It happened again, every parent's nightmare. In Parkland, Florida 17 students and teachers are dead in a mass shooting. As the news unfolded I was sitting where I am now, looking out the window at my daughter's school, which was on lockdown as emergency response units besieged an armed man in a building a few […]
It happened again, every parent's nightmare. In Parkland, Florida 17 students and teachers are dead in a mass shooting.
As the news unfolded I was sitting where I am now, looking out the window at my daughter's school, which was on lockdown as emergency response units besieged an armed man in a building a few blocks away.
Which doesn't make what I'm going to do any easier; look at this as objectively as I can amid all the calls for someone to DO SOMETHING RIGHT NOW!
Almost every demand I've seen is either something already in place amid the myriad of firearms ownership restrictions, or calls for a complete ban on firearms ownership.
Not going to happen for reasons not germane here, but I wish someone would tell these people when they call those they disagree with “fascists,” “racists,” “mentally ill,” and accuse them of “having blood on their hands” then demand they disarm, it raises suspicions of their intentions.
As a reporter I've covered law enforcement training and been invited to participate. I've taken the Lazershot Shoot/Don't shoot” training and been the bad guy in simunitions exercises, which involved being shot down in a hail of paint bullets while trying to tag the cops shooting at me.
I've interviewed experts on spree shootings and law enforcement officers and ex-military who have training programs for active shooter situations. I've even brought some of them together to work on them.
That's to establish that agree or disagree I am not blowing smoke, this is an informed opinion. I'm not claiming to have the final answer.
Firstly, spree shooters pick soft targets, i.e. a target-rich environment where they do not expect to encounter armed resistance. Typically in an enclosed space people cannot easily escape.
When they do encounter armed resistance, from police or armed citizens, they often suicide if they are not killed. Parkland is unusual in the shooter was taken alive.
Law enforcement has taken a lot of flack for failing to act on clear signs of the shooters intention. But before I condemn them I want to know how many calls of this nature they get every week.
There are calls for greater psychiatric intervention, but predictions of future violent behavior have at best about 50 percent accuracy, and only over a period of about a week.
Now the hot-button issue. It happened at Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, and Parkland. When Death came for those in their care, teachers stood between them and said, “Not mine, you may not have them,” and died shielding them with their bodies.
But what if they'd had more than their vulnerable flesh?
I've asked police trainers about incentive pay for teachers who get carry permits and tactical firearms training. The firearm need not be carried, it could be in a lock box in the teacher's desk.
The answer was a qualified approval – IF the teachers get training way beyond what's required for a carry permit.
Some reactions to this suggestion are frankly, weird.
“What if the teacher goes postal and starts blowing students away?”
So you send your children to school every day with teachers you think capable of this? And doesn't that sound like a tacit admission your kids are nasty little darlings who drive their teachers crazy?
Valid questions from firearms instructors include the cost in time and money. This is not weekends at the range but spending serious time in tactical training with highly-qualified instructors. It would also require pre-screening and it's definitely not for everybody.
One instructor asked, since some shooters are students would it be asking too much of teachers to shoot them?
Some teachers might be trained as reserve sheriff's deputies, but is it wise to mix education and law enforcement so closely?
Some propose door barriers and active shooter drills. Some schools already have them and more undoubtedly will.
All these make up what professionals call 'layered defense,' hardening the target starting at the center and working outward.
We can do this, and should. But we should also realize this will cause the homicidally evil to choose other soft targets.
But as long as that's not my daughter's school, fine with me for now.