80 seconds of wisdom about school shooters
What happens when a brave, dedicated, armed citizen fights back against an untrained, unskilled, pathetic coward bent on murdering helpless innocents? The coward surrenders or winds up dead, and the killing is either stopped quickly or never has a chance to start.
Last week at the Arapahoe High School in Colorado a student named Karl Pierson walked into school and opened fire with a shotgun. He fired five rounds, badly wounding a beautiful young girl, before he saw a campus police officer advancing toward him. Pierson killed himself with his sixth round. The incident was captured on video, and lasted approximately 80 seconds from first shot to last.
80 seconds. And the mere presence of an armed “good guy” forced Pierson to stop targeting victims, and shoot himself instead.
This Arapahoe incident, among others, reinforced a belief I already had. My belief didn’t come from watching TV or reading articles. I’m a 19 year police officer and former active shooter instructor. I’ve attended advanced active shooter training, helped train many officers, and played the role of an active shooter in numerous high stress, extremely realistic simulation exercises. I’m also a 24-year Marine and Soldier, a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan. I ain’t no expert on nuthin’, but I have a much better understanding of the active shooter threat than the average person. My years of training and experience helped me form this belief. This belief is so amazing, so earth-shattering, that I expect millions of people to read this, gasp, and tumble over in shock.
Prepare yourselves. Here it comes.
“When a coward is trying to shoot up a school, at least one person already at the school should have a gun and shoot back.”
I know, I know. Pure heresy. I have to be wrong on this. Those who don’t want armed teachers or even armed police in schools must be right. Some of them, like American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, insist that having armed police on school grounds doesn’t make schools safer (http://wvmetronews.com/2012/12/27/no-guns-in-schools/). After the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre made his infamous “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” claim, a veritable human wave of legislators and celebrities mounted ceaseless attacks against him and his simplistic belief that armed good guys actually protect the innocent.
Ms. Weingarten and many of those legislators and celebrities must understand this problem better than me. They must understand better than Wayne LaPierre. Weingarten and her allies apparently have vast knowledge of and experience with gun violence.
They have vast knowledge and experience because they went to college. Then when they were done, they went to college. Then after that, they went to college. Some of them were so dedicated that between college semesters, they went to college. In college, they talked a lot. They talked to other people in college, and to college professors. They undoubtedly had many interesting conversations with other insulated idealists, who repeated the same uninformed opinions everyone else had. Then, when these people graduated from college, they went into the academic world, or politics, or acting.
And by golly, their opinions about armed good guys in schools count more than mine. Because they’re educated. And they’re academics. Or politicians. Or actors.
I, on the other hand, foolishly wasted my entire adult life serving my community as a cop and my country as a Marine and Soldier. I spent countless hours on ranges and in training exercises. I wandered deserted streets late at night looking for crimes in progress, and found a LOT. And I spent almost two years at war.
None of this taught me anything, of course.
My worthless, unqualified opinion is obviously insignificant in the face of mighty academics, politicians and actors who fired a gun once on a movie set. If I was more educated, maybe I’d see the ridiculous fallacy of, oh, putting armed and trained good guys in all schools to defend our children. If I had taken statistics, I’m sure I’d realize that the murders of 20 children and 6 educators in a school with no armed guards, during a massacre that went on for several minutes, is a better outcome than one wounded student in a shooting that an armed police officer ended in 80 seconds.
I should actually apologize for the tone of this post. I try not to be snarky, sarcastic or insulting toward my ideological opponents. I’m not a member of the NRA, nor am I an ultraconservative (I’m agnostic and support drug legalization, so how conservative can I be?). I’m definitely not anti-education. And I like to think I’m a pretty reasonable guy. But I get frustrated at people who absolutely refuse to accept reality. Sorry guys, but in this case Wayne LaPierre was right.
Those who oppose allowing armed teachers or police officers in schools tend to be the same people who think we conservatives are the mental equivalent of “flat earthers”. They seem to view us as ignorant hicks with no understanding of the real world. Then they turn around and insist that the best way to protect our children from school shooters is to make our schools more attractive targets. They think it’s better for a murderer to kill helpless victims for several minutes until police show up, than to have an armed teacher or police officer already there stop the killing as quickly as possible. They advocate policies that make more Sandy Hooks and oppose policies that make Arapahoes. They honestly believe the best way to keep my children safe is to turn them into helpless victims.
Remember that knuckle-dragging conservatives like me are evil morons who want children to die. But liberals who don’t want guns in schools are geniuses who love children. That’s why my fellow knuckle-draggers and I strongly support the policies that saved children’s lives at Arapahoe, while our super-genius child-loving opponents so ardently support the stupid rules that helped kill 20 defenseless children at Sandy Hook.
The Arapahoe shooter had a shotgun, 125 rounds, three Molotov cocktails and a machete. He had plans to attack people in several locations at the school. Had my opponents had their way, he could have shot many more innocent people, burned them alive, or hacked them to death. Instead, one good guy with a gun on campus ended the threat in 80 seconds.
Shucks, maybe I’m one o’ them thar conservative country bumpkins who ain’t never learnt much. But it certainly seems to me that the result produced by one armed good guy at Arapahoe High School was better than the result of having no armed good guys at Sandy Hook. So instead of spending years in college learning the wrong answer, maybe some people need to spend about 80 seconds learning that armed good guys in schools really are the best way to stop armed bad guys in schools.
UPDATE 12/22/13: Claire Davis died of her injuries yesterday. Rest in peace, Ms. Davis.
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Tags: active shooters, arapahoe high school, karl pierson, school shooters, veteran writers