Now I’ve seen it all. A recent article by Paul Hughes made two primary suggestions relating to school safety: 1) schools remain unsafe because there is too much emphasis on active shooter response, and 2) the best way to ensure school safety is to buy the G8 Pro V2, which its manufacturer–Guardian 8–bills as “enhanced non-lethal, low-impact de-escalation for crisis situations.” I initially thought the article was a parody. After visiting the company’s “Learning About the G8 Pro V2″ website, I’m not entirely certain it isn’t . . .
The G8 Pro V2 is a silver, gun-shaped combination “laser spotter” (apparently a common laser sight), small strobe light, “alerting siren,” digital camera, and pepper spray dispenser. It also has a Bluetooth transmitter that apparently sends a “pre-recorded alert message to your pre-programmed number” via a user’s cellphone. One has to call the company for a price quote. I couldn’t bring myself to do it.
According to Guardian 8, a “Level 1 Response,” consists of turning on an “arming switch,” which activates the “laser spotter” and the digital camera. Apparently the unit makes some kind of sound–an “audible notification”–when a level 1 response occurs. A “Level 2 Response” entails partially pulling the trigger, which adds the strobe light and the siren and sends the pre-recorded message. A “Level 3 Response,” is really exciting. This involves a complete pull of the trigger, which shoots pepper spray, adding it to the laser pointer, the flashing strobe, the screaming siren, and the recording camera. Users will be comforted to know: “The pepper spray will continue as long as the trigger remains fully depressed, or until the canister is depleted (whichever comes first).”
Potential G8 Pro V2 users will be gratified to learn that the unit has an “illuminated sight,” which appears to be a green light at the back of the device–there are no actual gun-like sights–a LED “status indicator,” an on/off switch, a speaker–I’m not sure why–and a USB port to connect the unit to a computer for video download.
I’ll have to paraphrase Jeff Cooper: this is a non-ingenious solution to a non-existent problem.
We are fortunate indeed that active shooters in schools are, in reality, extremely rare. For the time being, kids are actually quite safe–statistically at least–at school from people who want to murder them. Unfortunately, our borders are wide open and international and domestic terrorist organizations are recruiting and growing in both their number and their wanton barbarism. Attacking major structures with captured airliners is difficult. Targeting soft targets like schools is not and is highly likely to result in enormous casualty counts. Terrorists have been attacking schools elsewhere in the world for decades, but that’s a topic for another time.
Because the odds favor children and teachers most of the time does not mean that active shooter attacks are impossible or that the possibility can be ignored. They do occur, and the odds are always against someone. There is no reason the odds can’t be against any school anywhere at any time, particularly if that school’s safety plan amounts to nothing more than run, hide, and — as a last resort — use unarmed children to try to overwhelm armed killers.
If that’s all they have, it’s better than nothing, but like any so-called “plan” that doesn’t take the threat seriously, it anticipates and accepts a certain minimum level of wounded and dead teachers and kids rather than deterring active shooters and stopping them where possible. After all, if a rush of unarmed children doesn’t stop the killer, what will? In these attacks, seconds equal lives.
The ultimate question that matters — the only question that matters — is what a school can and will do when the worst-case scenario comes to pass. When an active shooter (or shooters) is approaching a school or has already started his attack, what is that school ready and able to do to immediately stop that shooter and save lives?
In virtually no Ameircan active shooter incident of the modern era have the police played any role in stopping the killers or saving lives. Time and distance matter. At Sandy Hook Elementary, it took the first police officer just under 15 minutes to enter the building. By that time, the killer had murdered 26 students and teachers and had himself been dead about five minutes by his own hand. And that was an unusually rapid police response.
The G8 Pro V2 is billed as a “non-lethal device,” and so it is. Imagine facing an armed killer approaching you in a school hallway armed only with a device that was blaring an annoying siren, flashing a small strobe light, and squirting pepper spray. If a teacher is extremely lucky and the killer was within range of the pepper spray, he might be sneezing a bit as he shoots and kills her, which gunshots might be captured on video before the contraption is dropped to the floor. More likely, he’d simply kill her from a distance and avoid the sneezing altogether. Other than helping to aim the pepper spray that would likely be out of range, it’s hard to imagine what the laser would accomplish.
It seems the G8 Pro V2 would do little more than make a teacher an attractive and annoying target, with the added benefit of possibly recording a few seconds of very low resolution–the device records at one megapixel, which resolution is surpassed by most cellphones–video before being gunned down. And I suspect this great leap forward in school safety is anything but cheap.
Only arming willing teachers and other school personnel with concealed handguns — and widely advertising that fact — while carefully withholding details as to how many teachers are carrying and on which campuses, will provide actual protection rather than the illusion of safety.
Running and hiding? Of course. When under armed attack, it’s idiotic not to run from the threat or to find cover, or at least, concealment. If you’re about to be shot, by all means, throw anything damaging you can pick up. Attack the killer en masse and hurt him in any way possible. But why would any rational adult knowingly put children in that position? Why would they withhold the only truly effective means of deterring attacks and saving lives?
As an educator, I know that many teachers and administrators are politically predisposed to fear, even hate guns and people who own, appreciate and use them. Some are so afraid of these inanimate objects as to make one doubt their sanity. This is, for many school districts, a built-in barrier to actual school safety rather than merely feeling safe. Some politicians have the same beliefs and fears, and they, too reflexively resist saving lives.
Such people’s arguments usually reflect a complete lack of knowledge and understanding of firearms and their employment. Many don’t want to learn, believing, or at least purporting to believe, that the mere presence of a firearm in a school–even carried by a police officer–is dangerous, evil, morally wrong and sends a message to the children that their school supports violence or that they are not safe.
And they are safe, until they aren’t. But some people would rather maintain their pure ideology and moral superiority than equip themselves to actually save lives if the generally favorable odds turn against them and the children whose safety is their responsibility.
This is akin to refusing to outfit schools with fire extinguishers on the theory that their presence sends the message that the school supports fires, that they’re safe without them. They are, until they’re not.
The overwhelming majority of school children will never have to face an armed attack in their school, and they will never have to face a fire either, but there is no reason why either cannot happen to them. Firearms are like fire extinguishers. When you need one, you need it immediately, badly, and nothing else will do.
There are also state laws that prevent carrying firearms in school zones, as if the signs that accompany such laws will stop those bent on mass murder from violating a lesser law with lesser penalties. However, any law can be changed.
Even with these powerful obstacles, America is becoming more pro-liberty, and more pro-gun. Where it was once very difficult to carry concealed weapons anywhere, it is now commonplace and only a few states and cities still significantly hamper the right of their citizens to self-defense. The next freedom movement can be to arm teachers to protect students, to preserve the most important right: the right to life, secured by the right to self-defense.
And why not? We protect our money with extraordinary measures, including firearms. Our politicians are protected with armed and highly trained personal security. We allow concealed weapons virtually everywhere, and years of experience have proved that those carrying concealed handguns are among the safest and most law-abiding people anywhere. Will teachers–at least some of whom are already concealed carry licensees–do worse?
Lesser measures like the G8 Pro V2 are dangerous placebos. Long guns locked away in safes or centrally-located armories or lock boxes in teachers’ rooms are useless to anyone caught outside their room, in a hallway, on the playground, waiting for school busses. And what if the person with the key or combination is in the bathroom, off campus or has already been shot by an attacker. That doesn’t mean that appropriate long guns shouldn’t be contemplated, but the first line of defense must be concealed handguns, carried on the person. Only then can they be readily available when and where they are needed. Only then can they be kept safe from mishandling or theft.
Rube Goldberg devices like the G8 Pro V2, ballistic white boards, bullet-resistant backpacks, and all manner of other devices, programs and policies cannot deter an attacker, and they absolutely can’t stop an attacker. Only well-placed bullets can do that.
Anti-liberty and self-defense advocates will do all they can to prevent or hamper the efforts of people actually concerned with safety rather than feeling safe. They will demand, and try to legislate, all manner of unnecessary training, restrictions and rules that make it difficult or impossible for any competent teacher to protect themselves or their students. But with determination, and an eye on the long view, that every student and teacher in America be truly protected from ultimate evil, one day they may be.
Mike’s Home blog is Stately McDaniel Manor.