Sandy Hook Shooting
courtesy and Getty
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Reader Rob Morse writes:

I sat in on a training course for school teachers and watched their faces in class. They were mesmerized by the instructor in front of them. The instructor paced back and forth in jerky steps. He spoke in loud, uneven bursts. His fists clenched. Sometimes he threw a pointed finger across the audience. His emotions were barely contained. What made this man so animated and so angry?

This was a training class where school staff learn to be armed first responders. They will learn to stop a threat at their school and treat the injured until help arrives. That isn’t an academic or a theoretical problem. For these Colorado school teachers, school safety is personal and real.

We all know why the instructor was angry. You felt it yourself. Remember the news from the New Life Church in Colorado Springs. How about Columbine High School. I’m sure you remember the Century-16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado and the Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colorado.

These were the scenes of murderous attacks on innocent people. All of us who read about the attacks felt anger, horror, outrage and frustration. We felt that at a distance. The people in the class I attended had lived it.

Sandy Hook Shooting
Sandy Hook, courtesy and Getty

Some of those people had been at the scene of these attacks. Some were the first responders. They had knelt in the fresh blood of innocent victims while they helped treat the injured. People in those classroom have saved lives.

The law enforcement officer in front of the class room and told us how he felt.

I was angry that I couldn’t be there in time to stop it. I saw the victim’s blood on the floor. They were fighting for their lives in a hospital because I wasn’t there to fight for them. I swore to god that I would give anything to protect them. And you.. you are the answer to that prayer. Be there when your students need you. Keep them safe until I get there.

We watched video files assembled after these attacks. We felt the full range of emotions that you would feel, the shock, the frustration, the outrage, the determination. But anger fades. Anger won’t make you carry a gun and a medical kit every day. What made these people risk their lives and move toward a violent attack?

Texas high school sign courtesy

We all want someone to look out for our children when we can’t be there. These school staff members said they would do that. They love our kids as they love their own. They will risk their life to protect our children. I admire that.

The rest of the training program was about psychology and the history of mass murder. We learned shooting techniques and trauma care. We ran scenarios with mock attacks on a classroom and practiced our response. Those were important lessons, but they were secondary.

I looked, and I have not found a teacher who is paid extra to protect our students. The reason those instructors and teachers were in the FASTER class is love for their students. That’s why they humbled themselves to learn new skills. That’s why they worked through the frustrations and the discomfort. That is why they practiced when they got back to their communities. They made a vow to themselves.

Think about what that means. They didn’t volunteer to coach T-ball; they said they would put their body between a bullet and our children. That is the incredible power of love. In the US today, that is the immense measure of our wealth. Our riches are not in what we can buy but in what volunteers have chosen to give at any cost. There isn’t enough money to pay for this dedication, but these men and women are rich enough in body and spirit that they volunteer to protect our children for free. They do it for love. They are not alone.

The teacher training program is called FASTER. The class I saw was organized by FASTER Colorado. The program was founded by Buckeye Firearms and the Tactical Defense Institute in Ohio. They built this program six years ago after the horrible murders at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. FASTER is run by volunteers who give up their evenings and weekends to make sure volunteer teachers get the training they want. They raised millions of dollars in donations and trained thousands of school staff across the US. Just like the school teachers I saw, they do it for love.

Everyone in this program is dedicated. You could see it in the program organizers and in the instructors. I saw dedication in the school teachers and in the class volunteers who helped us run on time for three days. They were a team, but the school teachers were the stars who would have to perform in real life. Having your firearm concealed under a coat and a trauma kit hanging on the wall of your classroom may be tough love, but they are love’s symbols nonetheless.

FASTER Colorado- Teachers on the firing line.

Think of these men and women the next time you hear someone say the US is a selfish country. These people take time away from their families. They give us part of their lives in the hope that our children will come home to us safe and sound. What they give freely is too precious to be bought. We are blessed beyond measure that these volunteers love our kids that much.

We could react with anger at mass murder, but I now see that as a cheap and shallow reaction. Anger fades, but these volunteers changed the world even though it took them years of effort. They make us safer because they love our children. They inspire me. I hope they inspire you.

Are you rich enough to love that way?


This article originally appeared at Slow Facts and is reprinted here with permission. 


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  1. As mentioned…cops can’t always get there in time…it would be nice to have someone trained…just in case…
    prepare for the worst…hope for the best

  2. I am glad to see this. Teachers as first responders in a potential ‘shooter on campus’ situation is a critical part of the real effort to make our schools safer. But remember that the media focus on “mass shootings” is a media and globalist distraction, with little basis in truth.

    According to every statistical report issued in the past four years, US schools have never been as safe as they are now. YES – students in a US classroom are safer today than at anytime in our history. And not only that, US schools are among the safest places to be in the world. While it is true that the “gun free” tag attracts crazed, homicidal shooters, murders of students occur much more often in other places in the world.

    The left doesn’t want to allow those facts on the TV or print media, but the truth is hard to completely hide. Look it up.

    Arm teachers, it will make us even safer. Train them well. When kids are at risk, there is no, “safe enough.” But keep in mind that the fanatic anti-gun noise is about globalism and controlling people – they will not stop just because a few of us got a peek behind their curtain.

  3. That’s fantastic that they’re allowing teaches to get the training they need. However, there’s no law I’m aware of in the state that allows teaches to be armed, unless they work at a public university.

      • Agreed. However, we’re not talking about just a job loss if discovered, we’re talking about federal prison time. It’s one thing to risk breaking company policy (which I do 5 days a week at my job), it’s another thing entirely to break company policy and get arrested for violation of (a completely worthless and retarded) federal law, felony, loss of everything; Job, freedom, guns, voting, money, family.

        • During the winter months in Colorado, darkness comes at 4:30. Quittin’ time is 5. Or 6 if you’re an engineer. I left the building in total darkness, unarmed, because company policy. Oh yeah, they said I could call the Sheriff if I wanted an armed escort. I only had a few more years to retirement, so I took the risk. You know, take a risk for the team, company, or family.

          I salute you, Jon. You have shown more common sense than I.

    • “However, there’s no law I’m aware of in the state that allows teaches to be armed, unless they work at a public university.”

      I don’t have the time to look it up right now but I believe the same law that allows CCW for qualified (of age and with a permit) students, faculty and staff as well as those who simply traverse/visit a campus also applies to other public education institutions within the state, that is, K-12.

      Further, I know for a fact that the law also applies to private institutions if they receive a single cent of public money. Those private institutions have some more leeway in making rules than public institutions do but they cannot ban CCW nor impose punishments for getting caught that are outside the law. IME private institutions DO impose punishments for getting caught, unless the weapon is being used to respond to a legit threat, and do so using the concept that if you’re caught then your weapon was openly visible which means that you were OCing which is illegal.

      If you look up the weapons rules for UD you’ll note that they’re private and their rules are designed by folk who frown upon, but cannot put the kabosh on, CCW.

  4. I am rich enough to love that way. That is not the problem.

    The problem is people who want government to sanction me (and other selfless, high-quality people) for loving that way.

    (And our government is also part of the problem for indulging the people who asked them to sanction me for loving that way.)

  5. Its the only approach that can actually work. People taking responsibility for defending themselves and other around them instead of depending on somebody else to do it.

    • And after Parkland, what makes anybody think that anyone will be coming, at all? Hope for the best, but be able to at least try to defend yourself.

  6. Somewhere along the way, “hate” became a four letter word and got lumped in with “hate speech” (whatever the heck that is). Hate is a four letter word same as “love”. There is “good” in this this world and there is nothing wrong with loving it. There is, also, “evil” in this world and there is nothing wrong with hating it. -30-

    • ” “hate speech” (whatever the heck that is)”

      Simple. “Hate speech” is anything that makes me uncomfortable. I have a natural, civil, human right to not be made to feel uncomfortable about anything. Besides, “hate” lets me get you sentenced with enhanced severity.

  7. ” If it will only save one life “…….Wait, only the other side can use that. Does anyone remember if there has ben any school shooters that were willing to engage someone that was in defense mode with a firearm, I don’t recall any but maybe it’s just my memory.

  8. were not arming teachers
    were ending the era of disarming them
    were giving them their natural right back
    were no longer violating their human rights
    thats what were doing

  9. Nice to know some school systems have a bit of common sense. Unfortunately, mine isn’t one of them…

  10. Let’s see, which is a greater deterrent? The teachers here are armed and trained, or this is a “gun free zone”? Yeah, this is an IQ test that Liberals will most likely fail.

  11. Arm the maintenance personal and administrative staff, not the teachers… Teachers won’t shoot to kill when they have to.

    • Let me be a little gentler than Frank. The simple fact is that there are many teachers who are willing to act with considerable violence towards those who threaten ‘their children’. Also, there are quite a few sweet, wonderful, mothers that will go ballistic (sorry) when something threatens their actual children.
      Importantly, the FASTER program includes two components: Training to stop the shooter and how to do immediate short-term medical care. Remember that it takes minutes for the police to arrive (even an on-campus security guard), and, usually, the police are not going to allow medical personnel to enter the ‘shooting gallery’ until the police verify that the shooter or shooters are no longer active.
      Mentioned in other articles is that the FASTER program teachers have many person-years of experience with no reported injuries.

  12. Someday, the schools may allow any permitted concealed carrier to be on-campus. Many of us regularly train (I happen to pass to CO Peace Officer’s Shooting Test semi-annually, due to requirements of my church security team.)

    Teachers should teach. There are enough of us sheepdogs to take care of security matters. Just give us a stack of homework to grade in the commons area so we don’t blow our cover.

    • Hi Perry, Having armed folks on campus allows for reducing the time to respond, but may be less effective depending on the size of the school and how fast it takes to notify the armed folks. A key aspect appears to be that the average shooting spree goes on for 10 minutes. Having an armed guard that actually does his job should cut the response time in half, eliminating half of the injuries.
      The key to the armed teachers, if there are one or more per ‘hall’ in the school, is that they may reduce the response time still further. If none of the armed teachers are in the hall/building where the shooting starts, the results are likely to be the same as with just armed personnel BECAUSE the first response is by the armed personnel.
      Again, if the FASTER-trained teachers may be able grab their first-aid kits and get to the victims more quickly than outside medical personnel.
      While your idea might actually be ‘useful’, I fear that school boards are going to be even more paranoid about setting up such a program than implementing FASTER programs, especially as the FASTER programs ‘prove’ their utility and low probability of problems.

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