Should Teachers Be Armed? Experts Pick Sides
The question of whether to arm teachers strikes at the heart of the debate over how to balance our constitutional right to bear arms with everyday public-safety concerns. Is the answer to fight gunfire
with more gunfire, by asking educators to wield Glocks as deftly as gradebooks? Or is commonsense gun control in order, despite its potential to limit our supposedly inalienable rights, even if only in the slightest?
This issue rose to the forefront of our societal consciousness after 20 students and six staff members were killed by a lone gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in 2012. In fact, a National Rifle Association-funded report released just over three months after the Newtown tragedy argued that, “A properly trained armed school officer … has proven to be an important layer of security for prevention and response in the case of an active threat on a school campus.”
But the other side of the argument has plenty to say on the matter, too. “To be effective, schools must be perceived as safe havens where students want to be. The presence of armed school officials on campus conveys the opposite message,” representatives of two national principals groups said in a joint statement after the Newtown shooting. “That compromise would perhaps be necessary if arming teachers and principals actually made schools more secure. We believe, however, that such policies will not produce the intended effect—and they might do more harm than good.”
And if you’re wondering where money comes into play, just consider the fact that guns and ammunition generate roughly $16 billion in sales revenue and more than $6 billion in taxes per year, according to news reports and data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Furthermore, training school staff to carry guns would cost millions of dollars per state, while young lives are obviously priceless.
The bottom line is that we all want our children to be as safe as possible. But it’s unclear which approach would ultimately be most effective in that regard. So with that in mind, we turned to a panel of experts in the fields of education policy, gun control and constitutional law for guidance. We asked them one simple question – “Should teachers be armed?” – and received 4 Yes votes to go along with 12 Nos. You can check out the experts’ bios and responses below. And if you’d like to join the debate, please share your thoughts in the Comments section at the bottom of the page.
No, Teachers Should Not Be Armed
- “People might be better off having a gun when there’s an attack on a school, but that’s not the only time they’d have one. The guns would be there during the parent-teacher conference, the math test, the recess, the high school musical, the basketball game. And guns are dangerous. The presence of a gun can escalate a minor dispute into a deadly one. But probably more significant, guns kill people in accidents on a daily basis.”
Kermit Roosevelt // Professor of Constitutional Law, University of Pennsylvania Law School
- “Our professional law enforcement officers are highly trained prior to being permitted to carry a firearm, and even they are subject to making a mistake. Permitting someone with just basic firearms skills to carry a firearm in our schools would be problematic on numerous levels. The weapon might be taken from them; they might actually escalate a problem; responding police might mistake them for a suspect; an innocent bystander would be more likely to be harmed. The list is endless, and this doesn’t even get into the issue from a liability or risk management perspective.”
Gerald W. Schoenle Jr. // Chief of Police, University at Buffalo Police Department
- “Members of ACPA—College Student Educators International have opposed concealed gun carry on campuses since Utah passed the first permissive legislation in 2004. … We do not take this position because we resist the Second Amendment. We do not oppose gun ownership. And, we believe that increasing the number of firearms in the hands of students, faculty, staff, and visitors presents an increased risk to our communities. Firearms on campus should be strictly limited to recruited, trained, and supervised police officers (federal, state, local or university police) or participants in institutionally endorsed educational programs for which use and carry of a firearm is a necessary requirement.”
Cindi Love // Executive Director, ACPA—College Student Educators International
- “It seems to me that educators have a different calling and dedicate themselves to contributing to a society in which greater learning develops the greater capacity for people to reason and solve problems without violence. … In a perfect world, I firmly believe that there should be armed responders in or immediately available to our schools. But these individuals should be law enforcement professionals, not teachers.”
Randy A. Burba – President, International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA) & Chief of Public Safety, Chapman University
- “The presence of guns in any environment is the single biggest risk for harm due to guns, including intentional harm, accidental harm, or self-inflicted harm. The notion that the armed teacher can fend off evil doers is fictional, borne out only by idiosyncratic anecdote that has little bearing in fact. In short, there is no reasonable argument in favor of allowing guns in educational spaces. Doing so runs directly counter to the goals of a good education, and endangers the lives of teachers and students alike.”
Sandro Galea // Dean and Robert A. Knox Professor in the School of Public Health, Boston University
Probably most people would—I certainly would—and probably most people would be better off in that situation if they had a gun. At least, let’s grant that for the sake of argument. It still doesn’t follow that arming teachers is a good idea.
The reason is simple. People might be better off having a gun when there’s an attack on a school, but that’s not the only time they’d have one. The guns would be there during the parent-teacher conference, the math test, the recess, the high school musical, the basketball game. And guns are dangerous. The presence of a gun can escalate a minor dispute into a deadly one. But probably more significant, guns kill people in accidents on a daily basis.
There are, of course, responsible gun owners. But human nature being what it is, not all people are responsible, and even pretty conscientious people have their off days. There are about five million teachers at the different levels of the U.S. education system. Arming even a small fraction of them would put a very large number of guns into schools, in close proximity to the seventy million or so students.
Would lives be saved? Maybe. In 2015, there was one very significant school shooting, at Umpqua Community College, where the presence of more guns might have ended the attack sooner. (The shooter killed nine students and teachers and wounded nine others before being killed by responding police officers.) Would lives be lost? Almost certainly. In 2015 there were 265 accidental shootings by children under 18, 59 of them by toddlers who found unsecured guns. There were numerous other accidental shootings by gun owners who discharged their weapons by mistake.
In the end, it comes down to simple math. It is highly likely that arming teachers would produce more shootings, accidental and otherwise, than it would avoid. More guns in school means more kids getting shot.
What about the argument that arming teachers can prevent harm from guns brought into schools by others? The data are very clear: the presence of guns in any environment is the single biggest risk for harm due to guns, including intentional harm, accidental harm, or self-inflicted harm. The notion that the armed teacher can fend off evil doers is fictional, borne out only by idiosyncratic anecdote that has little bearing in fact. In short, there is no reasonable argument in favor of allowing guns in educational spaces. Doing so runs directly counter to the goals of a good education, and endangers the lives of teachers and students alike.
Newer schools, particularly primary and secondary-education campuses, have leveraged environmental design as a much stronger component in developing security measures that can mitigate the opportunity for an attacker to enter a campus. But for many older campus and facilities, especially those in college and university campuses, which can include ‘open campus’ grounds and older facilities with a wide variety of entrances security capabilities, the emphasis upon personal safety measures becomes significant.
Realizing that a number of schools, ranging from K-12 to college campuses, have authorized faculty and staff to arm themselves through urgent state legislation, school district policy or decisions at the campus, the idea that arming educators as a means to provide protection has a number of highly difficult issues that have not been sufficiently addressed.
Focusing on the option/choice of arming teachers, a number of concerns cause me to not support the idea, as well intentioned as it may be. While the fundamental objective in doing so seems simple enough—to allow a teacher, by the use of a firearm, to intercede and quell an attacker—it brings with it many more questions that have neither consistency nor continuity where the choice to arm teachers has been made.
One of the most challenging issues is that from state to state the laws vary widely on who and who cannot be armed, and upon a school campus. These same questions even affect college and university security personnel, many of whom are armed, but who do not possess the same police powers under their state statutes as state university and municipal police do. This alone could serve as the overarching example that comes with arming people: limited, if any, training and equipping standards.
Teachers, understandably, have far less training and experience in these matters. Without state or national standards, one school (or district) could allow one form of weapon and a specific amount of training for a teacher to carry, while another district nearby could require something much less. Imagine an emergency scenario in which students and staff visiting another campus then become part of the response of an armed school staff with a completely different philosophy. This could present many confusing and highly dangerous reactions by students who likely would not recognize host or visiting school staff who suddenly displays a firearm.
Standards in training and proficiency, regional and statewide consistency, determining whether arming teachers in a school/district or college should be mandated or an option, and what type of firearms would be authorized as well as the ability to keep these weapons secured underscore the greater risks we take by arming our educators.
As a criminologist, this move toward allowing guns on college campuses is alarming in light of what we know about gun violence. For example, there is solid research indicating that police officers are three times more likely to be killed in the line of duty in states with higher levels of gun ownership* (which is likely a big factor in why law enforcement organizations such as the International Association of Chiefs of Police heavily favor stricter gun control laws, including reinstating the federal ban on assault rifles).
Take a second to let that sink in, because police officers are the quintessential “good guys (and gals) with a gun”—though they are far better trained than the average gun owner—and even they are more likely to be killed or inadvertently shoot innocents when you introduce more people carrying guns into the general population. Aside from the obvious confusion created through having more armed individuals on a scene (when the police arrive, am I the shooter? –Or that guy over there? Who should they target? Any armed person not wearing tweed?), the likelihood that an open gun battle might result in more victims is multiplied with the number of students concentrated in the small space of the average lecture hall. I can cite a bunch of statistics on the ineptitude of the average shooter in a psychologically charged situation for you, but common sense should tell you I’m right: If citizen heroes using firearms to save the day were a thing, it would stand to reason that you would be able to call at least one example to mind.
*Swedler, David I., Molly M. Simmons, Francesca Dominici, and David Hemenway. 2015. Firearm Prevalence and Homicides of Law Enforcement Officers in the United States. American Journal of Public Health, 105(10): 2042-2048. — There are numerous other studies supporting this finding.
The worst school massacre in U.S. history did not occur at Newtown CT, Virginia Tech or USC- it occurred in 1927 in Bath, Michigan when a disgruntled school board member murdered 37 children, six adults and injured almost 60 because he was angry over his tax bill. These horrific situations, then and now, remind us that perpetrators are almost always diagnosed or undiagnosed with mental illness; they usually have a grievance with someone or something; their horrific acts are almost always carefully orchestrated. The killer has typically spent considerable time planning their crime.
Our schools exist to educate and enrich lives. Allowing or encouraging teachers to be experts in weapons could not only exacerbate an attack, but encourage perpetrators to "test" their readiness. We should rely on creating awareness for students, teachers and administrators with run, hide or fight training. We need stronger security architecture. We must have the visible presence of security officers in public areas, but not inside each classroom.
I am a strong proponent of the Second Amendment.
However, asking teachers to be pseudo police, however well intentioned, creates liability. It heightens the possibility of accidental shootings. It creates a situation where students at risk could more easily turn a weapon on their peers. It will create chaos and backlash when a superb, qualified teacher- usually underpaid and overworked - is accused of abrupt or poor behavior for non-teaching responsibilities.
The men and women who are sworn to protect the public are the ones we should rely upon to patrol school grounds, be visible and diligent in reviewing situations where a student or former student has concerning behavior or posts a suicidal message and related situations. While it is true that their response time will not be as immediate as a history teacher inside that classroom, who has greater expertise at marksmanship, negotiation and crisis command?
Personally, having served as the President of three colleges and universities, I would prefer that we discuss the need for each teacher to participate in mental health awareness training than weapons training. Our mental health system is broken. In fact, it is a national crisis; the wait time in Maryland to see a psychiatrist or psychologist averages 53 days. We must leverage our wisdom and efforts to address problem behavior and help students at risk - and this is where teachers - treasured and dedicated, can shine.
Dr. Larry Barton teaches threat assessment to federal and state law enforcement and corporations worldwide. His website is larrybarton.com.
Since I am approaching my 40th year in law enforcement, friends and acquaintances often ask my stance on gun control. My response is always, “I think no one should have a gun, but me.” While this is of course said tongue & cheek, having been a police officer in different cities in New York and Texas, like most city cops I would certainly prefer we had less guns on the street. As an adjunct professor I used to quote the stat that in 1994, the City of Buffalo had 94 Homicides with 300,000 people. That same year, metro Toronto with 2.5 million people had 60 Homicides. There is no doubt that Canada has less guns and less violent crime. Putting more guns into our schools by letting teachers or students carry is certainly not the answer. The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) would seem to agree - for last month they passed a resolution that “promotes the prohibition of concealed carry weapons upon U.S. college and university campuses”.
We must look at the training and vetting that our police receive before they carry a firearm. Most police academies are about 6 months long. Officers then usually go through 10-15 weeks of on-the-job training where they are with a Field Training Officer each day. They are evaluated daily and on probation for up to 18 months. The training is far more than just the ability to be able to successfully shoot and continues throughout the officer’s career. In addition to the firearms skills component, officers spend numerous hours in classrooms and on field training in areas such as crisis intervention training (CIT), interpersonal communication skills, tactical communication, mental health training, first aide, incident command, de-escalation techniques, use of force, civil and criminal law. Our professional law enforcement officers are highly trained prior to being permitted to carry a firearm and even they are subject to making a mistake.
Permitting someone with just basic firearms skills to carry a firearm in our schools would be problematic on numerous levels. The weapon might be taken from them, they might actually escalate a problem, responding police might mistake them for a suspect, an innocent bystander would be more likely to be harmed, the list is endless and this doesn’t even get into the issue from a liability or risk management perspective. The bottom line is that the remote chance that such an individual might be in the right location and situation to make a difference is clearly outweighed by the potential that this could go horribly wrong.
When armed, the person carrying the gun holds power against which the person at the end of the barrel has no recourse except fight or flight. Neither end well.
Teachers are most effective when they are role models of warmth, openness, interaction, enthusiasm, competence, order and friendliness. (Freeman, Anderman and Jensen, 2007). They are the citizen guardians for many students, providing a safe and supportive environment that may not be available to them in other settings, particular those whom society marginalizes.
No argument should convince us that a gun improves the capacity of teachers as role models, in fact, for young men of color, it is difficult to understand how armed teachers will not simply represent more armed police.
Members of ACPA—College Student Educators International have opposed concealed gun carry on campuses since Utah passed the first permissive legislation in 2004. In 2011 and 2014, we joined NASPA and other higher education associations in objecting to campus carry.
Nothing has changed in our position; in fact, we want to urge Boards of Trustees, campus professionals, students and families to vigorously advocate for gun-free campuses.
We do not take this position because we resist the Second Amendment. We do not oppose gun ownership. And, we believe that increasing the number of firearms in the hands of students, faculty, staff, and visitors presents an increased risk to our communities. Firearms on campus should be strictly limited to recruited, trained, and supervised police officers (federal, state, local or university police) or participants in institutionally endorsed educational programs for which use and carry of a firearm is a necessary requirement.
Our position will not be easy to maintain in the post-general election period. Concealed carry advocates feel emboldened by President Elect Trump’s first policy position of gun rights. Analysts suggest that the majority of states will debate the merits of concealed carry in 2017.
"There's no more gun-free zones" in a Trump presidency, singling out schools and military bases. "You know what a gun-free zone is to a sicko? That's bait. My first day, it gets signed."
This is a good time to reach out to President Elect Trump and provide alternative views. Our goal should be to create campus climates of respect and reasonable risk where, "...the most powerful weapons against violence are the weapons of peace―education, science, compassion, forgiveness, and courage." (Peter F. Lake, Professor of Law, Charles A. Dana Chair, and Director of the Center for Excellence in Higher Education Law and Policy)
Next, I wonder why anyone would think that this would reduce harm or increase safety. What do we know about a person’s ability to respond to crisis, in particular a shooting? Furthermore, how much training would be required to ensure that teachers could accurately and effectively intervene? These and many other questions would first need to be considered before assessing the feasibility of such a policy. It should be noted that answering these questions is not easy because designing methodologies to measure responses to a crisis is at best complicated. Additionally, we must question whether the presence of a firearm in the classroom would result in unjustified homicides, or accidental deaths and suicides, as data on weapons in a home suggests. Unfortunately we can no longer examine this, as there is a federal freeze on gun violence research.
Finally, I question the question. Why are we even considering this? What does this question say about our society? How many persons need to be armed? How many persons need to be an extension of the criminal justice system? At what point does arming ourselves against ourselves have diminishing returns? All of these questions need to be understood in the context of gun violence in the U.S.; last year there were more than 33,000 gun related deaths.
In closing, teachers should not be armed. Students are best served by educators focused on teaching. Furthermore, no one can guarantee that arming teachers will increase safety, rather than creating additional possibilities of harm. And again, why have we gotten to this point?
Even if teachers keep a gun, we know that guns do not deter violence. We know from research that armed individuals cannot deter criminals or prevent murders. To the contrary, higher ownership of guns in a state is linked to greater firearm robberies, assaults and greater homicides.
Schools must be safe community anchors where children and youth can learn and thrive, and parents can be connected to the resources and opportunities they need as they raise their families. This is ever more important for youth of color who often do not feel safe on the street and too often in their own neighborhoods and homes. We cannot also militarize their schools with armed teachers patrolling the halls.
As a nation, we must work to restore a values system that respects life and diversity and offers support for those with severe mental health needs. We must wipe out bullying, racist behavior, and hate crimes with the same urgency that we promote the common core. In the classroom, teachers must continue to be the kind, smart adults we trust to teach our children math and science and serve as mentors. They must continue to be symbols of knowledge. Their focus must remain on their craft and not learning how to shoot guns.
For many, it seems simple enough on the surface: If a teacher is armed and can intervene to protect the students, they would seem to be inherently safer. But a candid conversation will include more challenging questions, such as, “What if the teacher is disarmed by a larger aggressive student or random actor?”; “What if the teacher accidentally shoots innocent students because they did not receive the same training as a law enforcement officer or other trained emergency responder?” And finally, “What happens when law enforcement responds and they see two people with guns and they don’t yet know which one is the teacher and which one is the violent offender?” And here’s a question for when there is no emergency: “Is the gun securely stored in a locker or other facility or is it carried/worn at all times by the teacher?”
Federal, state, county, municipal and even campus Law enforcement personnel are trained and constantly practice in the use of firearms. They study and practice the elements of less lethal and then lethal force options, and must regularly—often several times in a single day—weight these considerations in an instant. These same professionals have qualification standards and codified, continuing professional training requirements.
An educator will have none of these things, and in particular, they will be provided very little substantive training on the use-of-force continuum or the ethics in the use of any level of force. Campus/district policies will be capable of providing only so much, and the diverse range of private, commercial firearms training facilities will likely bring additional inconsistencies not only in skills and proficiencies, but in school policies and procedures.
Finally, it is imperative that we understand that law enforcement officers are required to undergo psychological testing to examine their ability to handle situations that may demand their decision of whether to use deadly force. These assessments begin at the earliest stages of their career, and continue throughout the course of their professional duties. People choose a career based on their aptitudes and personalities, and it’s because of that notion that I personally can’t imagine most teachers would want to go to school each day knowing they might have to defend or take someone’s life—possibly even one of their own students.
It seems to me that educators have a different calling, and dedicate themselves to contributing to a society in which greater learning develops the greater capacity for people to reason and solve problems without violence. I would respectfully suggest that the roles of a police officer and a teacher, while not entirely exclusive of one another, most certainly are best performed when each can fully dedicate themselves to their primary passions to serve in their respective fields.
It is an unfortunate reality that budgets and financial constraints must always be a consideration when implementing any safety or security plan. In a perfect world, I firmly believe that there should be armed responders in or immediately available to our schools. But these individuals should be law enforcement professionals, not teachers.
Yes, Teachers Should Be Armed
- “Gun-free zones are magnets for murderers. Even the most ardent gun-control advocate would never put “Gun-Free Zone” signs on their home. Let’s stop putting them elsewhere.
John R. Lott, Jr. // President, Crime Prevention Research Center & Author of “The War on Guns”
- “Many lament that ‘guns don’t belong in schools.’ Maybe not. But reality is a harsh mistress. Children should not get cancer either. But they do. Failure to address the problem only results in more loss of life. Some kids need chemo. Some need armed protection. The fact that both are ‘rare’ events is of little comfort when yours is the child in need. We can wait for a cancer diagnosis to begin treatment, but waiting till you need armed protection is like putting a seatbelt on a traffic fatality.”
Jim Irvine // Director, FASTER Saves Lives
- “Locations known for, or posted as having on-site armed security, are far less likely to experience an active killer attack. For those enlightened by these facts, a program for arming school staff makes perfect sense.”
Ron Borsch // Founder, SEALE Regional Police Training Academy
Would you feel safer by posting a sign announcing that your home is a gun-free zone? Criminals don’t obey these signs. In fact, to criminals, gun-free zones look like easy targets. So it doesn’t make any sense to display these signs in public places.
There seems to be a particular fear of concealed handguns being on school property, but this fear is misplaced. Prior to the early 1990s, states that allowed concealed carry didn’t have any special restrictions concerning carrying on K-12 property. And there weren’t any problems.
Twenty-four states allow teachers and staff to carry, though the rules vary across states. Alabama, Utah, New Hampshire, and parts of Oregon leave it up to the teachers and staff to carry. In other states, it requires the approval of the superintendent or the school board, For example, for Ohio, at least 40 school districts allow teachers to carry.
A common fear has been that someone will take the gun away from a teacher and use it improperly. But this has never happened. And excluding a few cases of accidental discharges when school grounds have been used for off-hours firearms training, there has only been one accidental discharge involving a permit holder on K-12 property. This happened in Utah and resulted in only a very minor injury.
“From what I’ve seen in Utah, [school insurance] rates have not gone up because of guns being allowed,” says Curt Oda, past president of the Utah Independent Insurance Agents Association of Utah.
Others are concerned that permit holders will accidentally shoot bystanders or themselves be shot if police respond to the scene and mistake them for the attackers.
Permit holders have stopped dozens of what would have become mass public shootings in malls, churches, schools, universities and downtowns. But in none of these cases has a permit holder has ever shot a bystander. Nor have police ever accidentally shot a permit holder.
Since at least 1950, all but four public mass shootings in America have taken place where citizens are banned from carrying guns. In Europe, every mass public shooting in history has occurred in a gun-free zone. And Europe is no stranger to mass public shootings, having been host to three of the four worst K-12 school shootings. In the past eight years, it has suffered a per-capita casualty rate 50% higher than that of the US.
Unsurprisingly, killers try to avoid armed resistance. Earlier this year, a young Islamic State sympathizer planned to shoot up one of the largest churches in Detroit. In a wiretap, the FBI recorded the young man's explanation for why he picked the church: “It’s easy, and a lot of people go there. Plus people are not allowed to carry guns in church. Plus it would make the news.”
These killers might be crazy, but they aren’t stupid. They want to kill as many people as possible. Killers consistently pick defenseless targets where they know that no one will have a gun. Just look at the 2015 Charleston, S.C., church shooting, the 2012 theater shooting in Aurora, Colo., and the 2015 attack in San Bernardino, Calif.
Gun-free zones are magnets for murderers. Even the most ardent gun-control advocate would never put “Gun-Free Zone” signs on their home. Let’s stop putting them elsewhere.
Because even mass murderers have common sense, and the best place to kill innocent people safely is a place where guns are banned, places like public schools and cities with the highest murder rate. It's a common sense that bureaucrats and educators consistently lack, providing comfort to criminals and depriving the innocent of security. Allowing teachers to concealed carry would protect children; even if no one carries them, the criminals would be more likely to pick victims elsewhere.
If I were a public school teacher, I would carry a concealed weapon anyway, knowing that the weapon would only be unholstered if it were necessary to save lives. When the stupidity of bureaucrats threatens the lives of children, it takes courage for those with common sense to defy them, in deference to their natural and constitutional "right to keep and bear arms." Handcuffs would be a small price to pay for the thanks of a parent whose child was alive because of me.
Nothing is more important or valuable than our children. They are the future for everything mankind has ever accomplished.
Over the past 50 years it has become increasingly common to target children, not just in war, but in terrorism and mass killings. Killing children is easier, allowing for higher death tolls (fame) and elicits strong emotional reaction.
When we fail at something, we find success by trying again with a different strategy. Examples abound in science, manufacturing, sports and any number of endeavors. Looking specifically at active killer response we see that law-enforcement and medical experts have made drastic changes to their policies. The outlier is our educational system where failed ideas have been repeated ad nauseam, while our children die.
If learning can be defined as a change in behavior, then why are our enlightened the last to learn?
Many lament that “guns don’t belong in schools.” Maybe not. But reality is a harsh mistress. Children should not get cancer either. But they do. Failure to address the problem only results in more loss of life.
Some kids need chemo. Some need armed protection. The fact that both are “rare” events is of little comfort when yours is the child in need. We can wait for a cancer diagnosis to begin treatment, but waiting till you need armed protection is like putting a seatbelt on a traffic fatality.
There is not really concern about guns in schools. Everyone knows police carry guns and should be summoned for killing events. Home invasion or active killer, we need our police and we need them fast.
The real concern is training. What people are uncomfortable with are untrained people carrying guns around our kids. Through the FASTER Saves Lives © program, we provide training to those individuals pre-selected by school boards to respond to violence. That does not mean the gun is the answer to all violence; it’s not. But it does mean that when it’s needed, there are trained, armed individuals who can end the violence faster than you will dial 911.
The class was designed by John Benner of Tactical Defense Institute. His knowledge, expertise and experience are unmatched. As Benner notes, “I realized I was training the wrong people. It’s not the cops I needed to train; it’s the educators. They are the ones in the building when the killing starts.”
In our 5th year, we have a proven program that works with any school. We are proud to be working with our nations experts in law enforcement and education to set the standard for what school safety and security are becoming. It’s time our educators discard failed ideals and employ armed staff to protect our children. They are worthy of it.
Having researched Rapid Mass Murder by the random acts of active killers back to 1975, I discovered that the primary target of this type of homicide was educational facilities. For example, 3 schools out of 10 locations in 2016 so far (with 4 planned but aborted).
A second and very serious discovery was that half of over two hundred incidents in our Stopwatch of Death© database, the murdering never stopped until the killer decided to stop.
A more astonishing discovery was the fact that in the half of Rapid Mass Murder that was stopped, off-site police were only a minority factor in the stoppage.
Of the half of Rapid Mass Murder that was stopped, a two thirds majority were stopped by on-site citizens, the preponderance of whom were unarmed and were predominantly initiated by a solo actor. Of course, many innocents perished in this mismatch of trying barehanded to overpower an armed assassin.
In the remaining one-third minority of the half of Rapid Mass Murder© that was stopped, it was off-site law enforcement that stopped it. Regrettably, police are handicapped by several factors here.
Of little known time delays before notifying law enforcement, the average has been six minutes. Unfortunately, the active killer (murdering by any means), has on average completed his murdering of innocents in six minutes. It gets worse. Once police are notified, there is call-taking and dispatch time before any officer/s even begin to respond.
Off-site response time is quite variable depending on how close the first notified officer is to the emergency. Applicable here is the absolutely true quote, “When you need help in seconds, police are only minutes away.”
Rapid Mass Murder can and has occurred at over one attempted murder per second. For example, in fifteen seconds, there were six murdered and thirteen wounded in the 2011 Tucson AZ, Congresswoman Gifford’s event. Once notified, police arrived in four minutes.
My research has revealed that the fastest and safest countermeasure to Rapid Mass Murder is already on-site armed good guys. Locations that forbid state approved and pre-vetted honest citizens who have earned their concealed firearm permit have proven to be a virtual magnet for active killers.
Locations known for, or posted as having on-site armed security, are far less likely to experience an active killer attack. For those enlightened by these facts, a program for arming school staff makes perfect sense.
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