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The demolition of Sandy Hook Elementary School

To better understand the issues, let’s examine three well known school attacks.  There are important lessons to be learned, but virtually none the media would have you believe.

12-14-12: Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, CT.

Weapon: AR-15 variant

Casualties: 2 wounded, 26 killed

Attack Ends: Killer commits suicide

Links:  Enter “the realities and legacy of Newtown” in the SMM home page search bar

0930: The attacker shoots his way into the school by shooting out a large pane of glass adjacent to the locked main doors of the school.

0935:39: School secretaries make the first 911 call to police.

0936:06: First police radio dispatch of the attack.

0939: The first Newtown PD officer arrives.

0939:13:  Two more Newtown PD officers arrive.

0939:34:  Officer confronts unknown man outside the school.  Officers fear there may be more than one shooter (There was only the shooter already in the building).

0940:03:  The final gunshot—the shooter committing suicide—is heard.  The officers did not know this was a suicide shot.

0944:47:  Newtown PD officers finally enter the school.

0946:48:  Connecticut State Police enter the school.

This timeline comes from The Realities And Legacy of Newtown, Part II. 

Note: it took 6:06 after the attack began for the police to be notified by radio of the attack.  The first officer arrived in only 3:54, which is an unusually rapid response to this kind of call, but because of the need to clear people outside the building, officers did not enter for 5:47 after the first officer arrived.

Finding all of the SMM articles on this attack, you’ll discover, gentle readers, the 20 year old killer was a very strange young man, but despite seeing a variety of mental health professionals most of his life, not one saw any sign he might attack a school, nor did anyone else.  On the day of the attack, using a .22LR bolt-action rifle, he murdered his mother as she slept and stole her AR-15 and two handguns. He did not use a handgun in the attack other than to commit suicide.

It remains rare for the police to have any active role in stopping a school attack.  Most end, as at Sandy Hook, when the attacker commits suicide.

The Douglas High School Campus
credit: googlemaps

02-14-18: Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, FL

Weapon: AR-15 Variant

Casualties: 17 wounded, 17 killed

Attack Ends: Killer abandons his weapon and walks away

Links:  The SMM Parkland archive is here.  

Exploded view of Building 12, MSDHS. North is up.

1421:16:  The 20 year-old killer entered the ground floor of the three-floor classroom building on the 13 building campus.  He readied his rifle and magazine carrier.

1421:38:  The killer began shooting, firing at people in hallways, and through classroom doors and windows.

1422:39:  Fire alarms in the building went off, and students left their classrooms as they would for a fire drill.  No school wide notification of an attack had been made.

1423:17:  The School Resource Officer on campus arrived outside building 12.  This was the first time any armed person could have intervened, but the Deputy did nothing, and warned responding officers not to approach the building.

1424:54:  A “code red” was finally called, but only over handheld radios carried by some school personnel, not over the school PA system.

1426:24:  A local police Sgt., by radio, asked his dispatcher if there was an active shooter at MSDHS, which was then confirmed.  This was the first apparent confirmation to the police of the attack, 5:54 after the first shot was fired.

1426:54:  The first local police officer arrived, but had no idea in which building of the 13 building campus the attack was occurring.

1427:10:  A police body camera records the sounds of the final shots.

1427:35:  The killer abandoned his rifle and other gear in a stairwell, and by 1427:54, left the building.  From first to last shot, the attack took 5:54.

1432:42:  Four police officers enter the building, 11:04 after the first gunshot and 5:32 after the final gunshot.

1440:16:  The first mass evacuation of students began.  The police had no idea how many shooters were involved, if they were still active, or where they might be.

1450:40:  Police radio traffic placed the shooter on the second floor.  He was, but 27 minutes earlier.  The school surveillance cameras were set on a 20 minute delay(?!), a fact which would not be known to virtually all responding officers for about 12 minutes.

1502:20:  Police radio traffic finally told officers about the 20-minute video delay.

1537:45:  The killer was captured about two miles from the campus.

No police officer entered the building for at least 11 minutes after the first gunshot.  In this case, confusion reigned, in part because of the inaction of the SRO, and his warning to stay away from the building, in part because of the 13 separate buildings on the campus and in part because two law enforcement agencies—the local police and sheriff’s office—were responding and did not have direct radio communications.  In fact, unreliable radios had long been a known problem.  In addition, the target building had some 33 classrooms spread over three floors, a nightmare for police response.

The killer, 20 years old, legally purchased his rifle, passing a background check and waiting five days as required by Florida law.  Both his adoptive parents died within three months prior to the shooting.  He had a long history of disciplinary and criminal behavior, and mental health issues, and the local police and FBI had prior warning of his intentions, but both did nothing.  The high school, particularly, run by an Obama acolyte, had extraordinarily weak, politically correct, disciplinary policies, allowing the killer to go unpunished for many infractions, and interrupting many opportunities to diagnose and intercept him.

This attack is unusual in that the killer did not commit suicide, but abandoned his weapon and other gear and walked away, only to be found and arrested later some two miles from the school.

02-14-18: Robb Elementary Uvalde, TX

Weapon: AR-15 Variant

Casualties: 17 wounded, 19 killed

Attack Ends: Killer shot by police

Links:  The SMM Uvalde archive is here.  

NOTE:  The timeline is brief and non-specific because, as this is written, no definitive report with a comprehensive timeline has been released.

1128:  The killer crashes his grandmother’s pickup near the school and fires shots at several people at a nearby funeral home without result.  He had, minutes earlier, shot his grandmother in the face.  She survived.

1133:  The killer has entered the school and has begun shooting.  Police were sent to the school initially in response to the crash, but several arrived within about four minutes, and hearing gunshots, understood what was happening and informed their dispatcher, which began a flood of more than 300 officers from at least 23 local, state and federal agencies.

1250:  After waiting for an hour or so in the hallway, officers finally enter the classroom, 77 minutes after the first shot, and kill the murderer.

This attack is unusual in that the police actually killed the attacker.  It’s rare for the police to have any active role to stopping an attack.  However, what’s most disturbing is more than 300 officers stood around and did nothing for 77 minutes while children in the classroom were calling 911, telling dispatchers they were being killed, and while officers, waiting in school hallways, heard intermittent gunfire.  At least one teacher who might have been saved bled out while the police did nothing to stop the attacker.  Some officers did help evacuate children and teachers through exterior classroom windows and by other means.

By all means, take the link to the SMM Uvalde archive and read the articles therein.  There is still much to learn about this attack, but the school police chief, who never took control of the response, was recently fired.  I suspect what happened is paralysis due to the very nature of police agencies.  All are paramilitary, and following orders is mandatory.  There were far too many higher ranking officers, supervisory officers and more line officers present.  No one knew who was in command, no one ever took command, and while there were apparently some line officers who wanted, at least once, to assault the classroom, they were always overruled by someone.

The 18 year-old killer purchased his weapon lawfully.  What information exists attempts to paint the killer as an obvious danger to schools, but that information is unconvincing, and appears to largely be the certainty of hindsight.

Essential Lessons From These Three Attacks:

*No absolute lesson can be drawn from the weapon used.  While AR-15 variants were used in these three attacks, these are rifles of only intermediate power and are not uniquely deadly.  At the ranges involved in school shootings, rifles have no real advantage over other weapons.  The most deadly school attacks to date were:

1) Bath, MI, 1927:  44 killed, 58 wounded by exclusive means of explosives.  This remains the school attack with the highest death/injury toll.

2) Virginia Tech, 2007:  32 killed, 17 wounded.  The killer used two common handguns, one in 9mm and one in .22LR caliber with ten round magazines.

*While general police procedure requires officers to immediately enter schools and engage attackers, this does not guarantee officers will follow procedure.

*I used to assume most police officers would bravely assault school attackers as soon as they had the opportunity.  I can no longer make that assumption.

*The police owe no duty of protection to any individual citizen.  Their legal obligation extends only to deterring crime by their presence, and investigating crimes after they occur.  Circa 2022, in many places, thanks to “defund the police” lunacy and related Democrat/Socialist/Communist hatred of police officers, they no longer have the manpower, or the will, to do either.

*In virtually any school attack, the killer will have as much time as they choose to kill as many as they wish to kill before the police are in any position to stop them—if they choose to stop them at all. 

*Particularly during school hours, there are always very few officers available to respond to an attack. Police agencies staff based on historic need, and schools hours tend to be low need times.  Uvalde was, once again, an exception because of the unusual law enforcement presence due to our wide open southern border, and a plethora of other nearby agencies.

*When it comes to protecting the lives of those we love, and ourselves, we are on our own.  In Uvalde, parents were prevented—even handcuffed—from rescuing their children.  Even a local police officer, whose teacher wife was shot and managed to call him for help, was forcibly prevented from rescuing her.  She bled out and died.

*In each of these attacks, armed teachers and other staff, would have been able to repel, even kill, the attackers, potentially before anyone was wounded or killed.

*As always, only willing, capable armed teachers and staff are capable of stopping attacks, potentially with no injuries or loss of life, when and where they occur.

*A properly executed armed staff policy is the surest means of deterrence.

Final Thoughts:  In each of these attacks, there were similarities, but virtually all of them confirms in virtually every American school attackers have the advantage.  Virtually everywhere, attackers can be certain they’ll face no armed resistance.  Attackers don’t have to worry about collateral damage; they can shoot at anyone they like and if they miss their target and hit someone else, they don’t care.  The police do have to worry about every round fired.  Murderers attack when and where they choose, and their victims, almost universally unarmed, are conveniently grouped in small, enclosed spaces with no cover or concealment.

Unlike the other two, the Parkland attacker made his intentions known, and was well known to the police, yet every law enforcement agency involved dropped the ball.  And then we come to Uvalde.

Was the horrifically incompetent police response in Uvalde a fluke, something that having happened once, will never happen again?  Can we be reasonably assured every future attack will see a uniformly aggressive, immediate and deadly police response?

We have no idea.

We do know the trends in law enforcement, as a result of D/S/C past and continuing attacks on the police, and their policies that have elected prosecutors who refuse to prosecute, that have caused crime rates to skyrocket, that have driven police officers in droves out of the profession entirely, and forced many that remain to do as little as possible, are not a hopeful sign.  Many agencies can’t find anyone to hire, and as a result, are drastically lowering entry standards.

While school attack response is largely the responsibility of local agencies, federal agencies do set a tone, and the Biden Meat Puppet Administration has made it clear they care nothing about school attacks, focusing instead on unconstitutional gun control, doubling the size of the IRS, and pursuing Donald Trump.

On that note, I hope you’ll be back next Tuesday as we continue to explore this issue.