Starting on April 18, 2020 in the Canadian maritime province of Nova Scotia, a 51-year old man perpetrated the nation’s deadliest mass shooting in history, killing 22 and injuring more.
I say “starting” because the incident ran almost 13 hours – from 2230 on Saturday night until the shooter was killed by police at 1126 the following Sunday. During that time, the shooter traveled through five or six small communities in the north central part of the island province, with all but the first two of his victims apparently selected at random, creating 16 separate crime scenes and burning down the homes of some of his victims.
This is the most inexplicable aspect of the whole event.Can you imagine a shooter carrying on a one-man shooting spree just about anywhere in rural America for that long before someone stands up and stops the bastard?
Now, it is true that Canada has very restrictive gun laws. Law-abiding citizens must obtain a license from the Canadian government to even acquire or possess a firearm. The license requires completion of safety training, background checks, interviews of character witnesses, and a dense and changing web of regulations defining classes of non-restricted, restricted, and prohibited firearms. A first-time applicant for a permit will wait a minimum of one month for approval, and has to renew his permit every five years. Transporting or transferring firearms requires additional permits. Concealed or open carry by a civilian is rarely approved except in rural areas for defense against dangerous wildlife. The good news (?) is that if you’ve complied with all these legal restrictions and have a gun in your home, self-defense with a firearm might be considered legal if – in the aftermath – you can prove that your life was in danger. Subjects of the United Kingdom, at least, must be envious.
One might think that somewhere in these six villages of rural Nova Scotia there were a few legally owned firearms, but no one resisted this killer with deadly force. Could this be as much a question of culture as capability?
Granted, there were other circumstances in play here – the shooter wore a police (RCMP) uniform and drove a car that resembled a police cruiser, which no doubt allayed suspicion; and the authorities did not issue a province-wide emergency alert although some notices did go out over Twitter and Facebook. But still.
There is a psychology we all know, that relies on government to keep us safe and secure. It is not uncommon even in the U.S., but this Nova Scotia mass shooting is a sad example of its shortcomings. It is simply and undeniably true that “when seconds count, the police are minutes away.”
Distributed security means, among other things, taking responsibility for your own safety, at the very least in that critical gap between the appearance of a lethal threat and the possibility of intervention by law enforcement.
And for a sad footnote, the response of the Canadian government to this incident was for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to announce that he will now, by executive order, ban the ownership and sale of “assault weapons,” which will be subject to a buyback program.
The shooter in Nova Scotia used a pistol, which he was already legally prohibited from possessing, as a result of an assault conviction in 2002. Don’t look for logic in any of this – it is how “gun control” works: never let a crisis go to waste. Again we see how vital the Second Amendment is to our freedom and self-reliance; and how vigilant we must remain.
In March, an Ohio district court appellate judge reversed a lower court’s decision regarding a school district’s policy mandating 26 hours of training for school employees authorized to carry concealed firearms for the protection of their schools. Read about it here.
Here we go again: lawyers, guns, and money. Ohio statute clearly authorizes the governing board of a school district to approve the carry of firearms by whomever they choose. This district – which in fact suffered a school shooting in 2016 – wrote a policy, similar to those of hundreds of other districts across the state and thousands more around the country, specifying the selection and training process for employees interested in carrying concealed firearms. Their training requirement was for 26 hours of initial training, which is a fairly common and entirely adequate standard.
The plaintiffs in this lawsuit, seeking to stop implementation of the new policy (passed by their elected school board), sued on the absurd basis that another statute, governing cops and security guards employed by schools, should override the clear intent of the legislature, and require that teachers, administrators, custodians, or any other employee authorized to carry a firearm complete the same 728 hours of peace officer training that full-time officers undergo. The first judge very sensibly ruled against this; now an appellate judge sympathetic to the anti-gun sentiments of the plaintiffs has reversed that decision and required full peace officer training for armed school employees.
Don’t for a minute think that
this is anything but lawyerly opportunism by anti-gun zealots, encouraged and
financially backed, as all reports confirm, by Everytown for Gun Safety, Mike Bloomberg’s
national gun control group. When will Americans
get tired of letting Mike Bloomberg’s money decide firearms law?
The merits of the case are
simple and clear. Allowing concealed
carry by school staff has only one goal: to enable an immediate response to a lethal
threat in the schools, during the critical response gap of 5-20 minutes
before police are capable of intervening, and during which almost every school
shooting is over and done with, leaving the victims bleeding out on the
floor. Armed staff are not cops; they do
not rescue cats and babies, save children from demonic clowns, write traffic citations,
or arrest students for selling drugs, vandalizing property, and fighting on the
In Ohio, those 728 hours of peace officer training encompass the following categories: Administration, Legal, Human Relations, Driving, Subject Control, First Aid, Patrol, Civil Disorders, Traffic, Investigation, Physical Conditioning, and oh yes, Firearms. Exactly 60 hours of firearms training covering handguns, shotguns, patrol rifles, and more.
Armed school staff train with
handguns only. Their live fire range time is supplemented with scenario-based
training that teaches specific and appropriate tactics and decision making
specific to reacting to a lethal threat on school property; specific state and
local laws defining the legal use of lethal force; and immediate life-saving
medical care as taught in the American College of Surgeons “Stop the Bleed”
course. This is very little different
than any good citizen’s training for safe, responsible, and effective carry of
a handgun for self-defense. Across
America, this training is accomplished by a wide variety of training providers
in 24-40 hour programs. Distributed
Security, Inc. is one of those providers; we know whereof we speak.
But the plaintiffs in this case and their fellow travelers across the country could care less about the logic of the thing. They don’t believe in self-reliance, self-defense, constitutional rights, or the principle of governmental decisions and responsibility at the lowest possible level. They just want fewer guns everywhere, fewer and fewer until they’re gone, and will fight bitterly with their sponsoring billionaires’ money to advance that goal. It’s a pity that we have judges on the bench who sympathize with them, but there are plenty of good ones out there too, and Ohio’s Madison Local Schools will almost certainly win this fight on the next appeal. If you don’t like the way this latest decision went, find a way to support them in their continuing fight for the safety of their schoolchildren.
Rush Limbaugh has been making this point for decades. And, no matter how you feel about Rush, he’s correct on this one.
Despite the popular beating that English takes for being an inconsistent, hodgepodge and difficult to manage, the English language, properly used, is an amazingly precise communication instrument.
Lately, I’ve seen the word “empowerment” thrown around a great deal. Particularly in the firearms industry. To the degree, in fact, that it’s become nauseating. I browsed one range website yesterday that made use of the word no fewer than 100 times when describing company values and mission. This company’s raison d’être is “empowerment”. It says so. Right there on the internet.
Everybody’s using it. It has become a multi-industry catchphrase. But, what does “empowerment” mean? If words, do indeed, mean things and if we are going to effectively communicate, we have to define terms and use them appropriately.
“Empower” was coined as a word somewhere in the 17th century as a compound of “en” and “power”. However, it never really entered common parlance until the mid-1980s.
One can obtain the textbook definition here. Without getting overly pedantic about it, I think it’s fair to say that:
Empowerment = Confidence + Competence
Further, if one of the components of empowerment is competence, we must clarify that competence is developed through “training”. At Distributed Security, our working definition is:
Training = Instruction + Practice
So, competence (and therefore, empowerment) is inextricably linked to training. Through that lens, I offer this piece from the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Ok. Let’s unpack the article:
1 or 2 instructors
a church basement cum pistol range
a few revolvers
Intention… “empowering” the attendees.
My rebuttal, point by point:
Even in the Army (where mass training is the model) you do not instruct basic marksmanship or administer range training with more than one company (<100 men) of novices
The Student:Instructor ratio in the army is roughly 10:1. Not the best case 90:1 ratio identified above.
Church basement? Does that seriously require rebuttal?
9 hours is too much to teach anyone to “fire a gun”. And, it is wholly insufficient to train men or women to a level of competence.
How effective do you suppose each of those hours were if each participant had access to a pistol for only a fraction of the time? Again… does that require rebuttal?
This ridiculous dollar amount reinforces the specious notion that training should be inexpensive or free. Per the article, the $25/head was to cover the rental expense of the space. So… the instructors were free? Their time was free? Where I’m from, you get what you pay for. And, if you pay nothing, well… You do the math. What sort of result would you expect if your auto mechanic charged you nothing? Further, $25 x 180 participants = $4500. If that is the cost to rent the basement for a day, I need to reconsider my career choices… I don’t need a job, I need to repurpose my basement. For that price a very nice, legitimate range could have been rented for a day or two.
If the intent was to empower, and we accept that empowerment is a function of competence, and that competence is a function of training, then this episode was a miserable failure.
Based on the definitions above, does that experience sound “empowering”? Does that constitute “training”? At best, that scenario speaks to “exposure”… but, certainly not training. To be fair, the headline had it right; “Learning how to Fire Guns”.
All that said, I want to give credit where it’s due. Kudos to Arm the Populace and to the ladies in attendance, I think their intent was admirable. I also think it was misguided. What the article demonstrates is a good (if tentative) first step, but falls severely short of anything resembling “Training” as we understand it… much less “Competence”. My concern is that what has been achieved is 180 women with a false sense of confidence about their firearms competence
If we accept that, as a civilian, gun handling and gunfighting is one of the most potentially lethal activities you can engage in, doesn’t it follow that one has a responsibility to train to a high level of competence? So that, one is not simply a danger to oneself and others?
Finally… answers and solutions
In the interest of providing solutions to problems, as opposed to simply armchair quarterbacking, consider the following:
Gun owners owe it to themselves and their loved ones to engage in real, effective, efficient training. We at Distributed Security, Inc offer World Class Combative Firearms Training. We have the broadest and deepest curriculum, developed and delivered by some of the most experienced Instructors in the business.
In contrast to the exercise from the article above, DSI training is offered, complete, as pre-range (online), hands-on (on range), and persistent, ongoing practice supervision, at a student:instructor ratio of 3:1. A model no one else in the Firearms Training Industry can replicate.
Circa 2500 years ago, a Greek fellow by the name of Heraclitus, observed the following:
Why, in 2020 AD, does that matter? It matters because, for all our advancement over the last two and a half millennia, the world is still a dangerous, unpredictable place and, as a result, bad things happen to good, innocent people. And, when they do, the good and innocent still need warriors to stand between them and danger. Willing, able, properly equipped and trained, warriors.
Training matters. Proper training matters more. Because when the balloon goes up, you will not “rise to the occasion” as many would have you believe. You will, however, default to your level of training. Warriors are not born, but trained.
Business Enterprises and Community Organizations do a fantastic job of convincing themselves that they are safe and secure because they have engaged in “Awareness” training, or “Active Shooter” training… or worse yet, that “it can’t happen here”. Yet, invariably, when the unthinkable happens and a violent attack occurs on premise, what happens? Best case… a handful of employees, customers, or community members are injured or killed. Why?
Because, the “training” those enterprises bought and participated in via death by PowerPoint, isn’t training at all. The preparations made, cameras bought, policies written, and signage hung don’t save a single person.
Running away is hysterical. Hiding under a desk, wrapped in terrified prayer is ineffective. Fighting back, armed with office supplies, is asinine and suicidal. And, all cameras do is record where the bodies fell. That’s not security or safety.
Most folks in any given organization have no business in a fight for life. But, someone ought to be trained to effectively respond… Right? Maybe a few someones. Trained to capably mount an Active Defense of life and property, giving Law Enforcement the time they need to respond and intervene.
Coming back to our friend Heraclitus… those aforementioned “someones” are the warriors. The one percent built to keep the other 99 safe.
So… What’s the punchline? Simply this: You and your organization do not have to remain helpless in the critical gap between the inception of a violent threat and Law Enforcement response. There are answers. There is training. There is “Heraclitus’ Niche”. There is Distributed Security.
On 5 AUG 19, in the wake of the El Paso and Dayton active shooter events, Sean Hannity recommended a volunteer initiative of former military and law enforcement officers deployed to schools and other vulnerable public areas to defend against future violent threats.
While that thinking is a step forward on the conventional thought spectrum, the team at Distributed Security, Inc (DSI) is actively training school staff and other civilians for the necessary and immediate response to threats in the critical gap between the onset of an attack and effective intervention by police.
We want to correct the fallacy that only law enforcement or ex-military can perform this task. As trainers, who have trained the highest level military, contracting and law enforcement, we can definitively state that private citizens can be trained to be safe and effective defenders of business, school, church and community. In fact, in most cases, private citizens who go through our training are better prepared to deal with an active threat than most police and military veterans. Any smart, fit, dedicated citizen can be trained to the necessary standard for the defense of innocent life. Prior military or law enforcement experience is not a requirement, and is not a guarantee of success.
In a world that is increasingly fractured and unpredictable, DSI draws heavily from the strategic ideas of William Lind’s 4th Generation Warfare theory and the OODA Loop methodology of John Boyd in our efforts to assist individuals, communities, enterprises, churches, and schools defend themselves in the event of violent threat.
In short, we begin training where many other organizations leave off. And, we train our clients to best practice, SWAT-level proficiencies in handgun, rifle, shotgun, tactical communications and tactical medicine. Our offerings are tactical and holistic. And, we actively engage and manage the necessary consistent, follow-on training beyond initial certification.
We do not believe that having had training at some point in the past is enough. Simply possessing a prior military or law enforcement credential does not keep one sharp. Threats evolve, tactics develop, and technologies advance after one leaves the training and operational world. The active shooter environment is a dynamic and asymmetric one, and those who would respond should have the benefit of appropriately dynamic and asymmetric training to meet the challenge.
In all, the most effective public safety strategy is for community organizations to insource their security capabilities as “quick reaction force” to manage emerging threats, real time. There is certainly a law enforcement role in an active shooter scenario, but as Hannity noted in his monologue, the police cannot be in all places at all times.
commend Mr Hannity for his forward thinking comments and for raising
awareness that there is a better way. Meanwhile, Distributed
Security, Inc has developed and is executing a plan that exceeds his
suggestion in breadth, depth, and effectiveness.
One of the more tragic consequences over the past several active “shooter” events, has been the unnecessary sacrifice of individuals who with the proper training, could have put down the threat.
Now we learn that Kate Nixon, one of the Virginia Beach victims indicated the night before she was slaughtered by DeWayne Craddock:
The public utilities engineer was concerned about DeWayne Craddock “as well as one other person,” said Kevin Martingayle, an attorney working with Nixon’s family. So on the night of May 30, Nixon had discussed with her husband, Jason, “whether or not she should take a pistol and hide it in her handbag,” Martingayle said. She decided against it because of a city policy that prevents employees from bringing weapons to work.
If your security plan does not include highly-trained, armed, and wired employees then the slaughter will continue. How much are you willing to pay for that ticket to the security theater? How many lives are you willing to sacrifice in order to appease the gun-controller?
Contract security giant Securitas released their biennial survey and were surprised to find out that “active shooters and company insiders”, were the biggest physical threats facing corporate America today according to the surveyed corporate security managers.
The only way to effectively defend against an active shooter is with a cadre of highly-trained and armed employees who will be there at the moment of contact. Anything else is security theater.
Distributed Security, Inc. can train enterprise employees* to defend against violent attack. Our program integrates 56 hours of training over 3 months – 16 hours of dedicated range training with 24 hours of reality based training – and includes tactical medical training. Our training develops combative firearms skills and focuses on the use of concealment and cover, working hallways, stairs and doorways, crossing thresholds and clearing rooms.
In a political and economic environment where Law Enforcement training funds are in short supply, the Minneapolis Police Dept has banned, what they are calling, “Warrior”-style training. Officers are now prohibited from partaking of such training on their own time and dime. I don’t know, exactly, how Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey is defining “Warrior” training but, I have a couple ideas.
In an April 19, 2019 press conference, Frey pressed all the emotional hot-buttons by using terminology like “fear-based” training, “warrior-style”, and “Killology” (a theory popularized by LTC (Ret) Dave Grossman). Further, he went on to say that, “Fear-based trainings violate the values at the very heart of community policing. When you’re conditioned to believe that every person encountered poses a threat to your existence, you simply cannot be expected to build meaningful relationships with those same people.”
Very nice, Mr Mayor.
You have mastered pandering and anti-intellectual, political
posturing. And, at the same time emphasized an “us vs them”
attitude between your police and the citizenry.
Minneapolis (and it’s sister, St Paul) is a town where violent crime is on the rise, traditional demographics are being noticeably shifted, and Law Enforcement training funds are slim. Under those circumstances, I don’t think it’s unreasonable for Police Officers to feel like they may need a training edge. Be it in terms of physical/technical skills or psychological preparation for worst case scenarios. Further, the fact that some officers take it upon themselves to seek such advantage, outside the bureaucracy, displays admirable initiative.
As I see it, Police
Depts are being increasingly tasked with what are arguably tactical,
“paramilitary” roles as opposed to the romanticized (possibly
antiquated) version of community policing. And, when you start to
cross that line, the psychology has to change.
So, in essence, the
mayor can’t have it both ways. None of us live in Mayberry, USA
any longer, and politics are amplifying the shift away from that
piece of Americana. And, since he created his narrative using words,
for the most part, that aren’t defined, let’s look at the one
specific example he cited. “Killology”.
mentioned above, is a theory and field of study invented by LTC (Ret)
Dave Grossman. Per Grossman, Killology “is the study of the
psychological and physiological effects of killing and combat on the
human psyche; and the factors that enable and restrain a combatant’s
killing of others in these situations.” The theory was introduced
in Grossman’s 1996 book, “On
Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and
The problem (yes, I said problem and didn’t sugarcoat the term for modern, politically-correct readers who prefer the use of the word “challenge”) is that Grossman’s writings are focused on “combatants”. Traditionally known as “soldiers”. Not, police specifically. However, due to the evolving nature and paramilitarization of police work… we are asking our police to engage in situations where that sort of mindset can be necessary. And, in my opinion, the circumstances driving those evolving and overlapping professional scopes is (drumroll, please), politics. Further politicizing the problem is not the answer. Einstein’s old mantra comes to mind…
No matter how you feel about it, the face of “America” is changing. And, not for the better. There is a cultural assault being mounted on what, only 15 or 20 years ago, would have been considered normalcy. And, that assault is increasingly violent and in some cases, borderline military. So, to cling to Rules of Engagement from a time and situation past, while politically promoting and amplifying change and “progress, is a non-starter.
don’t like, at all, that police are being forced into a militarized
situation and mindset. I think it’s unhealthy. For the police and
their communities. In that, I agree with the Mayor. He and I part
ways on the practical reality of the thing.
To my mind, the answer isn’t telling police officers what training they can and cannot partake of on their own time and with their own money. The answer is to stop promoting the cultural changes that necessitate a militarized response (and a need to survive), stop creating a divide between your constituents and your police depts, and fund police training they need to do the job we’re asking them to do in the way we’re asking them to do it.
And, maybe that training balance is achieved by educating the Administrators and Bureaucrats (those who hold the purse strings) about the training options offered by professional companies, like Distributed Security, Inc and not simply leaving our police officers to be consumers of (at best) battlefield psychology training and (at worst) the former-knucklegdragger, “Bro culture” training industry.
Today we launched Defender 300, an elite group of highly-experienced gun owners defending their communities from violent threat.
Defender 300s (D300s) are trained and commissioned representatives, certified to present Distributed Security, Inc. offerings within their local communities. Prior military service or law enforcement experience is desired. There is a rigorous application process and 20 hours of on-line training and testing required to become a D300. As a certified representative, the D300 is compensated via a sales commission for business that results from their representation.
Commission off the sale of DSI enterprise services.
33% discount off of DSI Combative Firearms (T4), Individual Tactics (T3),
Tactical Medical, and Tactical Communications training programs.
3. Access to all on-line Defense Academy content – manuals, videos, courses, training plans, etc.
4. Opportunity to qualify as a DSI certified instructor.
The D300 program requires dedication and commitment. We do not require any sort of an upfront payment from our D300 candidates or those who eventually certify.
Marc Benioff’s ban includes “any semiautomatic firearms that have the capacity to accept a detachable magazine” which basically bans all handgun sellers too. I’m actually ok with Benioff doing this. First, it further exposes him as a hypocritical twinkie (hey Marc, going to ban your security detail from carrying AR’s and Glocks?), and, second, this is a huge opening for real Americans to develop competing platforms. Get to work America!
Business-software giant Salesforce instituted a new policy barring its retail customers from selling semiautomatic weapons and some other firearms.
Thread by @corpseinarmor: “What we’re looking at now is probably the greatest domestic espionage ring since the Roosevelt-Truman era. This ti are probably five equal to an Alger Hiss. With deep penetration throughout DC establishment and natsec agenc […]”
Bear Creek High School in Stockton, California, was placed on lockdown last week after an estimated 80 students attacked police officers who arrived on campus to detain one student for fighting with school staff.
“An officer inspects all bags and then instructs you to walk through the metal detector. In some cases, a metal wand is used — even on patients who come in on stretchers. Cleveland Clinic officials say they confiscate thousands of weapons like knives, pepper spray and guns each year. The metal detectors were installed in response to what CEO Tom Mihaljevic calls an epidemic.”
It is about to get a lot more dangerous to be a cop in California. A new standard for using lethal force will be approved by the state legislature this week. The standard is:
“officers will only be able to use lethal force when it is necessary and if there are no other options.”
Now, wrap your brains around the fact that most DA’s in California are off-the-chart raving social justice idiots and consider all of the creative ways they can define “necessary” and “no other options”.
Like I said, it’s going to get a lot more dangerous to be a cop in California.
Under the agreement, officers will only be able to use lethal force when it is “necessary” and if there are no other options. That’s widely viewed as higher than the existing legal standard.
“See, the dirty little secret of civilization is that it’s designed to maintain order when 99.9% of folks are orderly. But, say, if just 2% of folks stop playing by the rules…uh oh. Say LA’s population was 15 million in 1992…that’s 300,000 bad guys. There were maybe 20,000 cops in all the area agencies then, plus 20,000 National Guard soldiers and airman, plus another 10,000 active soldiers and Marines the feds brought in. Law enforcement is based on the concept that most people will behave and that the crooks will be overwhelmed by sheer numbers of officers. But in the LA riots, law enforcement was massively outnumbered. Imposing order took time.”
Kurt Schlichter: We should all be ready to do our duty as
There is a disproportionate buzz about the newly signed Florida legislation that allows its school districts (each at its own discretion) to authorize concealed carry of firearms by teachers in their schools.
Why disproportionate? Because the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, signed into law in March 2018 soon after the Parkland mass shooting, had already established the “Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program” named after the coach who gave his life attempting to shield students with his body during that shooting. That program gave school boards the option of allowing school staff members to carry firearms, excluding most classroom teachers who were not JROTC teachers, or current service members, or current or former law enforcement officers.
Last year’s bill established a tough training standard, and left the decision to local school boards, both very good things. And since school staff who are not classroom teachers often comprise as high as 50% of the total, this approach was rational, if overly cautious, as school boards would still have the authority to approve or disapprove any applicant, without the no-teacher provision imposed by law.
The only change with the new law is that now all classroom teachers are also eligible to volunteer for the Guardian program. Note “eligible” and “volunteer” and you will understand why so much of the near-hysterical opposition to this law is baseless.
Of course, no one is actually “arming” any teachers – there is no arms room where they will line up to be issued weapons before filing into the trenches – much less “all” teachers, which is how the opposition likes to frame its strawman argument. They will arm themselves, if their school board votes to implement the Guardian program, and if they individually volunteer, pass rigorous screening and selection, and complete the legally mandated 132 hours of training. No one is guaranteed approval, and the standards they must meet are high.
The Miami New Times, not known for smart or principled positions on any firearms issue, is one of the media outlets appalled that the legislature and governor, elected by citizens to legislate and govern, have not allowed themselves to be ruled by teachers’ unions, high school students, and some school boards and administrators. All those folks display their statist leanings by wanting to impose their own fears of positive protective measures on everyone. Under Florida law, if they (and, pointedly, the voters in their school districts) do not want to implement the Guardian program, they don’t have to. They can keep the Gun Free Zone signs over their doors and hope for the best. But that’s not enough for them; they think they know better than anyone else what is best for every school district in Florida.
Local control on this issue is a sound and sensible approach, in line with the rule of subsidiarity, the concept that decision-making should occur at the lowest level appropriate to its purpose. Local control is often preferable to decision making by officials far-removed from the affected population, less responsive to their local and regional preferences, and more likely to impose one-size-fits-all solutions. Voters can more easily influence or replace an unresponsive local elected official than his state or federal counterparts. Here it means what Florida and many other states have ruled: let the school districts decide for themselves.
Beyond that repugnant statist attitude, opponents of “arming” school staff try to bolster their argument with unsupportable claims and sloppy ‘research’ – textbook examples of confirmation bias, the tendency to only consider evidence that supports one’s preconceived notions. The Miami New Times cites an analysis by Gabrielle Giffords’ anti-gun organization that purports to show how dangerous introducing “more guns” to schools will be. It is such a sloppy piece of research and reasoning that we cannot let it go unanswered.
This long piece cites 67 “incidents of mishandled guns in schools” from all over America, from 2014 to the present, to support their opposition to concealed carry of firearms by school staff who meet the requirements of Florida’s Guardian program. But here’s the rub: only one of these 67 incidents involved a school staffer carrying a firearm under similar requirements. That one involved a Texas superintendent who left her authorized firearm locked in a district vehicle when she and her staff visited another district where she was not authorized to carry it – and then forgot to recover the weapon and left it in the van overnight, to be found in the morning.
Every other incident on this list actually supports the premises behind Florida’s Guardian program, and similar programs in the many other states with similar laws on the books. Not one carefully vetted armed staff member carrying a concealed firearm with knowledge and approval of their school board, in accordance with strict standards, in well over 1,000 schools around the country, was involved in any of the other 66 incidents cited.
Fifteen of the incidents on this list involved subjects who were not staff members at all; some of these were commissioned officers, while others were merely family members or or other visitors carrying firearms on school property in violation of the law. Another incident involved two coaches, but occurred off school property. Desperate to plump up the numbers, are we?
What this list actually does is to demolish the assertion often made by opponents of armed school staff, that guns in school should be left to the “armed professionals.” While the Miami New Times quotes some who seem to believe that armed officers make schools safer, Giffords does not think so, and on this point at least, we can at least understand the sentiment. Fully 27 of the 67 incidents in the Giffords study involve “armed professionals” – commissioned police officers or deputies assigned to a school, officers responding to a call for assistance or visiting for other reasons, or other uniformed security guards or school resource officers employed on site. These “armed professionals” had unintentional discharges (several of which injured themselves or others), left their weapons in restrooms or elsewhere unattended, and in two egregious cases, failed to stop a child from pulling the trigger of their holstered weapon.
So much for ‘armed professionals’ – we who are armed professionals know how little sustained, realistic, demanding training most officers undergo, and how easily complacency creeps in. Uniformed guards – commissioned or not – are not ten feet tall. They are unfortunately sometimes less dedicated and often less proficient than educators who understand their responsibilities “in loco parentis” and undergo rigorous and frequent training required by law and school district policy. Who has not heard educators saying, “we would sacrifice our lives to protect the kids in our care”? Give the tools and the skills to those who are willing, and they can do better than just sacrifice themselves like Coach Feis did at Parkland.
This is not to say that officers are all deficient in their skills and judgment – far from it – or that they cannot train to a high standard; but we who are trainers know without a shadow of a doubt that motivated civilians can do just as well, with the proper training. In the schools as on the streets, they are not volunteering to act as law enforcement officers, which is a very broad skill set indeed, but only to protect innocents against lethal threats – a very narrow skill set that comprises only a small slice of a police officer’s responsibilities.
In fact, what we do know is that responding police – even when do not have unintentional discharges like several in this list – do not protect schools against active shooters, because they almost always arrive too late; and that uniformed officers on site have a very spotty record. The uncertainty in a potential aggressor’s mind that is created by the prospect of an unknown number of trained staff members carrying concealed weapons at various but unpredictable locations throughout a school, appears to be a better deterrent than one uniformed officer, as evidenced by the complete absence of active shooter incidents in such schools. Arguably, if one is swayed by logic, they will prove to be a more effective and flexible defense as well, if that unprecedented day does arrive when a shooting happens in their school.
Again, with the exception of that Texas superintendent, none of these incidents involved an approved, trained, school staff member carrying a concealed weapon. The closest thing to it is the anomalous case of a teacher in Utah in 2014. State law there allows any resident with a concealed carry permit to carry in the schools. There is no requirement to even notify the school board or administration, much less be vetted or approved, or to be trained to any standard beyond the 8 hours of mostly classroom training required for a permit. This teacher dropped her weapon in a toilet stall (before school, with no students in the building); it discharged, shattering the bowl and cutting her calf with a flying shard. That’s not a laughing matter, or not only a laughing matter, but should be taken in context. Utah’s law has been in place for 20 years, and out of 700,000 citizens with concealed carry permits (14 million person-years?), this is the only reported occasion in which anyone has been injured by a legal concealed carrier’s firearm in a Utah school. And she doesn’t work there any more. It may also be significant that Utah has had no mass shootings in its schools, but we can only speculate. Pretty safe state, Utah, for all that their statute is far less prescriptive than Florida’s or many other states.
So Giffords, although it titles its piece “Every Incident of Mishandled Guns in Schools” and assures us that theirs is a “systematic analysis,” and that this list of 67 incidents is “comprehensive” for the date range of 2014-2014, has absolutely failed to make a case against armed school staff members in districts that opt in, under authorizing state law, with well-drafted programs and requirements.
Opponents of protecting our schools and children with armed staff on site will have to do better than this, to make a case worth listening to.
Below is a tabulation of the incidents the Giffords piece cites, upon which these conclusions are based. The “Disqualifiers” column notes specific conditions which render the example irrelevant to the argument. “Illegal firearm” indicates that the weapon was on school property in violation of federal and/or state law. The only exceptions to this disqualifier are the 27 cases involving law enforcement officers and paid security guards, and the afore-mentioned cases of the Texas superintendent and Utah teacher. Those who violate the law or handle firearms incompetently are precisely the sort who are unlikely to volunteer in the first place, or to pass a careful vetting and selection process, or a demanding, standards-based training program, all characteristics of Florida’s Guardian program and those of many other states. As in so many firearms discussions, the actions of criminals and incompetents do not form a rational basis for critiquing the vast majority of actual or potential armed citizens in any venue, including schools.
This why we have guns in the US. And this is why Adam Schiff, Bernie Sanders, Ilhan Omar, John Brennan and the Cuomo kids want to take them away:
Maduro is an evil man running an evil socialist government that has illegally seized power in a country that used to be a beacon of prosperity South America. What’s on that video is a testament to just how destructive socialism is. This is the inevitable end game that always plays out, i.e. murder and savagery via force.
Some American politicians, such as Ilhan Omar, have refused to even call the Maduro government illegitimate, instead choosing to criticize the U.S. for providing aid.
Meanwhile, the revolution is on in Venezuela right now and we can all pray that there’s minimum loss of life. Dictators like Maduro never go quietly though and freedom is rarely free.