In the wake of the recent Parkland Florida school shooting in which an evil and disturbed young man opened fire on innocent, unarmed students and teachers, it shocks me to see people suggest that the best way to prevent these attacks is by disarming even more innocent people.
The reality is true. The solution to preventing these types of mass shooting attacks is to increase the likelihood that a deranged killer will be neutralized by a lawfully armed citizen before he can wreak havoc. With 17 of our own dead, now is not the time to punish law-abiding citizens by taking away even more of their rights and making them more defenseless. Now is the time to fight back, to protect our communities, and to make sure no evil coward will ever again be able to walk into a school believing that nobody will be able to shoot back at him.
I ache for the police and school resource officers across America who can’t be everywhere at one time. They bravely patrol these schools, but it’s simply not feasible to expect one or two armed officers to be able to cover every inch of the premises at all times. So how can we prevent these tragedies? What can we do right now to prevent or at the very least mitigate these horrific attacks?
A coward who would enter a school and gun down innocents can be stopped. As a combat veteran who’s been under fire, I know that the only answer is to go on offense. But in a school environment how can this be accomplished? The answer is simple: teachers, administrators, and office and support staff must have the right to be armed on campus, subject to certain conditions.
Here’s how it could work. We already have teachers and staff members as well as parents who have concealed carry permits. Their states have already acknowledged their right to defend themselves and their families with force, if necessary. If they have been deemed by authorities to be responsible enough to defend themselves in a mall, at a restaurant, or a sporting event, there is no reason to deny them the ability to protect themselves and their community while they’re at work at a school.
The number and placement of licensed concealed carriers is key. Having just one more teacher who is switched on and trained could make a difference, but a better plan is to have as many licensed and trained teachers as possible who volunteer to attend specific training that addresses the best ways to respond to live shooter situations in educational environments. While a concealed carry license should be a prerequisite to legally carrying in a school, it should not be the only requirement.
Training these volunteers to not only shoot better but also giving them additional tools, tactics, practice, and communications advice directly related to a school shooting situation would drastically alter the calculus for a potential killer who wanted the most carnage with the least amount of risk. Limited tactical training to teach these licensed carriers which walls will most likely stop bullets, which angles in the room would better protect students, and which routes might provide the quickest access to a shooter would give these school employees a much better chance of stopping a killer in his tracks.
In addition to allowing licensed and trained staff to carry on campus, broadcasting that a school is no longer a soft and defenseless target would also have a huge impact. Statistics show that mass killers overwhelmingly prefer gun-free zones. Why? Because these killers know that the longer it takes someone to shoot back, the easier it will be for them to kill at will.
Some might say that broadcasting a school’s capacity to fight back is just asking for trouble, but in the end who are these school shooters? They are young, cowardly individuals who want to make a name for themselves by killing as many innocent people as possible. These individuals are not brave and confident; they are cowards who lust for violence against those who can’t defend themselves. These individuals prey on the unarmed and the unprotected.
Public signage, backed by brave men and women who are eager to use their concealed carry rights and training to defend others, sends the right message, just as gun-free zone signs send the exact wrong one. Gun-free zone signs openly advertise that you are open and ready to be attacked, almost positively guaranteeing that no one will quickly respond with force to a would-be attacker.
Another area that must be addressed is proper medical training of school staff. This is required of military personnel who are headed into combat, and it has saved countless lives. Staff should know to apply a tourniquet, establish an airway, and use a clotting agent. By applying these simple techniques, trained staff can buy significant amounts of time for wounded as they wait to be treated by medical professionals in hospital environments. The school staff and volunteer parents aren’t the only individuals who should be trained, however. Students who meet certain requirements should also be part of the team. Kids who are of the right age and temperament can make a huge difference in a school attack. Maybe that means student athletes, or those enrolled in Junior ROTC, or those with an interest in anatomy and medicine. Maybe it’s a student whose mom or dad is a doctor or a nurse. These kids are incredible resources, and we should not discount their ability and desire to contribute when necessary. We must provide our schools with basic trauma kits and the training to use them, so that if tragedy does strike, they will at least have a fighting chance to save anyone who is severely injured.
Using my years of experience in combat, I have trained thousands of citizens, soldiers, and law enforcement officers to respond to live shooter situations. Students in my courses are no different than the men, women, and children who walk onto a school campus each morning: they are individuals who want to protect their loved ones. It doesn’t take a burly, 6-foot-tall Army soldier to eliminate a threat. All it takes is a person with the right training, the right tools, and the right mindset.
A young schoolteacher who desperately loves her students and co-workers just might be the next hero to prevent a mass shooting, if we would only allow her to do so.