Santa Fe, Texas: Another School Shooting We Might Have Prevented

With today’s shooting in Santa Fe, Texas, it once again brings to the forefront that the people of the United States are not looking at these issues with logic and experience to help lessen these types of incidents or at least minimize the damage done when they do happen.

Wake up America! Criminals, as the word implies, commit crimes. They violate the laws already on the books and any others that may be pondered. What, then, can be done to stop these types of attacks? We should look at what has worked elsewhere and in other types of places.

The military has a specialty called “physical security.” It is used to safeguard anything the military considers important. Things like nuclear weapons, specialty equipment, and locations that need protection are “hardened.” Rings of various levels of security measures are put in place to ensure stability and safety.

For half my time in the military my specialty in the U.S. Army was as the training coordinator for the security forces in charge of the physical security of several hundred nuclear weapons in what was at the time, West Germany. We, of course, had fences, alarms, and various other physical barriers, but also had armed security on the sites. These were trained and equipped soldiers that took the security of these special weapons very seriously. We could be up and out into the fray in 30 seconds or less on these sites. We trained daily for it.

Active shooter exercise tests base response. Staff Sgt. James Matthews II, 81st Security Forces Squadron flight sergeant, holds his post during an active shooter exercise at the Larcher Chapel Sept. 21, 2017, on Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. The exercise simulated an active shooter at the Arnold Medical Annex and the Larcher Chapel in order to test the base’s ability to respond to and recover from a mass casualty event. (Credit: Facebook/Air Force Security Services)

While I am not recommending that we place military units in our schools, I am recommending we take some of the lessons learned by the military and by other countries that have school security (Israel comes to mind) and look at what has worked and what could be implemented to protect our schools. It is simple really. As long as have little to no physical security measures in our schools, they will remain targets for depraved minds and those wanting to cause mass casualties. Armed response to an armed attack is also another thing that must be thought about. Why do you call the police when something like this happens? Because they are bringing guns to confront the armed suspect. Again, it is mere common sense.

I train law enforcement for a living. I teach law enforcement firearms and have done so for over two decades. Putting law enforcement officers in the schools—otherwise known as school resource officers—has been effective at stopping mass school shootings. Just this past week, a school resource officer, policeman Mark Dallas, confronted a 19-year-old who started shooting on the campus of Dixon High School in Dixon, Illinois. Officer Dallas was able to stop the shooter by confronting him with an armed immediate response. Yet that, of course, did not make much in the way of news, because the only casualty was the criminal himself.

Let’s stop panicking and becoming so emotional that we lose focus. Let’s cease trying to pass laws that only affect law-abiding citizens; that only takes away the rights of regular citizens to protect themselves. We need to make some changes to the physical security (hardening) in our schools. We need to consider armed security in schools. For goodness’ sake, we require fire extinguishers, fire alarms, and fire education in all schools. Yet we do not require bullet-resistant glass in the doors, or controlled entry points with armed security or police officers or other easy things that can absolutely reduce or mitigate the damage caused by purveyors of horror.

NightLock Door Barricade Device: this type of device buys time, which in turn allows First Responders to arrive to further mitigate the emergency. (Credit: Facebook/Gaston Christian School)

America, stop listening to the media. Stop listening to the right or left. Stop getting misguided by how some feel we should handle situations like this. Let those with the knowledge, training and ability effectuate “common sense” changes to our schools’ overall security.

There are many things that we can do in the short term to help secure the schools until physical changes are made. Police officers placed in schools is not a negative thing; it’s positive. An armed immediate response is what is needed to stop these types of criminals.

Until America realizes that you don’t stop these things with just laws and emotion and demonstrations, we are doomed to see it repeat over and over. They say that doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome is the definition of insanity. So, America, let’s stop the insanity and give our schools the armed security they need to fight fire with fire. In this case, it is to fight an armed attacker with an immediate and armed response.

Get over it, America. Stop arguing over “common-sense gun safety” and start focusing on the real things that will make a difference: Making changes to our schools and the ultra-security they students deserve.

Billie Duncan, the person who shared the picture atop this article, had this to say today: “This picture of Santa Fe High School students protesting gun violence after the Parkland shooting was taken just 28 days before the shooting at Santa Fe. When I was a kid, I never had to worry that I might be gunned down at school. Now every child in every school in this country knows that it could happen to them.”

And it could be abated with proper measures undertaken now.