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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?

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52 Responses to A Tale of Two School Shootings

  1. No armed guards are only for the rich elete and their pupets. We have “gun free zone” signs to protect the schools.

    /sarcasm

  2. And thanks to leftist cognitive dissonance, this lesson will fall entirely on deaf ears. For now.

  3. I’m sure Newtown would’ve had far fewer casualties had everyone been wearing their cumbersome, shoot me orange turtle blankets…

    Logical solutions such as armed guards or allowing teachers to carry will never happen while emotion rules the day. Afterall, we’re doing it for the children!

  4. It would be immoral for me to bring a child into my home if I were not able to provide for the child’s basic physical needs, to include security.

    The moral calculus is no different for schools.

  5. 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?

    Those are two separate questions, with two very different answers.

    What can be done to prevent these events?
    Quite simply, Nothing. As long as people are allowed into schools, the possibility exists that one of those people will enter with evil intent. Anyone who says otherwise is either deluded or lying.

    What can we as a nation do to make our children safer?
    Now this is the actual question that is partially answered in this article. But the question that’s answered actually seems to be “What can be done to minimize the effects of a school shooting?” And from there, the rest of the article.

    But I’m sure there are other solutions to combine with this one. ASIS [ http://www.asisonline.org ] has been struggling with this question for more than a decade. Clues can be found there. We can’t afford to become a “one trick pony.” The Bloomberg Properties, the Brady Bunch and others have become that to one degree or other, and are suffering a credibility crisis as a result.

    Just my two Yuan…

  6. Layered security, armed staff and RSOs are great. It would also be helpful if the schools would stop producing insane, violent criminals. Yes, the schools share the blame. Maybe these murderers were born bad, but maybe they were manufactured by the very schools upon which they visited their vengeance.

    Schools hate boys. And even more, they hate boys who act like boys. Innocent roughhousing, the occasional harmless fist fight, pointing pop tarts shaped like guns and other typical activities by boys are punished to the fullest extend of teacher and administration prejudice. Active boys are pushed into psychotropic drugs to keep them “calm” and feminized. And if a boy is caught flirting with a girl, well, that’s rape, isn’t it.

    Is it really surprising that drugged, repressed boys, especially those most susceptible to coercion by authorities, ultimately rebel in the worst way possible? It isn’t to me.

    I’m not excusing parents, doctors and the shooters themselves. But one thing is certain — schools produce school shooters.

    • Ralph,
      My personal take is this: The purpose of childhood is to gradually acclimate a newborn baby, over the course of 18 years, to reality. This takes careful planning and deliberate action. Most importantly, it takes constant exposure to as much reality as they can handle at their given level of development. (including danger, fear, challenges, disappointment, and pain along with all of the good stuff)
      Most parents don’t do this any more and it certainly doesn’t happen in school. Instead, we simply isolate them from reality. Rather than being sensitive, they are fragile. They have no emotional resilience and are completely disconnected from reality.

    • Ralph,

      As a male teacher, I agree with what a lot of what you say. Many schools these days are staffed by people who don’t recognize that the learning needs of boys sometimes differ than girls. They don’t understand how cutting things like PE, art, music, and athletics also disproportionately affects many male students as well.

      However, my gentle pushback is that ultimately, children are the responsibility of their parents. And too many children, boys and girls, are entering are classrooms completely unprepared to function in a classroom setting. Mom’s little angel acts like a terror when he can’t get his way, he bullies and harasses other kids, and when teachers bring up his behaviors in meeting, everybody’s to blame except for how mom and dad raised him.

      As a kid, I had both good teachers, average teachers, and a couple of bad teachers, But I turned out OK – I credit my family, especially my parents – who weren’t afraid to whip my @ss if I showed disrespect, and spent plenty of time showing me by example how a human being should treat others.

        • I’m not letting parents off the hook. Far from it.

          I also note that I attended public schools in New York City. We had bad students, good students and burgeoning psychopaths. We also had good teachers, bad teachers and one teacher who was insane. Really. She got transferred for stabbing a kid in the neck with a sharp pencil because he was talking in class.

          But what I didn’t have is administrators that turned schools into reeducation camps.

          My main quarrel is with the administrators.

  7. Shouldn’t Michael Bloomberg and Shannon Watts put their partisan politics aside….

    While the article has what I think are good points, this is not one of them. I’m no fan of these two miscreants, but unless they identify themselves as from the Anti-gun Party, partisanship is not germane to topic of the suitability of immediate armed response to madmen shooting up schools.

    When speaking of Bloomberg, et.al., here, the thing they need to put aside is their self-serving, pompous, misguided, and reckless quest to tyrannize with impunity (in his case) and to amass filthy lucre (in her case).

  8. Ah for the elite and thier school age children; armed secret service; for the Blomberg’s and his piad minions(Shannon Watts) armed guards; for all the rest of us unimportant people; Gun Free Zone signs.

    • It gives fresh, hellish new meaning to the catch phrase “Here’s your sign….”, doesn’t it?

  9. The Devil is always in the details, though. On-site armed response is great, but it costs money. What specific existing expenses should be cut to accommodate the reallocation of resources to on-site armed response? Or what additional taxes should be levied to cover them?

    Aside from that, at the same time we bemoan the LEO-ization of the Library of Congress Police and the militarization of the Smithsonian National Zoological Park Police, perhaps this isn’t the time to start adding more armed agents to the payroll.

    That leaves arming existing school personnel, or at least allowing them to arm themselves. The conversation needs to shift toward fleshing out solutions of that sort and countering detailed objections, as the idea that on-site armed response in general has already won the day.

    • What specific existing expenses should be cut to accommodate the reallocation of resources to on-site armed response?

      How about cutting public services for illegal aliens? That would kill two birds with one stone.

      • I agree with that, regardless what we do with the savings. The liberals are all out there propping up straw men about the impossibility of “rounding up 11 million undocumented immigrants.” Yet, there’s really no need for that. All we have to do is demand legitimate government identification, granted only to citizens or those otherwise here legally, and demand that as the price of admission for everything: school, banking, transportation, vehicle title, driver’s licenses, home deeds, rental leases, check cashing, government benefits, everything.

        Then the illegal aliens are locked out of the system. There’s no need to round everyone up en masse. Attracted by our promiscuous generosity with benefits, they all self-imported themselves in the first place. Denied access to these freebies and goodies, they’ll self-deport themselves. Any stragglers resorting to crime we can catch in the normal criminal justice system and deport when they’ve completed their sentences.

        It’s really not a difficult problem to solve. Just reverse the incentives. What makes it difficult is that it’s not the relevant problem to solve. It’s the people who make money off of the cheap labor illegals and the politicians who get their progeny’s votes for life, who refuse to address this problem, which is the real problem.

    • I don’t want a cop hanging in my kids school. Indoctrinating them, all who’s your buddy. Too state sponsored for my taste. The idiotic DARE BS is bad enough. Who is the typical school cop “resource officer”. Barney FIfe/Fifettte that is not competent (or a lazy volunteer) to carry oout whatever duties a cop has day to day.

      Arm the teachers.

  10. Asking Bloomberg to put aside his anti-gun animus is like asking a jihadi to stop slaughtering infidels.

  11. Disturbed murderers want to rack up a body count without facing armed opposition. Public schools have become huge institutions containing thousands of people forced to be there that, by policy, are disarmed and easy targets for these crazies. The solution is either to loosen the private citizen defense restrictions, put in State or private security, or both. In the end this is simply about money and incentives. The States would rather have cops collecting speeding tickets than sitting in a school for an attack that is, in truth, extremely unlikely to occur. Public school district administrators realize diverting money to guards and security mean less money for administrators making six figure salaries, so guards are a non-starter. When parents are forced to funnel their dollars though soulless, unaccountable bureaucracies why does anyone expect their children to be cared for? Damned if you do damned if you don’t.

  12. I reach and say something that is not accepted by people in general. Le Pierre now famous statement statement “good guy with a gun” is finally sinking into the nations conscience. As with all paradigm shifts, (accepting the reality of madness in a person) it takes awhile for a collective not only to embrace that statement but to accept and act on it as well.

    The choice of individual lawful self protection is the only means to survive an active shooter. No amount of ink, uniforms, or legislation brushstrokes that fact.

  13. Let me guess, anyone who questions the official newton narrative on this site is labeled a crazy conspiracy theorist.

    • Conspiracy theorists don’t “question the official account” any more than gun control advocates “want to have a conversation.” People who have legitimate questions generally seek legitimate answers. Conspiracy theorists ask open ended, leading and high yield questions and ignore legitimate answers, as well as the veritable mountains of evidence against them in favor of mole hills of early reports, errors and armchair analysis of fuzzy video.

      So, to answer your question, yeah.

      • Do you see the beauty of a conspiracy theory? There is insufficient evidence to neither prove, nor completely disprove a solid conspiracy theory.

        Some conspiracy theories turned out to be real conspiracies one the truth leaked. Some theories can be debunked because lack of intent or the origins came from tainted sources. Some theories stay theories because the real truth that could debunk it or prove it as a real conspiracy isn’t available for whatever reason.

  14. Just a terrible idea. A quick back of the envelope calculation will show that such a policy would just be a massive waste of money. (100,000 (public schools) X $40,000 (Salary + Benefits Security Guard per year))/ (42 Deaths Everytown’s BS number/1.5 years)

    15 million dollars per life saved per year.

    Note: With more realistic assumptions the above number would increase dramatically.

    Take your pick from the hundreds of interventions that are more efficient at saving lives per year per dollar:
    http://www.econ.ucsb.edu/~tedb/Courses/UCSBpf/readings/interventions.pdf

    Get rid of the useless gun free zones and let staff with CCWs carry in school. School shootings are so rare that the benefit to this change is very small, but the cost is also near zero.

    • How many shootings are there at government buildings? Also incredibly rare. I think you will find that cost is not an issue when it comes to protecting the important people. Children are just not that important when you get right down to it. Just important when it comes to making political hay.

    • The total annual cost of the War on Drugs is at least $50 billion annually.

      The DEA’s budget for actual enforcement teams is approx. $180 million.

      15 million minimum is a small amount compared to the War on (some) drugs annual cost.

      Remove the DEA and end the Drug War and you’d have a lot of money left over to create a high concentration of guards in any school.

  15. For all those worried about costs of school security. Why not just organize it like a neighborhood watch? Ask police, parents, National Guardsmen, school faculty, and staff to volunteer their time. They can carry in accordance with local laws (concealed or open) and they could work with said police, sheriff, and/or NG personnel for required force protection, access control, and threat neutralization training before they are placed at a school.

  16. This is not a new debate.

    The obvious conclusions have been reached before-
    when seconds count, the police are only minutes away.

    Armed staff saves childrens’s lives. Dis-arming staff takes children’s lives.

    http://www.facilitiesnet.com/educationalfacilities/article/Does-Concealed-Carry-Make-Sense-In-Schools-And-On-Campus–10070

    Creating a gun free zone only makes it a more compelling target rich environment for sociopaths to kill again.

    Viewed in the cold harsh light of that logic, then MDA, Everytown, and any board member of any public school district that continues to agitate to ban guns and refuses to train willing teachers and principals should be held personally and collectively liable for the deaths of future innocents.

  17. Ralph, some good points, not being a lawyer what legal route do the schools use to criminalize normal behavior and how do they get away with such seemingly unconstitutional polices such as zero tolerance?

  18. Good article Nick. This kind of thing needs to be repeated periodically, even though its obvious and familiar to the POTG, because TTAG is also a place where those new and interested are looking for good info, and facts for the rational debate.

    Slowly but surely the tide is turning, and I am convinced its places like TTAG that are responsible for getting out the word to the independent middle voters who make the difference.

  19. You make the mistake of believing that Bloomberg is interested in safety. He’s not.

    He is interested in one thing, and one thing only — ensuring that the government has a monopoly on violent force, for he means to do things to people that would get him shot otherwise.

  20. First, get your children OUT of the government indoctrination zones. The lies and docile behavior being taught is far more dangerous than any school shooting could be.

    Assigning armed guards to the snake and alligator infested swamps is no answer. Get the children out of the swamp!

  21. Look, we the People of the Gun have tried being nice, low-key, diminutive, and sensitive to the Left regarding armed good guys in schools. It has not worked up to this point and I see no reason to believe that approach will yield any positive results in the future.

    It is time to get very assertive (almost — but not quite — to the point of aggressive) and insistent and go on offense. It is time to tell the Left in no uncertain terms that:
    (1) There really are evil monsters in the world.
    (2) People of the Gun will RADICALLY impede spree killers.
    (3) People of the Gun will NOT be harming children in schools.
    (4) It is absolutely DISGUSTING that the Left refuses to accept the reality of the above.

    After pushing the above really HARD for a while, perhaps 6 to 12 months, then it is time for the People of the Gun to tell the Left to stop being accomplices to spree killers and legalize concealed carry in schools … because good responsible people are going to carry in schools and actually protect the children — and God help the individuals who call such people “criminals” and arrest them for actually protecting children.

  22. “. . .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. . .”

    This is such a patently false assumption, I can’t believe Bloomberg or the Mom’s or any of the other gun-banners can possibly believe it. If you impose a 100% ban on guns, confiscate all weapons, etc., all you’ll do is add a new commodity to the smugglers’ inventories. Despite its draconian anti-gun laws, Mexico is so awash in guns, just about anybody can get one. Need a gun in OZ or the UK? No problem. When people demand a commodity that is proscribed by government fiat, smugglers go to work to meet the need.

  23. I can’t go along with the “arm the teachers” meme.. I personally had a number of batshit-crazy teachers over the years, and school administrators across the country used Columbine as an excuse to go “full retard” on millions of students with their “zero-tolerance” horseshit.

    arm the students. armed students make for polite teachers.

  24. You can bet your last dollar that Obama’s kids are protected by armed men and women at their school.

  25. The devil is definitely in the details here. While I agree that armed security is a good start, every incident is different. Between the two you described, in Newtown, the perp went through the front door. An armed security guard there would have had a reasonable opportunity to stop him, not guaranteed though. I’d be willing to bet Lanza had more firearms training and was a better shot than any security guard.

    In Oregon, the perp went in a separate gym entrance. This raises the physical security issues of a school. As much as they may try to corral everyone through one entrance, there are many ways to get into a school and there is always the opportunity for a shooter to get in where the guard isn’t. It’s not feasible to have every entrance covered with an armed guard. I also wouldn’t be willing to advocate for armed staff. I wouldn’t ban them from carrying, but I wouldn’t make them carry either. Of all the teachers I have had in my day, there is maybe one or two I would trust with a gun in school and who I think would have been able to use it in an incident. There were more than one that definitely should never be allowed to own a gun, and would have been more likely to shoot a student over an argument.

    My point is armed guards or staff is not an end all be all solution. Like others have said, you will never completely eliminate this issue. Despite other people disagreeing with calling them domestic terrorists, by definition that is exactly what they are, lone wolf terrorists, someone the government is already on the record as saying is next to impossible to stop, if they are truly motivated, which most of them are. The best solution and the one the government will never support, is active support of a vigilant public. But as we’ve seen in numerous occasions like flight 93 and many defensive guns uses, it works. It doesn’t always have to be a firearm, it just takes bravery from the citizenry – a value that has been lost in our modern American society. We need to go back to teaching that saving another’s life at the potential cost of another’s, is the brave and the right thing to do. We need to stop with the “don’t be a hero” crap. I’m not saying go out and be Rambo, but if it’s me or the kids in my classroom, I’d rather it be me.

  26. @blinkypete, your response to conspiracy theorists is very typical of someone who spreads disinformation, you make huge general statements without any backing, make huge assumptions which are not appropriate, and you give the impression of providing a valid point without actually doing so.

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