School Shootings

October 5, 2006

First, there was that crazy guy in Colorado. Then we had that crazy bastard who attacked a school full of Amish kids. And let's not overlook the kid in Wisconsin.

I don't know about you, but my first thought when I hear these stories is "Why didn't anyone shoot the guy as soon as he walked in?" Then I remember: Schools are gun free zones. There seem to be a lot of guns getting into our "gun free" schools. There must be an exemption clause for crazy murderers or something. That's the only way to explain how they're getting away with this stuff, right? Surely they wouldn't set aside their murder plot with the threat of a one year suspension from school hanging over their heads! (Unless, of course, they don't attend the school in the first place, or they plan to kill themselves in the end, or they're bat-shit crazy!)

Here's what some dipshits in Washington, D.C. think about school shootings. From the article:

With the three deadly shootings in a week and the nation again searching for answers, school violence experts say there are solutions - just none that safeguard everyone.

I'll agree with that. There's no magic cure. But I'll wager that the best option isn't among the "solutions" they're considering.

That's reality, experts say, in a nation of 50 million students and 100,000 schools. Yet from the Columbine massacre to an Amish schoolhouse, people ask: Why does it keep happening?

That's a valid question, but while you're up there trying to unravel the mystery of crazy, can we do something in the schools to stop it when it does happen? A better question is "Why do we keep letting it happen?" You know the old saying: Shoot our kids once, shame on you. Shoot our kids twice, shame on us.

What does work, experts say, is changing the school culture. It's harder than it sounds.

It means building trust among children and adults, so that students are willing to pass on their concerns and adults are sensitive to signs of trouble.

OK, I have no problem with that, but it only applies to a narrow cross-section of school shootings. Two of the three shootings this past week were committed without warning by people from outside the school. What do you do then?

How about a solution that works for the complete surprises as well as anything else? Why don't we encourage the good guys (teachers, administrators, janitors, etc.) to carry guns? At least one lawmaker has the right idea, but he won't get anywhere with it. The use of the word "gun" seems to trigger a shutdown of the reasoning section of many people's brains. If you don't believe me, here are some of the objections to arming school employees that I've read or heard.

Picture an unruly out of control student pushing a teachers' buttons. Picture the teacher shooting, but because of bad aim hits an innocent bystander.

Yes, I'm sure teachers would start shooting students when they get upset instead of smacking them around like they do now. Except that they almost never attack their students in any way, so I'm not sure how having a gun would change that. Actually, it sounds like this person is OK with shooting the kids when they get out of control. She's just worried about an "innocent bystander" getting shot.

What about hiring armed security guards or police officers? The teachers are suppose [sic] to be mentors, guides, and friends.

Guess what genius! Murderers, rapists, and kidnappers don't care what the rest of us are "suppose to be" when we go to work. They only know what they want from us and they will take it unless we can physically stop them.

When did Americans adopt the attitude that only security professionals and the government can or should defend us? The primary responsibility for defending yourself falls on you, and there are going to be situations in life where you don't have a choice. We're not talking about making the teachers into something else. We're talking about them doing the exact same thing they do now 99.99999% of the time, while giving them the ability to defend themselves and the children they're entrusted with in those rare and unfortunate situations where a school is attacked.

Your [sic] a moron! Your answer to end violence in schools is more guns in school. In the most recent attacks, the police were on the scene with in [sic] minutes and faced with a hostage situation. The school official would be faced with the same situation and with little training to deal with it.

A common anti-gun argument goes like this: A gun wouldn't make a difference in this one specific scenario I've come up with, therefore a gun is never useful.

If the school officials arrived on the scene a few minutes after the guy had taken over, then yes, they would face the same situation with less training. But here's the cool thing about school officials: They're in the school all the time. They would have a good chance of taking a guy out before he got any hostages. The worst case scenario is, as the quote says, "the same situation", so why not at least try for something better?

The two men who committed the recent acts of voilence [sic] weren't looking to rob the petty cash drawer. They were there to kill young girls and themselves and a 55 year old school administrator with a carry permit is not going to stop them.

Really? And why not? Does the severity of your intended crime affect your chances for success somehow? Say this person is right. What about ten school administrators and thirty teachers with carry permits? Is it still hopeless? In any case, I promise you that a 55 year old school administrator without a carry permit is not going to stop them.

And finally, some comments from Rep. Spencer Black (D):

Every so often a truly bad idea comes along from legislators and this is one of them. As terrible as the school shootings are, this is not the answer, this would be likely to increase violence in the schools, not decrease it.

Oh, absolutely. Look how much violence there is in places where everyone is armed, like gun stores and police stations. Is this guy fucking serious? What does he base his theory of more violence on?

If you know the principal is armed, you're probably going to shoot him first and ask questions later.

Maybe it would happen that way and maybe it wouldn't, but these people tend to open fire on someone no matter what. Would you rather they start with the kids? And notice that an armed principal getting shot is the worst case scenario in a school full of armed employees. The shooter probably wouldn't get a chance to claim a second victim. What's the worst case scenario if we leave things the way they are? The attacker kills over and over until he runs out of either ammo or victims. That's an unacceptable risk in my opinion.

Rep. Black is also making the assumption that an attacker who knows there are armed employees in a school is going to attack anyway. It's possible, but I really doubt it. Yes, these people are crazy and don't think rationally, but they still have a plan when they attack a school and that plan is probably more important than anything else. Most of these school shooters are either looking to get revenge or to act out some sick fantasy. Either way, their plan doesn't work unless they are guaranteed power over their victims. People with such goals have no desire to walk into a fair fight.

On the subject of deterrence (although with an admittedly less crazy type of criminal), Kennesaw, GA is somewhat famous for its law requiring a gun in every home. I don't particularly agree with a law that forces people to own guns any more than I agree with laws that force them not to, but you can't deny the results. I don't have any numbers on shootings, but the year that the law took effect, burglary dropped by 89%. If criminals started losing more and more confrontations with the armed home owners, that would have been great, but what happened was even better. The criminals almost completely gave up trying in the first place!

We've seen what can happen repeatedly in gun free schools. Multiple murders. Multiple children molested. All people can say is that arming school employees will make things worse. How can it be worse? At least give it a shot, you pussies.

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