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USC lockdown (courtesy Jason

The above photo (and another after the jump) shows a classroom at University of South Carolina, tweeted by journalist Jason Cook. The image was taken sometime after “A professor at the University of South Carolina’s public health division was gunned down in a campus building in what authorities say was a murder-suicide that locked down most of the campus for several hours.” goes on to report that . . .

Witnesses said the shootings occurred on the fourth floor of the five-story [Arnold School of Public Health] along busy Assembly Street . . .

University of South Carolina students during lockdown (courtesy Jason Cook)

Dozens of officers converged on the campus, from USC police to U.S. marshals, federal Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive agents, Richland County deputies and Columbia police joined SLED agents. They shut down several city blocks surrounding the western part of campus.

So the cops took the possibility of an active shooter very seriously. Some students, and the professor leading this class, did not. Apparently, intelligence is not a prerequisite to pursue higher education.

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  1. Yet the hoplophobes are afraid to allow ccw license holders to carry on campus. Obviously, this guy and May at FSU didn’t care about the law and gun-free zones. In fact, May even used a stolen gun.

    • The ‘logic’ is: “We can’t have good guys with guns in classrooms, because if there is an active shooter situation, we want to be forced to wait 20 minutes while we phone in good guys with guns.”

        • Locked doors or even a prof trying to keep it shut didnt stop Virginia Tech shooter Cho, if I remember the reports correctly.

          Just got the prof shot dead, and some students huddling inside shot too.

          I look at those kids and think- if I were there, or it was my kid- I would want to be out the door in a flash,
          take my chances running into the shooter, rather than being a sitting duck…

  2. College classrooms are a mass shooters’ dream. Limited exits, confined crowds, and the professor is literally right in front of the room.The scumbag wouldn’t even need to enter the room-with a rifle they could shoot right through the drywall.

    There’s not much the students or professor could do-and that’s by design. The calculus by University Management is simple : Better the occasional shooting then a campus of armed adults.

    Its brutal, cold, and immoral-but that’s no less the fact on the ground .

    • Well, from an actuarial standpoint, which is the greater risk: injuries from negligent discharges and violence via gun born of sudden passion, or injuries from active shooters? That’s the decision calculus here, so long as there is a policy decision to be made.

      Let’s be honest, the presence of additional firearms on campus, even among the law abiding, does increase the expected number of negligent discharges and cases of violence from sudden passion. Will it be “blood in the streets?” Doubtful. Lawful carriers are among the most peaceful you’ll find. However, even lawful carriers sometimes commit negligent discharges. Even lawful carriers sometimes unlawfully shoot people.

      Rare? Yes. Exceedingly rare, even. Then again, so are the active shooter scenarios we’re trying to diminish. These schools have it all wrong, to be sure, but they do have a plausible argument to make. That their argument ultimately fails against the facts, or that their argument is made moot by the natural right to keep and bear arms, is down the road. At the outset, though, they do have a case to make. We risk forfeiting opportunity for eventual agreement if we refuse to acknowledge at least the plausibility of their position.

      • I have multiple friends in college that carry on campus and have firearms in their cars or dorm rooms, in spite of the law (though our campus PD chief is a logical guy that understands the intent of the law, and generally turns a blind eye to people who safely CCW). I myself have carried on campus and always have at least one gun in my car (I commute from home.) Funny, there has never been a ND anywhere near the school. That number at any school would certainly be a lot smaller than the number of assaults, sexual assaults, rapes, and I’d guess even murders. So while there are plenty of stupid kids at college, there are plenty of more responsible ones. I’d say these responsible ones have the right to self defense, even if they inadvertently defend stupid ones in the process 😉

  3. ‘Apparently, intelligence is not a prerequisite to pursue higher education.’ – It’s rarely a product of higher education either.

        • They are just Educated Idiots, educating more idiots to follow them. I work in the land of Educated Idiots (high school level) and it’s not any better there either.

      • Not theatre, but probably philosophy.

        At least in our engineering department everyone has a knife of some sort, let alone the air cannons and railguns we have lying about.

        • Only railguns? You need to join the Texas A&M Engineering squad. Lasers, plasma, all powered by cold fusion! Or am I thinking of Fallout: New Vegas again?

    • I went to USC. I can state with certainty, that the farther north and east you go on campus, the dumber the people get.
      The engineering college is in the far southwest (just south of the state’s largest liquor store), and the math and science department is a couple blocks up the hill from there. (Or at least that was the layout in the ’90s.)

      At the engineering college, we would have A-Teamed up an autonomous forklift mounted rail gun to defend ourselves (or just gone out to the parking lot, where many of my classmates kept guns).

  4. The table barricade is pretty damn hilarious. It looks too new to be on of those bullet proof old west saloon tables that I’ve seen in the movies. I cant really tell on my phone, but it looks like the door even opens outwards.

    Bonus points for the smartphone wielding bodyguard.

  5. Yeah that’s about what I’d expect from today college students. “Wonder what’s on facebook? Oh yeah I majored in social networking and my minor was acing interviews… I’m sure I’ll be perfect for the job!”

  6. Those students are fucking ninja I mean who woulda thunk blocking a door with a table or chair would save them from a piece of shit? Well I need to re-think my active shooter response because I almost feel stupid for not thinking of that.

    • I’m starting to wonder who the real “piece of shit” is… If this is someone’s idea of protecting campus, maybe that someone is an even bigger piece of shit for enabling it…

  7. Ok, I get the CCW thing. I too think that declaring campuses gun free zones is idiotic.

    But, given that, why not train the students to respond aggressively to attacks? I see a bunch of bigger guys in the photos. Why not have them all get their books out, ready to throw at whomever breaks through the door, table, etc. Being hit by a bunch of flying books and the like is not conducive for well aimed shots. And, then, they can maybe attack behind the flying books. Maybe unrealistic, but I think far better than sitting around as potential targets in a shooting gallery. Sure, some may be hit, but I think it likely that fewer would be than we have seen in the school mass shootings in the past.

    • But, given that, why not train the students to respond aggressively to attacks? I see a bunch of bigger guys in the photos. Why not have them all get their books out, ready to throw at whomever breaks through the door, table, etc.

      Never bring a book to a gun fight.

    • You are definitely on the right track. A “swarm counter-attack” (as I like to call it) all but eliminates a single attacker’s ability to deliver life threatening injuries. Keep in mind, however, that students in college these days may not be carrying books anymore. They may need an alternate source of projectiles.

      • Counter attacks are best left to the Trained Professionals!

        Instead we should revert back to the old 50’s Duck & Cover propaganda, I propose a new mascot for Homeland security though, Bert the Turtle should be replaced by Iggy the Ostrich.

    • Because professors will teach through anything.

      We can’t defend ourselves, or we’d miss a board of notes in the process.

    • Yeah, if only they had a way to launch projectiles at an attacker. Someone should invent such a device, preferably one handheld and concealable.

      • A nug, maybe? Or a gnu? Maybe call it an ugn? Or an ung… Man, it’s almost like I can feel what you mean, but I can’t quite say it… Yeah, “they” should certainly invent such an object…

      • It could have a self contained cartridge with a primer charge that could only be discharged when a pin strikes it. This would make storage safe. Then you could mount sights on top of the hand held device so the target would likely be the only one hit with the projectile.
        I’ll do a patent search.

    • It comes down to the “Don’t fight back, let the adult take care of it” policy that schools adopted. People are told from age 5 not to try and defend themselves (out of administrative expedience), and instead to just take the pain or to run and hide behind an adult. If you fight back? Then the school system treats you as equally at fault, because goddamn it trying to actually instill a sense of right and wrong, or a feeling of personal responsibility in children is just too much work. Throw both the brats in suspension and if they do it again, ship them off to the “rehabilitation” school.

      It’s a policy that teaches people to be helpless victims from a very young age. The education system is built, from the ground up, to teach people not to try and develop a sense of agency and control over their own well being.

      • Yeah, I had to deal with that crap. Apparently, policy was, all violence bad,. all speech good. Some guy threatened to rape my little sister. To my face, in public. Repeatedly. I put him through a brick wall and was rewarded with a week off from school. All the teachers and administrators said they “had” to do it. Because the rules weren’t written with mitigating or extreme circumstances in mind.

  8. Actually, that chair that secured the double-doors looked like it would be quite effective … assuming that there was no other way to access that classroom. The table leaning up against the door, however, is just plain silly.

    If there is some sort of prompt alert system, the best bet is to get away quickly.

    • I assumed the table was wedged under the “Crash Bar” like the chair legs in the previous photo. I could be wrong but hopefully that is what is going on otherwise… them’s some reel jeenyuses in that there room, hyuk!

    • Nope. Don’t buy it. Have seen too many chairs break. That metal tube is just not substantial. I also don’t believe for a second it’s in there tight enough not to shake loose. Maybe if you held it down. Is anyone brave enough to take that bullet though? Maybe literally?

      • Deflective vectoring… It’ll pop right up inder it’s own spring load and fall to one side or the other once even a small torsion is applied… This was obviously not the engineering class.

        • Dustin Edward,

          You missed the obvious: a person does not actuate those handles from the outside. Only people on the inside depress them. A person on the outside can only pull on the fixed outside handle. And the doors will not budge unless they are unlocked. Is it possible to keep pulling on the outside handle and wiggling and so on and eventually get the chair to fall off? Maybe if the doors are unlocked. Spree killers, however, know that they are up against the clock and few would sit there trying wiggle open a door that is obviously secured from the inside. Instead, they would move on to the next building/door to try their luck.

        • Uh…no, you miss the obvious. If the door isn’t locked, it can be pulled open easily and the chair provides zero resistance. If the door is locked, then the chair, even if could hold the door, is redundant.

        • Michael, it’s pretty clear you didn’t take physics. The door secured by the chair is braced. As for the outward opening door, we can’t see how it’s secured.

          Also, apparently a couple classrooms had off duty military who were taking classes station themselves next to the doors just in case. USC has a lot of those, especially with Fort Jackson so close.

        • Actually I did take physics in College and made a B. But it doesn’t take a physicist to see that the door with the chair also opens outward and is not “braced”. The only way you would feel any resistance to opening that door is if you pulled on both doors at the same time and you would still be able to open them from the outside. What would actually happen is someone would pull on one of the handles and then the chair would rotate inwards and upwards becoming dislodged from that position.
          The only thing I can’t figure out is why you give a fuck enough to argue about it.

  9. You know that slacker sitting by the door at the back of the auditorium is thinking, “God, please don’t let him try to come thru this door. Then I have to be a hero.”

  10. “Yeah that’s about what I’d expect from today college students.”

    Well, I think it depends on the school. From the 90’s I noticed a fairly constant population of military and ex-military passing through my classes. More than a few them had seen combat. Most worked hard at keeping a low profile, being more interested in getting on with their lives than telling war-stories. But the ones who’d “Seen The Elephant” were just that little bit different. Sometimes they used my assignments to write about their experiences. In particular I remember one of my student’s, a force recon marine, account of his attack on a Republican Guard outpost. IHis account would make a good movie.) It hasn’t happened yet, but eventually a school killer is going to find himself confronted by victims who know how to fight back.

    Although they’re highly dramatic, lock-downs are a fairly new response campus threats. My school did things differently. We had a couple of events that could have been serious (but mercifully weren’t) which were handled with dispatch by a combination of armed C/J teachers (peace officers, mostly) and the campus cops.

  11. You have to work with what you’ve got. Not much in those classrooms, maybe one table and most seats and desks are attached to the floor.

  12. Use a leather belt, or strap from a backpack or purse, or something on the push bars in addition to the chair. Turn the table sideways against the doorway and tie the knob/handle to one of the legs, or two of the legs.

    Maybe I’m over thinking this…

    • Nope, I’m thinking the same thing. The problem with lock-downs is that they’re usually not taken very seriously. Those desks can make an excellent barrier. When piled against a door a 10 foot tall and 10 foot deep pile of desks make a pretty formidable obstacle. Also, drywall isn’t structural material. A determined kick will put a good sized hole in it (a cheap pry-bar would do even better), allowing an escape route from a closed room. But the admin. would not be at all happy if people took a lock-down seriously and prepared an active defense by piling up desks and knocking holes in walls.

    • My thought as well. If the table were tied to the inner door handle and across the door, the door isn’t going to move freely, and if the double doors were tied together, ditto.

      But if this were one of two huge lecture halls I sat in far too many times for pleasant remembrance, I wouldn’t secure the doors any more than they are in those pics: both those lecture halls had the old fire panels with an actual fire axe inside; I’d have someone stationed inside each door with an axe, with instructions that if the door jerks from someone trying to open it, stay low and chop off a foot.

  13. “Active shooter…” I wish we could get rid of that term.

    As gun owners, we’re all shooters. We spend lots of time shooting, sometimes very actively. And nobody gets hurt. Seems to me that this is another one of those terms that subtly poisons public perception — the implication being that anyone who has a gun is just a criminal that hasn’t gone “active” yet.

    It may seem like a small thing, but microaggressions add up. (Isn’t “microagression” a great concept? I borrowed it from my friendly neighborhood progbots.)

  14. That second pic shows me everything that is wrong with post secondary education today. So the best and the brightest can’t figure out that that door opens outwards as most EXIT doors do, no to mention the clearly visible molding around it. It’s like an old looney tunes cartoon, and then you can imagine the brain trust assigning the two “big guys” to guard the door but aren’t concerned by them frittering on their phones and barely staying awake.

    What a joke, a nation of barely conscious sheep.

    • I didn’t see that. You are right. If there were really an active shooter, the big tough guys would be dead in a matter of a few seconds. The table only works in the movies. What gives? Why do people still believe that muscles and macho attitudes can defeat guns, knives, and other weapons? I suppose if the shooter falls over the oversized bodies of the class jocks, it may give the rest of the class time to overpower the bad guy.

  15. Everyone is just dicking on their phones and laptops while a one inch thick table is all that is separating them from a hailstorm of bullets. My damn generation in a nut shell.

  16. At my university they could’ve used 50″ LCD TVs or coffee shops to block the doorways. This was during the annual 10% tuition hikes. Yay learning!

  17. “So the cops took the possibility of an active shooter very seriously. Some students, and the professor leading this class, did not. Apparently, intelligence is not a prerequisite to pursue higher education.”

    As a USC graduate and current member of the staff, I take exception to that statement.

    What exactly were they supposed to do? I love how every keyboard commando is throwing out suggestions.

    While I would LOVE to be able to carry on campus, I’m not allowed to. What should they have done? They blocked the doors and put fit looking guys on the ones that opened outward. No one knows what other restraints were put on the outward opening door, as it’s hid from view.

    I love the “gtfo” comment. Like a bunch of unarmed students blundering into what could have been an active shooter would be a great idea.

    In USC’s defense, they are more reasonable than most, allowing


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