School Attacks, Saving Lives, Part 8, 2018

The arming of school staff is not a panacea.  It cannot replace competent, practical identification and intervention programs–which include intelligent, aware teachers simply keeping their eyes and ears open–which might help to prevent–or interdict–some school shootings before they begin.  It is, rather, a very low or no cost protective measure for worst-case scenarios that has the great benefit of providing credible deterrence if properly publicized.

Arming willing staff is like providing fire extinguishers.Most teachers will complete an entire career without needing a fire extinguisher, but when they do need one, they need it immediately, badly, and nothing else will do.  So it is with firearms.

I’m about to provide a scenario based on reality.  I have been there and done that, in the classroom and in the responding police car.  A law enforcement agency in which I served as a SWAT officer actually responded to a juvenile shooter in a large high school.  In that case, the police—as is almost always true–had no real effect, despite actually being on site and in the building. In virtually every case, the police arrive too late to make any difference.  While the team was organizing and making plans (I happened to be out of town for that call-out) the absent-minded shooter became distracted by, of all things, a pizza, and put down his shotgun in the classroom where he was holding fellow students hostage.  A quick thinking youngster grabbed the shotgun, ending the affair.  Miraculously, no one was injured, and as in virtually every school attack, the police had no role in ending the incident–other than delivering the pizza the young terrorist demanded–which eventually distracted him.

School Attacks, Saving Lives, Part 8