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September 16, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

Armed guards will not solve problem

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We are, collectively, just ignorant.

Do we really believe an armed guard can protect a school? Why do we assume that the “crazy” shooter is also stupid? Shame on us. Any school guard would surely be the first casualty simply because they cannot have their weapon in hand, poised and pointed at everyone who comes near from every direction. They also eat lunch, take breaks, interact with many others at the school, etc. Teachers with guns? Forgetaboutit!

The single, most important advantage and frequent winner in any encounter is surprise.

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  1. Tell this to the schools nationwide, over 1/3 at last count, which use police and security to maintain safety in their schools. They have done so for decades. I opine they will disagree and say "gun free zone" schools don't ensure safety.

    Carmine D

  2. "rapidly responding to an armed suspect by monitoring all school entry points via security cameras then calling an alert to each classroom to "lockdown" the room and responding to the point of entry would prevent the armed suspect from gaining access to children in multiple classrooms."

    Bull crap, have you ever watched the video from Columbine and other school shootings?

    "President Obama has armed guards for a reason - they work"

    More bull crap, explain away the shooting of Ronald Reagan and Bill Bradley. I remember those agents whipping out fully auto machine guns from under their raincoats, yet Reagan was still shot.

    When Gabby Gifford was shot a spectator with a concealed weapon almost shot the people who took down the gunman.

    Getting guns out of the hands of crazies and criminals is the answer, not turning the country into a High Noon movie set.

  3. RefNV - "Bull crap back at you. LOL Many schools already employ campus police and security officers."

    Right, and I challenge you to name one shooting they stopped from happening.

  4. At 3:23 a.m Future commented that: "President Obama has armed guards for a reason - they work." The first part is true, the President DOES have armed guards - NOTE: That's GuardS - plural. Multiple guardS protecting one person. Not ONE guard trying to protect hundreds of people. The second part? I suspect that Kennedy would have disagreed.

    A bit later (8:19a.m.) RefNV (Re Freeman)commented "Many schools already employ campus police and security officers." Again, true. But there's more to that story: In January a student at Taft (Calif) High School pulled a shotgun and opened fire. The school DID have one armed guard on the staff - but he wasn't present at the time. He was snowed in.

    Columbine High School (remember that?) had an armed guard on the staff and present at the school in 1999. He was in the parking lot, a common location for high school fights, at the time. When he arrived on the scene (5 minutes after the shooting started and 2 minutes after he was called) he engaged one of the shooters - and MISSED! REPEATEDLY! By that time there were already 2 dead and 10 wounded.

    Moral? ONE guard for a school won't do it. Learn from the Secret Service - assign as many guards as necessary to provide 100% coverage for all students and staff, all the time they are on campus or enroute. Of course we'll have to raise school taxes a bit to pay for all those guards, plus as many additional people necessary to provide coverage for absentees. Plus more taxes to pay for their gear and some form of office and storage space. TANSTAAFL.

    Query. If schools are such dangerous places that they must have multiple guards, are they too dangerous for us to entrust our children to them? Maybe it would be better to provide every family a tutor?

    Why armed guards? Maybe it would be better, and cheaper, to institute prison-grade security for access to school grounds (multiple locked, armored doors, high walls topped with razor wire around the perimeters, scanners, pat-downs, bag searches, etc.)? More tax increases. Or perhaps to finally agree upon some form of control over weapons?

  5. To a determined shooter who wants to kill people, an armed guard cannot prevent any killings. However, anyone who is planning on a killing spree might not go to a place if they know the place is employed with an armed guard.
    We cannot completely eliminate people with bad intentions. We can only minimize the chance of happening if they know the place is armed and hopefully prevent any farther damage if it happens.
    There will always be bad people who will try to kill others. The worst part is if you are being shot at and you cannot stop them from farther damage because you are not armed.

  6. "Right, and I challenge you to name one shooting they stopped from happening."

    The absence of shootings at the schools with armed guards are the proof.

    I know you are going to cite Columbine in Colorado. I'll remind you the ONE armed guard was in the parking lot at lunch and attending to a group of students up to no good. He got the distress call within minutes and responded. By all accounts reducing the fatalities and injuries with his armed presence.

    Carmine D

  7. "The only way to stop mass murder is...

    AN ASSAULT RIFLE BAN!"

    In a recent study and survey of law enforcement professionals, over 90 percent said a ban on assault rifles would have no effect on mass killing gun sprees.

    Over 70 percent said that a ban on magazines with more than 10 rounds would have no effect.

    Carmine D

  8. It is difficult to stray further from my stated comments of 11:12 a.m. than did RefNV (Re Freeman): in his 1:21 p.m. post. I am cited as arguing that we should "Save money by not providing armed security detail."

    Even the most casual reading of my post should be able to identify my two points. 1. Under no circumstances will ONE guard per school achieve the goals the NRA/GOP coalition hype for the idea. 2. "TANSTAAFL - There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch!" applies. If we want ANY increase in security at our schools we MUST pay the corresponding bills. Zero increased funding for security will inevitably provide zero increased security. That applies whether we opt for armed guards in every classroom or maximum-security-prison-grade physical protection.

    Regardless of what we do, manny6168 (Manny Cuaresma) is absolutely correct in saying that "We cannot completely eliminate people with bad intention." Whatever we do in the way of creating a better, more fool-proof system, sooner or later a better fool will crawl out of the woodwork.

  9. Carmine: I'm not going to cite Columbine again. Rather, I'll cite the incident at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia (aka Virginia Tech or VTI). VTI doesn't rely on an "armed guard or two" but on a nationally accredited police department, currently staffed by 49 full-time sworn law enforcement officers, assisted by 9 dispatchers and numerous security personnel, tasked solely with protecting VTI. Over the course of two hours on April 16, 2007 one lone gunman killed 32 and wounded 17 on that campus.

    The shooter was not eligible to pass a background check required by Gun Control Act of 1968, being an individual "adjudicated as a mental defective" (per court action in 2005). What happened? Virginia failed to notify the Feds of that court action. Why: Uncertain, put possibly resulting from a State failure to recognize the primacy of Federal law.

    As Manny6168 indicated "There will always be bad people who will try to kill others." That being the case, we can only minimize their success by (yes) adding sufficient security guards, but also by strengthening our physical defenses, and limiting the access of the "bad" people to weapons specifically designed for mass killing. Yes - I've omitted "arming ourselves" for some practical reasons: not the least of which is the inherent impossibility of armed guards, the police, or an armed bystander to absolutely distinguish a "good" person firing a weapon at a "bad" person from a "bad" person firing at a "good" one.

  10. Thank you Robert, I'm glad you cited it.

    Here's and excerpt:

    "Cho [shooter] had previously been diagnosed with a severe anxiety disorder. During much of his middle school and high school years, he received therapy and special education support. After graduating from high school, Cho enrolled at Virginia Tech. Because of federal privacy laws, Virginia Tech was unaware of Cho's previous diagnosis or the accommodations he had been granted at school. In 2005, Cho was accused of stalking two female students. After an investigation, a Virginia special justice declared Cho mentally ill and ordered him to attend treatment.[5] Lucinda Roy, a professor and former chairwoman of the English department, had asked Cho to seek counseling.[6] Cho's mother turned to her church for help.[7]

    The attacks received international media coverage and drew widespread criticism of U.S. gun culture.[8] It sparked intense debate about gun violence, gun laws, gaps in the U.S. system for treating mental health issues, the perpetrator's state of mind, the responsibility of college administrations,[9] privacy laws, journalism ethics, and other issues. Television news organizations that aired portions of the killer's multimedia manifesto were criticized by victims' families, Virginia law enforcement officials, and the American Psychiatric Association.[10][11]

    The massacre prompted the state of Virginia to close legal loopholes that had previously allowed Cho, an individual adjudicated as mentally unsound, to purchase handguns without detection by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). It also led to passage of the first major federal gun control measure in more than 13 years. The law strengthening the NICS was signed by President George W. Bush on January 5, 2008.[12]"

    Has there been one [spree killing] since at a college/university in Virginia? No? Then the laws after VA Tech did what they were supposed to do. Perhaps other states, and some have, should follow Virginia's lead.

    Carmine D

  11. My bottom line, Carmine: The 49 sworn officers of the VTI Police Department - not just "an armed guard on the campus", failed to stop attacks spread over 2 hours.

    Additionally, the NICS had no record of Cho because the State of Virginia didn't tell them, as specifically required by Federal Law at the time, that the state's court system had adjudicated him to be a mental defective, not eligible to purchase a firearm.

  12. Robert:

    The loophole in the Virginia Law was closed, as a result of the VT killings, to ensure mentally ill persons could not purchase a gun [read the excerpt ;-) and apparently Colorado had no such law/if it did it was not followed since Holmes was able to purchase an arsenal although he was evaluated by professional college staff as mentally imbalanced].

    My bottom line: No law or accumulation thereof can absolutely guarantee a crazed killer won't do evil deeds using guns, knifes, bombs, cars, or whatever means possible if hell bent on doing so.

    BUT the presence of armed guards, armed security, armed police, call them what you will, in grammar schools [since that is the case in point] will make a crazed killer think twice or more, before trying.

    AND as I said, armed guards are already in 1/3 of the schools in the U.S. including grammar schools and have been for years.

    Carmine D

  13. PS: You can't legitimately compare a VT campus with all its buildings and acreage to a grammar school of one building.

    Carmine D

  14. BTW, Robert, you may know that there is an aside story making news on the James Holmes shooting. FOX news reporter Jana Winters may land in jail if a Colorado judge has the final say. She is not revealing her sources that Holmes provided advance notice of his intent but the University of Colorado failed to contact the police [as required by the law that I cited above that was signed by President Bush in 2008 as a result of the VT shootings].

    "She [Jana Winters] was the first to report that, prior to the shooting, Holmes had sent a package "full of details about how he was going to kill people" to a University of Colorado psychiatrist."

    Carmine D