Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Can Armed Security Guards (or armed teachers) Protect Our Students - You Bet They Can

It is truly amazing that so many have forgotten Matthew Murray and Jeanne Assam as the current debate about gun control rages on over the recent school massacre. If you give it some thought, maybe you will recall that in December 2007 - only 5 years and 5 days apart from the Sandy Hook Elementary School murders - Murray walked into church during a Sunday service while armed with a rifle, two handguns and as much as 1,000 rounds of ammunition (source). Before he went to that church though, he already had killed two people, and injured another two folks at a mission earlier in the day and also killed two sisters and injured their father in the church parking lot. Then he went to the church where it seems apparent that he had been intent on killing many more than the two he had killed earlier on. Sounds pretty familiar - doesn't it - almost identical to the weaponry used last week in CT and almost identical in the way things had been planned out by the two murderers. The rest of the comparison though is not all that similar.

We all know of the terrible tragedy in the school shooting in CT, all those innocent children and the teachers slaughtered by a madman who first had killed his own innocent mother earlier that same day. Teachers shielding little angels. For many of them, nowhere to run, nowhere to hide and no real protection from the courageous teachers who shielded their young bodies. No help, for those gunned down, from an unarmed principal who was also shot dead in her over the top effort to stop an armed intruder while she herself was unarmed. All of the teachers and children waiting for the 911 calls to be answered, many waiting and dying while the police responded as fast as they could fly which sadly was not like Superman who could fly "faster than a speeding bullet". (source)

The incident at the church in Colorado Springs back in 2007 had a much different outcome. Murray fired on a family outside of the church wounding the father and killing his two daughters, one 16 the other 18 years old. Then he burst into the church and that moment is when one sees a marked difference between the two incidents. That was because Jeanne Assam was there, inside the church, at the same moment that Murray barged in while armed much like the Sandy Hook madman. The difference was not only that Assam, a security officer working for the church, was there but also that she was armed and trained. She had been hired by the church to, in effect, be the sheep dog watching over the flock of churchgoers, protecting them from wolves who would prey on them as so many sheep led before a slaughter. Maybe there was another difference, she had God as her backup.

 ""It seemed like it was me, the gunman, and God," said Jeanne Assam, describing her feelings as she confronted a man who charged into her Colorado Springs church Sunday firing a weapon." (source)

She did what she had been trained to do, what the church and enlisted her to do, what she had volunteered to do and what was the right thing to do. She, without hesitation, took cover, drew her weapon and then engaged a much more superiorly armed assailant. Then she shot him, took him down and ended his evident planned massacre. At the time, while it was certain that Assam had indeed shot down Murray, it was uncertain if she had killed him or if, once downed, he had killed himself. I do not recall, though I think they determined she had killed him but it does not matter. She put an end to the terror that he had planned to unleash on the community. That she saved lives there is no doubt, that she saved many lives is more than merely probable it is almost definite.

Now back to a few other similarities between the two tragic incidents. At each, the intended victims were all innocents, none expected what was about to take place but each institution had planned for unexpected bad situations by each having security measures in place. While those things were similar they were also very different. The big difference was that while one security measure was very effective, the other was virtually worthless when it came to stopping an armed intruder. So, what mattered was the fact that one place had employed armed security officers to protect people while the other relied on unarmed means to do so and that second system was easily defeated by the killer. In the one - many died, in the other two died but many were saved.

According to Assam's pastor: "There could have been a great loss of life yesterday, and she probably saved over 100 lives." (Source)

The murderers' choice of weapons in either situation did not matter. Sure, it matters now that the killers chose firearms, at least it seems to matter after the school shooting. It matters because it has already been politicized by the anti-gun crowd and politicians. In truth, the killer in CT could have used other means, and killed with even more ease than with guns had he used those other means. Yet, had he done so, no one would seek to put an end to the ease at which someone could acquire those other means. Think of how much easier it would have been for him to kill if using Molotov cocktails. Open the door to the classroom with one already lit and toss it inside, close the door, light another and toss it inside, then maybe a third. Certainly a lot quicker than firing all the rounds he fired as he had to reload several times to do so. He could have moved from one class to another doing likewise. In short time the whole school would have been ablaze and even those children who the brave teacher had locked in the restroom possibly would have perished. Or, he could have chained the doors shut and then poured gasoline, or any flammable liquid, around inside of the school and ignited the whole place at once. No, it is not the item used to kill with which we should be concerned but with the killer, with what made him do it and why society seems to have somehow bred so many mass murderers sometime over the past 30 years. Even if we take away all of the guns, that mindset would still be in the making in way too many who would merely find other means to kill as many as they could kill.

It is very sad indeed that the school did not have an armed officer like that church had employed. If armed security can be successfully deployed within churches then why not within our schools. Gun control, it is so much hype. You could rid every gun in the USA and I mean every one (citizens, police, military) and someone would just start making them in their garage. It is not difficult to do even in a mediocre machine shop. Others would smuggle them in across our borders, not all that difficult to do either. Just look at our narcotics problem and the very unsuccessful war on drugs - it has never stopped the flow of narcotics entering across our borders. Guns are not going to go away, it will never happen. Anyway, as I showed above, other weapons that may be even more effective than guns and are easier to obtain are available. They are just as, if not more, deadly. It is a shame that so many critics and anti-gun people have been saying and continue to say that it would be crazy to arm school teachers or to put armed guards into schools. Aren't they the same people who said it would be crazy to arm pilots. They probably would have said likewise about churches if they ever paid them any attention.

Schools are not all that different from churches. Yes having armed guards at school would have very possibly, even very likely, have caused there to have been a very different outcome at Sandy Hook Elementary School. That though is in the past but there are a lot of unsecured schools out there and still plenty of people needing work too. Why not create some meaningful jobs that really might make a difference in protecting our children and our teachers. There also are a whole bunch of guys at TSA who would probably gladly jump ship to do it. If you don't want to create security officer jobs, then train and arm the teachers. Either way, it would protect our children.

By the way, if you think the incident involving he security guard at the church taking down a bad guy is a fluke, then think again. Here is a link to an article about yet another example of a security officer putting down an armed intruder:,_kills_man

And here yet another although this one not near a church but think about this one if he had gotten through and the station had been open. How many would he have stabbed:

So: Can armed security guards, or armed teachers, help protect our students? Yep, you can safely bet they can do just that, at least much more safely than can an unarmed buzzer door.

All the best,
Glenn B