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From the “This Should be Obvious” File: Males aren’t Bulletproof

Horrendous crimes, such as the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, elicit emotional responses, to be sure.  They, unfortunately, also elicit an array of silly, if not incredibly ridiculous ones.

To wit, Charlotte Allen writing at NRO:

Like most people, I’ve been thinking and thinking about the Sandy Hook massacre. I’ve even pored over a map of the school and its killing sites — and studied a timeline of the incident, which appears to have unfolded over about 20 minutes. I have three observations:

There was not a single adult male on the school premises when the shooting occurred. In this school of 450 students, a sizeable number of whom were undoubtedly 11- and 12-year-old boys (it was a K-6 school), all the personnel — the teachers, the principal, the assistant principal, the school psychologist, the “reading specialist” — were female. There didn’t even seem to be a male janitor to heave his bucket at Adam Lanza’s knees.

[...]

Male aggression can be a good thing, as in protecting the weak — but it has been forced out of the culture of elementary schools and the education schools that train their personnel. Think of what Sandy Hook might have been like if a couple of male teachers who had played high-school football, or even some of the huskier 12-year-old boys, had converged on Lanza.

It is incredibly easy to imagine what Sandy Hook would have looked like if there had been more male teachers, even ex-linebackers:  instead of six dead female faculty members, there would have been some number of male and female teachers dead.

And, please:  “There didn’t even seem to be a male janitor to heave his bucket at Adam Lanza’s knees.”   More likely:  there wasn’t even a male janitor to be shot whilst Lanza came down the hall with a semiautomatic assault rifle in his hands.  Assault rifles trump buckets.

I sometimes think that the biggest crime committed by action movies when it comes to mass shootings is not that they glorify violence, but because they make it look so darn easy to take out the bad guy.

I find this sort of Monday morning quarterbacking about a mass shooting to be utterly reprehensible (although not as bad a John Derbyshire after the VaTech slayings who questioned why those being shot at didn’t “count the shots and jump” the shooter).

But only if there had been a bucket-wielding ex-football player mopping up…

Related Posts:

About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor and Chair of Political Science at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. He is the author of Voting Amid Violence: Electoral Democracy in Colombia and is currently working on a comparative study of the US to 29 other democracies. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging at PoliBlog since 2003. Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. gVOR08 says:

    http://www.thefrisky.com/2012-12-20/an-open-letter-to-charlotte-allen-who-thinks-men-would-have-stopped-the-newtown-massacre/

    FACT: Sandy Hook is a K-4 school, not K-6, so no 12-year-old boys, husky or otherwise, around to charge at 20-year-old men brandishing firearms. And let’s be clear: that you’re suggesting 12-year-old children would, could or should “converge” on anyone firing at them with a gun is insane.
    FACT: There are at least two men on staff at Sandy Hook Elementary — a 4th grade teacher and a janitor, though no word on whether he carries a magical bullet-deflecting bucket.

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  2. @gVOR08: Facts!? Ha!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  3. mattb says:

    God, what an ass!

    And, while it’s true that a number of mass shootings have been stopped by people charging the gunman, in all those cases people only rushed the gunman when they were either attempting to reload or clear a jam. Few people are dumb enough to run into fire unarmed (and if you do the research, most people aren’t willing to return fire until there is a pause in shooting).

    Al of which seems like a good argument for reduced capacity magazines….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  4. mattb says:

    It’s interesting to see what has happened to the reviews of her book on Amazon after the above essay was published…
    http://www.amazon.com/Human-Christ-Charlotte-Allen/product-reviews/0745942350/ref=cm_cr_dp_see_all_btm?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1&sortBy=bySubmissionDateDescending

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  5. Rafer Janders says:

    If it’s a legitimate shooting attack, the male body has a way to, you know, shut that whole thing down in a way that a female body doesn’t…..

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 47 Thumb down 0

  6. Herb says:

    I think we’ve failed as a society if we can do no better than “Yo! Bum rush the gunman!” But then again that’s not “the best” we can do, is it?

    It’s actually the least we can do.

    I have to say, though, that I find it funny these people say these things, “We can’t do anything about it,” and then offer this kind of thing as advice? I get the sense that many of these people are patting themselves on the back for being philosophically consistent.

    And yet they don’t seem to notice these things expose glaring holes in their philosophy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  7. Rafer Janders says:

    I’d also like us to encourage male (and they must be male, because girls throw funny) janitors to bucket throw at shooters, rather than following their instincts to hide; if we drilled it into janitors that the correct thing to do is for them to instantly throw a bucket at the knees of the guy with the gun, these sorts of mass shootings would be less deadly, because even a guy with a very powerful weapon can be brought down by a bucket to the knees, followed by several husky 12-year olds piling on him at once. We could even station special squads of bucket armed janitors at the door to every school, to be ready at a moment’s notice. Would it work? Would people do it? I have no idea. I’ve given it no real thought. I’ve done no research into this, or even considered how stupid this would sound if I said it out loud or, god forbid, wrote it down and published it for all the world to see.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  8. mattb says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    If it’s a legitimate shooting attack, the male body has a way to, you know, shut that whole thing down in a way that a female body doesn’t…..

    Shut the thread down. Rafer just won it.

    Rafer, I award you the Internet. Enjoy it during these last moments on Earth before the Mayan Apocolypse.

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  9. Herb says:

    @Rafer Janders: Good one!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  10. mattb says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    I’d also like us to encourage male (and they must be male, because girls throw funny) janitors to bucket throw at shooters

    Ok… all joking aside, as a last ditch effort (if one cannot escape the shooter), this actually isn’t a bad strategy (the best option in a really BAD situation).

    If you haven’t seen it, check out this “how to survive a mass shooting” video put together by Homeland Security and the Mayor of Houston’s office [warning, while not bloody, its graphic and intense]. Bucket, or rather chair throwing, does come up at the end.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=5VcSwejU2D0#!

    BTW, note that responding with concealed weapons doesn’t come up in the video… I wonder why?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  11. john personna says:

    @mattb:

    And a “bullet button” or similar “tool” requirement for magazine change.

    Those would bet BETTER in my opinion than a bad gun list.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  12. Franklin says:

    Teh Internet has already been won by Rafer above, but a couple more serious points …

    Male aggression can be a good thing, as in protecting the weak — but it has been forced out of the culture of elementary schools

    1) Apparently the 5’2″ female principal *did* attack, showing that aggression is not just a male trait, nor has it been “forced out” of elementary schools, whatever that’s supposed to mean.

    2) My son has had two different male teachers in preschool. Personally, I feel like there are *more* male teachers at the lower age levels now, but that’s just my personal anecdote.

    So I find no redeeming arguments in Allen’s post. That said, a well-placed rock supposedly took down Goliath. Similarly, a well-timed bum rush by people equipped to take down an attacker can indeed work. But not many 12-year-olds fit that criteria, much less 10-year-olds. It reminds me of that old Internet meme – “how many 5-year-olds can you take in a fight?” – go ahead and Google it if you don’t believe me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  13. JKB says:

    Well, it is amusing in the confusion here. The problem isn’t a lack of men, but a lack of sheepdogs to protect the sheeple. When it came, several of the adult (women) in the school seem to have had protect instincts but they had lounged in the culture that denigrates preparation for battle so their efforts proved futile. Not that the prepared might not have failed given such action still requires opportunity. Such action incurs risk. The preparation is what reduces that risk, the hand skills, the conditioning to attack rather than run, the ability to think in crisis, the awareness to openings.

    There is no reason to think that a female former soldier or police officer wouldn’t have been just as effective as a male former soldier or police officer who was a working as teacher. Or that a male teacher steeped in the ideology of the fine “education” colleges wouldn’t have been just as ineffective. Sadly, our “education” colleges are hostile to sheepdogs and force most out leaving the sheeple in charge of the helpless.

    And yes, there could have been a sheepdog or two among the students but it would take a bold leap for a child trapped in the victim mentality of our education system at that age.

    But as much as the call for men or throwing buckets is idiotic so are the assertions there was nothing to be done. As much as Hollywood makes it look easy, so to do they make guns look far more effective than they are in the hands of most. Firstly, most gunshots don’t immediately incapacitate the victim so those with the mind can keep fighting. Second, it isn’t that easy to hit a moving target. Third, there are no rules, nothing says you have to rush them head on, you can hide and attack after they pass. etc.

    The real key is we need to learn to be aware and to attack, not cower and rely on far distant police.

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  14. @JKB: I truly hope you are never faced with the chance to prove your hypotheses.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @mattb:

    Shut the thread down. Rafer just won it.

    With one hand tied behind his back.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  16. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @JKB: Remind us all again how many trained US service members died at Ford Hood before the shooter was taken down.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  17. @Gromitt Gunn: Obviously they were weak sheeple. What other conclusion can one reach?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  18. mattb says:

    @JKB:

    Firstly, most gunshots don’t immediately incapacitate the victim so those with the mind can keep fighting. Second, it isn’t that easy to hit a moving target. Third, there are no rules, nothing says you have to rush them head on, you can hide and attack after they pass. etc.

    Haven’t you been the person on other threads advocating “know your weapons.” He was using a high powered rifle shooting .233. As I mentioned in a different thread, a lot of sources have been advocating this as a home defense weapon due in part to it’s stopping power (http://www.gunsandammo.com/2012/02/10/long-guns-short-yardage-is-223-the-best-home-defense-caliber/). So sorry, but you can’t argue simultaneously for the two things.

    Second, as I’ve pointed out, in most of the recent examples of people successfully stopping mass shootings, people have only rushed the shooter when they are reloading, the gun is jammed, or they’ve run out of ammo. Pretending that people routinely rush shooters while they are firing is pure bullshit.

    Next, while you are right that moving targets are hard to hit, this was a shooting taking place in confined spaces — i.e. hallways and classrooms. There’s not a lot of room to maneuver in those spaces.

    Also, by all accounts, the shooter was sweeping rooms making hiding difficult.

    And beyond all of that everything you are talking about involves training. So teachers, already stress for time, should take up martial arts and tactical shooting.

    Like @Steven L. Taylor said, “I truly hope you are never faced with the chance to prove your hypotheses. “

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  19. sam says:

    I curious mattb, and perhaps you can correct me if I’m wrong. But the AR-15 is based on the M-16. What makes the M-16 so lethal is 1) the round, though small, is extremely fast and 2), more importantly, when the round hits, it is designed to tumble. This last is our way around the Geneva Convention that we are signatory to that outlaws ball ammunition: We use a round that is fully jacketed but acts like a ball round. Does the ammo for an AR-15 act the same way?

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  20. grumpy realist says:

    @JKB:

    When it came, several of the adult (women) in the school seem to have had protect instincts but they had lounged in the culture that denigrates preparation for battle so their efforts proved futile.

    Let’s see. A heavily armed person with a high powered rifle shooting .233 is shooting at you down a corridor. So if you manage to have been exposed to the correct culture this would somehow magically protect you from slugs ripping their way through your body?

    Y’know, all those WWII movies of the brave hero attacking the Nazi machine-gun nest armed only with a Bowie knife and somehow managing to not get shot the entire time he’s running uphill under live fire?

    Those are movies. You may not realize it, but the actors in movies are armed with blanks. That’s so it looks cool and neat and brave when the Good Guy is zig-zagging his way towards the Bad Guys.

    In actuality, he would get blown into hamburger.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  21. LaurenceB says:

    The idiocy Charlotte Allen is displaying here is not so much idiocy as it is a poorly executed attempt to draw the news of the day to within reach of the issue which makes her the most money. Indeed, if she had successfully pulled this off without starting a firestorm it would have been a brilliant move that would have led to Fox News appearances, big bucks from conservative think tanks, and perhaps even another book – “Liberal Wussification and Blah, Blah, Blah” or something – where she could explain at greater length how wonderful men are, and how useless women are. Then maybe a radio deal.

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  22. grumpy realist says:

    (Oh, and Charlotte Allen is the nitwit who thinks that Sarah Palin will make a dandy presidential candidate in 2016. I think we’ve already established her levels of incompetence.)

    I know we talk about the Peter Principle and rising to one’s level of incompetence, but when that happens to be an opinion writer at NRO?

    The mind boggles. I bet this women finds it difficult to get cat food out of a can.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  23. sam says:

    @grumpy realist:

    “Y’know, all those WWII movies of the brave hero attacking the Nazi machine-gun nest armed only with a Bowie knife and somehow managing to not get shot the entire time he’s running uphill under live fire?”

    On April 21, 1945, Inouye was grievously wounded while leading an assault on a heavily-defended ridge near San Terenzo in Tuscany, Italy called Colle Musatello. The ridge served as a strongpoint along the strip of German fortifications known as the Gothic Line, which represented the last and most unyielding line of German defensive works in Italy. As he led his platoon in a flanking maneuver, three German machine guns opened fire from covered positions just 40 yards away, pinning his men to the ground. Inouye stood up to attack and was shot in the stomach; ignoring his wound, he proceeded to attack and destroy the first machine gun nest with hand grenades and fire from his Thompson submachine gun. After being informed of the severity of his wound by his platoon sergeant, he refused treatment and rallied his men for an attack on the second machine gun position, which he also successfully destroyed before collapsing from blood loss.

    As his squad distracted the third machine gunner, Inouye crawled toward the final bunker, eventually drawing within 10 yards. As he raised himself up and cocked his arm to throw his last grenade into the fighting position, a German inside the bunker fired a rifle grenade that struck him on the right elbow, severing most of his arm and leaving his own primed grenade reflexively “clenched in a fist that suddenly didn’t belong to me anymore”. Inouye’s horrified soldiers moved to his aid, but he shouted for them to keep back out of fear his severed fist would involuntarily relax and drop the grenade. As the German inside the bunker reloaded his rifle, Inouye pried the live grenade from his useless right hand and transferred it to his left. As the German aimed his rifle to finish him off, Inouye tossed the grenade off-hand into the bunker and destroyed it. He stumbled to his feet and continued forward, silencing the last German resistance with a one-handed burst from his Thompson before being wounded in the leg and tumbling unconscious to the bottom of the ridge. When he awoke to see the concerned men of his platoon hovering over him, his only comment before being carried away was to gruffly order them to return to their positions, since, as he pointed out, “nobody called off the war.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  24. scott says:

    We could also train the “lunch ladies” to charge and attack with wield sharp kitchen knives.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  25. Rafer Janders says:

    @sam:

    Here’s the key parts of from that description of Inouye’s attack above:

    he proceeded to attack and destroy the first machine gun nest with hand grenades and fire from his Thompson submachine gun…..rallied his men for an attack…Inouye tossed the grenade off-hand into the bunker and destroyed it…..silencing the last German resistance with a one-handed burst from his Thompson

    See that part about him being armed himself with multiple hand grenades and a Thompson submachine gun, and having the fire support of an entire infantry platoon behind him? That’s hardly charging alone armed only with a bucket and a husky 12-year old by your side.

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  26. MBunge says:

    If you’re confronted with a crazed gunman right in front of you, you can’t outrun a bullet so charging him is probably the best option. Somehow spreading that idea might not be terrible, but it doesn’t change the fact that there’s about a billion better things that could be done before getting to the “crazed gunman right in front of you” situation. Offering it up as an alternative to those billion better things or suggesting that children be trained to rush armed gunmen is deserving of an ass-kicking.

    Mike

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  27. grumpy realist says:

    @sam: See above. Not to disparage Sen. Inouye’s courage, but he was a) armed, and b) had backup.

    If you were to draw any conclusions from Sen. Inouye’s history, it would be that all elementary schools require grenades to be provided to all schoolchildren.

    Have fun with that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  28. Andre Kenji says:

    There are two issues here. Charlotte Allen´s article is really stupid, but on the other had, there is a high concentration of females in the Education sector. That´s pretty bad for a lot of reasons(Male students does not have male models in the school), but that CAN be a safety issue.

    No one knows what male teachers and a male principal could have done(Probably, more of them would have been killed), but it´s harder to do things like barricades with a almost all female workforce. That was done in Virginia Tech, and the rapid response from the police avoided a bigger massacre in Sandy Hook(The guy could have killed the entirely building if the response was slow as was in Columbine). But in some situations that can be a problem.

    It´s true, there little thing that even the most able unarmed male can do against a dude with a AR-15, but on the other hand there are situations where males can be helpful. A bigger proportion of male teachers is a good thing. I think that male dominated professions should have more women and vice-versa.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  29. sam says:

    Guys, I’m aware of the fact that Dan Inouye was fully armed, etc. I only posted that to show that JKB’s simple-mindedness about action under fire is just that, simple-minded. And stupid.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  30. wr says:

    @grumpy realist: “Not to disparage Sen. Inouye’s courage, but he was a) armed, and b) had backup”

    And he was attacking a Nazi bunker, not defending a school full of children. So the fact that hand grenades explode and kill anyone in a certain vicinity was a feature rather than, you know. a bug.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  31. Rafer Janders says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Not to disparage Sen. Inouye’s courage, but he was a) armed, and b) had backup.

    And (c) was a 21 year old highly trained infantryman expert in combat tactics.

    But yes, give me a rifle platoon to provide cover fire, several grenades, a submachine gun, a helmet, and a year of close-combat drill instruction, and I’m sure I could have taken the Newtown gunman out. It’s called taking personal responsibility for your own safety, people!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  32. Jeff says:

    I don’t understand the scorn heaped on Ms. Allen here. No one knows whether an opportunity arose at any point during the shooting for someone to grab and wrestle the guns away from the shooter because everyone is now dead.

    That said, if an opportunity had arose, who is more likely to have successfully taken advantage of it, a male teacher of even below average upper body strength or the typical female school teacher? The guy. Obviously. Why is this remotely controversial?

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  33. Gustopher says:

    I do begin to wonder whether some of this stupidity is deliberate — an attempt to shut down debate on sensible gun control laws by getting everyone discussing buckets and 12 year olds. Effectively, an effort to make the shootings into a joke.

    People can’t really be that stupid, can they?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  34. Rafer Janders says:

    @sam:

    Totally misread your intent. Apologies.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  35. mattb says:

    @sam:

    I curious mattb, and perhaps you can correct me if I’m wrong. But the AR-15 is based on the M-16. What makes the M-16 so lethal is 1) the round, though small, is extremely fast and 2), more importantly, when the round hits, it is designed to tumble.

    That’s my general understanding, with the caveat that the other Matt (no “B”) is the gun expert, not me.

    The rounds also are designed to fragment. The combination enables maximum stopping power. The tumbling and fragmenting combination means it’s going to do an ass-ton of damage no matter where it hits.

    There’s also a safety benefit (if you will) which ties to why some people think these types of rifles are good for home defense. While the rifle is high powered, the fact the bullet tumbles and fragments when it makes contact make it less likely to go through walls or pass out of the body and into someone else.

    Depending on the bullet specifics they can stop within 6 inches of ballistic gelatin — but do a hell of a lot of damage in those 6 inches.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  36. gVOR08 says:

    @gVOR08:
    @Steven L. Taylor:
    I did something above that I should not have done. First, Steven is right, I was violating internet protocol by citing facts in a blog comment. But more seriously, there is an incredible level of this sort of thing coming out of the right. There is also a fair amount comment on the left that I might not feel is mistaken, but is basically inane.

    I should not have engaged with the factual details as I did above. The fact is that Charlotte Allen’s comments are insane. Literally insane. The details are irrelevant. We should engage at a meta level. The right has made a shiboleth of a caricature of the founders intent in the 2nd Amendment. The cognitive dissonance they are feeling right now over seeing the real world results of their belief will only drive them deeper into denial of reality.

    The question is how to expose the insanity of the Charlotte Allens, and the greed of the Wayne LaPierres, so that they can be marginalized and the rest of us can move on. I should not engage with Allen’s argument, the correct reponse is to point and laugh. Derisively, no humor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  37. mattb says:

    @Jeff:

    That said, if an opportunity had arose, who is more likely to have successfully taken advantage of it, a male teacher of even below average upper body strength or the typical female school teacher? The guy. Obviously. Why is this remotely controversial?

    Welll, because the broader facts prove otherwise… For example, in the case of Tucson, the first person to jump the shooter (while he was changing magazines) was a *woman* (Patricia Maisch). From there a few onlookers joined in, one of whom was 74 — hardly an match for upper body strength.

    The fact is sex has nothing to do with it and the entire premise was flawed from the beginning. Its an example of someone pretending to be an expert in a area she knew little to nothing about.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  38. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jeff:

    No one knows whether an opportunity arose at any point during the shooting for someone to grab and wrestle the guns away from the shooter because everyone is now dead.

    The fact that everyone is now dead does seem to indicate that an opportunity for someone to grab and wrestle the guns away from the shooter did not, in fact, occur….

    Plus, the thing about guns? They kill from a distance.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  39. swbarnes2 says:

    If the only virtue of male aggressiveness is to protect people from other male’s aggression…yet another edition of awesome conservative logic.

    And Charlotte Allens should not get all the blame. She has an editor who read her piece, and decided that it was a good fit for NR, that it was what NR readers wanted to read, and ought to read. And some editor in chief did the same. If Charlotte Allen is going to have her real name rightfully dragged through the mud, it’s only fair that the other people who helped this piece see the light of day be cited by name also.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  40. george says:

    @JKB:

    The problem isn’t a lack of men, but a lack of sheepdogs to protect the sheeple.

    Stopped reading at ‘sheeple’, and put the post in the “this is going to be a waste of time” category. Kind of like using “lieberal”, or “repuglican”, its a pretty sure signpost that the person can be ignored without missing anything.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  41. mattb says:

    [Note - this post is a bit off topic, but thought I'd add a bit more context to a couple things I've read here. Note I am writing this as a trained tactical self defense and martial arts instructor]

    (1) On Inouye, in addition to the points everyone’s raised about his heroic performance during the war, there’s one other thing that needs to be understood. He (a) knew he was a soldier and (b) knew he was going into battle. Mindset is critical. One of the problems with self defense situations is that they are typically unexpected. Even a trained soldier or LEO has problems throwing “the switch” when surprised. So expecting anyone to immediately go from “teaching mode” to “get the m’f’er whose shooting at me in my school mode” is a HUGE leap and something that most people have neither the emotional disposition or the biological capacity to do “naturally.” You can train to overcome this, but it takes a LOT of training.

    (2) MBunge brought up running at the attacker. As crazy as he sounds, he’s right with a few caveats (all of these work with knife and other weapon attacks as well):
    1. This should only be done if there is no easily accessed escape route behind/to the side of you OR the shooter has you pinned down and is clearly moving towards you.
    2. This is best done when there is a temporary break in shooting.
    3. If you are going to do it, you need to own it — provided you move first, you can get up and run quicker than most shooters can process what you are doing and pull the trigger. If you dally, that gives the shooter time to react.
    4. Provided there is an exit, it’s better to run past the shooter than try to grapple with them. The key thing is to get BEHIND the business end of the weapon ASAP.
    5. Believe it or not, most people, regardless of size can shift a gun off of them before a shooter pulls the trigger (provided he/she isn’t already shooting). The problem is that most people grapple for the weapon with it still in front of them and that’s when they get shot. Again get behind the weapon and get it pointing to the floor. At that point, scream and pray for help.

    Now, all that said, please remember that few, if any of the people writing or reading this site will ever be in a self defense encounter with a gun, let alone a mass shooting (unless you live in a high crime area or are in an abusive relationship).

    While any mass shooting is one too many, the fact is that on that Friday, only a single school was attacked. The idea that based on that one attack all teachers need to be militarized is the WORST form of moral panic. It’s good to be diligent, but its also important to remember the real statistics.

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  42. grumpy realist says:

    @sam: Ah. My apologies.

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  43. JKB says:

    So I see, because you can conceive of a scenario where attacking a killer unarmed might fail, the solution is to make people even more unarmed. Morons.

    As @mattb: explains, yes, it is hard to shift mindset. But guess what, it is the only solution. Guns in schools? Great, if the staff member is one who wants to carry as a matter of lifestyle. But otherwise, the most enthusiastic will eventually feel the weight of the firearm and put it aside (safely) because nothing happened in months, years, etc. Armed guards, well at some point the PTA will decide that money could be better spent on a “diversity” counselor or something.

    So what can you do if you are school staff to have some capability on the off chance between now and retirement the unthinkable happens? Some training in hand and weapons of opportunity, a development of the mindset to attack rather than recoil from threats, conditioning to keep your wits in crisis.

    But no, some moron can think of a situation where a someone in the past was ineffectual against a crew-served machine gun manned by trained soldiers with pre-defined fields of fire and landmarks. Or even failed due to whatever reason against someone armed with a pixie stix?

    Well, here’s the reality, there are no assurances in life. Sometimes in life’s drama, you aren’t the star, sometimes, you die early in the first act. Sometimes you are the new crewmember on the Enterprise away team. Is that a reason not to try to rewrite the script some murder is trying to produce? Here’s the hard part, so the squeamish should look away, odds are for any attack the attacker scenario to occur, you are already among the potential dead if not the most assured dead. So, trying and dying is better than cowering and praying they kill you last. And training, even years before, improves your chance of succeeding.

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  44. grumpy realist says:

    @mattb: Thanks much for your assessment and breakdown of the efficiency of the “rushing-the-bum” strategy and how to carry it out properly. I really wonder how many of the armchair Rambos posting on wingnut sites have actually ever been in the situation they are so blithely talking about. I’ve never had someone shooting at me (thank Aset), but from my own experience with cars and accidents, it’s really hard to do ANYTHING when one is confronted with an out-of-control and dangerous situation. The only thing that kept running through my mind was “don’t panic, don’t panic, don’t panic and make anything worse” and keeping my hands on the wheel and as much control as possible of the car. Now, if I had been a beginning driver, would I have reacted so calmly? I really doubt it.

    What this boils down to is that if we want to be able to act under control while under fire from a crazy shooter, we’re going to have to do a lot of training under similar situations to learn how to react.

    Of course, we have already an institution for training adults to learn how to act correctly under fire. It’s called the military…..does Charlotte Allen realize that the easiest way to get to her perfect “masculine” shield is to mandate military training for all young men? Amazing what NRO ends up banging the drum for….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  45. george says:

    @JKB:

    So, trying and dying is better than cowering and praying they kill you last. And training, even years before, improves your chance of succeeding.

    That’s basically true. It comes down to odds – for any given school, the odds of an attack like this are tiny, so most teachers, janitors etc simply won’t be motivated (past the initial concern after reading about such an attack) to put the effort into training. And even if you mandated training, lack of perceived need means it won’t be taken seriously. Anyone who’s ever trained in any combat sport or martial art sees this regularly – the people who stick with it are the ones who need to deal with it daily (meaning cops or security people), or people who just happen to enjoy it. People who start for self-defense, but don’t enjoy the training, drop off quickly.

    Most people, in these terms, aren’t the red shirts of the enterprise, or the captain and crew who are the heroes, but the TV audience who only experiences these things through the media. And its hard to get people to seriously train for something that is very unlikely to happen. Even fire drills at work places tend to be ignored whenever possible, because the odds are against ever needing it.

    No, I’ve no solution. I heard a radio interview where it claimed there’ve been something like 62 mass killers in the US in the last few decades. If that number is right, that’s one person in a million going crazy, even if you limit yourself to the typical profile. I don’t know how you really protect against that in an industrial society where there are so many mechanical means to kill people in large numbers. Most people who fit the profile of a mass killer (white male for instance has been thrown around the last few days), and by most I mean 999,999 out of every 1,000,000, aren’t going to become a mass killer.

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  46. Rafer Janders says:

    So what can you do if you are school staff to have some capability on the off chance between now and retirement the unthinkable happens? Some training in hand and weapons of opportunity, a development of the mindset to attack rather than recoil from threats, conditioning to keep your wits in crisis.

    It’s really far beyond parody now, isn’t it? The gun nuts have gotten to the point where they’re advocating close-combat training for kindergarten teachers as the “sensible” solution.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  47. gVOR08 says:

    @swbarnes2: I looked at her original piece in NRO online. The comments are almost unamimously negative, and harsh. Whatever editor thought this was a fit with his audience was wrong. And if the commenters at NRO think you’re a whackjob conservative, you are.

    @Rafer Janders: You cannot parody modern American conservatives.

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  48. Tsar Nicholas says:

    That article is a can or two short of a six-pack, but that aside let’s not pretend that there isn’t a salient and cogent underlying point.

    Firepower has major deterrent effects. If a guy wants to shoot a place up and arrives at one spot but there’s a guy standing outside the front door with a gun most often he’ll move along to the next place. And if that school in Newtown was known to have had even one armed guard on its premises Lanza probably would have gone for another target. A much less heinous target. We can’t guarantee that, but probabilities are probabilities and even mere likelihoods are likelihoods.

    Rather than spending public money handing out condoms and having kids sing odes to Obama, and like matters, perhaps our K-12 districts should recruit retired and semi-retired military and law enforcement personnel to stand guard at their schools. They’d probably not even have to spend all that much money. I suspect they could sign up a lot of volunteers.

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  49. mattb says:

    A slightly different turn on what JKB said…

    I encourage everyone to do a good* self defense course at some point in their lives. Not because it’s likely you’re going to be involved in a mass shooting, or because you might be mugged or assaulted on the street — statistically speaking you are far more likely to be attacked by someone you know than the stranger danger most people imagine.

    The reason is that basic self defense (mental, emotional, and physical) is a good life skill to have. And really, the two key areas that matter the most are the mental and emotional skills. And the lessons you learn — provided you commit to practicing them — can have an incredibly positive effect on the rest of your life (because we are always involved in conflicts of one type or another).

    Beyond that, find that one thing (and make it only one) in your life that matters more than anything else to you. That’s going to be the thing that you have to protect. And the best way to protect it is to make sure you always get home safe. You need to be willing to fight for something — because most people are not willing to fight for themselves alone. That’s a far greater motivator for most people than JKB’s warrior based “you’re dead until you fight your way back to life.”

    Finally, learn to listen to your gut. If you think something is wrong, it probably is. The biggest problem most people have is that they deny there is something going on until its way to late to easily remove oneself from the situation.

    But again, this should be done not out of fear that you’ll be the victim of a mass shooting, but out of an interest in bettering your life.

    —————————
    * What’s a good self defense program? It’s easier to negatively define.
    – Ask to see an instructor’s self defense (not martial arts) certification. If the instructor isn’t affiliated with an existing self defense system, I’d be really wary. If (s)he’s says that it’s based on karate, TKD, or another traditional martial art, I’ve be very, very wary.
    – Any good program needs to be done over a few days/weeks. A three hour program is not enough.
    – Ask to see a copy of the curriculum/ask about the following things:
    – If they only talk about “stranger danger” or “unknown attackers”, skip it. A good course should spend time talking about how to deal with attacks from people you know.
    – If they don’t teach verbal deescalation — talking someone down — skip it. Verbal defense skills are the single most important thing most people should take away from a self defense class.
    – If it looks like it will primarily focus on “specific answers” — i.e. how to escape XYZ wrist lock — or complex motor skills — any striking beyond palms, knees, and elbows — skip it. Look for programs that keep things simple and broad.
    – If they do not dedicate time to practice the mental and emotional aspects of a confrontation, skip it.
    – If they don’t discuss the legal aspects of self defense, skip it.
    – If they don’t do role playing or at least light pressure testing, skip it.
    – If they say you’re not going to physically exert yourself or sweat, skip it.

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  50. grumpy realist says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: Interesting world you want to live in. Extrapolating logically, your “gun rights” means we have to have a security guard armed with an Uzi at the entrance of every public building.

    Are you willing to pay taxes to hire and train all these people?

    Thought so…..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  51. Just Me says:

    I actually think the lack of male teachers in education-especially elementary would be an interesting debate although not because they are better equipped to tackle shooters carrying rifles.

    I sometimes think that the biggest crime committed by action movies when it comes to mass shootings is not that they glorify violence, but because they make it look so darn easy to take out the bad guy.

    I completely agree with this one. Our family often jokes that in the movies the bad guys are always bad shots and the good guys somehow have magic, invisible bullet repelling armor

    I think in general most people recognize movies are fantasy, but I can also see where movies where the bad buys almost always miss and the good guys never get hit may lead some to think shoot outs aren’t all that dangerous.

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  52. Peter says:

    Even if there were a teacher or police officer in the school carrying a pistol, he or she would have been at a big disadvantage vs. Lanza’s Bushmaster. There’s an old saying that the only purpose of a handgun in a gunfight is to fight your way back to the rifle or shotgun you shouldn’t have left behind.
    Google “1986 Miami shootout” to see what happened when a determined, unafraid-to-die criminal armed with a Mini-14 (same caliber as Lanza’s gun, but with a smaller magazine) went up against several highly trained FBI agents armed with handguns. Quick summary: it became the worst day in FBI history.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  53. Jeff says:

    Suppose someone was aiming a gun at you, shouting threats and curse words and otherwise scaring the bejesus out of you. Now suppose a bystander jumped the person holding the gun, attempting to knock the gun from his hand or at least knock him off balance so that if he fired, the bullet would miss you and go astray.

    Assuming you had a choice, would you prefer this bystander to be built more like, say, Big Papi or more like Ichiro?

    The defense rests.

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  54. grumpy realist says:

    @Jeff: Actually, if Ichiro is anything like all the Ichiros I know, he’s a black belt in karate and is a damn sight better at assessing and handling a lunatic than Big Papi who used to play football 30 years ago but whose most typical exercise since then has been lifting a Bud while in front of the TV.

    Remember the Japanese during WWII? You think our soldiers thought they were pussies?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  55. @Jeff: If we are going to play pretend, how’s about pulling out a wand and shouting “expelliarmus!” thus disarming my foe.

    I mean if, after all, we can just make up our own scenarios.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  56. Barry says:

    Frankly, at this point, I hope th@Rafer Janders: “See that part about him being armed himself with multiple hand grenades and a Thompson submachine gun, and having the fire support of an entire infantry platoon behind him? That’s hardly charging alone armed only with a bucket and a husky 12-year old by your side. ”

    And he got the nation’s highest award, because what he did was extraordinary, even for combat veterans in the heat of battle (both the doing and the surviving).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  57. wr says:

    @Gustopher: “People can’t really be that stupid, can they?”

    Rand Paul was elected to the senate.

    Next question!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  58. wr says:

    @mattb: I know I’ve been critical of your posts in other threads — okay, rude — but I wanted to say that I thought this was really smart and terrific. I particularly liked your point about expectations, which I haven’t seen raised anywhere. Thank you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  59. Barry says:

    @Jeff: “I don’t understand the scorn heaped on Ms. Allen here. ”

    She’s stupid. I can see how this slides by wayyyy over your head :)

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  60. grumpy realist says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Surely a true latinate would use “expelliate”!, no?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  61. wr says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: “Rather than spending public money handing out condoms and having kids sing odes to Obama, and like matters, perhaps our K-12 districts should recruit retired and semi-retired military and law enforcement personnel to stand guard at their schools. They’d probably not even have to spend all that much money. I suspect they could sign up a lot of volunteers.”

    But of course for this vital mission, we can’t depend on volunteers. What if one doesn’t show up on the right day?

    So let’s do a little math. According to a Google search, there are roughly 132,000 schools teaching some levels of K-12 in the USA. Are we saying that one guard per school is enough? I’m having trouble seeing that, since most schools have multiple entrances and exits. So let’s say we’re going to need two guards per school. You’re probably going to need them maybe eight hours a day, give or take, depending on the pre- and after-school activities.

    Now pay is an issue. A good Republican like you would probably say give them minimum wage, just like the security guys at Walmart. But you’re asking for guards who have special weapons training, so to be fair we’re going to have to kick that up to at least ten bucks an hour. So $160 per day per school. The average school year is 180 days, so that’s $28,800 per school in salary alone. There will be benefits, so we’d better kick it up to $35,000. Now let’s multiply that by our number of schools, and we get a national cost of more than four and a half billion dollars.

    I don’t know exactly how much our schools spend on free condoms and odes to Obama, but my guess is it’s slight less.

    So tell me, Tsar, where is that four and a half billion dollars coming from?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  62. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @grumpy realist: Your complaint is with J.K. Rowling, not Dr. Taylor. Ms. Rowling will get back to you after she’s done rolling around in a pile of pounds sterling.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  63. David says:

    There is one thing from my time in the military as a REMF that rings true regarding this thread, if I had to pull my side arm, we were totally screwed. No matter how good of a shot I was, a 9 millimeter was of little or no use when confronted with an M-16 or equivalent. To argue that males at the school would have made a difference is asinine.

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  64. swbarnes2 says:

    @gVOR08:

    I looked at her original piece in NRO online. The comments are almost unamimously negative, and harsh. Whatever editor thought this was a fit with his audience was wrong. And if the commenters at NRO think you’re a whackjob conservative, you are.

    It’s not clear to me that the commenters are NRO readers. The very oldest comments are likely regular NRO readers, and they talk about gun control, not the sexism. Then there’s a post where someone get 441 upvotes, and that must be when word started to spread about the article, and sane people who aren’t NRO readers descended to express their disgust.

    Or, to put it another way, I start with the premise that the editors were doing their jobs (to put out material that their subscribers want) adequately, and since this article has been so widely publicized, I wouldn’t take negative comments as evidence against that premise.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  65. stonetools says:

    @JKB:

    Well, here’s the reality, there are no assurances in life. Sometimes in life’s drama, you aren’t the star, sometimes, you die early in the first act. Sometimes you are the new crewmember on the Enterprise away team. Is that a reason not to try to rewrite the script some murder is trying to produce? Here’s the hard part, so the squeamish should look away, odds are for any attack the attacker scenario to occur, you are already among the potential dead if not the most assured dead. So, trying and dying is better than cowering and praying they kill you last. And training, even years before, improves your chance of succeeding.

    the point is JKB is that a lot of things have to go wrong before you’re faced with a disturbed teenager in a kindergarten blasting away at unarmed children with semi-automatic weapons equipped with high capacity magazines.

    You start first with a mentally disturbed teenager. Is he being treated? Well, most likely not, because conservatives like to cut funding for outpatient treatment because “moochers”, 47 per cent, etc.
    What’s his home situation? Well, his mother is a survivalist who swallowed wingnut propaganda about surviving the coming crackup through superior firepower, so he lives in a house with all kinds of lethal weapons close to hand.

    How is she able to “acquire this arsenal? Well, the gun nuts have been pushing their vision of ” all guns, all the time” with zero accountability for sellers and no screening of buyers so that anyone can get any semi-auto weapons they want, any time they want,without any requirements for safe storage, because [insert macho fantasy].

    Now, sound forward planning would seem to indicate that you can mostly avoid these type scenarios with sensible legislation, so you don’t have to contemplate suicide charges on madmen armed with high powered weaponry. That scenario doesn’t have to be.

    But i guess its easier to contemplate that scenario than change the mindset that brings you an increased chance of the mentally ill guy with the high powered rifle running amok.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  66. Jeff says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Steven,

    I was using a hypothetical to try to illustrate a pretty obvious point that you and your commentariat seem to be having a difficult time grasping, but it appears my attempts to prod people into a bit of not-very-abstract reasoning have proven a failure. Perhaps they are not up to the task.

    Don’t fret over it, though. I will try my hardest not to make a mistake like this again.

    Over and out.

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  67. @Jeff: Well, my point was, abstract though it may have been, is that your hypothetical already assumed that there was someone capable of jumping the assailant. This assumes a scenario not in evidence. The main problem here being that it is unlikely to be so easy to jump someone engaged in an attack using a semiautomatic assault rifle.

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  68. (The point being, among other things, that you cannot just draw up the most favorable scenario and use it as a “the defense rest’/QED position.)

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  69. john personna says:

    So … John wakes up … to find that “the thing” on the right now is that semi-automatic assault rifles are no big, you just have to stand up to them.

    Did I get that right?

    (Don’t feed the trolls, even when they have by-lines at major outlets.)

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  70. JKB says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    And yet you eagerly assume that banning the possession of weapons by law abiding people will stop the next murderer from going on his killing spree?

    But, of course, the goal is not to reduce crime or stop mass murders but to exploit tragedies to pursue the ultimate goal of disarming the populace.

    Now it would have been wiser if those who came before you had not spelled out the plan and we didn’t have this dastardly internet which keeps everything and forgets nothing.

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  71. I do enjoy the right-wing nuts saying that every elementary school should have a SWAT/ERT team inside. It’s amazing that that conservatives seem to think that the United States should operate like some failed state that needs armed guards at every school.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  72. swbarnes2 says:

    @john personna:

    So … John wakes up … to find that “the thing” on the right now is that semi-automatic assault rifles are no big, you just have to stand up to them.

    Did I get that right?

    Yeah. This isn’t a new argument; NRO writers were calling the students at Virginia Tech cowards too for not rushing the gunmen. It’s the Just World Theory that all conservatives live by. When horrible things happen to other people, it’s not a problem; because those people got what they deserved by making some kind of moral mistake.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  73. wr says:

    @swbarnes2: If it’s so easy to defeat someone wielding an assault rifle — heck, a ten year old kid can do it if he has the guts to rush the guy — why do the righties keep insisting they’re necessary for self-protection? If you can’t fight off a determined fourth grader with one of these things, seems to me that they’re not worth all the bother.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  74. @JKB: I haven’t actually advocated for any particular policy, although I will confess that I see zero reason for high capacity magazines to be available and honestly don’t see a need for assault rifles to be legal. In general I will confess to not having a specific policy agenda.

    I will say this, however: any rational person willing to assess the evidence has to deal with the fact that countries with more restrictive gun laws don’t have these kinds of events the way we do in the US.

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  75. An Interested Party says:

    So I see, because you can conceive of a scenario where attacking a killer unarmed might fail, the solution is to make people even more unarmed. Morons.

    Those are real fighting words coming from an idiot…say, why don’t you look for a situation similar to what happened at Sandy Hook and try to rush the gunman…let us know how that turns out…of course, we’ll probably need a medium to contact you at that point…

    Rather than spending public money handing out condoms and having kids sing odes to Obama, and like matters, perhaps our K-12 districts should recruit retired and semi-retired military and law enforcement personnel to stand guard at their schools.

    You’ve already hinted at your fascist police state tendencies…thanks for reaffirming what we already suspected…

    I was using a hypothetical to try to illustrate a pretty obvious point ridiculous fantasy that you and your commentariat seem to be having a difficult time grasping taking seriously, but it appears my attempts to prod people into a bit of not-very-abstract reasoning visit Fantasy Land have proven a failure. Perhaps they are not up to the task I need to return to reality.

    Happy to be of help…

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  76. Franklin says:

    I love how JKB, incapable of forming an argument, simply resorts to calling everybody morons. And in the meantime, his comrade Tsar turns a discussion that has nothing to do with Obama into an attack on Obama.

    And you guys probably wonder why you get downvotes. It’s because you don’t know how to argue effectively.

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  77. dennis says:

    @Jeff:

    Jeff, I know a couple female school teachers who’d probably whip your azz, all things being equal . . .

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  78. john personna says:

    I guess McArdle went from “I’m so cute because I know what ‘automatic’ means” to “rush the shooter.”

    Sad.

    Small magazines and a tool requirement for magazine swaps are reasonable steps, and will do a lot more for you than “full auto is illegal so why worry.”

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  79. David says:

    The NRA has the solution, Congess needs to appropriate money so every school can have an armed guard. Of course there is no suggestion on paying for it, like a tax on assault weapons or anything…

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  80. mattb says:

    @David:
    What I love most about the NRA — following their logic you need a gun to protect yourself from the son of the organization’s president.

    New NRA Prez David Keene’s Son Is a Convicted Road-Rage Shooter

    Clearly we need to arm ourselves to protect ourselves from NRA supporters!

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  81. john personna says:

    @wr:

    You definitely got ahead of the news with that math.

    I don’t really think that armed security are needed at *every* school, but I wouldn’t mind subtracting $5B off the top of the defense budget and shifting it over. It would probably have more jobs/$ than anything over there. Jobs for veterans as well.

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  82. john personna says:

    @mattb:

    I guess the worst thing is that I find that totally unsurprising.

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  83. mattb says:

    @john personna:

    I don’t really think that armed security are needed at *every* school, but I wouldn’t mind subtracting $5B off the top of the defense budget and shifting it over.

    I think what makes far more sense is that the cost of security is paid for by a tax on all guns and ammunition. Especially since all the guns and ammunition in the recent mass shootings have been all legally purchased. Whatever additional monies are left after salaries are paid for should be placed into a fund for victims of future shootings.

    If gun owners moan about the tax, they need to be reminded that they were the ones who didn’t want any additional regulations on what they could or could not buy.

    But this shouldn’t be an unfunded mandate (don’t Republicans hate them?) and it shouldn’t have to come out of local budgets (especially if security is required to be at every school).

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  84. David says:

    @mattb: My thoughts exactly. The NRA had a real way to get in front of this by not only advocating this idea but recommending a tax on ammo and gun sales to pay for it. Instead we get bigger government and more spending from the Republican side of the aisle (yeah, I know, NRA is not the republican party, but show me a republican that can get elected if the NRA is against them).

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  85. john personna says:

    @mattb:

    I guess I’d be OK with that.

    The only procedural problem would be that the yahoos would build personal arsenals before the effective date, probably resulting in a net increase in private arms and ammunition ownership.

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  86. john personna says:

    (A slowly ramped rate of tax might reduce the “nudge” towards “buy now.”)

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