I’ve blogged before about Lt Col Dave Grossman’s work on school security. I’ve met Dave and heard his presentation at TREXPO a few years ago. I like his approach, and his warnings are right on target.
Over at PoliceOne, Editor in Chief Doug Wyllie also covered Grossman’s presentation and ideas in Active shooters in schools: The enemy is denial. Wyllie fleshes out Grossman’s main points:
1. Denial — Denial is the enemy and it has no survival value, said Grossman.
2. Deter — Put police officers in schools, because with just one officer assigned to a school, the probability of a mass murder in that school drops to almost zero
3. Detect — We’re talking about plain old fashioned police work here. The ultimate achievement for law enforcement is the crime that didn’t happen, so giving teachers and administrators regular access to cops is paramount.
4. Delay — Various simple mechanisms can be used by teachers and cops to put time and distance between the killers and the kids.
a. Ensure that the school/classroom have just a single point of entry. Simply locking the back door helps create a hard target.
b. Conduct your active shooter drills within (and in partnership with) the schools in your city so teachers know how to respond, and know what it looks like when you do your response.
5. Destroy — Police officers and agencies should consider the following:
a. Carry off duty. No one would tell a firefighter who has a fire extinguisher in his trunk that he’s crazy or paranoid.
b. Equip every cop in America with a patrol rifle. One chief of police, upon getting rifles for all his officers once said, “If an active killer strikes in my town, the response time will be measured in feet per second.”
c. Put smoke grenades in the trunk of every cop car in America. Any infantryman who needs to attack across open terrain or perform a rescue under fire deploys a smoke grenade. A fire extinguisher will do a decent job in some cases, but a smoke grenade is designed to perform the function.
d. Have a “go-to-war bag” filled with lots of loaded magazines and supplies for tactical combat casualty care.
e. Use helicopters. Somewhere in your county you probably have one or more of the following: medevac, media, private, national guard, coast guard rotors.
f. Employ the crew-served, continuous-feed, weapon you already have available to you (a firehouse) by integrating the fire service into your active shooter training. It is virtually impossible for a killer to put well-placed shots on target while also being blasted with water at 300 pounds per square inch.
g. Armed citizens can help. Think United 93. Whatever your personal take on gun control, it is all but certain that a killer set on killing is more likely to attack a target where the citizens are unarmed, rather than one where they are likely to encounter an armed citizen response.
That’s the core of the approach. As far as arming teachers, Wyllie wrote Active shooters in schools: Should teachers be trained by police firearms instructors? His answer, and others, is overwhelminly YES! He quotes other security and law enforcement professionals who heartily agree:
Marcou was quick to reply, “Doug, I believe in facing modern threats with modern solutions. I believe in armed pilots, armed teachers, armed judges, and armed fill-in-the-blank. I believe we need good people — who are good shots — who are armed in today’s world.”
Fairburn added, “In my opinion, the answer is more guns and more trained sheepdogs. But some people in our country will immediately try to ban guns — inanimate objects, simple tools — rather than understand we need more people standing ready to KILL the sick bastards who would prey on our lambs!”
Again, these are professional law enforcement trainers intimately familiar with the threats.
Speaking of Richard Fairburn, another law enforcement professional trainer, I believe that he proposes the best approach of all – quick, cost-effective, and leveraging existing sheepdogs – in Newtown shooting: Why Minutemen can protect against active shooters. His appeal:
As a nation, we will argue in the coming months about potential preventions for these mass murders. Some will demand gun bans. Others will blame the mental health system. While our politicians and media point fingers and argue over causes and solutions, we sheepdogs can ignore the rhetoric and establish a system to protect our flock.
Fairburn proposes a 3-point approach of Minutemen centered around retired law enforcement officers, retired military, and other concealed carry civilians. Brief excerpts (please read his article for the details):
Category 1 Minutemen: The Sheepdogs We Already Know and Trust
The core of my proposal revolves around the hundreds of thousands of former law enforcement officers already qualified for nationwide concealed carry under the federal Law Enforcement Officer’s Safety Act (LEOSA – HR 218).
Category 2 Minutemen: The Untapped Reservoir of Retired Warriors
By expanding the LEOSA statute, we can incorporate hundreds of thousands of retired military personnel into the ranks of Minutemen.
Category 3 Minutemen: Honest, Armed Citizens
The third huge reservoir of potential Minutemen can come from the millions of U.S. citizens who have jumped through the legal hoops necessary to obtain a CCW permit (Carrying a Concealed Weapon) in their state.
Fairburn summarizes in part:
In every mass shooting in recent history a single armed, competent protector could have saved lives by taking down the active shooter before they fully ran their plan. Even sensible gun control proponents should embrace the use of Category 1 and Category 2 Minutemen, who have already established track records as armed protectors.
Again, these are highly-respected professional law enforcement trainers and security professionals proposing essentially the same approach – armed presence of trusted individuals in every school. This is not some pipe dream either. This approach works today in Israel and in a few places in Texas.
What about Obama and Biden’s plan for more failed gun control? That’s a recipe for Lt Col Grossman’s worst case scenario. Gun-free zones have failed every time they are tried. Gun control and gun bans have failed every time they’ve been passed. Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result. That’s what Obama and Biden are pushing.
Stop the denial. Push for real change, to make a real difference. By the very definition of a criminal, laws don’t stop criminals. Just think about that for a second. Every mass murder has broken hosts of laws, including gun-free zone and other stupid gun control laws. Evil exists and preys on the unprepared. The bottom line fact remains: Only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun.