What Do You Fear?

This one is pointed directly at school boards, superintendents, and other leaders who oppose allowing teachers to go armed to defend their students. If you’re in this category, I’m talking to you.

What do you fear? What, exactly, makes you so afraid to allow otherwise sane, competent adults to carry a concealed defensive firearm inside your schools?

Don’t worry about answering, though. I already know the answer…stop me if I’m wrong.

You fear taking responsibility, both financially and personally. You fear being sued, and you fear being blamed. You fear this more than you fear a school full of dead children, and this makes you a coward.

You’ve done the math in your head. Your fear is that when a school shooting breaks out, a teacher with a gun will “make it worse.” You are afraid that the teacher might miss and hit a kid, even if the teacher manages to stop the killer in the process. You fear the lawsuits and the finger pointing that will follow, even if the teacher stops the massacre, because there was a regrettable accident in the process. The killing might have been stopped quickly, with a relatively low casualty count, but you fear that accident. You fear being blamed for it, because you made the decision.

You actually fear that possibility more than you fear the killer who enters your school and murders unopposed for minutes…long minutes…until someone else eventually arrives to stop him. Make no mistake, the body count will be much higher…we know from experience how this scenario plays out. But you actually fear this much less. You probably won’t get sued, at least not successfully. After all, your school was a “gun free zone,” with totally awesome lockdown procedures. Even though there are many more dead children, you’ll get to make a tearful speech to the TV cameras, and you’ll be a sympathetic figure. There will be hashtags, thoughts, and prayers for the terrible tragedy that you had nothing to do with. There will be more blood, but at least you aren’t responsible.

You are willing to gamble with the lives of children, hoping against hope that “it won’t happen here”…because you fear making the hard call and taking responsibility for it. You call yourself a leader? I call you a coward.

Not Shinola

In the days since the Parkland, Florida school shooting, a lot of people have been talking about allowing teachers to arm themselves to defend against such an attack. Unfortunately, it seems that the bulk of that talking is coming from people who…as the saying goes…do not know [ahem] poop from Shinola.
 
Such an example can be found in this article, which suggests that 132 hours of training is somehow insufficient for a teacher to carry a concealed firearm in the workplace. Give me a break.
Florida House bill sponsor Rep. Jose Oliva, center, (R- Hialeah), watches the vote board at the Florida Capital in Tallahassee, Fla., Wednesday March 7, 2018. The Florida House has passed a school safety bill that includes new restrictions on rifle sales and a program to arm some teachers. The House voted 67-50 Wednesday on a bill that's a response to the Feb. 14 shooting at a high school that killed 17 people. (AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser)
AP Photo
 
People who think that some sort of “extensive” training is necessary for a teacher to defend against a school shooter frankly are either ignorant on the subject, or they are liars with an agenda. The truth is that anyone who possesses basic competency with a concealed carry pistol can carry safely in a school, and can defend against a school shooter. Period. Full stop.
 
First of all, none of these maniacs is looking for a gunfight. If they were, they’d go hit a police station or a Friends of NRA dinner. Historically, every single time one of these losers run up against any armed resistance, they either flee, surrender, or commit suicide. The only exception to this rule are attacks by self-proclaimed jihadis, which we thankfully have yet to see at a school. (Though we will, eventually.)
 
Second, no one is asking armed teachers to form a SWAT stack and head down the hallways to seek and destroy the attacker. Some might decide to go on offense, and we should thank God that such heroes exist. That is the type of action necessary to stop an attack once it has started. But all a teacher needs to be able to do is to secure their classroom as well as possible, get the best cover they can, and point the gun at the door. Bad guy comes through door…shoot bad guy. Kids saved.
 
In police circles, a common term for a door is “the fatal funnel.” Do you know why that is? That’s because it is the easiest place to get yourself shot while moving through a building. If somebody can hit a door, they can hit you, if you hang out there too long. Cops know this, and treat doors very carefully so that  they don’t make themselves an easy target. Unless your school shooter knows and utilizes proper technique for entering a room through the “fatal funnel,” guess what that makes him? You guessed it…an easy target for the armed teacher waiting inside.
Image result for fatal funnel swat
There’s a reason teams train so much on how to enter a room. Even done correctly, it’s very high risk.
 
Don’t get me wrong. More training is great. But while there is no such thing as “too much,” there is also such a thing as “enough,” and most of the people making proposals like this don’t know the difference. Let’s just say that it definitely is not Shinola.

It Ain’t Me, Babe

Any of the young men pictured in this article could be me…
 
I entered high school in 1977. Before I graduated in 1981 I had been taught rifle marksmanship; we pushed back the desks, set up traps, and actually shot 4-position 10-meter air rifle *in the classroom*. I received the Tennessee Hunter’s Education course as part of the curriculum in JROTC; as part of that we went to the range and shot rifles, muzzleloaders, shotguns, and archery. Nobody shot up my high school.
 
I entered college in the fall of 1981. Before graduating in 1985 I was taught the operation and maintenance of the M16A1 and the M60 machine gun…and how to use them in the field. Never mind my schooling in the employment of the hand grenade, the Claymore mine and construction of field-expedient booby traps. Nobody shot up my university.
 
 
And even before any of this took place, I had been educated in the use of firearms by my father, at home. I owned guns. I used guns. When people ask me the first time I ever shot a gun, I truthfully tell them that I have no memory of it. I have had access to guns ALL MY LIFE. I have never attacked anyone, anywhere, ever.
 
Some will say, “But Dave, you’re different. Not everyone grew up like that.” And on a certain level, they’d be right. The difference between then and now is not the guns, it’s the people, and it’s the times. I…and people like me…are not the problem. The problems are multiple, and complex, and societal, and many are outlined in the linked article. You really ought to read it.
 
But the problem is not the existence, presence, or availability of guns. They have been widely available in this country since the founding, and no matter what law is passed, they always will be…at least to those unconcerned with breaking the law. To suggest we “just get rid of all the guns” is just as feasible as suggesting “just get rid of all the heroin.” While it is tempting to reach for a simple solution to a complex problem, it is also folly.
 
New laws and regulations which would restrict my access to firearms will protect no one. New laws and regulations which would restrict access to firearms by the over 100 MILLION gun owners who have never harmed anyone will…obviously…protect no one. So let’s drop the foolish notion that gun control will fix any of this. Nothing could be further from the truth.