Friday, December 14, 2012

Israeli Policy Could Have Saved Lives In the Newtown School Shooting

Dec. 14, 2012 - The horrific shooting today at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut [map] left at least 28 dead, including the shooter. At least 20 of those killed were children. The shooter, 20-year old Adam Lanza. One of the adult victims was Nancy Lanza, the killer's own mother, who worked at the school. What could have been done to stop the shooter and save some lives? Before we continue, I'll just remind you that the police responded with guns. That's right, the cops had guns.

Here are some of the ineffective things that actually happened today:

Principal Dawn Hochsprung and the school psychologist leapt out of their seats and ran out of the room to help, Ms. Day, a therapist at the school said. "They didn't think twice about confronting or seeing what was going on," she said, reports The Wall Street Journal. Ms. Hochsprung was one of those killed in the attack.

Image taken from Twitter: Attribution unknown
"One parent who was in the school at the time of the shooting," reports CNN, "said she heard a 'pop, pop, pop,' sound around 9:30 a.m. In the room with her were Hochsprung, the vice principal and Sherlach. All three left the room and went into the hall to see what was happening. The parent ducked under the table and called 911."

What should have happened: Somebody could have shot Adam Lanza, stopping him in his tracks. Unfortunately, it seems, nobody in the school was armed. Schools are known to law enforcement as being attractive targets for criminally insane people bent on killing. That fact makes it hard to understand why so few schools have armed guards to protect the children and staff.

The Attorney General of Texas, Greg Abbott says schools should have armed personnel. He told the Houston Chronicle today that "the common denominator for the school shootings in Aurora, Columbine and Virginia Tech is that we have a target-rich environment," and "You have a shooter that is completely free to go about his sick fantasy. We need to do what it takes to change that." He also told the Chronicle that, "Had there been [armed security guard and citizens] in Colorado, at Virginia Tech or now in Connecticut - someone that could have changed the dynamic and to do so by having a firearm - there would be fewer lives lost."  Is Greg Abbot right? Ask the Israelis. 

Texas teachers are allowed to carry guns, but are not required to do so. That's true in at least some Texas school districts, reported USNews in August, 2008. The Harrold school district, said USNews, requires teachers who wish to carry a gun to "first undergo training in crisis management and hostile situations. They also will be required to have a concealed weapon permit from the state and get approval from the district."

Newtown CT cops respond to shooting - with guns!
Photo: Jessica Hill
Abbot talked about arming school personnel back in the 90s as a state senator. But the state still has no real defense against an attack like the one that happened today in Newtown, CT. "Teachers are instructed to keep their students huddled together and away from windows," reports ABC-13 in Houston, and that "teachers are also instructed to have their students shelter in place, so they don't become exposed targets."

That behavior did not seem very effective at Sandy Hook Elementary today, did it?

Los Angeles, and no doubt many other cities, is beefing up security and patrols around schools in anticipation of possible "copy cat" attacks in the wake of today's shooting in Connecticut. According to the LA Times, LAPD Lt. Paul Vernon said that "Since the Columbine High School shooting, law enforcement has generally adopted the tactic of an immediate entry to the school to confront an active shooter."

The trouble with Lt. Vernon's statement is obvious: Minutes pass between the time a shooter starts shooting, someone at a school calls 911, and the police eventually arrive on the scene. More time is lost while the police try to determine where the shooter is in a school under attack.

"One thing the public can do to help guard against these incidents is to be alert to warning signs of (a) person's behavior that might lead to this kind of (violent) response," MyFoxLA quoted Lt. Vernon as saying. "After-action studies of shootings often reveal that signs of depression, anger, planning, bragging, (or) threatening were ignored."

Again, the glaringly obvious was omitted by Lt. Vernon: It is good to "be alert," but once it becomes obvious that a madman is wielding a gun in the school it would be rather handy to have an armed teacher, principal, guard or other school employee able to respond with deadly force, thereby saving lives.

How Israel Avoids School Shootings original photo
Liberals, of course, mock the idea of guns preventing gun deaths. But the hard reality is that guns have been around for centuries, they're not going away anytime soon, and the best way to defend against a gun is with another gun. Those same liberals are just fine with waiting for deadly minutes to be wasted while the well-meaning but not-on-scene police rush to respond.

About the graphic in this post: I first saw the image posted to Twitter today and researched it to find its origin. The original photo (left) was taken by "TeeJaw" and posted on his "TeeJaw Blog" on July 23, 2011 in a post titled "Murder In Norway." TeeJaw was writing about the massacre of 77 people on Utøya Island by madman Anders Breivik on July 22, 2011. As in Connecticut today, nobody on Utøya Island was armed.

"It may be that the United States and Israel are the only civilized countries," wrote TeeJaw, "where a majority of people understand the simple concept that a deranged man with a gun can only be stopped by other people with guns (unless of brave group takes him down by charging him at great risk to themselves, which also happened in Tucson). This photo I took in the City of Acre, Israel in 2002 of a couple of school teachers on a class outing with their students reveals that understanding."

Sadly, in the United States, that understanding is not held by enough people in decision-making positions.

Related: Follow Israel’s “Gun Control” Example Accuracy In Media