There is an ongoing debate about how best to stop or mitigate the carnage in school shootings. Some talk about “target hardening” which involves installing metal detectors and more ingress control, while others say we need to have “immediate responders”, on scene and ready to oppose the active shooter. The Washington DC Metro police chief recently inserted some sanity and logic into the debate. According to WTOP news:
Sunday night on “60 Minutes,” Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier said it’s unrealistic to think police will make it to an active shooter situation in time to save lives, so victims will have to prepare to “run, hide or fight.”In most mass shootings, Lanier told Anderson Cooper, the deaths happen within the first 10 minutes, while even the fastest police response will take 5 to 7 minutes.
If you can get out, Lanier says, “that’s your first option. … If you’re in a position to try to take the gunman down, to take the gunman out, it’s the best option for saving lives before police can get there,” she said.
She added, “People say, ‘what is it that keeps you awake at night?’ It’s not the things that we train for and that we know about; it’s the one thing that we haven’t yet thought about.”
Lanier said this is radically different from what police have often told people. But after a series of tragic domestic attacks — including the 2013 murders at the D.C. Navy Yard — it is clear that merely calling 911 and waiting for a response isn’t enough.“The fact is, most active shooters kill their victims in less than 10 minutes,” she said. “It’s a different scenario.”
CSPOA is in agreement. We need to remove the stigma of the “Gun Free” school, and replace it with the knowledge that school officials and parents are prepared to deal with whatever happens. When the police become the “second responders”, because of the presence of trained personnel on campus and ready to respond immediately, deaths and injuries will most likely be reduced or eliminated.
Further, the gun-free school zone laws should be repealed by legislators. If they won’t do this, Sheriffs should offer to deputize volunteer and vetted school employees, train them, and assign them to be protectors of our kids on school grounds in the course of their regular teaching duties.