After every school shooting incident that makes the national news, the question that each talking head asks repeatedly and incessantly is, what can be done to prevent these events? What can we as a nation do to make our children safer? There are two vastly different opinions when it comes to answering that question, but this week we finally have two data points that might indicate a possible fact-based solution. I want to outline for you the profile of two school shooting incidents, and together we can compare and contrast these events and their outcomes.
Newtown, Connecticut – December, 2012
Around 9:35 AM, a mentally unstable individual entered the elementary school in Newtown and began indiscriminately shooting children and staff members. Armed with a rifle, a handgun, and spare magazines, he proceeded to wander through the hallways of the school killing as many people as he possibly could.
Seconds after the shooting started, a 911 call came from the school asking the local police for help. In less than a minute the call was put out on the radio for a police response, and officers arrived within minutes. But instead of entering the school immediately while gunshots could still be heard coming from the classrooms, the police officers decided to wait outside the doors.
For nearly ten full minutes the attacker was able to wander the hallways and slaughter the occupants of the school unopposed. It was only after the shooting had stopped that officers actually entered the school to try and apprehend the attacker. But it was too late, he had already taken his own life.
In the span of roughly ten minutes, Adam Lanza killed 20 students and six staff members before taking his own life. Not a single armed security guard or police officer opposed his movements during that period.
Troutdale, Oregon – June 2014
A student, who had smuggled a rifle and handgun into school in an instrument case, attempted to kill his fellow classmates. Starting in the locker room, the attacker quickly moved into the main hallway to continue murdering people as they ran.
Within moments, armed police officers had arrived on the scene and confronted the attacker in the hallway. After a brief exchange of gunfire, the attacker ducked into a side room and committed suicide.
When the dust settled one person had been murdered, one attacker was dead from a self inflicted gunshot wound, and one person was injured.
What is the lesson?
As I said in the beginning, we are constantly looking for lessons that can be learned from each of these incidents. Given the facts surrounding each of these incidents, the solution is crystal clear: armed guards.
In Newtown, a lack of an immediate armed response resulted in 26 deaths. In Oregon, an immediate police response kept an identically motivated attacker who was armed with the exact same firearms from inflicting less than five percent Newtown’s casualties. As someone once suggested, good guys with guns stopping a bad guy with a gun.
This conclusion isn’t supported by Michael Bloomberg and his minions — they profess that the only way to stop these incidents from happening is to ban all guns. I haven’t seen any evidence to support their stance, but even if it were valid and somehow possible, that would take years, maybe decades to implement.
Our children are at risk right now, and armed guards or staff members are a clearly viable solution that has been proven to reduce the lethality of school shooting incidents. Isn’t it common sense to adopt a strategy that has been proven to work, compared to one that only has a tiny chance of happening and a smaller chance of being effective?
Shouldn’t Michael Bloomberg and Shannon Watts put their partisan politics aside and support solutions that would actually benefit the children they claim to want to protect? A proven and effective solution that we can implement right now? Certainly that’s what they really want, right?