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James Alan Fox (courtesy

“Having armed guards at school entryways to ward off an active shooter, for example, relays the wrong message to students: that they have a target on their backs. Engaging youngsters in active shooter drills, instructing office workers of all ages to watch survival training videos on how to “run, hide and fight,” and expanding concealed weapons laws so citizens might stand their ground needlessly arouse fear and anxiety in schools, the workplace, and society in general.” – James Alan Fox, the Lipman Professor of Criminology, Law and Public Policy at Northeastern University, quoted in Quit abusing ‘active shooter’ term [via]

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  1. Northeastern: a school so bad that back in the 60’s a friend who was accepted to Northwestern (but didn’t know the two were not related) and West Point, chose to go to West Point.

    • You and the vast majority of responders to the article did not take the time to read the article or have no reading comprehension.

      Typical lazy,indignant internet readers.

      • You’re right. I just skimmed the excerpt and saw what I expected. Reading the entire article changes the entire point. I thank you.

      • After reading the article, he’s still just as dumb.

        1) He opposes concealed carry laws for their potential to raise fear, ignoring their main utility.
        2) He forgets that restrictions on guns were passed in the first place under a climate of fear and that those laws probably did more to create fear when enacted than repealing them will.

      • Even though the vast majority of readers did in fact take the time to read the entire article and evidently have better reading comprehension than you. As in far and away VASTLY superior to yours.

        You wanna’ know how I know? Because they vehemently disagree with him. As they damned well should. So should you, quite frankly.

        Yes, he’s right about media hype. But his entire case is rendered completely moot by asserting that active shooter drills, armed guards, concealed carry, etc., won’t keep our kids safe — which is and always has been demonstrably false.

      • Thanks from me too for the heads-up. I was prepared to dismiss the guy as a twit–but on reading the article it seemed to me there was a lot of good info and a decent conclusion or two. I think most POTG would agree that ‘knee-jerk” solutions to a perceived, but not real, epidemic of mass shootings generally are not good. It’s just that the typical ‘knee-jerk” solution involves restricting 2A rights, not expanding them, as the author seems to think. Which is to say, I think the guy made quite a bit of sense, until the last sentence or two.

    • Well, it’s true that Northeastern University held a reputation for generations as a fairly blue collar college and not exactly Ivy League. Still, Northeastern has come a long, long way since the 1960s.

      For example, they have a 32 % undergraduate acceptance rate nowadays, with average SAT scores of first year enrolled students of 701 Math and 681 Reading. You can go track down SAT-to-I.Q. score websites yourself, or don’t, but those scores are impressive, regardless. It’s not just me talking, either. Peterson’s rates Northeastern University as “Very Difficult” in admission difficulty. U.S. News and World Report places Northeastern in the “Most Selective” category in terms of admissions selectivity and ranks the school tied for #49 among national universities. That ranking ties it with University of Florida and U. California-Irvine, while ranking it more highly than Ohio State, Tulane, U. Texas-Austin, Fordham, Pepperdine and Syracuse. Individual graduate programs in Law and Business are similarly ranked.

      Clearly the school itself has progressed beyond its humble past. Nevertheless, this is just one professor’s writing. Any given school can have kooks on the payroll. Some are even notorious for it.

  2. Someone tell the President and Bloomy they dont need armed security anymore. The Academics Have Spoken.

    Ivory Towers must have metal detectors at the entrances.

  3. Right. Haven’t we heard all this before? What do I have to be apprehensive or nervous about if I am prepared for any eventuality? If I am insecure, I’ll make a quick trip to buy another gun, or a longer trip to get more training or practice. This is another self-important fool making sh*t up.

    • Buying another gun for that reason will rapidly lead to “so many guns, so few hands to shoot them with” syndrome during a gunfight. 🙂

  4. I agree that armed guards are not the way to go, but it’s a helluva lot better then the nothingness that we currently have in our schools. However, as a parent, I would love to hear that my children’s schools were doing all of the later including allowing their teachers or administrators to conceal carry. That let’s potential shooters know that there is a plan in place, which includes immediate lethal force, so they move on to to scream for negative attention somewhere else. Preferably by doing something else.

  5. He spends most of the article debunking the media’s misuse and distortion of the term active shooter. This is the last paragraph of the piece.

    • I was a little surprised when I got there, but it does reflect badly on his other point. n’est-ce-pas?

      • Yeah, that really confused me. He was making good valid points about media sensationalism, but then he took an abrupt left turn (see what I did there?) in the last paragraph.

        The whole thing felt abruptly truncated, like he ran out of time on the deadline and just pushed what he had.

      • By the way, I like pieces like this where the quote stands in stark contrast to the rest of the piece it came from. If nothing else, it demonstrates which of the commenters here take the time to click through and read, and which ones base their (often nasty and vitriolic) comments on only the quote.

        • Point taken, but I don’t see a problem commenting on a quote taken out of context on a blog post that printed the quote out of context. Just saying…

        • Thus far, the only nasty comment that I have seen is from a guy lamenting about the vast majority of the commentors responding without reading the article, which does not appear to be the case based on my perusal of the comments.

        • Agreed and well said, good sir in FL! Making a point to dig deeper (especially with a single quote from a linked article) should fall under the “know your target and what is beyond” rule.

          Though I would say that from an amateur psychologist view, the quote isn’t in contrast to the rest of the article at all. To me, what the writer is saying on both main points is “this is all scary to me, please everyone stop scaring me…please…?”

          Thus RF nails the title. I’d have called it “The Bedwetter Edition” but y’all have too much class for that!

      • I’ve read a number of JAF’s articles. So no, it wasn’t really shocking.

        Thing is given that he’s known to be generally on the progressive side and he’s busily giving these folks in the anti-gun echo chamber more good information that they never hear and only spends one paragraph telling them something they’re more comfortable with, I’d say he does more good than harm.

  6. I agree, lets not have fire drills anymore more either nor teach first-aid, or CPR — people may feel like they are getting burned all the time. People may feel too scared to purchase a pool — for HEAVENS SAKE — stop preparing to be safe and confident! It is safer to be a clueless victim!

    [ Although my comment does not reflect the whole article ]

  7. After reading the whole article, I think that this quote can easily be misconstrued by anyone who has not. I didn’t see a lot of anti-gun sentiment in the article, which is surprising considering where it came from. The author’s point seems to be more about the media over-use and constant hype of shooting incidents, not about how bad guns are. Don’t get me wrong, I can feel the anti-gun undertone the author is putting out, but he has a valid point: that the media is helping promote and make famous the sickos that commit these acts.

    It’s a lot better than what most professors and liberal rags publish these days.

    • Strongly agree. The second to last paragraph is something I agree with 100%: “The reason why the rampant misimpression about a raging epidemic in active shooters matters so greatly is in how it drives public opinion and public policy on guns, mental health and security. Excessive alarm, fueled by misleading news reports, leads to knee-jerk responses that are not necessarily for the best.”

      Now, I don’t take that as “don’t worry your little head about it” but the article overall makes a great point that perception of increased risk does not necessarily equate to an actual increase in risk, and doing so makes really bad public policy. The SAFE act and other nonsense comes immediately to mind.

      Mind you I took the whole Be Prepared thing seriously as most old Boy Scouts do and have various ways to mitigate the effects of badness, even when I think (not “feel”) the risk is small.

  8. “…and expanding concealed weapons laws so citizens might stand their ground needlessly…” Methinks the Dr. Professor, PhD is stating he is anti-self defense. Criminals also wish for defenseless citizens. Maybe, Professor of Crime is a better achieved title.

    • I dunno about that. When I took one of his classes around ’77-’78, he showed us the Hi Standard derringer he kept in his vest pocket.

      Perhaps he’s a “rules for thee and not for me” kind of guy.

  9. Active shooter and stand your ground are almost mutually exclusive. The point of stand your ground is not directly to address active shooter situations. Once an active shooter situation starts, an immediate response by a person carrying concealed, if that person happens to be in the right place at the right time, would fall under self defense straight up. For example, if one of the Oak Creek Sikh worshipers had been carrying concealed that day, he or she could have fought back and killed the gunman. Under Wisconsin law, it would clearly be determined as a self defense case. Since Wisconsin doesn’t have a Stand Your Ground law for outside the home, SYG is irrelevant, especially in active shooter situations.

    Like it or not, the kids do have targets on their back as does everyone else in gun free zones or soft targets. Armed guards at entryways aren’t the best idea either. It seems the author is trying to play on emotions in order for folks to bury their heads in the sand and pretend the world is not the way it actually is.

  10. The highschool I went to In California it was a well known fact amongst much of the class that the headmaster had kept a Gun on her just in case it never caused a problem was never an issue and provided an extra layer of security

  11. “run, hide, and fight” in a gun-free zone. This is what happens to a disarmed populace future post just waiting to happen.

  12. I went to a school that had armed guards. The year I got there was the first year the Sheriffs Dept. didn’t have cops stationed in the halls. This was to protect staff and students from other “students”. The joys of bussing! Another liberal fail.

  13. “run, hide, and fight” and die like a good little sheep should. Trembling in the corner waiting for the cops to arrive just in time to identify your dead body.

  14. I don’t like hired armed guards at school because they are already prison-like institutions meant to instill pro-government and pro-obedience to authority mentalities. Armed guards will only increase complacency with having armed authority monitoring and being around when you can’t be armed yourself.

    Teachers and/or parents being allowed to conceal carry? That’s what I am for.

    • I agree. I would also add that when those armed guards are also police officers, you have the unfortunate dynamic of transforming school disciplinary issues into career-crippling criminal records. Also, a teacher carrying concealed has a much, much higher legal bar to clear when it comes to using physical force against students.

  15. Considering the professor’s subject, it further reinforces the old adage, :”those that can, do and those that can’t’ teach”,

  16. Yep armed guards at my kids former high school. Armed guards at my sons college too( actually quite a presence south of Chicago). Nobody questions it & apparently no one thinks it’s unusual. Jesse Jackson isn’t protesting. You don’t need a gun until you need it. This guy is a twink. If we got teachers packing so much the better.

  17. I won’t read it, I have read too much else from this clown, he is one of the reasons I won’t even read a boston globe article online, or even pick up the sports section when someone else bought the paper. Be assured, he is a class A gun grabber, and anything he writes or does furthers that agenda.

  18. Yet he looks old enough to be in the “Duck and Cover” nuclear annihilation age group. I wonder how he feels about that message from way back in the day?

  19. Yo, Professor Dawg, I heard you like feelings…

    So, I put feelings in your feeling, so you can feel while you feel.

  20. Prof Fox was once a well-known and respected criminologist and professor. So was my law school crim prof (who had published significantly on Miranda Rights). My prof retired when his time came. Seeing as Prof Fox hasn’t published much, me thinks it is time he took a cue and step down. This crap is gona tarnish his legacy

  21. He should call half the businesses and apartments in Los Angeles. Unarmed security guards were all over town when I visited, which was just the silliest concept to me.

    So,I couldn’t legally carry a gun, but if someone started trouble, there was a big fat guy in a black uniform who could….call 911 for me???!

  22. We used to have Prof Wilson (criminologist) here in Queensland, AU, going on a lot about need for gun control in the 90s and maybe latter. Then haven’t heard anything about him for a decade or so, until a few weeks ago, when there was a story on the news about Prof Wilson being on trial for child sex offences.

  23. No, choosing to frame all of this safety policy in the way you are is going to scare children, which is your goal.

  24. “Self defense makes us anxious. Please don’t defend the children…..Do it for the children.”
    -Dr. Dilford DingDong from University of America

    SAY WHAT?!?

  25. “Self defense makes us anxious. Please don’t defend the children…..Do it for the children.”
    -Dr. Dilford DingDong from University of Academic Dip-Shi*s in America

  26. Because sticking your head in the sand and pretending that everything is “OK” works so well.

  27. The government isn’t the only one taking liberties…the Press is too.
    In my mind, you can’t have had an “active shooter event” (past tense) unless you’re deliberately trying to muddy the water(language) to help push an agenda. You can of course, speak about a past “mass shooting event” but if it isn’t happening now, or to the best of your ability to determine that is is still happening for the purpose of a informing the public, then it’s not “active.” Nothing the Leftward media writes or speaks is an accident.

  28. Tornado and fire drills are scary. Texting and driving or drunk driving PSAs are scary. Wearing my seatbelt and having insurance makes me think of crashing. Discussing the Holocaust is upsetting. I’ll be over here with my head in the sand… Thinking happy thoughts…

  29. It’s kind of sad, because the guy makes a lot of really good points. And then he says that. That’s like running the ball 99 yards down field and fumbling at the 1.

  30. Having read his article, I have little problem with what he says right up to the last paragraph. In the first paragraphs he makes a decent case for the point of view that there has been too much News Media hype about the incidents cited, which has distorted their statistical significance in the public mind. Then he throws the whole case he’s made out by asserting that armed guards, training drills, instruction about self-defense and, apparently, any other preparation of students and office workers only makes them fearful and anxious, virtually doing the opposite of what is intended.
    Personally, I believe it is only a matter of time before some terrorist group perpetrates an attack on an ill-defended public school that will make any single, or all combined, previous attacks look like the amateur, ill-conceived, and (fortunately) ineptly executed occurrences they were. (NOT making light of them, these were terrible events, but could have been far, far worse).
    There seems to be a liberal, progressive meme that if you refuse to acknowledge the potential for violence in the world, it will somehow “go away”. [To wit, the current Administration’s pathetic Foreign Policy.] However, when you know in front that evil is focused upon YOU, pretending it does not exist only makes you naively vulnerable to its assault. The trick is to become adequately and properly prepared without obsessing about it. There is a fine line between being prepared and paranoia, and the difference crossing it makes in peoples’ mindset, whether children or adults.
    It could be, as well, Mr. Fox is playing the propaganda psyche of making statements he knows will make many readers uncomfortable by appearing to be proactive about defense, so that when he takes that “sharp left turn” (as one comment so aptly put it) in the last paragraph those readers will gratefully and with a deep sense of relief, agree with his flaccid, wrong-minded conclusion that Johnnie and Suzy are better off left blissfully ignorant of the dangers they face in the “real world”. He is, after all, writing for usatoday.

  31. Comfort>Security;

    We all know school shootings can be stopped by first disarming good people, placing our fingers in our ears, closing our eyes, and humming our favorite show tune. If reality beats your delusion it’s because you weren’t believing hard enough.

  32. “Having armed guards at school entryways to ward off an active shooter, for example, relays the wrong message to students: that they have a target on their backs.”

    Incorrect. This is why the antis’ agenda is so backwards. They just refuse to accept reality and thus can never come up with solutions to pretty basic problems.

    Rather than understanding and accepting the fact that all gun free zones paint targets on the backs of everyone in the vicinity, they’re worried about “the message” being relayed to the students.

    Are you kidding? Do you think kids today don’t know about Columbine, Sandy Hook, or hear about the news? Unless your child lives in a hole without internet, TV, parents, or friends, all children already should feel like they have a target painted on their backs, because they do. You can’t control crazy, and thanks to schools being gun free zones, well you’re ringing the dinner bell for predators.

    It’s really that simple.

    After you accept that, you take the appropriate steps to prevent future tragedies. Hence, armed guards, active shooter classes, etc. We have drills for natural disasters and nuclear attack. Why are drills for active shooters suddenly not acceptable?

    Stop trying to put kids in some ivory tower of feel good safety measures and false perception. That’s how you get them killed, by sheltering them from truth. Kids are smarter and more reliable than you give them credit for.

    I went to school overseas and armed guards didn’t phase anyone. They accepted it as a reality of their location and things were fine.

    My advice to antis’ is to grow up, accept the reality of the situation, and stop sheltering your children from hard truths, truths like gun free zones kill innocents everyday and the idiots that came up with the idea are too stubborn to admit they were so wrong. So good luck and don’t die at school.

  33. This rhetoric is so full of shit.
    I live in Minnesota. In Minnesota, most schools have liaison police officers in them. Since I first entered the public school system in 5th grade and saw the armed police officers at my school, I felt safe. I was put into a state of dull, constant anxiety because the whole world seemed to revolve around the threat of me getting shot at school. I heard about Red Lake when I was in the 4th grade. I heard about all this nasty stuff, it’s all anyone talked about. We did drills for it where we basically were supposed to hunker down and hope the assailant goes away. Hell, half the teachers had soft vests hanging on the backs of their doors for such a reason. But knowing that there was an armed officer on the premises gave me peace of mind. I was convinced that there would be at least one, well-trained barrier (in middleschool the cop had SWAT training, he was cool guy) between any assailant and myself.

    Hell, in 7th grade I remember a lockdown drill happening and I was the only person left in the locker room. Thing is, nobody told me it was a drill so I was convinced my life was in danger. I had to hide in a bathroom stall and hope that the person coming into the locker room was the liaison officer and not some punk that wanted to snuff me out. If I didn’t think that officer was there to stop this phantom threat, I probably would have had a panic attack then and there. Anybody who says otherwise was obviously NOT put into the situation and has no clue what they’re talking about.

    • So sorry for what some of my fellow early gen-xers have done to you. In the 70s (and early 80s) we carried guns to school (on the bus!) during hunting season, and every kid who drove a pickup had them in the window racks on school property. Nobody cared. Kids brought WWII and Nam outfits complete with firearms to show-and-tel, nobody blinked. It was just history.

      We all carried (big) pocket knives, fought, and if somebody were caught smoking some pot they took the weed away – admin never considered calling the cops. Let alone was there ever a cop on campus. This was a school, cops had no business there.

  34. Didn’t read the article, but I wouldn’t go too far to say the phrase “active shooter” is over used. I will say it’s used more frequently to describe a hypothetical situation in which one will have to use their firearm to defend themselves or others.

    If thier is a shooting that’s still occurring then the shooter is still “active”.

    As for guards in schools, i think the number of resource officers need to be increased. When I was in school there was one who typically roved between schools in a particular district. It was nice having a personal relationship with a deputy because he’s typically help you out of you got a traffic ticket or
    Something minor like that.

  35. I disagree with the professors statement about what sends the message to the students that they have a target on their backs. I would say engaging in an activity like shooting up your school is what puts a target on their backs. Refrain from such behaviors and the likelihood of getting shot by your SRO drops back to an acceptable level. In my opinion having armed guards at a school conveys the message that we care about our kids.

  36. I suppose running fire drills makes people apprehensive about fires as well. I can only imagine what happens to people who go through First Aid and CPR classes….

  37. I know that from a liberal’s perspective, the goals of the public school system include indoctrinating generations of kids into becoming unquestioning Democrat voters tomorrow, as well as hiring on thousands of government workers at ridiculous pay to become loyal Democrat foot soldiers and money launderers today.

    Still, my view is that education, as distinct from the public school system, serves the role of equipping the next generation with the facts, ideas, critically thinking and effective communication skills necessary to navigate life successfully. We could all debate that in detail, no doubt, but what should pass as common sense is the foolishness of playing permanent make-believe with the children and denying plain realities. The reality is that there are dangers out there. The prudent approach would be to recognize their relative likelihoods and magnitudes, and prepare in advance to prevent, counter, minimize and recover from them.

    This professor characterizes that approach, in this case, as “needless.” The facts argue otherwise.

  38. Okay, “active shooter” is a bullsh1t term that should be ditched. Here’s a few other bullsh1t terms that also need to go away: global warming, income inequality, common-sense gun safety and undocumented immigrant.

    • Ditto. and as previously stated. “active shooter” is briefing bingo phrase of the Powerpoint Ranger/militarized cop

  39. I’m concerned that most of us are missing the bigger picture. I believe that the solution to all of this is to home school or use private schools that have real security in place. Where is it written that you have to send your children to a govt. indoctrination center where their safety is even questioned? Or that they are bombarded with messages that are contrary to your own? And where they have to be in contact with other children that you wouldn’t let them hang out with in any other environment? If enough people take their children out of these govt. indoc ctrs then the indoctrination system will collapse and our country will produce more educated and aware citizens to forge a brighter future. Whatever your current circumstances it can be done. And who better to educate our children than the ones who love them most, their parents?



      • Easy……Sacrifices!!!!! Sleep is over rated anyway.

        I worked 2 full time jobs for 23 years….while my saint of a wife home schooled our 3 children…….

        Kids are all grown, college grad (makers not takers) !!! And to top it off,,,,, all 3 are pro gun and carry daily, I wonder how that happened? Oh yeah…..that was due to me, part of my my job as their father!!!!!

  40. I think they ought to quite using the term ‘active shooter’ at all to describe these thugs. How about ‘active murderer’? I’m a shooter, and I take offense to calling a murderous thug a ‘shooter’. That murderer has very little actual interest in firearms, outside of his ability (if I could even call it that) to kill with it. I have great interest in them, and enjoy shooting them. Complete opposites. Probably part of the media’s attempt to further demonize guns and those who own them.

    • Pretty much this. “Shooter” is just a political / media spin term to keep the blame focused on the tool rather than the sick person that is manipulating it to their own ends.

  41. If there is anyone still keeping track, I would just like to state for the record that I did not read the whole article. And I formed judgements based on just the quote. And I laughed maniacally at my recklessness as I did so. Thank you.

  42. Because they DON’T have a target on their backs? Denial is more than a river in Africa. That old saw may have been over-used, but it’s still true.

  43. I agree – honestly if school shooters are a problem so are lightening strikes. Are we having our children do drills and training to ward them from lightening strikes every year? The only reason school shootings are a problem is because it is so profitable for the media to give them attention.

  44. So heart warming to see losers like these teach our kids that it is ok to get shot or stabbed in the back while they are trying to hide. Nothing like telling the kids they are safe by locking all doors to the school, having a single entrance that is monitored and anyone coming to the school has to validate the reason they are there. Nothing like living in lockdown all day everyday. 30 years ago, prior to this type of indoctrination, the PA stabber might have gotten away with maybe one or two victims before he would have been jumped and had the knife shoved up is you know what. How is having an armed guard at school any different than having armed police patroling our cities, are the children going to feel that they are a target in public?

  45. Gun-grabbers take note.

    Gun Free Zones Kill.

    Therefor, lawmakers enacting those laws are killing us.

    Therefor, the gun-grabbers who knowingly vote for them, kill.

    Is there more than that?

    YOU gun-grabbers are the problem!


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