thing.. no strategic coordination with each other.. and likely one of them shoots another one in the process. But the cops show up… and they are all gonna be trained not to shoot the guy with the gun meandering thru the aisles? What are you smoking?
But let’s return to my school shooter scenario. Cops are gonna be trained not to shoot anyone with a gun in a school when they are indeed supposed to defend children with their lives? Please get real.
Sorry but your long list of skeptical statements doesn’t prove more than your own inexperience and apparent lack of knowledge and preparations. Pre training does work and it’s not a big task to take that training (which you obviously don’t have in your resume).
You talk about the death of a “good guy” saying we should care about that. But you haven’t ever been in that position. And you don’t even know how communications can be established when today everyone has a cell phone and can reach responding officers via a 911 call to Dispatch (which by the way are people trained in setting up such communications).
So yes, someone who thinks like you do would be a real threat in an active shooter situation with police on the way. But there are literally thousands of people who think and prepare better than you do.
Nietzsche was right, there are such things as untermench and they all belong to the same political party.
All that “training” went very well in Uvaldi, I see.
“So yes, someone who thinks like you do would be a real threat in an active shooter situation with police on the way.”
How does the way I am presenting my take on the inherent increased threat to police (and civilians with guns) arriving on an active shooter scene given the unknown number of conceal & carry guns are already in play, become a “think like me” interpretation?
Who are you supposing should be given situational training.. police? Sure… that’s their job. Civilians with conceal & carry? Good luck with that. But in either sense… all the training in the world.. even military training… cannot guarantee anyone will react accordingly in all situations.
Mike McDaniel said:
As I’ve noted, adults do not throw away the chance to save lives because the attempt might not be perfect.
Not sure what that justifies or not. Uvaldi aside… cops are ok with conceal & carry even if it went to 20%.. 30%? What would be the scary limit for you.. recalling your cops days, of course.
Mike McDaniel said:
My “limit” is unalienable rights recognized by the Constitution.
“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”
Mike McDaniel said:
Obviously, you must agree with abolishing the police, who are incapable of holding their fire in any dangerous situation. Considering the millions of contacts the police have every year, easily hundreds of thousands of which involve weapons, if what you suggest were true, the police would be killing tens, even hundreds, of thousands of innocents every year. They do not. You are entirely wrong.
Officers are exhaustively trained in the use of deadly force. These days, they are far more likely not to use deadly force, or at least to dangerously hesitate, even when it is justified. I’ve been there, done that, even in schools. A SWAT team on which I served responded to a shooter in a high school, who even fired shots at several officers. They did not need to return fire just then, so they did not. That kind of officer behavior is the norm, not the exception. We only hear of the few exceptions, not the rational, adult, professional norm.
I guess when conceal & carry gets more mainstream we shall see.
Mike McDaniel said:
As I explained, we’ve already seen.
Well.. thanks to SCOTUS today.. we shall see will now be much sooner.
Mike McDaniel said:
What you said.
Even if the police had acted as soon as they were outside the door, kids were already dead. An armed teacher or other staff member could have brought the body count down considerably. Remember, this kid was no trained killer, just a crazy person with an AR. And training absolutely works. The problem is many departments slack off on training because it is expensive. The old military saying applies. “Training is bloodless battles and battles are bloody training”.
Mike McDaniel said:
Indeed. I’ll be writing on this next week, but at classroom distances, a handgun properly employed is the equal of a rifle. Of course training works. Education in general works, if those being educated pay attention. Were this not true, civilization would not be possible.
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Mike McDaniel said:
Thanks for your kind words and the link. It’s much appreciated.