Columbine 20th anniversary shooting lessons
A Columbine High School student is rescued by emergency personnel during the shooting spree at the school in the southwest Denver suburb of Littleton, Colo., Tuesday, April 20, 1999. (AP Photo/KCNC-TV Denver)
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Saturday is the 20th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting. That means we’ll be inundated in coming days by pronunciations and pontificating from the go-to “gun safety” talking heads (think Shannon, Eric, Diane, and Mark) and their compliant media stenographers. Oh, wait…that’s already gotten under way (see here, here, here, here, here and here).

If it’s possible to say that something positive came out of such a horrific event, it’s this: law enforcement forever altered the way they respond to active shooter situations. Police arriving at Columbine did what police did then. They set up a perimeter around the school to contain the shooters. But the shooters that day had no interest in coming out. They wanted to kill people inside the school which is exactly what they did.

Since Columbine, police across the nation have changed their tactics. They’re now trained to run toward the sound of gunfire to interdict and take down the shooter(s) as soon as possible in order to limit the number of casualties.

The failure to follow that protocol unquestionably cost innocent lives at Parkland where poorly trained and incompetently led Broward County Sheriffs deputies…stayed outside the building while the shooter murdered students and teachers inside.

Yet even with a textbook response, it’s difficult to completely stop a determined killer without turning campuses into fortified camps. That’s why so many now advocate having people — school resource officers, teachers, administrators and staff members — inside schools who have been trained and carry firearms.

Even the best police response times are measured in minutes. Five is considered excellent. That’s a lot of time during which a determined attacker can kill far too many unarmed, unprotected innocents.

Despite the media portrayal, school shootings are exceedingly rare. Still, being prepared to deal with a worst case scenario is the only morally responsible course of action. There are and always will be broken individuals out there. And as even some skeptics have come to conclude, an armed response can (and should be allowed to) stop or slow a shooter down enough to save lives and allow police to arrive on the scene.

But the push to arm teachers and others, which picked up steam around the country after Parkland, has been met with determined opposition from anti-gun forces such as the gun control orgs, teachers unions, politicians and others. Maybe it’s that kind of resistance and intransigence from the powers that be that causes so many parents to doubt that schools are at all prepared to deal with an active shooter.

Here’s a report from the AP:


WASHINGTON (AP) — Twenty years after the Columbine High School shooting made practicing for armed intruders as routine as fire drills, many parents have only tepid confidence in the ability of schools to stop a gunman, according to a new poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

And while most Americans consider schools less safe than they were 20 years ago, the poll finds a majority say schools aren’t at fault for shootings. Bullying, the availability of guns, the internet and video games share more of the blame.

Lee Wisdom, a mother of two in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, believes students and staff have been trained as much as possible to prepare for an attack, but worries schools are still vulnerable to things beyond their control, like a parent holding the door for a stranger or a child sneaking his father’s gun in a backpack.

“As far as inside the school, we’re doing all we can to keep students safe,” she said. “It is the outside of the school and the people who are coming in and out that I think are the weak link,” said Wisdom, who sees school violence as a product of violent video games, TV shows and the internet’s opportunities to bully and isolate.

Half of Americans blame students being bullied a great deal for school shootings. Roughly a third say the same of the internet and television, music and video games.

By and large, schools themselves are less likely to be blamed: 59% put not much or no blame on schools for the shootings. While roughly 4 in 10 say schools have at least some responsibility, just 9% attribute a great deal of blame.

In the years since two Colorado teenagers gunned down 12 classmates and a teacher in the Denver suburb of Littleton, schools across the country have fixated on planning for threats that before had been unimaginable.

Teachers and students practice fleeing and hiding during realistic shooter scenarios inside school buildings fortified by bolted doors, bulletproof glass and security cameras.

But shootings haven’t stopped, and a little over a year after an armed ex-student allegedly killed 17 people at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the survey finds a large majority, 67%, say schools have become less safe. Only 13% say schools have become safer during the last 20 years. The rest say they are about the same.

Along the same lines, despite all of the planning, drills and expense, only about a third of parents are extremely or very confident that their children are safe in school, or that the school could respond to an active shooter. About 4 in 10 parents are moderately confident in their child’s safety and the school’s potential response, while about 2 in 10 have little or no confidence.

And parents of school-age children are especially likely to blame shootings on schools themselves, compared with other adults, 49% to 36%.

Nearly half of Americans strongly blame shootings on the availability of guns, and a majority, 67%, want to see the nation’s gun laws made stricter.

Still, Washington has had little appetite for federal gun reforms despite surges in activism following Columbine and the 2012 shooting deaths of 20 children and six adults inside Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Last year’s shooting in Parkland, Florida, brought a shift in the political landscape, with the shooting’s young survivors leading a national movement aimed not only at gun reform but a new generation of voters.

Before the Democratic-controlled House in February approved a measure requiring federal background checks for all firearms sales, it had been nearly 25 years since Congress had considered major gun control legislation.

The bill faces dim prospects in the Republican-controlled Senate and President Donald Trump has threatened to veto it, saying it would impose unreasonable requirements on gun owners.

James Kiefer, 75, doesn’t think the availability of guns is as much of a problem as the violence children are exposed to in movies and video games from a young age.

“By the time they’re 16 or 17, they’re pretty much indoctrinated,” the Three Rivers, Michigan, resident said.

“If somebody’s going to do something like that, no matter if the guns are available or not, they’re going to find a way to do it,” he added.

To make schools safer, majorities of Americans believe lockdown drills, armed security guards, metal detectors and anti-bullying campaigns work.

However, the post-Columbine generation, for whom many of those things were routine, are much less likely than older adults to think that those steps would make schools safer.

“What the survey data tell us is that we need to take the next step in our safety efforts to purposefully and strategically communicate how successful our efforts have been in making schools safe, secure places where students can be their authentic selves and learn at their best,” said Bob Farrace of the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

Nor are younger adults as convinced that either stricter gun laws or arming teachers — another subject of political debate — is the answer, even though they are about as likely as those older to support stricter gun laws in the United States. While 44% of adults under 30 say tightening gun laws would improve school safety, 60% of adults over 30 say the same. Half of adults under 30 say arming trained teachers would actually make schools less safe, compared with about a third of those over 30.

“A well-trained teacher with a sidearm could greatly affect what happens in a classroom situation like that,” said the Republican-leaning Kiefer, who retired from the trucking business. “There are enough qualified teachers that can be armed that can help solve problems.”

A federal school safety commission assembled by Trump in response to the Parkland shooting said it should be left to states and schools to decide whether schools should arm staff members, but the president’s Education Secretary Betsy Devos, who led the commission, said schools should “seriously consider” the option. The commission’s December report steers schools to federal funding that can be used for firearm training.

The poll finds Republicans far more likely than Democrats to say armed teachers would make schools safer, 62% to 22%. By contrast, 79% of Democrats, and just 35% of Republicans, think tightening gun laws would improve school safety.

It also finds a racial divide over arming teachers. Close to half of white Americans and half of Hispanic Americans think that would make schools safer, while only about 2 in 10 black Americans say the same.

About 80 percent of white and Hispanic Americans think armed security guards make schools safer, compared with about half of black Americans.

Farrace said in an email that school safety should be a community effort, with law enforcement and public health agencies working to identify potential shooters and intervene before they act.

“We’re under a common illusion,” he said, “that the only way to prevent carnage in schools is a military-style response at the point of attack.”

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  1. Parents have low confidence in schools’ ability to respond to a gunman?

    The fact that parents have any confidence at all indicates that they are morons.

    • I have the high “confidence” that in nearly every instance I will be disappointed by the decisions and actions of school administrators/board members. Its in their nature.

    • Ralph said all that can or need be said of the topic,thread winner rite out of the gate.

  2. Isn’t that the only way to prevent carnage anywhere? You need to wreck shit before shit wrecks you. Any other way is merely a delay or redirection.

  3. Its simple the powers that be are IDIOTS.
    As long as schools remain gunfree zones. And no faculty is allowed to carry weapons. Schools will always be a potential killing field.

  4. It seems that “officer safety” trumps “courage under fire” almost all of the time, but especially with “school resource officers” and police officers in general. It seems that for almost every police officer, making it to a cushy retirement is the ultimate goal, the protection of the public be damned. Add to that, observe the many unjustified shootings by police that get “covered up” by police-friendly prosecutors and grand juries.
    All one has to do is look at the (in)action of the police officers during the last number of mass school shootings, where these “trained professionals” SAT ON THEIR HANDS while the carnage was going on.
    You can bet that us military veterans in such a case would be drawn TOWARD the sound of gunfire. If I had my way, I would arm teachers who wish to be armed, and would hire military veterans as school support personnel such as janitors and maintenance personnel. Janitorial and maintenance personnel have the run of the school buildings and would make an effective “reactionary force”. Us veterans would be much more effective than police, (who are only concerned about their own “safety”), as us veterans are trained to go towards the sound of gunfire and “solve the problem”.
    Today’s human nature dictates that the person with all of the “training” (especially) law enforcement DOES cower in fear, while a 90 lb. armed teacher would reluctantly, but successfully take out the shooter. Being forced into a situation also forces one to act.
    There are many examples of persons, who one would normally think, would not be capable of acting in an extremely high-stress situation, but DO come out on top-stopping the threat, and saving lives.
    Sad to say, today’s police practices dictate that the cop’s life is MORE IMPORTANT than that of those he has sworn to protect despite the cops having statutory protections that do not apply to us ordinary civilians.
    All one has to do is look at Medal of Honor recipients, who are almost always mild-mannered, initially reluctant to act, but DO act, and perform feats who most would think are normally beyond their capacity and capabilities TRUE bravery in the heat of battle. The same applies to those civilians who act during school shootings.
    Human nature has a habit of propelling (actually forcing) the normal, average person into a true hero and life saver, while showing the true (cowardly behavior) nature of those we assign to protect us. A good example of our protectors cowering in fear is the deputies who FAILED TO ACT despite having all of the equipment necessary and the preferential laws on their side (that protect them from lawsuits and liability).
    TRUE heroes ACT, while our so-called protectors (failed to) REACT.

    • “dictates that the person with all of the “training” (especially) law enforcement ”
      This is the myth at the root of the problem. Most of the training law enforcement receives is procedural. If the general public had an accurate idea of what “all of the training” added up to in this context they would want to disarm the police. The reality is unless an officer is part of a special element like SWAT their required minimum training and standards for qualifying with their side arm are extremely low compared to public perception. VERY easy for the average civically minded citizen to hold themselves to a higher standard than the average street cop. Not that there aren’t officers out there that maintain their own higher standard, but the requirement for the badge is not high in the context of this thread.

    • Retired from the military and went into teaching. There were 70 odd staff at the high school and I’d trust three with a gun. When Osama Ben Laden was taken down, a teacher come into out office almost in tears. Students were happy and chanting “USA, USA.” She was upset as it was “Over the death of a human.” The other teachers sympathize and gave warm fuzzies. Finally on looked at me an said, “Your pretty conservative. What do you think. My reply was that I’d lost a friend on 911 and I was satisfied that Ben Laden would never hurt another person. Pretty much ended the conversation.

  5. Parkland is also a lesson that the powers that be also don’t want to do their jobs right.

    Numerous times were authority figures fully aware and full warned how much of a threat the sicko was and they did absolutely nothing.

    And it’s becoming clear one can’t help but wonder if this incident was deliberately allowed to happen.

    You also forgot to mention that the Broward county sheriff’s department has a long history of corruption.


  7. Why do black Americans love illegal guns so much but hate legal gun ownership? Is that tightly tied to thug culture? Is it indoctrination by leftists? Is it simply stupidity?

    So many black Americans see the violence within their own communities from gang members with stolen guns, yet they feel there should be more laws to put more black people in prison rather than less laws so black people can defend themselves.

    In the white communities they own guns, whether they admit it or not, doesn’t matter if they are Democrats. Their communities are a lot safer. Gang members want to rob those people but they rarely want to risk it. Thugs will stick to robbing the Asian owned corner store, people on the street or homes in their hood.

    2A people need to reach out to black America and educate them like Malcolm X was doing.

    • The blacks that vote and are good citizens(not criminals) see guns as a tool for thugs, both the local gang thugs and the police thugs. They have been taught that nothing good comes from the use of guns against other humans(in many communities it really seems that way). They don’t realize that having a gun in the house(or purse, or car) can save their lives. Many have never fired a gun and law abiding blacks(during Jim Crow) would never have a gun – black spokespeople stood right in line with that reasoning, so guns are bad. That type of thinking still flies.

      • This is a response to User 1 & RT 66 Paul…………. Perhaps if some media coverage were given to Colion Noir, and his support of guns and the 2nd, more blacks would begin to see the gun as a way to help protect themselves, a good investment, and a fun life-long enjoyable pursuit; instead of thinking of them only as something the drug dealers and gangs use.
        I feel the the NRA, in it’s stupidity, is failing to take advantage of Colion’s stated position on guns; which could possibly bring more people like himself into the ranks of honest gun owners, and which could also eventually see them becoming NRA members.

  8. Cuz when seconds count, the police are just minutes away. Better to be self reliant and handle business before shit happens.

    Proverb: An ounce of prevention equals a pound of cure…it’s easier to stop something from happening in the first place than to repair the damage after it has happened.

  9. The Libertarians liberals and the left like to say that school shootings don’t happen very often. They say they are very rare. The Three L’s also forget to say they never happened in the United States up until very recently.

    As more of the mentally ill are not forced into treatment or as more illegal aliens are allowed to stay in the United States, and we all know some of them are good people. But there are plenty of criminals, murderers, rapists, child molsters, Psychopaths coming into this country and the Libertarians liberals in the left are just fine with that.

    But don’t worry they won’t commit that many murders. They won’t commit that many rapes. And they won’t commit that many school shootings.

    What is expected of a teacher in the 21st century in the United States is simply going to have to change. As well as the administrative staff that work in American public schools.

    You just have to look at what happened at schools in Russia and India a few years ago to learn that if you’re not prepared the children will suffer the consequences.

    I know religious private schools have already stepped up to this challenge.

    • School shootings don’t happen very often. Nearly every imaginable cause of death takes a higher toll in human lives than school shootings. –

      “The earliest known United States shooting to happen on school property was the Pontiac’s Rebellion school massacre on July 26, 1764, where four Lenape American Indian entered the schoolhouse near present-day Greencastle, Pennsylvania, shot and killed schoolmaster Enoch Brown, and killed nine or ten children (reports vary). Only two children survived.” – – So by recently you mean before our constitution was ratified?

      And last but not least, I love the way you lump the “3 L’s” together and label all of them as though they were one homogenous group, as though those three groups weren’t as divergent as say gun owners are. I’m pretty sure thats text book bigotry.

      Having said that, I think that teachers, as well as everyone else should be armed if they see fit. So, maybe we agree, in the end, even if we got there by totally different pathways.

      • The three L’s are enablers of child molsters and child murderers. Watch an honest person Rev Jesse Lee Peterson speak the truth. I’m sure he will be called a bigot by white Libertarians Liberals and The Left.

        “Black Man Throws 5-Year-Old White Boy Off Balcony in Minnesota (Emmanuel Aranda)”

      • btw
        I’m glad you know about the Pontiac’s Rebellion school massacre. I know about it too. I wrote about it in my college paper on “How to teach 2A civil rights and Responsibilities to KY students in grade K thru 12. And the school shooting list as well.

        Do you know about the teacher who saved their students by shooting at the school attackers? Slowing them down long enough for the kids to escape. The killers were also illegal aliens.

    • Cuz times have changed. People are afraid to act when they need to cowboy up and kick ass.

      Not like the old days when proper parenting and discipline kept kids on the straight and narrow, and teachers were allowed to enforce strict behavior policies, and consequences meant something.

      Now we gotta deal with crap after the fact, when it’s really deeper than that.

      We didn’t have this crap when I was growing up or in school. A zero tolerance for mischief and bullshit was always in full effect while focusing on solid education, moral values and respect while still balancing social activities. Proper attention was given throughout all aspects of upbringing to promote responsible and successful futures.

  10. As well they should as I myself have low confidence in an LEO stopping a gunman in time to do any good..

  11. Before anymore flames are fanned, please read, “on killing”, Back Bay Books, 1995 ~1996. Lt. Col. Dave Grossman. If you can’t read the whole book, please, at least read Chapter 3, “Why Can’t Johnny Kill”. You can train someone to “run towards the sound of gunfire”, but you can’t control what happens when they get there. The later in life they receive this training, the less likely it is to stick. Killing someone from up close and personal is unnatural act, as it should be. There is no way to pre-screen for reactions to kill or be killed situations. Well, there is, but it’s hell on the trainees. I’m running out of dead horses to beat here. If you haven’t been there, ask yourself, why your opinions on this particular situation are necessary or wanted. Cap locks…the computerized version of “spray and pray”, and almost as effective. Anybody want to jump in, jump. Please, haters, form an orderly line on the left. -30-

    • +1 Bravo! A few years ago, when my kids were still in school, the Colonel addressed their school district with his tour presentation. It was a first in our region. I had already seen him prior, for a LE presentation where he addressed everything you’ve mentioned.

      Our local PD organized the presentation with the school district, and the district made it a paid, mandatory attendance for school employees, especially principals. All schools need to do the same and get with the program.👍

  12. Kids are better off staying out of pubic stools anyway, between the sex monster predator teachers, gender bending commie indoctrination, drugs and booze, grooming gangs, 3rd world diseases, Obama lunch program, mandatory pharmacorp injections, drunk bus drivers, lockerroom rapes, satanic suicide groups, AND the crazed leftist shooters, kids might as well just drop out anyway and take their chances on the street.

    I was not pubic skooled hence my run on sentences and ghastly grammar.

  13. AP is anti-2nd Amendment MSM.

    Assertions and statistics can’t be trusted.

    The American People have voted with the only thing that matters, time and time again, after these shootings and other terroristic threats: THEIR WALLETS. Americans have purchased more firearms in the last 10 years than in the proceeding 100.

  14. “Bullying, the availability of guns, the internet and video games share more of the blame.”

    So… this seems to add to the growing body of evidence that most people become stupid, at least temporarily, the moment they manage to successfully reproduce.

    Middle school kids can figure this out but a 30 year old who’s been knocked up, or done the knocking up, can’t? Yeah, small humans are not stupid. But they make larger humans dumb as fuck.

    • “So… this seems to add to the growing body of evidence that most people become stupid, at least temporarily, the moment they manage to successfully reproduce.”

      Seen that first-hand in my sister.

      Before kids, she was *normal*. Visiting once, she was pointing out her kitchen window at the family across the street. She was mocking them because they considered their young kids to be ‘geniuses’. We got a good laugh out of it. She was *incredulous* people could do that.

      Fast-forward 10 years, she has a 8 year-old and a 6 year-old. Visiting again, she was regaling us with the stories of how ‘brilliant’ her oldest, the boy, was. They related how he was the one who picked out their new HDTV. “Wait a minute – “, I said, “Your 8 year-old picked out your 2,500-dollar new TV? Don’t tell me, he’s a genius!” then I burst out laughing. She, and fuckwit hubby, wasn’t laughing. Ooops…

      I *still* think that was funny as hell.

      And Strych – It will likely happen to you as well, when you bring little Strych (or Strychette) into this ‘Mad World’…

      • Parenting is tough unfortunately. I praise my kids when appropriate and tell them when they’re in the wrong or full of crap when appropriate. My 8 year old boy is developing a habit of thinking he knows it all, I walk him through the logic of if he knows better than his old man why his old man has to work all day to feed him!

  15. “AP Poll Shows Parents Have Low Confidence in Schools’ Ability to Respond to a Gunman”

    Well then, perhaps the parents should step up and get involved…

  16. Schools are inherently incapable of protecting students and staff because they have completely rejected the idea of self defense against physical assault. If your kid is bullied, the school recognizes no obligation to protect him and, if he fights back, will punish him at least as severely as the bully. One of my wisest life decisions was not to have kids. I could see myself telling school administrators, “As long as my child treats others with kindness and respect, he is entitled to absolute immunity from bullying. If another child does bully him, the only question is how badly must the bully suffer before agreeing to reform. It’s the school’s duty to make this happen.”

    Something to understand about Columbine is that it was a bomb plot rather than a shooting plot. The murderers reverted to guns only after their bombs failed. Their goal was to demolish the building and kill everyone present. From their viewpoint, less than a dozen killed and twice that wounded, instead of hundreds, was a failure. There are many ways besides guns to commit mass murder. Bombs are only one of them. It’s only a matter of time before we encounter someone competent enough to build a weapon of mass destruction that works.

  17. Re arming teachers and school officials, even with “training”, how many will be willing to go armed on the job? That question seems to be passing with little attention.

    • Rather than “arm teachers and school officials”, permit the ones who already possess CCW permits and carry off the job to carry on the job, too, after extra training to cope with school shooters. They are the ones likely to carry if not prohibited as they are now.

      • The answer is not to “arm teachers” but to stop disarming them. If they satisfy the requirements to carry in their locality they should be able to carry in their school.

  18. Unless the teacher that happens to be in the classroom getting shot up happens to be armed, the casualties will still be in the tens or dozens. It is functionally impossible to harden a school to the point where it is still a school but is safe from someone intent on massacring students.

    The thing most likely to reduce school shootings is when the shooters get less press coverage. School shooters still idolize the two jackasses that did it at columbine and the mythology that surrounded them (most of it patently invented by the media). Actual proactive work by police, parents and school officials might also help (certainly would have helped in Florida).

    Ultimately, as scary as it is, the truth is that you are never safe. Neither are your kids. The world’s a dangerous place. No matter what you do, your kids can die. If not in a school shooting then in a swimming pool or car. How much of a bubble are you willing to put around them to prevent the almost-impossible event?

  19. Low confidence? Try NO confidence. The only thing my local school district is prepared to do is to wait for the police and let students die in the meantime.

  20. I fully agree with Hannibal above.

    Having said that, I had almost as much confidence as I could have had in the school my children attended: small student body, well fenced grounds, monitored video, pretty good entry control, high levels of parent and teacher/administrator communication, high level of parent involvement at school. SRO was on city police department, assigned to school full time, school paid SRO salary, city provided equipment, school set SRO training requirements based on recommendations of outside consultants (he is a well trained gunfighter), highly variable pattern of ’rounds’ for SRO. Finally, just the staff I knew were armed amounted to a substantial number. Could they do more? Sure, but they did a damn sight better than any other school I knew of. I was fortunate, and it was not cheap.

  21. Funny, since all of the Denver area schools have been cancelled today due to some off-kilter chick making threats… Oh, WTH? This is how the schools choose to protect their kids. Live to die another day.

  22. Being a retired L.E. officer, I have NO confidence in teachers or administrators doing anything, Let me take that a step further and include a large percentage of street patrol officers. Hell, I remember a range day where a female officer could not figure out how to use a 870 shotgun (which was in every patrol vehicle). Most officers hated having to qualify four times a year and most barely did. Not exactly confidence building. As far as teachers, I have met a few and I would not trust them to properly sweep my driveway, I would probably have to show them which end of the broom to use! After retiring, I worked at a medical facility that has a Gun free policy, they had a master plan that should an incident occur, everyone should shelter in place (and wait to die).
    Concerning that this is the mentality of people teaching your snot gobblers and caring for your health. By the way, medical malpractice is the third largest killer of Americans behind heart attacks and cancer. You really trust a doctor who is limited by corporate policies to only spend less than 15 minutes to a diagnosis of your medical issue. You should be more afraid of seeing a doctor that a burglar!. OK, now I am just rambling… but you get it.

  23. At Columbine, one of the school resource officers was out in the parking lot. When the shooting started he did run towards it. As students ran out the doors he saw one of the shooters aiming a rifle from an upper floor. He fired and the shooter retreated.
    In the vast majority of mass shootings any resistance is enough to stop the shooter. In an Oregon case a good guy displayed his firearm. The shooter retreated and killed himself. In Parkland, hurricane proof windows kept the shooter from shooting at retreating students. At that point he dropped the weapon and ran.
    As was pointed out, the military runs to the sound of gunfire. The don’t hide in a stairwell or sit on a perimeter. Mass shooters know they have an easy target in a gun free zone. Knowing that there are armed people that will shoot back will discourage this.

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