Week in Review
President Obama is pushing for more gun control legislation. Before the memories of Newtown fade. To overreact before the emotions fade. Even though most legislation proposed thus far would not have changed the outcome at Newtown. It was a tragedy. But a rare tragedy. And trying to take the guns out of the hands of all the future unknown school shooters will probably fail. For no legislation is perfect. And no enforcement is perfect. If there were hundreds or thousands of these shooters it might make a difference. But trying to find 2 or 3 or 4 shooters across the country will be impossible. Which is the ultimate reason for the tragedy at Newtown. It was a statistically rare event. As a child in school is more likely to die from a lightning strike than from gunfire.
You know what would probably work better? Arming a few people in that school. But not telling anyone who they are. Why would this work? Because people like Adam Lanza pick defenseless people to hurt. Because they don’t want anyone hurting them. That’s why they pick places where people can’t shoot back. And hopefully where they won’t fight back. So if it’s public knowledge that there are a few people in that school carrying a gun but a potential shooter doesn’t know who, he is less likely to break into that school out of fear that he may walk into someone with a gun (see Adam Lanza Newtown search warrants released by Jason Sickles and Dylan Stableford posted on Yahoo! News).
Connecticut State Attorney Stephen J. Sedensky III, who’s overseeing the case, said Adam Lanza killed 26 people within five minutes of storming into Sandy Hook Elementary School before turning a gun on himself…
Lanza killed all 26 school victims with a Bushmaster .223-caliber model XM15 rifle for which he had 10 magazines capable of carrying 30 rounds each. Sedensky’s report says officers recovered 154 spent casings and 58 unfired rounds for the assault-style rifle from inside the school.
Lanza was also armed with a Glock 10 mm handgun, a 9 mm Sig Sauer P226 handgun and additional ammunition for both. Inside the car Lanza drove to the school, police found a 12-gauge shotgun and two magazines containing 70 rounds of ammunition. Lanza took his own life with the Glock as police were arriving at the school, the report states.
Lanza had enough guns and ammunition to shoot for more than five minutes. And he probably could have held the police off for awhile. But he didn’t. Once someone aggressive arrived on the scene he quickly took his own life. For he had no interest trading shots with anyone. Once again showing why he and others like him choose schools and theaters for their carnage. For these aren’t tough guys. There often quiet loners. Shut off from other human contact. Who are even afraid of people. Fantasizing about life in a video game. Where they find escape from a world where they find no enjoyment. And they know they aren’t alone. For they read the papers. Perhaps getting inspired. From articles like the one they found in Lanza’s house.
Exhibit #630 – One (1) New York Times article on 02/18/08 of a school shooting at Northern Illinois University.
Finding these people will be all but impossible with background checks. But if they knew that someone could shoot back at them it may dissuade them. And it would probably help not to give them so much press. For a news story could be the thing that pushes one of these people over the edge. It may normalize such an atrocity in the mind of someone disturbed. Making the shooter move from fantasy to reality. With nothing to stop them. Except, perhaps, if the intended targets are not so passive (see Schools Are Training Second-Graders to Attack Mass Shooters by Deanna Pan posted 3/28/2013 on Mother Jones, bold added for emphasis).
In the aftermath of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, politicians and educators have debated fiercely about how our nation should protect school children—with some schools turning to controversial tactics…
Ever since the 1999 massacre at Columbine High, K-12 schools in many states have been required by law to have emergency management plans; often these include lockdown drills for dealing with a violent intrusion, although such an event is statistically rare…
[Greg] Crane [a former SWAT officer and schoolteacher in Texas who created Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate—A.L.i.C.E.—to train students what do if a shooter comes into the classroom] points instead to the 1998 shooting at Thurston High School in Oregon, where 15-year-old Kipland Kinkel fired 50 rounds in the cafeteria, killing two students and injuring two dozen others before he was tackled by his classmates…
“It wasn’t a staff member who led the rush against him that took him to the ground and disarmed him. It was a 17-year-old student, Jake Rykar,” Crane notes. “If they had maintained that passive, static posture on the floor, with all those hundreds of kids in the cafeteria, there’s no telling what the outcome could have been that day.”
But Dr. Stephen Brock of the National Association of School Psychologists says teaching such tactics may cause unnecessary anxiety and stress for students, particularly young ones who are more easily traumatized. “It strikes me as an overreaction and potentially dangerous,” Brock says. “School shootings are extremely rare. The odds of a student becoming a victim are 1 in 2.5 million. The odds of getting struck by lightning? One in 700,000.”
Crane says that he has seen an uptick in interest in his program after every mass shooting—but that it has increased by an order of magnitude since Newtown. In the first weekend after the attack, Crane’s company was hit with more than 2,000 email inquiries, he says, with little letup since. To date, according to his company’s website, more than 300 schools and universities have trained 1.6 million students using A.L.i.C.E.
If you ever watched a Friday the 13th movie you’ll see that most victims share one thing in common. They run, they cringe and they cry but rarely do they fight back. Even when they do knock Jason down they just keep running away. Until they eventually become a victim, too. So there is something to be said about fighting back. For anyone who walks into an elementary school is as evil as the fictional Jason. But unlike Jason these shooters can be hurt. Even scared. As they always pick people who are unarmed and are not likely to fight back. Something an unafraid person probably wouldn’t do.
So do you risk traumatizing children by teaching them to fight back? Or because it is such a statistically rare event is it simply better to do nothing? Experts in the field of psychology think so. And if so should we even be bothering with new gun control legislation? For as the health care professionals say this is an overreaction for an extremely rare event. And will probably be as useful as teaching second graders to physically attack a gunman.