The unopposed Parkland, Florida spree killer claimed 17 lives and wounded 14. This he accomplished in about six minutes. We’ve chronicled the dozens of missed opportunities to intercept the mass murderer, failures that also apply to other school shootings (e.g., Newtown). The basic modus operandi is also similar . . .
a lone wolf attacker mowing down undefended innocents. But there’s no guarantee the next school shooting will follow this pattern.
Lest we forget, the Columbine spree killing was perpetuated by not one but two murderers. Twelve students and one teacher died in the massacre — a bomb plot gone wrong. If the bombs planted in the school cafeteria had exploded, if the killers had been able to shoot students and teachers fleeing the carnage as they planned, hundreds of people may have lost their lives.
If we’re looking for an idea of what the next school shooting might look like, we need to contemplate even greater horror: Russia’s Belsan school siege. After three days, Russian troops attempted to rescue some 1,100 hostages from 34 Chechen terrorists. In the resulting firefight, 334 people died, including 186 children.
Again, the Russian school was held by 34 terrorists. Could an American school face an invading army of murderous zealots? Surely the “authorities” would foil any such large scale plot, especially in the wake of the 911 atrocity, planned and perpetuated by 26 in-country al-Qaeda terrorists.
The FBI and Broward County Sheriff’s Office’s recent failure to intercept a clearly mentally disturbed killer — identified at multiple points in multiple ways — raises worrying questions about the interception abilities of our “homeland security.” As does the Boston Marathon bombing, executed by two immigrants interviewed by the FBI before the attack.
In short, anyone who thinks that American schools will never face a coordinated and determined group of attackers is dangerously naive.
Imagine the anti-gun rights hysteria that will follow a school slaughter on an even greater scale. A school attack that plays out live on TV over a matter of minutes, hours, perhaps days. Because chances are that’s exactly what we’re going to face at some point in the future. Because evil exists and our kids are a target.
What can we do to prevent this attack? Keep working to identify and eliminate threats, harden the target (according to the guidelines established by the NRA’s National School Shield report), repeal the Gun Free School Zones Act, train and equip school staff and law enforcement, plan for the worst and, if you’re so inclined, pray.
We must do all of this to lower the odds of an even more deadly school shooting. I suspect we won’t until it happens. And maybe not even then.
My worst fear: a large scale attack on a school — or schools — will lead to the complete degradation if not attempted elimination of our natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms.