Armed Teachers? You decide.

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Tin-Man's picture
Armed Teachers? You decide.

So, after much inner turmoil and trepidation, I finally decided to bring this topic to a thread of its own. I have been writing about this the past couple of weeks in a different thread, but have transferred those posts to this thread. Warning: THEY ARE LONG POSTS. But, even as long as they are, I still did not cover everything in as much depth as I would have liked. So, here we are.

I would like to make it very clear right now that everything you will read in the following posts is strictly my own views and opinions. Also, unless otherwise noted, I did no research nor consulted any other sources for the information contained within the posts. It is strictly things from my own head/memory I wrote down as I went along. That being said, I would welcome any constructive criticism. Moreover, I would be more than happy to answer any questions or to clarify any points I may have left too general or vague. Be warned, however, as I will NOT TOLERATE any ridiculous nonsense concerning this topic. So, anyway, for what it's worth, here we go....

(Be advised it may take me a few minutes to get everything transferred to here...)

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This is what got me started

This is what got me started on this....

@Grizzly Re: "First off, there are these things called gun safes and gun locks. You keep the guns unloaded and locked, and if a shooter starts shooting up the school, the teacher can unlock the gun and load it. That way if the shooter comes into or near the classroom the teacher can kill him. When the police show up the teacher can put the gun away when they arrive. Easy."

*grooooan* Oh, holy shit.... Dammit. I have been trying my best to stay out of all the gun control discussions because - quite frankly - I am not on this site to discuss such matters. It is simply enough for me to read and learn from the various posts. But this particular remark of yours I simply could not let pass without correction.

It is extremely obvious from your statement you have absolutely ZERO experience with real-world armed confrontations. I, on the other hand, (like Myk) have a considerable amount of experience with it. And as much as I would like to be polite, I really have no choice but to say you are really talking out your ass with that statement. Because unless the teachers who are armed are either prior military (specialized combat unit, preferably) or prior law enforcement, they will be more likely to get themselves or an innocent person injured/killed than taking out the bad guy.

And keeping the weapons unloaded and locked in a gun safe??? Seriously?..... Holy hell, boy. *rolling eyes* Again, you have no clue.

Ya know, you may be some super-whiz concerning laws and constitutions and history and such. If so, then that is fantastic. But your casual attitude of, "The teacher kills the guy and then puts the gun away before the police arrive. EASY," actually made my stomach turn a little. Geeeez, man, that was simply ridiculous.

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And then Hollis Ramsey

And then Hollis Ramsey replied as such...

i'd like to agree with you here, Tin-man, but although your comment is heartfelt and clearly coming from a place of real-life experience, you did not provide factual evidence or examples for your mocking remarks.

pretend i'm a 5-year-old -- rather than scoffing at Grizzly's Best-Case Scenario projections, explain to me WHY the gun-safe suggestion is impractical. guide me through it. i cannot accept it on faith, or on eye-rolling reactions, or on Grizzly's so-obvious-to-you ridiculous talking out of his ass. i'm inexperienced, not ignorant, and i want to be enlightened. so please make an effort to educate me!

spell it out for me, as you would to a child sincerely wishing to know, WHY inexperienced armed people are more likely to hurt themselves or others, or to get themselves killed. be specific. what are the mistakes most commonly made, for instance? call it "Boot Camp for Dummies." i don't take offense at not knowing things. but i prefer having erroneous, stupid statements cleared up with reason, not emotion.

***At this point, I could not let this pass****

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Part 1 of 3 My

Part 1 of 3 My “Qualifications” (My apologies for the delay. Busy weekend. Limited time to write.)

Before I get started, I would like to make a quick disclaimer. This post, along with the other parts that will soon follow, is being made only due to the polite and reasonable request of Miss Hollis for an explanation to a response I made to Grizzly concerning my objections to school teachers being armed in schools. And the only reason I made that response to Grizzly is because his remarks concerning the matter were such that I could not in good conscious allow it to go uncorrected. Otherwise, I had zero intentions of getting involved in any of the Gun Control discussions, as I did not join the AR to discuss such matters. With that in mind, please do not bother asking me about my political affiliations/beliefs or my personal opinions about gun control. I will politely decline to answer, and I will neither confirm nor deny any speculations made. I assure you they have no bearing whatsoever on the explanations I will be giving. Furthermore, I would like to make it clear the explanations I provide are based strictly on personal experience and training I have had over many years in a dangerous business. Does it make me an expert? I do not know. Some may say I am. Others may say I am not. Either way – quite frankly – I do not care. Personally, I do not consider myself an “expert”, only because I happen know and have worked with individuals whose skills and experience exceed mine by leaps and bounds. Nevertheless, at the end of the day that will be for you to decide, not me.

If I am to give an opinion on matters relating to weapons and the use of weapons in real-world situations, it is only fair to provide the reader with some background to allow him/her to evaluate the weight of my opinion(s). I will try to make this as brief as I possibly can…

I got my first BB gun when I was about six, and graduated to a .22 cal. rifle when I was about 8 or 9, and fired a pistol for the first time at age 7. I was taught proper firearm safety by my Grandfather and one of my uncles. Became rather skilled in the use of most any rifle/shotgun/pistol as the years progressed. Owned my first pistol at age 16 or 17. Most all my friends growing up were equally proficient in the use and handling of firearms. Matter of fact, it was not unusual during my high school years to see several student pickup trucks in the school parking lot with rifles and/or shotguns proudly displayed on racks hanging at the rear windows. And it was highly unusual to find a male in the building who did NOT have some sort of knife on his person. Hell, there were even certain females who could be counted on to be packing some sort of edged weapon. And even though there were many fights that took place between typical teenage students, there was never one that involved a knife or a firearm. Fists were the only “weapons” used. (But I digress…)

Fast-forward a bit. Graduated the police academy in 1992 with “Top Academic” and “Top Gun” awards. (There were 30-35 in the class.) Became a certified firearms instructor within four years after graduation. Became a Field Training Officer (FTO) and a certified Pressure Points Control Tactics (PPCT) instructor within five years after graduation. Attended a wide variety of High Risk Training (HRT) courses over the years ranging from Active Shooter Responder Courses, to Dynamic Entry Techniques, to Ballistic Shield Use, and many others. Developed, and assisted with the development of, several combat shooter courses used for annual firearms qualifications within the department. ALWAYS qualified EXPERT during annual firearms qualifications. Acted as an assistant academy instructor/role player during the Call Scenario Simulation portion of several police recruit academy classes.

In 1996 I joined the Army National Guard. Graduated Airborne School in 1997. Will say very little else about my military activities other than I deployed to Afghanistan once and Iraq twice. And although I was not Special Forces Qualified, during my service I did a considerable amount of training with and operated with Special Forces units and teams on a regular basis.

During my time on patrol, I was involved in several shooting incidents, was involved in more hand-to-hand confrontations than I care to remember, kicked in a number of doors during the serving of search warrants, and have crawled up into a number of attics in search of ARMED suspects. I have been beaten, run over, and shot at, and I have stepped over the dead bodies of co-workers/friends in search of the fuckers who ambushed them and gunned them down in cold blood.

So, does that make me an expert? Again, I don’t know and I don’t care. Regardless, what I DO know is that when somebody like little Boo-boo cubbie-bear (aka: “Grizzly”) starts making such remarks as he did in the off-handed casually flippant manner in which he did it, I DO believe that I am more than qualified to say he is TALKING OUT HIS ASS. Also, with all due respect, should anybody have a problem with my getting a little “emotional” about the whole thing then I say, “Tough shit.”

Parts 2 (Gun Safes) and 3 (Armed teachers) to follow soon.

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Part 2 of 3 Gun Safes in

Part 2 of 3 Gun Safes in Schools

From what I have read thus far, a few folks have already addressed this problem to a certain degree. Good. Glad to see there are others on here thinking clearly. For the sake of reinforcing their points, they will be included in this post so that all relevant information will be consolidated into one place rather than scattered about the thread. Let’s get the obvious problem out of the way first…

COST - I am not an accountant, nor do I have any exact figures to provide on how many schools there are in the U.S. to be equipped with gun safes. Nevertheless, it does not require a genius in economics to quickly grasp the idea that the cost of such a venture would end up being damn near astronomical. How many millions of schools are there? How many safes would be required for each school? And, speaking of safes, what type should be used? Allow me a moment to expand on that…

Type of Safe Necessary – Although I am definitely no expert on the subject, I think we can all agree that kids (particularly teenagers) are especially curious, mischievous, and crafty. (I was both at one time in my life.) And in an ideal world we like to think children/teenagers would NEVER attempt to gain access to a firearm they KNOW is in the room with them. If we were in that ideal world, though, we obviously would not be having these discussions. Therefore, any type of safe installed in a classroom for gun storage would have to be permanently and SECURELY mounted, either embedded into the wall structure or – at the very least – heavily bolted to the floor and/or wall. On top of that, the safe itself would have to be of a high-quality comparable to bank style safes. Your typical Walmart style or local sporting goods store style gun safes will NOT be suitable. And I don’t know how many of you have checked prices on such safes lately, but I promise they are not cheap. Hence, we are back at how much it will cost to install millions of such safes all across the country. And remember, we are talking about many school systems that can BARELY pay their teachers a reasonable salary and are scraping by on the bare necessities for teaching due to lack of educational funding. Now let’s discuss combination lock or key lock…

Combination or key? – To put it bluntly, both options SUCK.
Keys: Can easily be lost, stolen, and copied. People are human (teachers included). We forget things. Teacher Johnson gets to school that morning and checks his pocket and realizes, “Aw, crap. Forgot my safe key today.” Whoopsie. No big deal, though, right? How many faculty members in the school have access to the same safe? Meaning there are that many more keys floating around to potentially fall into the hands of unauthorized personnel (i.e. Students). Substitute teacher day because Teacher Johnson is off sick or on vacation. Do we give the sub teacher a key to the gun safe? (Rhetorical question.) Certainly, I totally agree there are exceptions out there who are incredibly responsible and take their assigned tasks/responsibilities very seriously. I would like to think I would be one of them. However, they are the EXCEPTIONS. And no matter how incredibly good they may be, they are still human and subject to the same human lapses and mistakes.

Combination locks: The gun safe in installed and Teacher Johnson places his chosen firearm inside the safe (Unloaded, of course, for the sake of those who are “safety conscious”. *rolling eyes*), closes the safe securely, and goes on about his days/weeks/months teaching his class. Show of hands: Anybody here ever been in a hurry trying to open a combination lock because you are running late for class or something? Personally, I know it has sometimes taken me two or three tries to get into my school locker under that very scenario. Matter of fact, I have two or three combination safes here at home I regularly open for various reasons. And even with that, it sometimes takes me a moment to remember the combinations and a couple of attempts to open them (that is without any stress whatsoever). So, imagine you are Teacher Johnson (who maybe opens the safe only a couple of times a month… maybe) teaching a class one afternoon and suddenly shots ring out down the hallway from your classroom door. Initially, there is a delay of several seconds while the brain attempts to process exactly what you just heard. (Average Joe does not like believing bad things can happen to him, and attempts to find alternate explanations.) Next, once you finally realize, “Oh, shit. Those were gunshots,” there is a brief moment of panic within yourself, along with all the yelling and screaming that will be coming from your students. First reaction after that will be a natural instinct to calm the students. Finally, you remember, “Oh, yeah, I have a gun in the safe.” By now, many, many precious seconds have been wasted. But, wait! It gets better! Now, in the midst of all the panic, yelling, screaming, and gunshots, you have to remember the safe combination and then successfully work the combination wheel in the proper manner to get the safe open. (Good luck with that, by the way, as your fine motor skills almost completely vanish during such high-stress situations.) Assuming you are lucky enough to get the safe open in time, you then have to load the weapon, chamber a round, and then find a place on your person to put your spare magazines so that they will be easily accessible if needed. Chances are, however, you will never have to worry about that, because by now you are probably already dead anyway. Why? Because it is very likely the shooter will already know exactly who the teachers are who have gun safe access and would be going after them as first targets. ( Keep in mind, we are assuming the teacher is even in the classroom at the start of the shooting and not on break, at lunch, or in the bathroom taking a piss. Same applies for key safes.) And, as with the keys, how many people have the safe combination? Do they have super memories, or is the combination written down somewhere? Well, I think we all know the answer to that. And whenever something like that is written down, you can rest assured it can be accessed by unauthorized personnel (i.e. Students). What if the regular teacher quits? Now you have a gun safe in a room just sitting idle, unless the school hires a replacement teacher who is authorized to handle a weapon. And then it would only be prudent to change the combination.

Oh, and for those of you who may be thinking they could use the electronic keypad combination safes…. There is no way in hell I would rely on one of those things in a modern day classroom with the tech-savvy kids we now have. In my opinion, might as well leave the thing wide open. Not to mention what do you do if the bad guy is smart enough to cut the power before starting the party? Battery backups? Who maintains them throughout the year(s)? For that matter, who will pay to have the safes regularly maintained in general?

I could probably go on about this a good bit more, but as is evident, the logistics alone are enough to be mind-boggling. And the lack of practicality is downright scary. Now try applying these things to the millions of schools across the country. While at first glance, on the surface the gun safe idea may seem like a reasonable concept to those who have no experience with critical high-stress situations. In my opinion, though, the concept is just sheer madness and foolishness.

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Part 3A. of 3 Armed Teachers

Part 3A. of 3 Armed Teachers (Introduction)

(Pull up a chair and get comfy, folks. This could take a few minutes. Once again, my apologies for the length.)

Okay, I will go ahead and warn you right now, there is no simple way of explaining any of this. As with the gun safe idea, on the surface the arming of teachers in schools may seem like a very simple and reasonable solution. As I am about to demonstrate, however, things are just a tad more complicated than simply strapping a pistol to the hip of your typical American educator. There are so many factors and considerations involved that I am going to break this up into three posts. (3A. “Introduction“; 3B. “Logistics”; and 3C. “Mentality/Mindset/Qualifications”) Even if I had you in a classroom giving you a presentation in person, it could potentially last over an hour or more. (It would certainly be much easier, at least. Plus, I would probably enjoy it more. Anyway…) Therefore, I will try to touch upon only the most critical key points. And even with that limitation this will be considerably lengthy, yet still barely scratch the surface of all factors to be considered. Also, I would like to reiterate that what I am telling you is strictly my own personal opinion based on my training and experience. Other than using Google to find out how many schools and teachers there are in the U.S., I have done zero research in regards to the information you are about to read. Quite literally, all that follows is coming straight out of my head from memory. That being said, I encourage anybody reading this to NOT TAKE MY WORD FOR EVERYTHING THAT IS STATED. Please, compare what I say to other reliable/experienced sources. And I would welcome any constructive feedback, as I am well aware I do not know everything, and there are likely other considerations I could have missed.

For the sake of simplification, please allow me a moment to establish a set of general “parameters”, and to “scale down” the scope to a more comprehensive level. Rounding off a bit, the total number of schools in the U.S. is roughly 130,000 (This does not include trade schools, colleges, or universities.) with roughly three million teachers for those schools. That gives us an average school size of 23 teachers per school. For the sake of easy math, let’s use 24 teachers. (Conveniently, this is only slightly smaller than the high school from which I graduated, and this will be the size of school I use for this discussion.) Bear in mind, there are distinct/unique pros and cons to both larger and smaller schools. In other words, all schools cannot and must not be clumped together as being the same in regards to security. (More on that later.)

Next, let’s determine a reasonable number of armed teachers we would need for our average-size school. (By the way, in Part 3C. we will try to determine if that number would even be possible to fulfill when considering the qualifications/abilities of the average teacher.) Now, some folks might say, “Hell, arm them ALL!” To that I would reply, “Well, some folks are stupid.” Anyway, half might be good, but realistically damn near impossible in most cases. So, let’s be generous and say we MIGHT be able to arm one-third of the teachers. That gives us eight (8) armed teachers for our average-size school. So far, so good, right? (Oh, just so you know, I am intentionally not including the principal or other school employees/staff. Trying to keep this simple, remember?)

Let’s see…. We now have an average-size school with 24 teachers with 8 of those teachers being armed. What else do we need to consider? Oh, high school or elementary school? As with the size of the school, the type of school will also determine much of the protocols/procedures the teachers must follow not only during an incident, but also during day-to-day routine. And that is a whole other discussion unto itself. For the purpose of this post, though, we will use the typical high school, as it is the worst-case scenario. (In my opinion.) Okay, so I believe that is enough of a decent foundation to finally get us started. And as you can see, we haven’t even gotten started and there are already a number of major factors to consider. I will go ahead and get this posted for now, and start working on Part 3B. “Logistics.” I will get it written and posted as soon as I can.

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Part 3B. of 3 Armed Teachers

Part 3B. of 3 Armed Teachers (Logistics)

Probably the most efficient way for me to do this will be using bullet points (pardon the pun), and maybe have a note or two with them where some explanation is needed. Keep in mind, not everything listed will necessarily inhibit/prohibit the arming of teachers. Some things might even seem a bit “trivial.” Nevertheless, they are things that MUST BE considered when dealing with matters of this magnitude. And although one or two small items may not seem like such a big deal on their own, you have to look at the overall cumulative effect when they are all combined into one. Think of it this way… Say you stick your arm through a broken window and cut it on a piece of the broken glass. Ouch, of course, but not that big a deal, even if you need a couple or three stitches. Now say you get that same cut in multiple places on your body all at the same time. “Uh, Houston, we have a problem.” Even if not immediately life-threatening, it will still be a rather disconcerting dilemma. So, something that may seem very small and insignificant can sometimes have a rather large impact.

Okay, to give a mentally manageable base for those who might want to do some calculations, I will use the city where I worked as an example. (Even though the high schools there are much larger than average.) As a rough estimate, I will be conservative and say there are…. hmmm…. sixteen (16) high schools within the city limits. Notice I am not counting any of the dozens of elementary or middle schools. (Different animals, remember?) Using our average-size school of eight (8) armed teachers in each school, we now have one hundred twenty eight (128) armed high school teachers within the city school district. Cool. Now, that gives us 128 pistols with three magazines for each pistol. Magazine capacities vary greatly, but for our purposes let’s use magazines with a ten-round capacity. That will be thirty (30) rounds per teacher, and that will give us 3840 rounds of ammunition to supply all the teachers for daily carry. Oh, and we will also need belts, belt keepers, holsters, and magazine pouches. A set of handcuffs for each armed teacher would be great, and a radio for each armed teacher would be absolutely fantastic for the obvious purpose of communication/coordinating with each other during an incident. Aw, hell. Let’s just go to the bullet points…. (By the way, these will be in no particular order. Just writing them down as they come into my head.)

• Weapon type: Semi-auto pistol. High-capacity. Three magazines.
• Holster type: 1. Level 3 security (or greater) 2. Carried on sturdy gun belt securely attached to teacher
• Who will provide the weapons, ammo, and all other equipment? (School system or individual teacher?)
• All teachers in school district carry same issued weapon, or personal preferrence? (On this, I STRONGLY suggest ALL teachers in a district carry the SAME weapon. (Why? 1. Makes group training considerably easier and more uniform 2. Armed teachers can use the same ammo/magazines of any other teacher in the school/district 3. Allows for easier repair/replacement of damaged/worn weapons 4. No cross-training necessary for different types of weapons)
• Will armed teachers receive additional “Hazard Pay”? (Consider that many/most school systems within the U.S. often struggle to pay teachers a reasonable regular salary.)
• Weapons carry: Open or concealed? (1. The type of security holster required would make concealed carry damn near impossible 2. Armed teachers who are female would (in most cases) have to drastically change their daily wardrobe, even if concealed carry. No dresses or skirts, in other words 3. Open-carried weapons will naturally be a distraction in the classroom 4. Reality check: How drastically will the attitude and demeanor of students change toward a teacher carrying a firearm on his/her hip? Be honest. MANY variations for this particular point.)
• Simply going through a basic shooter qualification course WILL NOT BE ENOUGH! Advanced Combat Shooter Courses would be a MUST! Furthermore, those types of courses should be repeated on a regular basis.
• WHO WILL PAY FOR THOSE COURSES? (Oh, by the way, most of the shooting courses I have ever attended outside departmental training usually cost me around $250 to $500 and required a minimum of 250 rounds - and up to 600 hundred rounds - of ammunition per course. (Ammo supplied by the individual shooter.)
• When will teachers attend training? (1. Ideally send armed teachers to training all at one time 2. Obviously would have to be a time when school is out for everybody 3. Qualifications annually (minimal) or semi-annually (ideal) 4. Coordination training should also be conducted on actual school grounds using various scenario drills (no students present) 5. Active shooter drills conducted with students present)
• Who will train the teachers? (1. Local Police? 2. Private contractor? Government agency?)
• Full psychological evaluations before teacher allowed to be armed
• Self-defense and weapons retention training MANDATORY
• Use of Lethal Force Guidelines (Will vary from state to state)
• Will armed teachers be issued personal body armor?
• Classrooms of armed teachers strategically placed throughout school
• Lunch/break period and school functions considerations (example: DO NOT WANT all armed teachers sitting together at one table in lunchroom during lunch times. Naturally, this will be either easier or more difficult to manage depending on the size of the school.)
• Responding police teams would have to revise all of their Active Shooter Training to accommodate for the armed teachers on scene. (A total nightmare, by the way. More on that later in Part 3C.)

Ladies and gentlemen, even with all of this, I have barely scratched the surface. Quite honestly, this is a little frustrating for me because I am doing my best to keep this SIMPLE. Yet, here we are. Another long-ass post. Again, these are just the basic considerations off the top of my head. Now, are any of the items I mentioned total show-stoppers toward the arming of our teachers? Honestly, no, not really. However, in my opinion, they are an absolute BARE MINIMUM of the issues I would want addressed if I had a child in a school with an armed teacher. And, keep in mind we have not even gotten into the Mentality/Qualifications segment yet. Gonna go ahead and post this now, even though it is not really everything I wanted to say. I’ll start working on Part 3C. as soon as I can.

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Part 3C. of 3 Armed

Part 3C. of 3 Armed Teachers (Mentality/Mindset/Qualifications) Segment 1 of 2

Well, we have finally reached the last installment in my apparently epic saga. In this episode we will be exploring the MINIMUM psychological traits and skill sets I would personally DEMAND in an Armed Teacher charged with the protection of my child (if I had one) in a school setting. We will also consider many of the factors said armed teacher would face during day to day routine activities and during an actual shooting incident. As much as I would love to provide multiple scenarios within various school settings, that is simply not possible in this format. Therefore, I will have to make do with using my average-size high school in a “Best Case” and a “Worst Case” example. I will also try to give a brief overview of the different considerations between large/small schools, and elementary/high schools. And, as stated in Part 3B., there will have to be some adjustments to the training of police officers responding to Active Shooter calls with armed teachers on the scene. I will touch on that problem a bit, too.

Before we continue, please do me a little favor. Think back to your high school and elementary school days. As best you can, try to remember all of your teachers and do a quick assessment of their personalities. And for those of you who may currently have kids in school, also do the same for as many of the teachers you know in your child’s school. Take your time doing this. We will get back to it toward the end of Segment 2 of 2.

Oh, one other little detail I would like to address real quick. I heard or read something mentioned about using teachers who are prior military and/or prior police. Great idea, obviously. Here’s the problem, though. First, most anybody who was ever prior law enforcement would rarely (and I mean RARELY) end up as a teacher. Not impossible, mind you, just not very likely. Incredibly small percentage, in other words. On the other hand, there is a really good chance for a person with prior military experience being a teacher, as many people today join the military primarily for the college money and exit the military to pursue their primary career choice. Unfortunately, contrary to popular belief, just because a person is prior military DOES NOT necessarily indicate that individual is suitable for being armed in a school full of kids. Believe me, I have served with MANY I would hesitate to trust with even an inert “rubber duck” training rifle. (Look it up.) Therefore, we have an incredibly small percentage of prior-military teachers with suitable training/qualifications/experience. (Pretty sure Myk and some of the other ex-military guys can back me up on that.) So, how does this translate to our school district of 16 average-size high schools consisting of 128 armed teachers? Well, I do not have any exact figures/percentages, but if I were being VERY generous, I would say we MIGHT have eight to ten teachers meeting the ex-police and qualified prior-military criteria. Pretty damn negligible, I would say. (Personal opinion.)

Now to the meat of it: Proper mindset and attitude. Without going into too much detail, there is a considerable difference between carrying a weapon around for personal protection and being tasked to carry a weapon for the purpose of protecting others. I know this, because I have carried a weapon of some fashion or another on my person pretty much every single day of my adult life. And I have carried one for both purposes mentioned. Again, without going into much detail, allow me to let you in on a little secret: Carrying a weapon on a daily basis is an ABSOLUTE BURDEN AND INCONVENIENCE. Period. It is not fun. It is not macho. It does not make a person some sort of invincible badass. Anybody who believes otherwise should never be allowed to carry a firearm outside their own home. (Personal opinion.) Sadly, many do. But that could be a topic for a whole other discussion. Anyway, back to proper mindset and attitude relating to armed teachers…

For all practical purposes, any armed teacher would effectively become “school police”, meaning a teacher would have to develop a “Police Mentality” to some degree. No real way to avoid it. With that in mind, what exactly IS “Police Mentality”? Well, for starters, it was something that had to be pounded into me over four months in a police academy, and then during twelve weeks on patrol riding with – and being evaluated by – a Field Training Officer. But even all of THAT served only to provide a very basic foundation for the mindset and skills I had yet to develop. Here are just a few off the top of my head. (No particular order, and definitely NOT all-inclusive.)….

• Constant threat assessment (Must become as automatic and unconscious as breathing)
• Keen situational awareness (Also must become automatic/intuitive)
• Minimize tunnel vision caused by extreme stress
• Being able to maintain clear and rational thinking regardless of whatever chaos may be happening around you
• Controlling emotions (Deal with the problem at hand. Emotions can wait until later.)
• Split-second decision making under the most adverse conditions
• An almost “sixth sense” ability to immediately determine whether something is wrong or right in any given situation
• A healthy measure of paranoia (Everything and Everybody is a potential threat until determined otherwise. In other words, NEVER let down your guard.)
• A self-confident and authoritative attitude that projects loud and clear, “I OWN the space I occupy! DO NOT try me!”, yet it is wrapped in a deceptively relaxed and casual demeanor

Notice the things I have listed are things that CANNOT be taught from a book in a classroom. These are instincts and observational skills that can only be learned over a period of several months – and sometimes years – through regular exposure to a wide variety of high-stress hazardous situations. And believe me, there were many trial and error mistakes made along the way. (I have scars to prove it.) Now, aside from these vital “Police Mentality” skills, there is another psychological factor to consider. Anybody ever heard of “Warrior Mentality”? For those not familiar with it, here is a VERY BRIEF and VERY GENERAL overview:

• While everybody else is running away from the threat, you should be advancing toward it and actively seeking to engage it
• NEVER give up. As long as you have a breath left in you and are able to function, STAY IN THE FIGHT. Just because you are hit (shot) or injured does NOT necessarily mean you are out of the game.
• Stand your ground. You DO NOT back down. You OWN the space you occupy
• (And here is an important one.) You prefer NOT to fight. But if given no other option, be decisive. Hit fast. Hit hard. Finish it quickly. The longer a fight lasts, the greater the chances you will lose.

It is interesting to note that it is possible to have a “Police Mentality” without having a “Warrior Mentality” and vice versa. Obviously, any person assigned to protect a school full of children would ideally possess both of these mindsets… (in a perfect world). Oh, and even more so than a “Police Mentality”, the “Warrior Mentality” is something that can DEFINITELY not be taught in a classroom. Just ask any professional fighter or anybody who has ever been in a military combat unit.

On that note, I will end this segment and go ahead and get this posted so I can start on the final portion. Meanwhile, I will leave you with a little something else to consider. It concerns sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs. Some of you may already be familiar with it, but it is still good to read again. For those who have not heard of it, LTC Dave Grossman is far better at explaining it than I could ever hope to do.

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Part 3C. of 3 Armed Teachers

Part 3C. of 3 Armed Teachers (Mentality/Mindset/Qualifications) Segment 2 of 2

As I have said before, if I had a child in school that was considering having armed teachers, I would DEMAND each teacher being considered have a THOROUGH psychological evaluation, first and foremost, regardless of their qualifications or prior experience. I would also want to know which teachers volunteered and which teachers were “drafted” due to lack of volunteers. (Although, it is difficult for me to imagine how anybody could be “forced” to take on that responsibility. Still, stranger things have happened.) Something else I would suggest would be the school holding a “conference” allowing all of the parents to attend with the potentially armed teachers taking the podium, introducing themselves, telling their experience and why they should be armed, and answering a few questions. To me, that is only fair. That is merely a suggestion, however.

Okay, remember when I asked you to “evaluate” all the teachers you have ever had and/or known? Well, as objectively as possible, considering everything I have written so far, how many of those teachers would you HONESTLY believe capable of possessing/learning any of the traits I have mentioned? And, more importantly, how many of those teachers would you truly feel comfortable with being armed and responsible for protecting your child in a shooting situation? As an example, after considering all of the teachers I could remember from my high school, I could come up with only five or six teachers (out of 25 to 30 who taught there) I would consider acceptable for the task. But as for the grade schools and junior high schools I attended, the number is far less per school. And this was during the seventies and eighties in a cluster of rural small towns where almost everybody had some type of practical experience or familiarization with firearms. Now, does that mean I believe all the other teachers would be totally worthless in an emergency situation? Certainly not. Granted, there are a few I can picture totally flipping out, going spastic, and maybe cowering in a corner blubbering like idiots. At the same time, however, I have seen some of the most unexpected people do some of the most extraordinary things during some extraordinary situations. But those are the very rare exceptions, and most often simply dumb-luck events. Not exactly something with which I would choose to trust the life of my child.

Police response to Active Shooter calls: No doubt there have been a few procedural changes since I went through Active Shooter training several years ago, but I am reasonably sure the primary rules of engagement have stayed the same. And one of those primary rules is this: Upon locating the shooting suspect, IMMEDIATELY take out that target if you have a good shot. In other words, there is no Hollywood bullshit of, “Freeze! Police! Drop your weapon!” There is no attempting to negotiate or giving the suspect a chance to surrender. Plain and simple, if you positively identify the suspect and have a clear shot, YOU. TAKE. THE. SHOT. Even if it means shooting the fucker in the back of the head. Stop the threat. Period. So, as you are probably already guessing, having a bunch of armed teachers running around in the school in civilian clothes (with some of them most likely doing some shooting of their own) is going to make the job of any officer on scene considerably more difficult and infinitely more dangerous. Hopefully, the reasons for that are obvious to anybody reading this. Which brings me to another very important factor to consider…

Do the armed teachers barricade themselves in a classroom with whatever students they may have with them, or do they set out to actively search for and engage the shooter? Well, consider our average-size high school of eight armed teachers out of twenty four total teachers. Assuming all eight armed teachers are at school that day, if they barricade in place, then they and the students with them in the respective secured rooms are in relatively good shape, right? But, at the very best, that is basically just one-third of the students and school staff that are protected. I guess the other two-thirds are just going to have to fend for themselves? Doesn’t seem very practical, does it? So, what if the armed teachers have comms with each other and are able to coordinate a search for the shooter(s)? How effective would that be? Here are a few points to consider:

• Where were all of the teachers when the incident started? (Everybody in classes? Everybody on lunch break? Recess? School rally event?)
• How many shooters?
• Size and layout of the school
• Type of weapon(s) shooter(s) using
• How many panicked students are running wildly about?
• Do the armed teachers have direct communication capabilities with responding police? (STRONGLY SUGGEST THAT BE A REQUIREMENT…… somehow.)
• If the shooter(s) is/are current/former students or staff, then it is likely they are familiar with the procedures to be followed by the armed teachers and they planned accordingly. (Really bad news. This, by the way, would fall under one of those “Worst Case Scenario” situations, especially with two or more active shooters.)
• If armed teachers do not have direct comms with responding police, then the armed teachers are just as likely to be engaged and shot by the police as the actually active shooter (Hence the need to totally re-train pretty much every officer everywhere in regards to Active Shooter response.)
• Here’s a nightmare for you: An officer (or officers) respond(s) to scene and encounter an armed teacher. And during those few tense seconds of hesitation in trying to determine if the teacher is friend or foe, the actual shooter steps around a corner and takes out the teacher AND the officer(s). HEY, FUN FOR EVERYBODY!
• What if the shooter is a ten or eleven year old child? How will the teachers react upon seeing that and having to decide whether or not to pull the trigger on him/her? If that teacher hesitates, that teacher is dead. Don’t think it could happen? Hmph… Ask me about an incident in which I was personally involved.
• Will the teachers have some type of highly visible jacket or arm band designating them as “good guys”?

Aaaand the list goes on and on…. Personally, I know if I were responding to a school on an Active Shooter call and I knew there were armed teachers on the scene, it would be with a feeling of mixed emotions. On the one hand, I would be hoping they might actually take out the fucker before he/she causes too much damage. On the other hand, I am hoping when I get on scene that I do not accidentally end up killing an armed teacher by mistake, as I would have no way of telling the difference between the shooter and teacher. In that respect, communications will be a very major factor.

Folks, I could go on and on about this. And there are many other things I would have liked to mention. But these posts have already been waaaay longer than I ever intended. Before I end this, however, there is one thing I would like to add. Believe it or not, I hate being one of the guys having to rain on the parade of all those in favor of arming our American school teachers. I honestly wish having armed teachers in the schools could make things safer for our children. On the surface, I would almost have to admit it seems like a very smart and reasonable idea, and it would be very easy for me to be a proponent of it. Way deep down in my gut, however, given the things I know and the real-world experiences I have had, I simply cannot in good conscious agree that arming the average teacher is a sound and reasonable solution for preventing school shootings. About the ONLY way I could even remotely consider it to be feasible would be to send any teacher to be armed through an actual police academy and have them sworn in as reserve police officers. And even with THAT, I would still have a few nagging doubts depending on a variety of factors. Otherwise, I just get a feeling of deep and dark foreboding whenever I think about it.

Dave Matson's picture


Truth is in the details, and you have given us a healthy heaping of details. I actually read the whole post even though it's getting late. Truly excellent! A simple statistical rule sort of sums thing up. Any proposed solution must not exceed the danger of the threat! Presently, having a shooter hit your school (or your local theater) in any given year is pretty rare, so risky solutions are hardly justified.

And then there's the matter of the false alarm, where teachers end up shooting each other! I guess things were already a bit long!

Tin-Man's picture


Thank you, Green, for taking the time to read all my posts. I know it was a great deal of material to digest at once. And, as I have said before, the interesting thing is that there are still many major topics and concerns left to be considered. What you read was simply the things I could think of off the top of my head, and I even left out a few items for the sake of trying to keep things brief/simple. Thankfully, others on here have since brought up several of those omitted points, and have even provided a few others I didn't even think of.

Here is my biggest concern, however. Out of all of those things mentioned, there really and truly is not anything there that would be a definite show-stopper if the powers-that-be are dead-set on making Armed Teachers a reality. And that sends a chill up my spine just thinking about it. While there are a number of solid financial matters and a couple of other logistic matters to consider as "real" hurdles, a majority of the points made are - quite frankly - incredibly subjective. (Psychological evals, number of armed teachers necessary per school, amount of training required, etc.) At the very least, they are subjective enough that some slimy weasel of a politician/bureaucrat with an agenda who doesn't know a gun from his own asshole could easily skirt around the issues and play them off as insignificant. That thought gives me a headache and makes me want to scream.

LogicFTW's picture


Yeah, just another example of the many atrocities that the current political class inflicts upon its voters. I am not saying all politicians are all bad, just the current controlling majority certainly seem worse then the usual.

Sheldon's picture
Thank you Tin man, a very

Thank you Tin man, a very thorough cogent response. I wonder if anyone championing Trumps absurd notion to arm teachers has considered how many teachers might refuse point blank to be involved in such an impractical and inherently dangerous scheme? Do you have a national teachers union in the US? Their lawyers might have something to say on the matter as well. What about teachers who refused to work in an environment if firearms are introduced? If there are any teachers left to select from at that point, how many would simply be unsuitable for such training?

As Tinman's obvious expertise in firearms shows the notion that arming teachers to shoot dead armed attackers is a simple solution is absurdly idiotic.

However there appears to a much simpler solution that has the merits of being demonstrated to work elsewhere, and won't cost a penny. Indeed making access to firearms harder and more expensive could generate revenue for the government.

Tin-Man's picture


You are absolutely correct in saying there is absolutely NOTHING simple about the notion of arming teachers in schools. Because even with everything I have posted so far, I have omitted many other considerations for the sake of brevity. In many cases with some of the factors I have presented, there are topics which could have an entire paper written about them on their own. And it is a disturbing shame to me that too many people do not stop to consider any of these matters, or have no knowledge of them at all. Honestly, I do not know which is worse: Those who ignorantly spout off about arming teachers without having any knowledge of the very serious considerations and potential consequences? Or, those who are extremely aware of the things I have pointed out, but choose to ignore them because they are an inconvenience to their personal or political agendas?

You brought up legal issues. Thank you, because that is something I wanted to touch on in my other posts, but put it aside for what I believed to be more urgent considerations. Within the police community, we had the F.O.P. (Fraternal Order of Police) and the P.B.A. (Police Benevolence Association) which officers could join and pay a monthly membership fee to have lawyers and legal assistance available specifically for police related incidents. What will teachers have in that regard? Also, how will having armed teachers affect overall insurance rates across the country? And I am certain there are considerable other legal implications that I cannot even imagine right off hand. As for having a policy where ALL TEACHERS are REQUIRED to be armed, I see absolutely NO WAY that could ever be passed or enforced, legally or otherwise. The mere concept is beyond absurd and ludicrous. I mean, let's be honest, I am pretty sure we have all had/known teachers who are just barely mentally stable enough to simply be in the classroom teaching. So why in the HELL would anybody ever consider putting a loaded weapon in their possession in the middle of a school full of annoying, mischievous, highly emotional, petty, bratty, patience-stretching, loud-mouth, smart-assed, anti-authority kids and teenagers? The thought boggles the mind.

Oh, on a side note: While I sincerely thank you for your compliment about my "obvious expertise in firearms", I am afraid that is a "title" I cannot accept, as I do not consider myself an expert on the matter in any way. In my humble opinion, an expert on the matter is somebody who has exact figures available and who is able to analyze the situation in a totally objective and unbiased manner. As I have a rather hefty emotional investment in the subject matter, I would be hard pressed to consider my views objective and unbiased, and my propensity for using statistics and exact figures is practically non-existent. I tend to operate on intuition and gut-instinct most of the time. As for my shooting abilities and familiarization with firearms, I know and have worked with a number of people who make me look like a kid with a cap gun running around playing cowboys and Indians. For those reasons, I prefer to think of myself as more of an experienced and skilled amateur with very strong views and opinions that may or may not be entirely accurate. *chuckle*

algebe's picture


That's a very thorough analysis.

From my own experience of teachers, I'd say that the L:S (lunatic to sane) ratio is somewhat higher than the national average, so arming that particular population could be counter-productive. One of my friends in the UK was dragged by hair and beaten hard by a teacher (we were 12 then). In Japan a classmate of my friend's son had his eardrum punctured when a crackpot teacher hit him on the ear with a cupped hand. When I was a high school board member in New Zealand, I encountered several teachers who were quite prone to violence. So on balance I think it would be marginally safer to give the guns to the kids.

Another hazard is that when the cops arrive at a school shooting they'll be looking for anyone standing up with a gun in his hand. If that happens to be the deputy principal or maths teacher, there'll be a couple of vacancies on the school staff. There won't be much time to check identities.

What might be more practical is a classroom door lock that can be controlled by a panic button on the teacher's desk. Anything to slow the shooter down until the cops get there

Tin-Man's picture


Yeah, as I mentioned in my posts and just now to Sheldon, I do believe we all know teachers out there who are just barely a well-aimed spitball away from snapping on a classroom full of kids. The thought of any of those teachers having immediate access to a firearm is disturbing, to say the least.

And, yes, having armed teachers running about in the school during a crisis will indeed make it incredibly more difficult for any police responding to the scene. I have the advantage of being able to mentally insert myself into such a scenario in a realistic manner, and no matter how I look at it, the results are never favorable. I covered that a bit in the section about having to re-train most police in regards to responding to Active Shooter calls.

Your "panic button" idea does have some merit, but there are also a few things to consider about that. One drawback that immediately springs to my mind is one of kids-being-kids and using the panic button to lock the teacher out of his class should he/she step outside for some reason during class. Next would be the type of door construction. Granted, there are many other things to consider. Even so, right off the bat, I can actually see that as being a potentially beneficial idea. Gonna have to think on it a bit more. Hmmm.....

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
The best thread yet.

The best thread yet.

mykcob4's picture
I may be covering what has

I may be covering what has already been covered on this thread please excuse me if I do.
Recently in the Dallas area, a man killed his girlfriend and then went to a nail salon with the intent of shooting more people. His gun jammed or he ran out of ammo. At any rate, a nearby shop owner that had a gun came and held the man at gunpoint until the police arrived. Now the local and very biased local media praised the gun owner for acting.
I have a real problem with this, and here's why.
1) If the original man's gun had not jammed, I doubt that the gun owner (shop owner) would have been successful in stopping this individual. I think he would have caused more confusion and may himself injured more innocent people, and may have been killed himself.
2) It is quite possible the shop owner could have been mistaken by the police as the assailant and shot him instead of the one committing the crimes.
3) The criminal had a legal right to own and operate the gun he committed the murder with.
4) If the criminal had decided to use an AR-15 instead of a handgun, there would have been more carnage.
Can you imagine if the criminal going on a rampage used an AR-15 and the shop owner decided to use an AR-15? It would have been a war zone and all manner of death and mayhem would have occurred.
Now to the Teachers being REQUIRED to be armed PROBLEM. Tin-man has covered this extensively and I totally agree. Having experience in battle I know what it takes to be in a firefight. I don't care how much training you get at a range, you don't know how to conduct a firefight unless you have been several, not just one.
Just look at the situation:
Criminal armed
Citizens armed
Police arrive on the scene armed
Everyone is scared and the whole situation is confusing. There are situations where an experienced policeman has shot detectives because they didn't know they were policemen as well and those detectives were caring a gun.
Trump is just parroting the NRA who are trying to wiggle out of responsibility. The idea of teachers being armed exacerbates the situation and the potential for even more harm is highly likely!

Tin-Man's picture


Glad you are here to back me up on some of this stuff, because you know what is like to be involved in the stress and confusion of a gunfight. Here is a little something you might be interested in knowing, though, regarding the difference between police responding to the scene of an Active Shooter in a school (for instance), and police responding to the scene of a call of a person with a gun out in a public area. Oddly enough, the differences are very subtle, yet they make a tremendous difference.

Allow me to use your example of the shop owner holding a shooting suspect at gunpoint until police arrived. I have actually responded to calls almost exactly like that numerous times during my years on patrol. Happens more regularly than you might think. Arrive on scene, and there stands a guy pointing a gun at another person who is either sitting or kneeling on the ground in front of him. Granted, there is always a chance out there somewhere that an over-zealous and/or less experienced officer might mistake the "good guy" for the "bad guy". Cops are human just like the rest of us. But they are very rare exceptions. Personally, I never had any problem determining who was who in any of the many such encounters I had. Matter of fact, one of my first such incidents happened when I was only about three weeks out of the academy. I was driving with my training officer in the front passenger seat, and we had literally just left the precinct parking lot when we heard gunshots coming from a local convenience store just about a block or two away. I immediately sped toward it and turned down the alleyway leading to the "front" of the establishment. Just as I was nearing the business, a guy steps into the middle of the alleyway just a few feet ahead of me, takes a shooter's stance with a revolver pointing down the cross-alley, and fires off a couple of rounds. Obviously, I immediately slam on the brakes, slam the car into park, and open my door almost all in the same motion and step out with my pistol in hand using my door for cover. My training officer was out of the vehicle even before I was, and he was running up to the man who I could now see was bleeding from a cut on his head. And in just that split second amount of time it took for these things to happen, I knew instinctively the man was no threat to me or my FTO. Turns out he was the store owner and he had just been robbed while opening his business for the day. He was shooting at the fleeing suspect who had bashed him over the head in his office and then stolen whatever money was in sight in his office. My FTO took off on foot down the alley and directed me to take the car a few blocks ahead in an effort to box in the suspect. With the help of other responding officers, we were able to catch the suspect in short order.

Now, allow me to compare that to responding to an Active Shooter call to a school. Different mindset altogether. Many, many other factors to consider. Different procedures to follow entirely. One (unless something has changed since I last took the course), is that an officer DOES NOT go into the school alone to hunt for the shooter. If I remember correctly, unless under extreme extenuating circumstances, no less than three officers should enter the school AS A FIRE TEAM. (In other words, they stay together as a single unit. None of the, "Hey, you go this way, you go that way, and I'll go the other way to look for the guy.") Two, the idea is to STOP THE THREAT as quickly as possible. If you hear shooting, go that direction in a methodical and cautious manner and without hesitation kill any fucker with a gun you might find along the way. Speaking from personal experience, it would be a nightmare having to do that with a bunch of armed teachers running around in plain clothes and possibly exchanging gunfire with the actual suspect. How the hell would we know the difference? For that matter, how the hell would we know it isn't maybe one of the teachers who actually cracked up, and in knowing the police are on scene would play the part of a "good guy" just long enough to get the police lured in to pick them off from behind? (Another one of those "Worst Case Scenarios", by the way.)

So, basically, I guess what I'm trying to say is that it is really not accurate to compare private citizens carrying weapons for personal protection to having teachers in schools armed for the specific reason to "protect" the students. Even though the differences are seemingly subtle, they are pretty much two different animals entirely.

Sapporo's picture
The policy will result in a

The policy will result in a significant number of teachers leaving the profession. It would be immediately clear that it cannot work, if only for that reason.

Tin-Man's picture


Yep. Even here in the Southern states where many are practically BORN with a weapon in their hands, I can think of quite a few teachers I know/have known who would be way less than accepting of having teachers be armed in their schools. I am just curious as to how much press/news time those teachers would get compared to all the cherry-picked teachers who are pro-arming. Then I have to wonder what type of "strong-arm" tactics would be used against those teachers who oppose the idea to keep them in line?

Tin-Man's picture
***This is a response I made

***This is a response I made to Dio regarding a post he made in the "4 states take action on gun control" thread. I transferred it here for its relevance***

@Dio Re: "The thing about arming teachers is that you have to find a large number of pyschos who have cold-blooded killer instincts..."

if you don't mind, there is something I would like to address real quick that I missed last night when I first responded. (I was mentally pooped at the time and was in a hurry about to go to bed.) While I am reasonably certain your statement about finding teachers who are cold-blooded psychos was meant as an exaggeration, I would like to make it clear to any others reading that the real problem is actually less dramatic but considerably more complicated than that. Although I am no psychology expert in any way, I do imagine finding a few "psycho teachers" would not really be that difficult. I've known quite a few, actually. LOL The TRUE problem and difficulty will be finding enough teachers who are sound of mind, psychology and emotionally stable, have mature and tested reasoning/decision-making skills, and who are capable of handling extreme-stress situations. And then out of THOSE very few/rare candidates you will have to find and select the ones who would actually be willing to take on the incredibly serious and grave responsibility of having to potentially take the life of a child without hesitation. I am glad you brought that up, because it is a damn good point. Because if people expect a teacher in that situation to simply go back to "business as usual" after performing such a dreadful act (regardless of how necessary it may have been), then to those people I would say, "Kiss my ass, you idiots."

For the sake of continuity, I believe I will transfer this post over to the Armed Teacher thread.

Edited for a minor technical correction

algebe's picture


What's your view on non-lethal weapons like tasers and pepper spray? Proper training would be needed of course. And maybe a minimum IQ score.

A couple of years ago an Australian cop attended an incident where a guy had doused himself in gasoline and was threatening to kill himself. The cop pointed his taser at the poor fellow and ordered him to put down the lighter. Well you can guess the rest.

Tin-Man's picture
@Algebe Re: Non-lethal

@Algebe Re: Non-lethal weapons

I am a big fan of tasers. They were a very valuable asset to have when working on patrol and having to deal with unarmed suspects who did not wish to go to jail peacefully. Saved me from having to get into a fight on many occasions. But to suggest using a taser to confront and attempt to neutralize a subject armed with a firearm would be almost equal to sending somebody to take out an armored tank with a single shot hunting rifle. Moreover, despite how great it was having a taser handy in the field, just like anything else of that nature, they are not one hundred percent guaranteed to always work perfectly. Many, many factors to be considered when deciding whether or not to use the taser.

While I cannot speak for every law enforcement agency in the country, in my department we were authorized to use one level of force higher than what we were confronted with. (Contrary to popular belief, every department has its own policies and procedures that can vary greatly from state to state. Even from city to city.) Simply put, if a suspect came at me with empty hands, I would ideally use one of my non-lethal defense options. (Typically pepper spray and/or taser.) If a suspect engaged me with a weapon (baseball bat, iron pipe, knife, etc.), then I was authorized to use lethal force, as any of those are dangerous instruments and potentially lethal weapons. I over-simplified this just a bit, but you get the idea. Basically, I was in no way expected to go toe-to-toe with a suspect on equal terms. So, being that a taser is a non-lethal weapon, how does that translate to how I could react to somebody confronting me with a taser? Well, to put it bluntly, I would shoot the absolute shit out of the idiot. Anybody ever been hit with a taser? I have been hit with one multiple times under various conditions for training purposes. Worst pain I have ever experienced in my life each and every time. And each and every time I was totally immobilized and completely defenseless while the taser was activated. Meaning the suspect could leisurely walk up to me and disarm me and/or kill me in whatever method he/she chose. Truth be told, somebody threatening me with a knife would have a better chance of survival than somebody threatening me with a taser. But, to get back on point, tasers not a good idea for teachers expected to protect against shooter(s).

Pepper spray? Well, it has its uses too. It did come in handy from time to time, especially before we ever got the tasers. From my experience, however, it is mostly useful as just a good distraction tool. Rarely (if ever) really incapacitated anybody I ever used it on, but it was generally able to take most of the fight out of many of them. Others, however, it just seemed to make them more angry and fight harder. Fact is, mace/pepper spray is only moderately effective, especially on an individual with a high tolerance for pain, or on an individual who may have been regularly exposed to it before. Personally, I know for a fact I can be sprayed directly in the face with the Freeze +P we were issued and still hit a target center mass at fifteen yards. (I always had a bad habit of volunteering to be the guinea pig during training events.) Again, it is a pretty good distractor, but something that should NEVER be considered for use against a subject armed with a firearm. (Unless you happen to somehow find yourself in a hand-to-hand struggle with a suspect over a firearm, then by all means use whatever resources you may have available to get the upper hand. At that point, however, you may find getting to your mace - if you have any - a bit difficult. Just sayin'...)

Self-edited without prompting to remove unprofessional and insensitive remark concerning taser/gasoline incident mentioned by Algebe. My sincerest apologies.

chimp3's picture
We ask too much of our public

We ask too much of our public school teachers as it is. Now we are going to train them to be commandos? Fucking insanity! They deserve protection just as much as the students.

How is this for a solution: Lock the school doors, all of them. You can come in through the front if you are buzzed in by a security guard. That would create at least one obstacle for the psycho.

Rethink evacuating during a fire drill. In nursing homes we shelter in place and do not evacuate unless we know where the fire is. Then we evacuate only those people nearest to the fire.

Tin-Man's picture
@Chimp Re: "We ask too much

@Chimp Re: "We ask too much of our public school teachers as it is."

You hit the nail on the head with that simple statement, Chimp. Although there are a few exceptions here and there, a vast majority of teachers are grossly underpaid and seem to be put under more and more ridiculous pressure from their respective school boards each and every year. It is a wonder most of them are able to maintain their sanity as it is. And they are working in school systems with budgets that are barely able to provide the minimum teaching resources. And now we want to dump on them the extra extreme burden of carrying a firearm to class every day? "Fucking insane" doesn't even begin to describe it.

While your idea for securing the school doors and having a single guarded entry point is a reasonable suggestion for when everybody is already in school and in class, we are assuming a shooter will pick that time to start a rampage. Not likely. You ALWAYS have to think worst case scenario and plan your defenses as if you were the actual shooter. When would you determine the best time for the attack to be started? From what angle would you approach the school? How will you keep your weapon concealed until within range of your targets? Do you have an accomplice on the inside who might open one of the unguarded doors for you? Are you going in with an escape plan, or are you doing a suicide run? Do you know who and where the armed teachers are? Are you going after a specific target, or there to get as many as you can? Do you have "sleeper" accomplices in a classroom with one of the armed teachers who plan to take the teacher by surprise and overpower the teacher for the weapon? And these are just barely scratching the surface of possibilities to consider.

So very many things.... so very many..... *frustrated sigh*

chimp3's picture
I did not mean to make it

I did not mean to make it sound simple. Just start a dialogue about strategies other than armed teachers. One problem with arming teachers is this; Police enter the building looking for a shooter not wearing a uniform. How do the cops know who is who?

Tin-Man's picture
@Chimp Re: "Police enter

@Chimp Re: "Police enter the building looking for a shooter not wearing a uniform. How do the cops know who is who?"

Exactly. Among the dozens of other problems, that one right there is one of my biggest concerns. And while that is an obvious problem making things dangerous for the teachers, it also makes things much more dangerous for the police. In that particular situation, police are looking to take out any shooter they see. With armed teachers involved in the mix, police would then have to be concerned about choosing targets more carefully, thus causing them to have to hesitate before taking a shot. And a split second can very often mean the difference between life and death.

I know you didn't mean to over-simplify anything. And your idea does have potential in certain situations. Unfortunately, there are no easy fixes for the overall situation. Schools are not static environments. They are totally fluid and dynamic in that people randomly come and go throughout any given day. Plus, kids will be kids, throwing their own random bits of unpredictability into the pot. At the same time (and here is a strong dose of irony for you), schools are incredibly routine and regulated, making them easily predictable in their general patterns of daily schedules. And while there are a few universal guidelines that could be implemented/followed in regards to school security, when it comes down to the specific procedures and protocols, no two schools are the same. Custom planning would have to be developed for each individual school based on many things such as....

*Size and layout of the school
*How many entrances/exits
*Just one all-inclusive school building? Or, for example, are the gymnasium and band room separate buildings? Some schools even use multiple small trailers as extra classrooms.
*How many teachers and other staff members
*How many students
*Age range of students
*Large inner-city type school in highly congested area
*Moderate community school surrounded by a comfortably spaced residential area
*Smaller rural school in a relatively isolated location

And probably a dozen or more other things I may have missed. Nevertheless, that should at least provide a good starting point on discussing possible alternative strategies as you suggested. And I am glad you mentioned that, by the way. Because I have been so caught up in reasons not to used armed teachers, I have honestly not taken very much time to consider alternate methods. To be perfectly honest, though, as much as I hate to admit it, I have to say I am rather short on ideas that I would consider to be totally effective. Then again, I suppose anything that could be used to slow down the suspect enough until the police arrive would be a plus.

Sky Pilot's picture
We all know what the results

We all know what the results will be but it's still going to be fun when it happens. You're just going to have to laugh about it.

This issue is a good example of what happens when dummies get elected and make the rules.

LogicFTW's picture

You mentioned perhaps 3 clips per teacher (10 rounds each I believe) in your calculations. Why 3? Even a mid size school that had 4 teachers trained and armed, that is 120 rounds. I can only guess that teachers should be trained in placing their shots rather then cover firing or suppressive fire and of course blind suppressive fire. As more than likely there will be collateral damage scenarios that need to be considered in a school. Nearly every school shooting involved 2 or less active shooters. I would think two 6-8 round magazines would be more than sufficient. Is their consideration in counting down 6 shots fired is easier than counting down 10 especially in the heat of the moment? In my mind this is truly a scenario of quality of shots over quantity. To me training of things like a pincer attack, (hitting 2 opposite flanks of the active shooter at the same time.) Would be very effective over having more ammo. Less ammo also reduces the chance of a mass shooting carried out by a teacher or a student that gets ahold of the gun designed for the teacher.

In your assailant with a taser scenario would you shoot to kill or disable? Forgive my general ignorance on firearm and police tactics, but I have always wondered why, especially at close range cops seemingly tend to shoot for center mass and/or shoot to kill over, say shooting out a knee, or aim for the taser/knife etc holding hand/arm/shoulder? And in a scenario of someone reaching into their jacket for a possible gun they do not start with taser over a gun? (especially if within the reasonable range of a taser?) With a taser you can shoot first and ask questions later?

So, basically, I guess what I'm trying to say is that it is really not accurate to compare private citizens carrying weapons for personal protection to having teachers in schools armed for the specific reason to "protect" the students.

Well said, I strongly agree.

Locking all doors at all times would create a huge fire hazard as well as quite a few other safety concerns. Ofcourse the solution here is you can have alarmed emergency exits that do not lock on the inside. And just hope these underfunded schools keep these doors maintained, tested and do not defeat the emergency doors locking/alarm mechanism. Nearly every building I been in regularly that had alarmed emergency exits had at least one well known "emergency exit" door that had its alarm defeated and would be propped open or just generally unlocked. I remember reading during a cold snap in Boston they had to shut down quite a few schools because basic heat was not working, implementing the very expensive and high maintenance emergency exit doors will be rife with problems. I also remember at my office during an annual fire inspection 1 of the emergency doors had been so rarely used it sort of rusted/sealed itself shut (perhaps building settling as well.) And it took 2 strong firemen to force the door open just to test it. And at least half the doors alarms failed to sound when the door was opened. The office landlord typically decided to pay the fine rather then go through the expense of updating/fixing the doors regularly to pass a random surprise inspection.

Also: many large schools having a single entrance/exit creates people moving problems. All classes let out at the same time. Everyone leaves the school at the same time. For larger schools, imagine 5000 high school students trying to all exit the same place every day? Even if they had 4 sets of doors can you imagine 5000 kids excited to be done with school for the day not creating problems being channeled through the one entrance?

@any interested reader:
I always wondered if tRump would top himself when it came to supporting and spouting off stupid ideas. (The US/Mexico border wall held the stupidest idea crown until he topped himself with this arming teachers idea.)

As mentioned before, a young student armed with a weapon like the AR-15 is a complete tactical nightmare, especially in schools, with nearly all the advantage going to the shooter, (especially if they are suicidal.) Let alone the huge advantage of surprise an active shooter will have.

Adding to the many other excellent points brought up here:

No one can claim expertise in defense against a school mass shooter. The odds that someone will have even one experience of defending a school against an AR-15 like weapon mass shooter, will ever experience that scenario again is near nil. People like Mykcob and Tin-Man have experience and some expertise to offer in a fire fight, and some good insight and ideas to offer. And know a heck lot more about this topic than most any of us. As horrific and seemingly common school mass shootings are these days, they are still exceedingly rare. It is literally impossible to have anyone experienced in this type of scenario.

There is at least 130 thousand schools in this country. Even if there was 13 mass shootings in US schools a year, every year, the odds a particular school will suffer a mass shooting is 1 in 10,000 in these generalized odds. 99.99% of all armed teachers, staff, deputies etc will not have a mass shooting in their school in a given year. Even a 4 decade career in schools and your odds still are 99.5% chance you will never have a mass shooting in the school. Can you imagine going through all the expense, time spent, training, etc as a busy, underpaid teacher to learn something you will very likely never ever need? Any responsible gun owner knows the incredible burden of having a firearm around a bunch of kids, that are not even your own? Especially when that 1 kid in perhaps 50,000 over your school career that wants to trick you to take your firearm from you for their own use?

Do not get me wrong, mass shooting in schools is horrific and even one mass shooting is way to many. Especially considering every other modern first world country in the world has zero, to very very few mass shootings per year.

We could at incredible expense and risk try to better secure our schools OR we can implement common sense gun control that many other countries are doing to very effectively reduce the number of mass school shootings, with a positive side effect of reducing overall gun violence. I would be happy if we could at the very least: control guns the way we control automobiles. Licensing, yearly registration, car registration/vin numbers, mandatory tests, maintenance requirements, expiring license to drive that need to be renewed, and large amounts of required installed safety features.

I actually classify gun right fanatics, (especially the people that think a weapon like an AR-15 should be readily available to anyone over 18 with the cash to buy it) as more crazy/insane/dangerous than your average door to door bible thumper. And perhaps surprisingly to some, a strong majority of Americans agree with me. (In favor of more sensible gun controls.)

Tin-Man's picture
Hey there, Logic. How ya doin

Hey there, Logic. How ya doin'? Well you covered a lot of items there, but I will do my best to answer your questions.

1. "You mentioned perhaps 3 clips per teacher (10 rounds each I believe) in your calculations. Why 3?"
Well, three magazines is standard carry for most police (one in the weapon, two spares on the belt), and some guys even carry a couple more than that. As for the ten rounds per magazine, that is just a nice even number I used for ease of calculations. In reality, I would suggest upwards of a fifteen round capacity per magazine. The more rounds the merrier. Also, semi-auto pistols are prone to mis-feeding/malfunctioning at the most inopportune time, especially in a battle. Having multiple spare magazines available is essential to being able to clear the weapon and get back into the fight.

2. "I can only guess that teachers should be trained in placing their shots rather then cover firing or suppressive fire and of course blind suppressive fire."
Well, if the suspect shooter happened to be standing very still and not pointing/firing a weapon at the teacher and was polite enough to face the teacher and provide a full-sized target within distances of twenty-five yards or less, then perhaps that teacher just might have the chance to take a perfect stable shooting stance, and then perfectly align the sights, and slowly squeeeeeeeze the trigger just right several times so that he/she can form a nice little shot grouping in the center of the suspect's chest. Here's the thing... On a range during training, yes, you are trained to place your shots as accurately as possible. And shooting at a stationary target on the range under minimum stress conditions is simply meant to teach the "mechanical" skills of shooting that will hopefully become an automatic "reflex" whenever high stress is introduced. And that is where situational training comes in handy using realistic scenarios with "bad guys" shooting back at you with sim-munition rounds (or paintball rounds). Having been involved in several shooting scenarios - both in training (as a good guy and a bad guy) and in real life - I can tell you right now that whole "take a breath, align the sights, and squeeze the trigger" shit goes right out the window. And multiple rounds going downrange is always a plus. Pretty much any time I ever had to pull the trigger, a minimum of three rounds went out the barrel on my first volley (triple-tap). It was simply automatic. So, again, the more rounds the merrier.

3. "Nearly every school shooting involved 2 or less active shooters." So far. You HAVE TO plan for worst case scenario. ALWAYS.

4. "Is their consideration in counting down 6 shots fired is easier than counting down 10 especially in the heat of the moment?"
In the heat of the moment, there is no counting down anything. Unless somebody has been involved in multiple real life gunfights in a very short period of time and is cooler than a cup of liquid nitrogen with nerves of freakin' titanium, then the business of counting rounds needs to stay in Hollywood. Pull the trigger until it goes "click" and then reload as fast as you can, preferably behind cover. Now, if you have fired multiple rounds and there is a slight pause, you will want to swap to a full magazine before changing positions or re-engaging your target. Otherwise....

5. "Less ammo also reduces the chance of a mass shooting carried out by a teacher or a student that gets ahold of the gun designed for the teacher."
A valid concern. However, if they are going to trust them enough to arm them and train them, then the difference between 16 and 30 rounds if the teacher goes nuts isn't gonna make all that big a difference. On the other hand, if you throw a teacher into a situation with minimum rounds and he runs out before the fight is over, then.... oops. Same applies for student getting the weapon from the teacher. Hence, weapons retention training should be an absolute MUST.

6. "In your assailant with a taser scenario would you shoot to kill or disable?"
Text book answer: "We (police) are trained to shoot CENTER MASS. PERIOD." And, moreover, we are trained to keep shooting until the threat is no longer a threat. My wife absolutely HATES watching any type of police related show/movie with me, especially when some Roy Rogers style yo-yo intentionally shoots a gun-wielding suspect in the knee or miraculously shoots the gun or knife out of a suspect's hand. I do not know of ANY police officer who has ever been trained to do any of that ridiculous nonsense. Because even under the best of conditions, sometimes even hitting a suspect center mass can be a very complicated thing to do under extreme stress.

7. "And in a scenario of someone reaching into their jacket for a possible gun they do not start with taser over a gun?"
You ever heard of "Never bring a knife to a gunfight?" Well, never bring a taser to a gunfight, either. (I think I mentioned that in my reply to Chimp. Or was it Algebe? Anyway...) And in your scenario of somebody reaching into their jacket, there are multiple different ways that could go. Do I already have my firearm out and pointing it at him/her for some reason while giving instructions for that person to, "KEEP YOUR HANDS UP AND AWAY FROM YOUR BODY!" If that person is stupid enough at that point to start reaching beneath a jacket or behind his/her back, do you honestly think I am going to take my time to holster my firearm and then get my taser? For that matter, I would not even have time to do so even if I wanted to. Nope. That person will likely get shot (Center mass. At least three rounds.) If I happen to be standing there simply conducting a field interview of the person and he/she reaches into their jacket unexpectedly, well, that is a whole different ballgame. Depending on the situation, I may not even have a chance to go for my own weapon if that person comes out with some sort of weapon of their own. May just end up in a hand-to-hand battle. Many, many, many variables with that question. But you get the idea. Basically, somebody stupid enough to do that in front of a police officer (especially if the officer already has them at gunpoint) pretty much deserves what they get. And any officer who goes for his/her taser in that situation is a complete idiot. (Personal opinion.)

Thanks for your input about the emergency doors and the entry control areas. You made many good points on that. Hate to run, but I gotta get out of here for now. I know there are a couple of other things I want to address, but I will have to wait until later. Good to see you over here, Logic. Looking forward to more discussions on this.


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