SANDY HOOK MASSACRE -- LESSONS

Written by Dr. Robert Warren. Dr. Warren posts here occasionally. He is a long-time DOD professional and is an expert on accident investigations and assessments. He heads a company doing such work.
Please see his comments also on the VATech massacre and current situation.
Please post. I called Congressman Wittman and VA Delegate Pogge to protest the ignorant passive defense policy that is also in place at VATech as we speak. Until we get out of the anti-gun mind set and into the pro-self defense mindset more of this murderous activity will tale place. Bob Warren:



Lessons from the Sandy Hook Massacre:
The horrific mass murders at Sandy Hook Elementary and Virginia Tech illustrate the inadequacy of current approaches to school security. Lockout, lockdown and hide doesn’t work very well because they constitute a passive response to active acts of violence and evil. An active defense involving active countermeasures is the only practical and effective means of dealing with situations that take place in seconds or a few minutes. Let’s explore a few ideas and approaches to active defense from the private sector and the military.
Elderly or infirmed individuals can and do equip themselves with Life Alert call buttons which instantaneously relay a distress message to a central clearing house. Families with infants often install remote activated cameras to allow the parents to observe the behavior of a nanny and baby. Homeowners are increasingly using wireless technology that selectively allows for various lights, electronics, doors and alarms to be activated or de-activated upon command. Low cost items such as these could be installed in schools where their activation would immediately notify and speed the response of the local police.
Armed and permanent security guard would be a deterrent to violence, but the cost could be prohibitively high. However, it is possible to have a random and unpredictable police presence. Such a random approach would likely cause uncertainty in the mind of a potential criminal or psychopath. Reservists and soldiers, male and female, returning from active wars are trained to handle lethal weapons. Some of these individuals could be certified and used on a volunteer basis to police school grounds. An example might be a local group similar to the internationally recognized Guardian Angels.
Non-lethal weapons such as pepper spray, mace, tasers and Phazzer guns are commercially available. In addition, the Department of Defense has developed a wide variety of non-lethal weapons technologies, some of which might be appropriate for use in a school setting. Flash-bang grenades can temporarily blind and stun an intruder. Acoustic, microwave and laser heat weapons can cause pain and disrupt physical functions. Special affect weapons can instantly distort the senses and cause utter confusion.
Many of these technological advances have been developed in government laboratories or the private sector under government contract. Our senators and representatives have spent public tax money on them for our protection against enemies foreign and domestic. It is appropriate to analyze which of these technologies can be employed inside schools.
Throughout American history, individuals have had to defend themselves against the worst of society. Turning over one’s security to the authorities evolved with the rise of professional police forces and the increase in the number of gun control laws. Unfortunately, the authorities cannot be everywhere all the time, - and with the current economic conditions, police response times are longer and their presence less reliable.
Essentially, defense must start inside a school and with individuals capable of defending themselves. Defense provided from the outside combined with passiveness inside is a prescription for violence, injury and death.
Note: From my experience in accident investigation, a minute is a long time. If you repeat the process from entry to first violence in the Sandy Hook Elementary and VATech situations, the time for effective action is in the vicinity of 15 to 30 seconds. Therefore, decisiveness is essential, and this involves situational awareness, training for instinctive reaction, and the means to act readily at hand.
Below is an article I wrote immediately after the VATech massacre. It was discussed with an Assistant Attorney General who basically agreed with the concepts presented. Unfortunately, we now have the Sandy Hook massacre to demonstrate what we should have known years ago. To make it as simple as possible castles --- aren’t impregnable and somebody on the inside better know how to fight.


Another Massacre
We should all let out another collective sigh. There has been yet another massacre in a gun free zone on a college campus. To the mentally unstable, or for that matter the terrorist, a gun free zone is really more a free fire zone or an easy and defenseless victim zone. For years now, we have tried to eliminate weapons on college and university campuses. This effort has not only failed to protect but given many students and faculty a false sense of security. So what are the possible alternatives:
Why not actually teach students to defend themselves? Instead of students trying to run or hide under a desk in hopes of escaping, why not have students throw computers, cellphones, desks, books, briefcases, and anything with a little heft in the direction of a shooter. Many will say the shootings happen so fast and with such ferocity that there is really no time to do anything. Well, in some schools around the country, middle school kids are being taught to throw whatever they have at an intruder, and then rush the guy to knock him down and overwhelm him. Let’s face it, there are both self and collective defensive actions to minimize the results of this type of violence.
Why not actually allow concealed carry for students and faculty? The hired police security folks in and around a campus could certify individuals to conceal carry. They could require weapons training before certification. A student or faculty member who carries a gun and is certified should be given freedom to go anywhere he or she chooses on campus with a gun as if they were members of an armed police auxiliary. An individual who violates the certification could have their permit rescinded. Short of this type of action, individual students are going to make their own decisions about their own personal safety, and that includes the purchase of a gun. (Note: The Arizona legislature is apparently considering whether concealed carry should be authorized for K-12 schools, community colleges and university campuses.)
Why not reconstruct classrooms, furnishings and individual student items to aid in self-defense? With all of the advances in technology there ought to be some relatively cheap and simple things that could be done to aid an individual in their own defense in the case of potential or actual classroom violence. Could a bulletproof door be built or an enhanced desktop that could be flipped up and even torn away to be used as a shield? How about a bullet deflecting brief case or notebook? Instead of relying on high technology cameras and other recording devices to show the aftermath of a massacre, what about low technology, simple to use, and reasonably inexpensive items that can be tactically placed to reduce the impact of a violent act? It appears that some real out of the box thinking ought to be done.
Why rely on incident notification and lockdown? This is a passive process with many potential problems. In the Virginia Tech massacre, an incident notification would have been misleading to student’s elsewhere on the campus. And what happens when an individual gets such a notification? What are they to do? Just stand there and hope – or run someplace? Isn’t it likely that some students will panic rather than act in a cool and detached manner? (Note: In a recent news report, reference was made to the possibility that notification could lead to panic.)
A lockdown might actually lock a killer in with his prospective victims. Oops! The Virginia Tech killer actually locked down the building with his victims inside.
Why rely just on laws and regulations? Our legislators don’t really know what to do so they pass a law to tighten access to guns by presumably unstable individuals. Not only is this locking the barn door after the horse is gone, but it would have had no apparent impact on the Columbine or recent Illinois shooting situation. If the legislators really wanted to do something useful with the law, they could undo some of the privacy laws that block access to much needed information. And, by the way, privacy is not a constitutional right.
Can we stop the killings? No! The USA is awash in both legal and illegal guns and ammunition. If a crazy or a terrorist wants a gun, he can get it legally - or on the street, in a bar, or from a criminal source. However, we can certainly think in terms of minimizing the damage of a violent act. At this point, the proposed solutions – new regulations and a new notification system are psychological band-aids on a real problem. Frankly, it is about time to look for real solutions no matter how tough or politically incorrect they might be.
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