Team 26 demo (courtesy newjerseyhills.com)

Anyone with a heart who remembers the horror and carnage Adam Lanza inflicted on Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012 will not forget it in their lifetime. For some, those who were there or were left bereaved, the event created unfathomably deep psychological scars; injuries that will never heal. They have our prayers for a measure of peace. But the survivors’ suffering does not render their desire to disarm law-abiding citizens inviolable. In fact, they’ve got it exactly backwards: civilians with firearms are the key to protecting innocent souls from murderous monsters like Lanza. Specifically . . .

If one of the teachers or administrators at Sandy Hook had been armed, they may have prevented or at least limited the sickening loss of life. This is not empty posturing by “gun nuts” or predictable propaganda from the NRA. Last year, TTAG conducted scientific simulations to gauge the potential effectiveness of an armed teacher in an active shooter scenario. Click here for our results.

The tests do not unequivocally prove that an armed teacher or teachers at Sandy Hook could have saved the lives of 20 children. No simulation can do that. There are too many variables. That said, a proper simulation at the school could have established the likelihood of that outcome. Newtown residents are not willing to contemplate that possibility; town officials ordered Sandy Hook razed to the ground.

This blindness to common sense – the unwillingness to confront the hard truth about self-defense and spree killing – led to unnecessary gun control laws in Connecticut. Laws that will create still more bloodshed, not less. And yet those who are most deeply affected by the killing continue their crusade (chronicled by newjerseyhills.com) to “strengthen” gun control laws.

Maura Sherlach Schwartz, a Deptford music teacher out of Gloucester County, whose mother, school psychologist Mary Sherlach, was one of six staffers, along with 20 6-year-old children, gunned down by a lone psychopath at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14, 2012.

Mary Sherlach had been in a conference with a second-grade student, the student’s mother and Sandy Hook Elementary School Principal Dawn Hochsprung when the intruder arrived shooting out a window of the school. Both she and Hochsprung were gunned down trying to protect the students.

Schwartz is still reeling from events in Newtown. “My heroic mother ran to the intruder to stop him,” Schwarz said minutes before Team 26 arrived at Town Hall . . .

“We should be able to walk down the street, go to work, or attend a movie, go to the mall and buy our groceries without the fear of a gun ending our life,” Schwartz told the gathering of about 70, fighting back tears the whole time.

“It’s easy to fall prey to the grief, the frustration, the anger, asking those unanswerable questions like, ‘How did this happen? Why Sandy Hook? Why my mom? What could have been done to prevent this? But the simple reality is, it did happen. And now, we as a country need to learn from it.

So close. So very close. Truth be told, it should have been a defensive gun use.

65 Responses to It Should Have Been A Defensive Gun Use: Mary Sherlach Edition

  1. I cannot fathom what sort of foolhardy bravery, or pure desperation, compels an unarmed woman to rush a man firing a semi-automatic rifle.

    But even more foolish is the idea of her daughter that this was a more noble act than her mother taking the same action while armed with an effective self defense weapon of her own.

    In only one of these scenarios is there any possibility that the killing stops at the front door.

    • We have to remember: this is not about the arguments or the logic in the gun grabbers “brain.” This is all about emotion. And when you are emotionally involved in something so tragic they find a need to punish someone, anyone.

      Punishment most of the time is gun owners. “Because if we weren’t so stupid to have guns in the first place none of this would happen.” And… “We don’t have any answers, anyone to imprison, anyone to put in front of a judge or anyone to convict… except this inanimate object, the gun.”

      This is all emotion. And you will NEVER win the battle of emotion with logic.

    • you aren’t thinking like a leftist…
      THE GUN DID IT!

      “We should be able to walk down the street, go to work, or attend a movie, go to the mall and buy our groceries without the fear of a GUN ending our life,”

      and when the guns are gone, it will be plastic flatware, and sporting equipment and then cars, and when there is nothing left, and we are sitting in an empty box, alone, with “bars between us to protect us”… THEN we will be truly safe in the mind of the communist

      • I am a leftist and I have no such illusions. I am a staunch supporter of the second amendment protected natural right to own and USE firearms. Please stop alienating people based on political beliefs. If we reach out to those on the other side of the political divide we are unstoppable.

        BTW… not everyone on the left is a commie.

        • If we reach out to those on the other side of the political divide we are unstoppable.

          This has proven time and time again to be less effective than trying to communicate with the dead. Unstoppable indeed…

        • I used to be a liberal. That lasted until about Obama’s inauguration, when he began violating his list of campaign promises that were a primary factor in my vote for him. It opened the window to the possibility that my beloved democrats were just as corrupt as the movie-villian neocons that I despised. I went into the rabbit hole, did some historical research, and when I came back out, I could no longer support these people.

          Every year since 2008 has strengthened that confirmation for me, and I now believe that Obama is the greatest generator of libertarians in the last one hundred years. His administrations’ (and modern democrats’) failures and outright manipulations and lies have shone a light on the farce that is the modern liberal movement, making it possible for those of us who were blind to finally see the truth beneath it.

          Here’s hoping to your eventual coming of age – I toast to you, my friend.

      • So-called progressives, leftists, liberals, Democrats or whatever they want to call themselves are just communists who have neither the gonads nor honesty to get serious about their agenda. A great many would love to see the rest of us tossed into the gulag, but they don’t have that Stalin-esque swagger to stand up, shout it out, and do it.

        So instead they slither around seeking half-hearted half measures, always wantonly exploiting others’ emotions and cravenly nibbling away at people’s freedoms. Bit by bit, year by year, each infringement is another step on the road to serfdom.

        Say what we will about Comrade DiFi, at least she took to national t.v. to declare she’d snatch every last gun from private hands if she had the votes.

  2. As much as i grieve for those kids and their families I can’t help but look at every lawmaker in CT who voted to pass their current ignorant gun laws, and those who decided to tear down the school building and just shake my head and ask: WTF are you doing? You’re not curing a problem!! You’re making the commission if a crime/crimes even easier now!!

    • speedracer5050,

      “I … ask: WTF are you [CT lawmakers] doing?”

      The legislature is doing whatever they damn well please … which may or may not have anything to do with what is “good” (by whose definition?) for the people of Connecticut. In this case I submit that they did what feels good for the majority of their voters.

    • They destroyed the crime scene. Just as they did in OKC (SUPER-quickly!) and Ground Zero. There, they sold the structural steel to China, and the rest was mostly shipped to landfills all over the place.

  3. It needs to be said everywhere, a conceal carrier could have ended that shooting with much less death. Simple as that.

    • It’s too simple an answer for the grieving. Someone MUST be punished to avenge Mary Sherlach’s death! Over and over until no one is left. I hope for her healing. Truly.

      It’s despicable that the six MDA ghouls and jackals were there to exploit her grief.

  4. I often think if there was a machine to go back in time but the limitation was you had to return one minute before the event. What could you do? Place a gun on a counter, present a choice.

    Then I think of the reason those kids are gone. We have become so civilized the thought of evil cannot be endured.

    • “Civilized”,?. What civilized really means; for a gun-grabber, is the ability to completely reject all responsibility for ones protection and placing it in the hands of a “higher authority”, in this case, the government.

      It consists of denial, delusion and a blind and debilitating faith that simply thinking “good thoughts”, and having a sign on the side of a building marking this place as a “Gun free zone” will keep them safe.

      Being “civilized”, means never having to grow up and actually becoming a responsible adult.

  5. I just can’t wrap my head around the logic behind the gun control crowd. Try as I might, and I’m a pretty , reasonable guy.. I just don’t get their logic.

    • ^^This, sort of.

      The position of the gun control rank and file is based on pure emotional response, and manipulated by…

      The gun control political elite whose goal IS based on logic, the logic that they cannot subjugate a free people to their socialist agenda so long as those people remain armed and able to resist.

      They are also in no way concerned that logic and history have shown the socialist political model to be an abject failure in every instance because their concern is only for personal power in their own lifetime, not for the long-term survival and prosperity of the people.

  6. The razing of the building is a certain sign that a lot of folks up there are in deep need of mental health services. Somehow they think the building has a curse and so they will spend tens of millions of dollars to tear down a perfectly good building and rebuild it.

    So the primary question is…..
    Is 2014 Newton,CT more or less delusional than the Salem,Ma crowd down the road in the 1690’s and their fascination with witches?

    • Well, I don’t know how I’d feel, driving past that place every day, if I had lost someone due to the events which transpired inside. I can see the logic (maybe not the logic, but the basic reason) to destroy the facility. I can say with certainty that after the investigation had been conducted, completed, and released, I would want it destroyed as well.

      • And yet, Columbine still stands — the many other places where there have been shootings stand.

        Since I live in the area, let me point out that before the state stepped in to pay with everyone else’s money, the town by vote decided not to demolish the building. All of CT is now paying for the demolition and building of the new building. I guess the getting rid of the building is easier once someone else pays.

        • Classic. Some day the Left will run out of other people’s money. (Courtesy M.Thatcher)]

          OTOH, the baby boomer Left has already spent the next two generations money, may as well steal the third’s also.

      • Someone I knew was killed by a careless driver while crossing the street one night. Did the city paint over the crosswalk? Rip up the street and put up detour signs? No. Now there is a light there.

        We don’t stop living in the world because tragedy strikes (except antis who live in their own little world). We learn from it. We honor the fallen, we move on, and we do it in memory of them.

        I can understand wanting to tear the school down. I’ve wished that that crosswalk were gone too. But even Auschwitz is still standing, and there are even tours. Sometimes it’s better to learn from, rather than run from, the memory of horrible things.

    • If we removed every place where something bad happened, we would have a lot less real estate and history. Alamo anyone?

  7. Women are generally much more cautious than men. But when their loved ones are threatened they will attack and defend with all that they have without a thought or regard for their own safety. Unfortunately, it is difficult to get many of them to consider being prepared for such an occasion with the proper tools and training as they were created to be nurturers. If the subject comes up I ask them to imagine what they would do if they awoke to a noise and upon investigating they discovered a man about to stab their child/grandchild/husband. Every time a woman will tell me she will do something to defend their loved one. Then I suggest that it would be wise to prepare ahead of time and have a gun to use instead of bare hands. Almost all agree that it is a good idea but many will be hesitant to do anything on their own. If they are willing I will take them to the range to teach them how to handle a gun or suggest they get some training.

  8. I find this article distasteful. Leave it alone and don’t make pro-armed-teacher case from it. Show some respect for the love of God. Also the kid Adam was not a MONSTER, he was mentally ill with access to a lot of GUNS! There is the story. If the mother was not murdered she should have been prosecuted for murder.

    ANY gun owner who is cavalier in how they store or use their guns and ammo should be prosecuted for the crime committed from their weapon if taken. With great power comes great responsibility.

    • “Leave it alone and don’t make pro-armed-teacher case from it. Show some respect for the love of God.”

      Leave it alone and do not make an unconstitutional civilian disarmament case from it. Show some respect for the Constitution and the Second Amendment, for the love of…

      Should the gun banners and civilian disarmament crowd leave this issue, and our Second Amendment rights alone, THEN, and only then, should we let the matter drop. Until then we must use this and every similar issue to fire back at their illogical premise and unconstitutional agenda.

      I am (not very) sorry if this makes you uncomfortable. We are in a battle for our natural, civil and Constitutionally protected RKBA and battle is seldom pretty. They are in a position to end this by ceasing their attacks on our rights.

    • Greg, your post merits derision…using the tragedy at Newtown to attempt to manipulate is contemptible.

      “he was mentally ill with access to a lot of GUNS!”

      Yeah…millions of them. Do you think if he had not gotten them from his Mom he could not have MURDERED someone, including a responsible gun owner responsibly storing them, and stolen them?

      This is thinly veiled “no one should own any guns, period” rhetoric.

      Further, I notice that you do not even address the key point of the article. Professionals that have made it their business to study shooters of this type have discovered that they stop (or are stopped, which is the same net result) as soon as resisted…resisted by force.

      You want to prevent more tragic deaths like those at Newtown? Stop emoting irrational fear onto an inanimate object and KILL THE F&CKING MURDERER AS SOON AS HE STARTS.

      Period.

      Nothing else in the real world will lessen the number of deaths due to spree killers. Nothing. No amount of “mental health effort” or hand ringing over where or how he got his guns.

      If someone wants to do this, they will; until they are stopped in their tracks, and that’s generally by a bullet.

      Quite frankly, your post disgusts me, so I’m stopping now before I get into moderated comment territory.

    • Bull. There’s nothing distasteful about it- there’s no condescending, no dispute the actions this woman took were heroic, and the events that took her life were tragic. But they were ultimately futile. She made a good attempt to protect those in her care, but she was simply ill-equipped to face a threat like this.
      And no, don’t give that cretin credit of being just a “mentally ill” member of the human race. I can’t think of a better definition of monster than a killer of children. The evil, accessible guns didn’t make him a monster. He already was. If he’d used his mom’s minivan to ram a schoolbus off the road, killing a couple dozen kids that way, would that mean easy access to a dodge caravan was the reason this poor misunderstood boy turned into a killer?
      Nonsense. This was an act of evil. Pretending it was otherwise is almost as bad as pretending that dying unarmed is somehow more virtuous than arming oneself in defense of themselves and others.

      • no dispute the actions this woman took were heroic

        I don’t know what that woman did or why. All I have heard is a neatly concocted story, which may be true or false. Now, I know that the gungrabber crowd would never, never, ever make up a story to strengthen their narrative. Heaven forfend. But if they did, the hero schoolteacher would be right at the top of the list of con jobs.

        • No doubt on that. But, as far as RF’s writing goes, he didn’t insinuate anything otherwise, as the Op suggests.

    • So, Greg, somebody steals your car and commits a crime with it you should go to prison for that? Steals a baseball bat from your garage? Somebody breaks into your house and sets it afire. A fireman dies in the response to put it out. Your fault?

      As for pro armed teachers. Why not. There are 300 million plus guns and untold tons of ammo in this country. Ban all guns today and 50 years from now people will still be dying in gun crimes. The genie is not only out of the bottle, the bottle is shattered.

      The only hope to stop the next Sandy Hook is armed people on the spot.

      As for Lanza being mentally ill or a monster. Are you an enabler for his type by showing them sympathy and trying to ensure there are plenty of gun free zones for them to rampage in?

    • Greg, someone who murders his own mother and then 26 innocent people IS a monster. Of course he was mentally sick. Normal person does not go around killing school kids and teachers.
      His mother on the other hand did NOT murder anyone. She was killed in her sleep. After that the monster had all the time he needed to get to her rifles even if they were locked in a safe. Or to get a can of gasoline and some chains. That would likely get much higher body count.
      Guns are not the problem here. But they might be part of solution.

  9. Sadly, these previous posts are correct. Mental illness, in whatever form, whether knife attacks, having access to firearms, or vehicular (California driver who plowed through a crowded boardwalk last year) etc,. Anything can be weaponized by those who choose to do harm on others. An armed and trained faculty member, or resource officer, “might” have changed the outcome. Point being, restricting lawful folks from the fundamental God given right to self defense, simply doesn’t work. I don’t need the 2nd Amendment for that. Our Founders took SD as a given, and reaffirmed it. To be able to defend myself, family, and others in a life threatening encounter against murderers, rapists, thieves, poachers, and crazy people intent on harming others, is inalienable. The victims families, and politicians that are exploiting them, deserve a chance to realize that reality. But I doubt they will.
    And yet, CT purchase and CCW permit apps went up after the tragedy. Some get it, some sadly will not.
    (Rant off)

  10. “We should be able to walk down the street, go to work, or attend a movie, go to the mall and buy our groceries without the fear of a gun ending our life,” — Maura Schwartz

    Yes. And we should be able to walk through life without the fear of contracting a deadly bacterial or viral illness. And yet that happens all the time.

    There are risks in life. Some of those risks are very messy and very ugly. Each person has to decide how to manage those risks.

    • Yep, and parents should never have to watch a child die of cancer, but sadly that happens all too often as well.

      Some folks cannot get past the fact that the real world is not a movie script or 22 minute tv episode that wraps to a happy ending.

      I used to feel sorry for them until I realized how much they are the ones trying to control others’ lives and subjugate free citizens.

  11. We have to remember: this is not about the arguments or the logic in the gun grabbers “brain.” This is all about emotion. And when you are emotionally involved in something so tragic they find a need to punish someone, anyone.

    Punishment most of the time is gun owners. “Because if we weren’t so stupid to have guns in the first place none of this would happen.” And… “We don’t have any answers, anyone to imprison, anyone to put in front of a judge or anyone to convict… except this inanimate object, the gun.”

    This is all emotion. And you will NEVER win the battle of emotion with logic.

  12. They should be crying, they killed those wonderfull kids. They just can’t accept what they did & the failure of their cause, so naturally its someone elses fault.

  13. Both she and Hochsprung were gunned down trying to protect the students.

    Says who? The only people who know what they were doing are dead.

  14. A mentally ill MONSTER. Deal with it Greg. At 20 you’re NOT considered a “kid”. I had a wife & a son at 20. Never again did I live in my childhood home. The gun control crowd brings up Sandy Hook oh…EVERY DAY. Every mass shooting can’t be stopped but we can sure as h##l try.

    • “Mental illness”? Yep, here I come again. The mind is not a physical entity. Your heart, your stomach, your liver are physical entities, and can become diseased, or ill.

      But the mind has no physical reality. In fact, we can’t even say if it resides in any specific location or not. “Mental illness” is, at best, a very poorly-constructed METAPHOR. The brain may become smitten with an organic disease, but brain and mind are two completely different things.

      • Yes it is, and any attempt you make to divorce your ‘mind’ from the meaty organ inside your skull is absurd.

      • Ah, so in addition to being a cosmologist, a climatologist, and an expert on the Kennedy assassination, you’re also a neuroscientist? A regular Renaissance Man, you are.

  15. As a TTAG poster once said, when the wolf show up at your door, do you reason with it or do you put the wolf down (or something along those lines).

    Put the wolf down.

    • Or just don’t answer the door. Unless you live in a house of straw. With two other dumb little pigs.

    • I don’t know about the version on TTAG, but both Tolstoy and Stalin said it. Stalin said “When a peasant sees a wolf at the door he does not reason with it. He shoots it.”

  16. We have to remember: this is not about the arguments or the logic in the gun grabbers “brain.” This is all about emotion.

    Yes, but which emotions? Somehow, the feelings that come from competently facing reality as it is aren’t permitted.

    In the end, a lot of the animus toward guns is people declining to own their own power. With great power comes great responsibility. Question – in a dangerous world, does declining to grasp a great, relevant power also carry great responsibility?

    How dare anyone take charge of a classroom full of kids – kids conditioned to follow their direction, and defer to their judgment – without a plan and preparation for *how* they’ll care for those kids. We have fire drills, hoses, extinguishers and more, don’t we?

  17. The Gun Free School Zone Act was such a brilliant, simple solution to keep our children safe.

    All that was needed was to put up a sign up warning that “No guns are allowed within 1,000 feet of this school zone”, not even by licensed parents, teachers or administrators with a carry permit. Even an armed off-duty police officer can’t enter the school to pick up his child. He may be allowed to stay in the parking lot.

    When homicidal/suicidal psychos like Lanza show up, they will see that sign and turn around and go home, fearful of being fined or put in jail. They will never realize what an advantage they have, since they will have the ONLY gun within 1,000 feet of the school.

    If that doesn’t work, we can always put up a bigger sign, and increase the fines and jail sentences until we get it across to those child-murdering maniacs that WE MEAN BUSINESS.

  18. My sympathies, of course, to those who lost children or others in the hideous event.

    Newtown is like my township, with almost identical population size and crime rates. Neither township loses anyone to murder in a typical year, out of 27,000 residents. I am saddened that the people of Newtown have not noticed the obvious: That they have no murders, despite the high number of gun owners. Gun owners don’t murder people, insane people and criminals murder people.

    The cause of the Newtown tragedy? Nancy Lanza. She knew Adam was obsessed with violence. She provide him with guns and shooting opportunities. She allowed him to keep his gun in the basement. She did not insist he take the medications prescribed for him at Yale/New Haven Mental Health Center. She had a high income with no work requirement and could have sought serious care sooner. As a mother she was a disaster. As a factor in the safety of Newtown she was a disaster. Adam? He was socially incompetent and mentally ill. I don’t suppose the mentally ill will commit themselves or readily follow medication requirements. That is the family’s job. If they can’t do the job it is their duty to call early and loudly for help from relatives, friends, and if needed, the community.

    Then there is the issue of gun-free zones. Elementary schools are known to suffer intrusions not only by mad shooters, but by pedophiles and other miscreants. There should be either a low-level cop on duty at the school (a community safety officer) or there should be some number of adults armed in case of exigency.

    Security failed and the gun-free zone contributed heavily. Nancy Lanza failed repeatedly and obviously. Her husband too had a duty: If he knew of the guns (he paid for Adam’s!) and knew of the mental dysfunction (he did!) and knew Nancy was not acting quickly to remove the guns and force Adam to comply with medication….then he had a duty to make sure those things happened, with community intervention if necessary. He probably didn’t want the embarrassment or inevitable blow-back at work or in his new family life that might flow from his calling in community or paid private intervention.

    Is it really more complicated than these points? Why all the denial in Newtown?

  19. “We should be able to walk down the street, go to work, or attend a movie, go to the mall and buy our groceries without the fear of a gun ending our life,” Schwartz told the gathering of about 70

    I absolutely agree with this statement. We SHOULD be able to do all of those things without fear of being shot. The operative word in that sentence, however, is “should.”

    “Should” indicates a realization that this is not the current state of being. Given that this is not the current state “should” also indicates that a decision about how to conduct oneself in the less than ideal reality is required.

    “I do not live in a reality where I can conduct my normal business without fear of being a victim, therefore I will….”

    And the remaining portion of that sentence has almost an unlimited number of equally valid answers. Just because Ms. Schwartz’s answer would be “cower in fear” does not immediately invalidate my answer of “take necessary precautions to ensure my safety.”

  20. Colin Goddard, VT survivor (and ROTC Cadet), has admitted being paralyzed with fear and lying on the floor “waiting to die” as Cho systematically murdered his classmates. He witnessed carnage and took three bullets because he was a COWARD. There, I said it.

    Gun grabbers do their dirty work based on an inability to properly handle the situation.

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