Last night, the news announced we’d have a close encounter with an asteroid about half an hour from now. As it turns out, not one, but TWO asteroids were heading towards Earth, and one of them has already Russia! The other is still headed this way.
Here’s essentially what’s happening:
Asteroids often clump together due to microgravity. They’ll stay clumps, so long as there are no collisions or they do not encounter a gravitational gradient large enough to pull them apart, like what happened with Shoemaker-Levy9 that impacted Jupiter in a string of chunks.
So, here’s the original story, as of 5 hours ago. No changes from what we watched on the news last night. The size was reported as being half a football field (about 150 ft).
Here’s another story, picked up by Yahoo, as of 3 hours ago, covering the arrival and impact as caught from several different camera angles. They say it was about the size of a bus.
Here’s a third story, created by Associated Press, as of 30 minutes ago.
I suspect the asteroid that was reported last night was actually a clump of two or more, which separated by Earth’s gravitation gradient as the clump approached Earth. This could have been as far away as several times the distance between here and the Moon. The larger one was picked up on video and tracked, and , while the smaller one escaped notice and hit the Earth.
Meanwhile, here’s NASA’s live-stream tracker, which has already been updated to note the Russian explosion.
Executive Orders may carry the “weight of law,” but only insofar as:
1. They’re directed to a department or other government entity under the Constitutional authority of the President of the United States of America…
2. The orders themselves do not violate the Constitution itself or any local, state, or federal statute which lawfully derives its authority from the Constitution.
For example, the President can direct one or more of his department heads to conduct their affairs in a certain manner. He cannot direct a department head to violate the Constitution in any manner, nor can he direct the affairs of any entity not under his direct administrative authority as proscribed and limited by the Constitution.
The Long Answer
There is no constitutional provision or statute that explicitly permits executive orders. The authority to do has been assumed by all Presidents, from George Washington on, from Article II, Section 1, Clause 1 of the Constitution, which simply states: “The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.” It has widely, though errantly been assumed Article II, Section 3, Clause 5 cements this power, but when we actually read this clause, it only states, “he [the President] shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”
Article II, Section 3, Clause 5 does NOT give the President any power or authority to create law. It’s a restriction on his power, not permission. It simply means that the President and his actions while in office must conform to all laws, beginning with, but not limited to the Constitution of the United States of America. All additional legislation, provided it legally adheres to the Constitution, is also binding to the President, his staff, and all departments beneath his office, including all Amendments, which themselves are integral components of the Constitution itself.
Thus, does the President, Congress, or the Supreme Court have any right, power, or authority to direct any government agency or group within a that agency to violate the Fourth Amendment protections?
No, they don’t.
While the office of the Presidency is quite powerful, our Constitution places a tight reign on both the limit and scope of those powers. Let’s see what powers the President does have, by examining those listed for the President in the Constitution of the United States of America, in Article II, Sections 2 and 3:
1. Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States (self explanatory)
2. Commander in Chief of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States
Note: U.S.C., as well as both federal and Supreme Court decisions, has limited the term “Militia of the several States” to apply only to the National Guard, and has excluded any application to either any other militias mentioned in State Constitutions or to the armed general populace
3. May require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices
Note: Put simply, he can ask his department heads “what’s going on?”
4. Shall have the Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of impeachment (self-explanatory)
5. Shall have power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur
Note: Our President can NOT make a treaty without a 2/3 Senate concurrence, and he must get their advice first. Thus, any “Gun Ban Treaty” is both illegal and unenforceable without 2/3 Senate concurrence.
6. Shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein other otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Department.
Note: This one requires some dissection. All senior officers of the various executive departments, of which their are 15, such as the Department of Defense, all key sub-departments (such as the Department of the Air Force), all ambassadors, public Ministers and Counsels (representatives of foreign governments), Supreme Court Justices, and a few others categories require 2/3 advice and consent of the Senate. The second part allows for the appointment as a civil or military office by procedure outlined in law. Thus, military officers are given a “Presidential Commission” by procedure, not directly by the President himself. By “inferior Officer” they’re referring to lower levels, such as the Undersecretary of the Air Force and the Chief of Staff of the Air Force.
7. The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.
Note: In January, 2013, a federal court indicted President Obama because Obama made appointments during a temporary recess of the Senate while the Senate was still in session, instead of between sessions. Those whom he appointed remain in office, illegally.
8. He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.
Note: First, the State of the Union address is a requirement, not an option. Second, it’s a duty for him to recommend necessary and expedient measures to Congress for their consideration. Obama utterly failed in that duty. He instead used it as a chest-pounding, “LOOK AT ME! Look what I have done! I have created FIRE!” type of speech.
9. He may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them…
Note: The Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor was one such occasion. The 9/11 attacks were another such occasion. There have been few other such occasions throughout the course of American history.
10. …and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper.
Note: If the two houses, during an “extraordinary Occasion,” disagreed on the time of adjournment, this clause gives the President the authority to set a time. However, he can only do so if the two houses disagreed on a time.
That’s IT, ladies and gentleman. This is ALL the President is authorized to do with respect to administering the duties of his office.
So who has the Constitutional power and authority to create law? Article 1, Section 1: “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.”
Note: The term “legislative” means “power or authority to create law. Please note the President (executive branch) is not mentioned.
I’d like to point out two additional sections which are quite relevant:
Article II Section 4: “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
Some of Obama’s “high crimes” (felonies) and misdemeanors are being presented to the U.S. Supreme Court today (February 15, 2013). Among them are Obama’s failure to register for the United States Selective Service System. This is a felony, and disqualifies anyone who commits this felony from holding any position in the United States Government.
In summary: Are Executive Orders Law?
Short Answer: No.
Medium Answer: They carry the weight of law, but he has no authority to either create law or violate the law.
When I grew up ,American education was just fine. I know so many things, and how to do so many things more than people just twenty years my junior, it’s not even funny. Work ethic? Better, stronger. Yet they get the jobs, and I do not. WHY?
Businesses are selling themselves short six ways to Sunday when they think a kid fresh out of college is going to do something fantastic for their company in place of moi.
Should younger adults be hired? Absolutely! However, consideration needs to be given to those of us who built the systems in the first place. We didn’t have certificates galore when we built those systems. We simply saw a need, learned the software, and built the solution. As of last check, in September, 2012, the information systems I designed, developed, tested, and implemented in my last four assignments as an additional duty are STILL being used because of one thing: THEY WORK. I read the manuals. I knew what I was doing. I thoroughly investigated the need, interviewing all players, both individually as well as en masse, designed and implemented a solution, then tested and refined it in situ.
That’s why they’re still in place – because I did things right. I was informed because I took the time and effort it takes to become informed. “We were able to be all these things and do all these things because we were INFORMED.” – Jeff Daniels
Youtube is rife with various pro-2A activists who open carry firearms as much for show, defiance, or antagonism as the rest of do for self-defense. I’d like to show you one such video, which I think is better than most. However, I would also like to add the following comments. Feel free to review the comments and video in any order you desire. 🙂
1. I do not advocate open carry as a means of showing off, making political or sociological statements, establishing “turf,” or for any other reasons save for the following two:
2. I only open carry for two reasons: Response time and deterrence.
2.a. Response Time: The least amount of time between drawing and hitting one’s target is achieved by means of open carrying on one’s hip. That’s why competition handgun shooters carry on their hips. It’s why all openly-marked law enforcement officers carry on their hips. It’s why I and most members of the military who carried handguns into either combat or hostile fire zones carried on our hips. And it’s why I open carry on my hip today. My open carry response time is less than a second. If I have to conceal, it ramps up to at least a second and a half, if not two seconds. Should you ever find yourself in a firefight, things usually happen very quickly, hence the expression about “the quick and the dead.” I’d rather not be the dead one.
2.b. Deterrence. The visible presence of a firearm in modern society is a deterrent. This is quite different from combat, where the enemy could be anyone, and if you look like a member of the American military you may indeed be a target. In modern American society, criminals want just one thing, but in two parts. The one thing is to survive. Most are in a situation where they feel they have to steal. That’s Part A. Most also do not relish becoming wounded or killed (Part B). They have no interest in reliving any semblance of the “Wild West.” In fact, the “wild west” really wasn’t the wild west, either. That’s largely Hollywood fiction created to sell movies. The firearms death rate per capita back then was a fraction of what it is today, even though several times more people routinely carried firearms. Wait… What? You heard me. In any given society, there is an INVERSE correlation between the percentage of citizens who’re routinely armed and the firearms death rate per capita. Amazing how that inverse correlation keeps popping up, isn’t it? 🙂 You can’t compare between dissimilar societies, though, such as the U.S. and Yemen, because there are so many more factors at work than merely the number of firearms vs the number of firearms related deaths. That’s why I said, in any given society, there is an inverse correlation between the percentage of citizens who’re routinely armed and the firearms death rate per capita.
Regardless, the visible presence of firearms in modern America is indeed a deterrent. That’s the other reason why law enforcement open carries, that’s a primary reason why the military open carries, and that’s the other reason why I open carry. Criminals are into stealing from you, not mixing it up with you. They have no idea how fast or accurate you might be, or the nature of your demeanor of disposition. If you’re carrying concealed, you or may not be a target, depending on other factors. If you’re visibly carrying, you’ll probably not be considered a target. The often-voiced objections of “they’ll kill you to get your gun” or “they’ll kill you first because you’re armed” bear no resemblance to reality, and are not supported by any number of crime statistics, for good reason: When faced with a choice between walking away or attending their own funeral, criminals are pretty similar to the vast majority of you and I: Live to fight another day. I always use my brain first (stay away from trouble), feet second (get away from trouble), and firearm third (deal with trouble, in that order. All the testosterone posing in the world will only increase your chances of injury of death. On rare occasion you might encounter a different response, but that’s the exception, not the rule.
3. Speaking of which, I believe a large part of these YouTube “open carry demonstrations” are little more than a testosterone exercise, choosing to err on the side the of the law, hoping for the best, or recording the worst. While I admit they’ve had have some utility with respect to checking the actions of a wayward department or catching a rogue cop in action, I’m not an advocate. The vast majority of the planned ones seem rather silly, and some have been downright dangerous. I think the unplanned ones have had the most utility, but usually only after serious civil rights violations.
4. When I open carry, I simply go about my business. Whether that’s to the bank, a restaurant, or the grocery store is really no one else’s business but my own. I have a CC permit, and do so when it’s expedient or more appropriate to do so. The choice, however, remains mine. I exercise sound judgement, reasonable caution, and do so as I see fit given all involved circumstances.
This is a freedom upon which our country was founded, the freedom to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, on our own terms, non someone else’s. The criminal element in our society exists, but it’s a very small percentage of the remainder of us law-abiding citizens. It’s up to us law-abiding citizens to ensure the over-zealous control freaks in our government remain in check and continue to work with us to enforce the laws as necessary without crossing the line, trying to force us to do their bidding.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the primary reason why we carry in the first place. It’s both the first line in the sand against everything from aggression, robbery, rape, homicide, as well as the last line in the sand against tyrannical aggression. Those in law enforcement who respect this, and they are many, we’ve got your backs, and we know you have ours. Thank you. You should know by now from the above reading we’re not in this for show.
Those who don’t, if I may, please start with the Library of Congress. Better start at the beginning. Follow the links. Follow the history, lest we repeat it, and please, let’s not repeat the massacres of the 20th Century.
Armed teachers are all the rage these days, at least among those who know and respect the value of our Second Amendment. Nevertheless, many valid concerns must be addressed.
For example, the goal should never be to arm all teachers. Many don’t want to be armed. Some should never be armed. Arming all teachers would be prohibitively expensive.
By limiting armed teachers to volunteers who undergo further rounds of elimination based on knowledge, experience, demonstrated competence, proficiency, accuracy, and sound judgement, however, your average school should find at least 5 out of 100 teachers who will greatly improve the ability of that school to stop a mass shooter and save lives, and for a fraction of the cost of hiring just one full-time armed security guard.
Headlines clearly indicate America has had enough. After mass shootings in schools like Columbine, Aurora, and Arapaho High School in Centennial, Colorado has had enough. After the February 14, 2018 shooting death of 17 at the high school in Parkland, Florida has had enough.
By July 30, 2013, at least seven states had armed staffers. Newtown, Connecticut implemented an armed security guard program. Three months later, a rural school in Colorado began allowing staff members and teacher to carry concealed handguns. Eight months after that, Missouri began training and arming at least some of their teachers. Utah followed suite, as did Oklahoma, Missouri, and a number of others states. Many school teachers in Arizona and New Mexico began carrying, if they hadn’t been already due to their extreme rural locations, more than an hour away from law enforcement support.
When a sheriff offers free concealed carry classes for teachers and the slots fill in just 20 minutes, it’s abundantly clear that teachers are interested in protecting themselves and their students. The response is overwhelming. Teachers in at least some areas know what to do. Some school boards know what to do. Some municipalities and states know what to do. And they’re all doing it, the right thing, exercising their Second Amendment rights in order to protect their students against armed shooters.
Sadly, many school employees, teachers, officials and legislators don’t understand the problem, don’t know what to do about the problem, or they feel that they can’t afford to hire high-quality school resource officers i.e. well-trained armed guards to implement a school security program that will keep their kids safe.
It is for these reasons I wrote A Sensible Plan Towards Armed Teachers and keep it updated on a regular basis. It is my goal to help teachers, school officials, school resource officers, and legislators fully understand the issues involved and how to best mitigate the risk to our children in today’s environment.
Table of Contents:
Table of Contents
Three Critical Aspects
TRP – Teacher Reliability Program
When it comes to protecting our kids, I most parents want well-trained and experienced professionals. Armed teachers should go through all of the following stages, with a quality cut at each stage.
1. Volunteers ONLY.
2. Vetted. ANY doubts and they’re out (off the armed teachers list). This includes both full background checks and a psych exam/profile. They should also have had enough firearms experience that they won’t be fumbling with it in a firefight. Former law enforcement and military are prime candidates, but others may prove to be equally capable.
3. Trained. Take them to the range. Give them a thorough firearms safety course along with range practice and basic qualification.
4. Qualified. This is a real shooter scenario. You want to make sure they can consistently hit the target under fire while maintaining both their cool as well as their cover, and without causing collateral damage. You also want to make dang sure they can distinguish targets — no shooting friendlies.
5. Certification: Only the best of the best reach this level and are certified to carry in schools.
6. Currency training. I would say repeat steps 3, 4, and 5 twice per year, once in the summer, and once over the Christmas holidays. If someone has slipped, then de-certify them, go back to the list, and train a replacement.
I am a retired military officer. My father, himself a retired military officer, taught me how to shoot when I was nine. By “how to shoot” I mean proper firearms safety, cleaning, care, and of course, how to hit the target. I taught my son how to shoot when he was nine. My grandfather began carrying his hand-me-down .410 shotgun to school, along with most of the other school children in rural Iowa, around third or fourth grade. Once there, they would prop up their unloaded firearms in the corner until school was out. On the way home, he’d catch dinner.
In 1990, I began carrying a small, defensive 9mm pistol on a regular basis after my car and a number of apartments were broken into. When I began hiking in the Inland Northwest in 1991, I began carrying a larger defensive weapon for defense against the occasional grizzly. All told, I’ve owned five firearms, although never more than three at any given time.
As an owner of just two firearms and a modest amount of ammunition, I am by no means any sort of “gun nut.” In 1989, however, myself and the rest of my class took the following oath while being commissioned as military officers:
“I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”
This is the same oath of office taken by all civil, military, and law enforcement officers in the United States of America. Enlisted members in the military take a similar oath. Civil officers include every executive, legislative, and judicial elected or appointed local, municipal, county, state, and federal official, from the judge in a one-horse town to state legislators and department heads throughout our federal government.
The oath of office is not a symbolic gesture, nor do we get to pick and choose which parts of the Constitution we observe and which ones we ignore, a fact that many members of Congress are quick to forget, if they ever understood this very critical point at all.
My efforts, both here in this blog as well as on other forums, are focused on precisely what is stated in my oath of office: “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.”
My goal in this article is to provide clear, unmistakable information to all decision-makers and approving authorities so they can take steps based on verifiable fact, rather than opinion, objective reality rather than emotions or idealism.
I originally wrote this article within days of the Sandy Hook shooting as the beginning of a blueprint schools might use to create a safe, sane, and responsible program for vetting and arming teachers while maximizing deterrence and minimizing risk. I periodically update it, usually in response to yet another heart-wrenching, yet preventable school shooting. Thus, if you see that it looks like a work in progress, that’s because it is, as I edit it to make it better.
In the aftermath of Parkland, Florida, one grieving mom is shouting at Trump, “Do something!”
He is doing something. He is supporting concealed carry reciprocity. I will encourage him to repeal the blitheringly idiotic Gun Free School Zone Act, as it has been the DEADLIEST act ever passed by Congress and signed by a U.S. President.
Beyond that, look to your STATE, as the STATES are the ones who create and enforce the very wrongly labled “gun-free zones” in which MOST mass shootings occur.
As a military veteran, I knew full well that all the blitheringly idiotic “Gun Free School Zone Act” did was to advertise the fact that the criminally insane would face far less of a counter threat by attacking people in a school than they would attacking people in in town. Fortunately enough people throughout our general populace held the same conviction, and states have been responding by developing their own vetting and training programs to arm school teachers and staff members.
To date, some of the Armed Teacher programs match what I wrote herein, but others have deviated. Some of those deviations are rather good, while others appear to opportunistic way for certain pseudo-military/law enforcement groups to make a lot of money while providing significantly lower quality training that is available through traditional military and law enforcement venues.
No state should ever involuntarily arm teachers. Furthermore, there are many teachers who should never be armed. If states implement this the way the military implements PRP, it will save the states a LOT of time, money, headache, heartache, and litigation, not to mention the most important thing: LIVES.
“The Personnel Reliability Program (PRP) is a United States Department of Defense security, medical and psychological evaluation program, designed to permit only the most trustworthy individuals to have access to nuclear weapons (NPRP), chemical weapons (CPRP), and biological weapons (BPRP).”
Thus, I am in the process of rewriting this article on a regular basis to incorporate some of the better ideas while highlighting what appear to be some of the worst and potentially dangerous ideas. Throughout, I maintain that not every individual who works in a school could or should be armed, for a variety of reasons.
What I will not do is reveal the specific tactics, techniques, and procedures used by security resource officers to secure schools.
Thus, I remain firmly convinced that all armed teachers should pass a simple but effective three-step process. First, they should be volunteers. Second, those who do volunteer should be fully vetted by law enforcement, peers, and school officials before acceptance into the program. Third, those who are vetted should excel at the third tier of security involving their proper training and qualification.
I’ve certainly had enough. As a parent, I can attest to the fact that most parents worry about the safety of their children. Yet even two years after I posted the first version of this article, today’s headlines read:
15-Year-Old Killed Trying to Shield Others From Gunfire
That could have been MY son. Or YOUR daughter. Or someone else’s brother, sister, cousin, niece, nephew, or grandchild.
The excuse that “these things just happen” does NOT apply to events that are PREVENTABLE. This has ceased to be an issue for the police department to solve. It’s a risk management issue for We the People to solve, and by “risk management,” I am referring to well-established science. Specifically, risk management involves forecasting and evaluating risks together with the identification of procedures to control, avoid, minimize, or eliminate unacceptable risks, and in my mind — and I’m pretty sure in the minds of everyone — the likelihood of our children being blown away while at school is not an acceptable risk!
So, what must we do to effectively manage this risk?
Effective risk management uses a combination of approaches:
Risk Acceptance: Risk acceptance does not reduce any effects however it is still considered a strategy. This strategy is a common option when the cost of other risk management options such as avoidance or limitation may outweigh the cost of the risk itself. An organization that doesn’t want to spend a lot of money on avoiding risks that do not have a high possibility of occurring will use the risk acceptance strategy.
Unfortunately, this is what municipalities do when they tell law enforcement, “we want our kids to be safe” and law enforcement responds with, “we can put a cop in every school, but it will cost more money.” When the municipality balks, they are accepting the risk.
The bad news is that this is almost always the end of the municipality’s approach to managing the risk to our kids! Frankly, I find that abominable. Fortunately, there are three other resources at our disposal:
Risk Avoidance: Risk avoidance is the opposite of risk acceptance. It is the action that avoids any exposure to the risk whatsoever. Risk avoidance is usually the most expensive of all risk mitigation options.
When parents want to avoid risk to their kids in school, they simply pull them out of school and home school the kids, instead. Unfortunately, that’s not an option for many parents. The other option would occur on the side of schools, and that’s to keep all kids out of school!
Both these approaches, however, defeat the purpose of schools, which involves having kids attend school so they can learn.
Risk Mitigation: Risk mitigation is the most common risk management strategy. This strategy limits an organization’s exposure by taking some action. It is a strategy employing a bit of risk acceptance along with a bit of risk avoidance or an average of both.
For example, schools could start using expensive scanning equipment of the kind used at airports. Unfortunately, this approach is prohibitively expensive and not entirely effective.
Another mitigation technique involves forcing only the bad kids out of schools by means of suspension and expulsion.
Employing the services of school resource officers and/or security guards for purposes of both deterrent and intervention is another mitigation technique.
Finally, arming qualified teachers is another way to mitigate the risk by vastly increasing the response rate while lowering the response time. This is a highly effective means of deterring criminal behavior in the first place. After all, the vast majority of mass shootings over the last thirty years have targeted so-called gun-free zones precisely because law-abiding citizens in those areas have been disarmed. But what if they weren’t and the perpetrators knew it? They do the same thing they’re doing now by avoiding areas where people are likely to be armed and go elsewhere or not risk it in the first place.
Risk Transference: Risk transference is the involvement of handing risk off to a willing third party. For example, numerous companies outsource certain operations such as customer service, payroll services, etc. This can be beneficial for a company if a transferred risk is not a core competency of that company. It can also be used so a company can focus more on their core competencies.
Unfortunately, a school cannot transfer the process of educating children to another school better equipped to keep kids safe than they are. The resources to do that simply don’t exist.
So, what are We the People supposed to do when it comes to stopping these mass shootings, particularly in our schools?
There are three ways to secure a building, facility, or campus:
Completely block off all access, forcing everyone who enters and exits to go through a thorough search of their person and belongings. This method is employed by the federal, state, and local government with respect to civilians, most notably the TSA security checkpoints at airports, entrance into the White House, courthouses, etc. It’s also used at many amusement parks. As it’s expensive, it’s limited to events where the value of the event is high but participation is low.
Conduct a thorough background check of anticipated entrants, giving them access to the physical resources they require to do their job, often via key cards. As it’s very expensive and the assets are quite valuable, this approach lends itself to employees of various businesses and granting key military personnel to high value assets.
“Allow” people to carry commensurate with their Constitutional right to keep and bear arms.
It may appear on the surface these approaches are mutually exclusive, but in fact, they are not. Let’s take another look at them from a different perspective:
(work in progress)
With respect to school security…
First, We the People need to stop expecting law enforcement to be available on every street corner. For one, that’s simply impossible. According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, “There are more than 900,000 sworn law enforcement officers now serving in the United States, which is the highest figure ever” (Source). According to the United States Census, however, there are currently (as of this writing), 322,359,989 people in the United States (Source). That’s a whopping 1 law enforcement officer for every 358 Americans, among the highest in the world, yet it’s still not enough.
In case you haven’t figure it out, yet, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out, no society can afford to hire a portion of its members to fully protect the rest. The key word, here, is “fully.” There’s some measure of protection with any ratio.
Or is there? Does law enforcement action actually do any active protection? When I Googled, “how law enforcement protects,” I found three entries:
Qualified Immunity: How it Protects Law Enforcement Officers…
Obama signs ‘Blue Alert’ law to protect police…
Just Dial 911? The Myth of Police Protection…
In fact, on the first page of results, I found zero websites that could show how law enforcement officers actually do any protection at all. In fact, one entry, an article by the New York Times, headlined:
Justices Rule Police Do Not Have a Constitutional Duty to Protect Someone
Well, there you have it. “No duty to protect.” In fact, aside from the very rare occurrence whereby an officer just happens to be on site when a crime begins, the only protection offered by law enforcement is preventative in nature. Either the presence of a beat cop deters criminal activity, or an investigation after the fact may lead to incarcerating a criminal with potential for further mischief.
Second, answer the question: Who protects the American Public?
We the People do, that’s who. Armed citizens stop an estimated 650,000 to 800,000 violent crimes each year, usually without having to fire a shot.
Furthermore, contrary to popular misconception, we are not only considerably safer in doing so than most members of the police department, we are also more effective at permanently stopping the bad guys.
Are “school resource officers” (cops on beat at a school) an effective risk management solution? Well, somewhat. The knowledge that they’re in place is a mild to moderate deterrent. Since they’re on the scene and making friends with the kids, they often become wise to some events in time to deter them. Overall, however, they will never have as much interaction with the kids as do teachers.
As a retired member of the military, one whose duties included securing high value assets such as buildings, territory, and military aircraft, I can attest that regardless of whether your adversary is sane or not, the best deterrent is one which the bad guys believe changes the outcome for the worst, and to such an extent that they change their minds and never attempt bad behavior in the first place.
As reported about the latest school shooting in Colorado: “When an armed school resource officer entered the room, [the armed student] believed he was cornered and turned his gun on himself. The entire attack lasted approximately 80 seconds and was captured by security cameras.”
The problem with armed school resource officers is the same problem with all highly-trained law enforcement: There’s not a cop on every street corner. Most municipalities cannot afford to post an armed school resource officer at a high school all times when the school is open. For middle and grade schools, they’re spread pretty thin, with one SRO handling multiple schools. An SRO is often assigned to each high school, and multiple middle and grade schools. Thus, when he’s at the high school, the middle and grade schools are vulnerable, and vice versa. Hiring an armed security guard instead of paying a cop may save some bucks, but the school as well a local law enforcement looses some control.
Third, greatly increase the effectiveness of deterrence and on-the-spot stopping power by augmenting school resource officers and security guards ten-fold or more.
This is why I fully support an Armed Teachers program as an effective component of risk management, provided certain reservations are addressed. For example, you certainly don’t want to arm every teacher. Many teachers, for example, do not have the inclination, training, or temperament required to successfully confront an armed shooter. Other teachers do not have the appropriate level of maturity and responsibility to be entrusted with the possession of a firearm in the classroom.
Many people think the idea of armed teachers is abhorrent. I find the idea of unprotected school children in these poorly-named “gun-free zones” to be abhorrent. In fact, I think the politicians behind “gun-free zones” should be held responsible, if not criminally liable, for the deaths of the more than 300 school children who have been murdered to date, as their Gun Free School Zone Act has contributed to the targeting of schools by these mass shooters. GFZ’s boast a mortality rate many times greater than areas in which Americans’ right to keep and bear arms is not infringed.
Disarming a populace has never lead to an overall decrease in violent crime. The type of crime shifts (fewer gun murders, more murders by knife, bat, tire iron, etc.), but the overall incident in violent crime always increases. Cases in point: England and Australia. Before disarmament, their violent crime rates were on par with that of the U.S. England’s is now triple that of the U.S. and Australia’s is more than double.
Clearly, that route does not work.
Surprisingly, I do not advocate “arming” teachers. That’s an action verb, implying you’re putting a firearm in the hands of a teacher who may be reluctant to receive it, but may also feel obligated to pony up, yet who may not be either properly trained or ready to handle that responsibility. On the other hand, some teachers are very well-suited for the responsibility. Most people are unaware that some teachers are former law enforcement or military service members. Other suitable teachers include well-trained, honest, law-abiding citizens who possess the right qualities.
I most certainly support allowing at least some teachers to be armed. Lest we forget, however, all six of the last shooting sprees were committed by liberals, and our schools are hotbeds of liberal activity, so we do need to be careful about who we allow to be armed in our schools. 🙂
Many objections have been raised concerning the arming of teachers, including both “freeze-up” and the opposite side of the coin, an unbridled response which kills innocent civilians. Fifty years of FBI statistics clearly indicate that armed citizens are less likely to kill innocent civilians than well-trained law enforcement officers in a given shooting incident. If anything, citizens are overly cautious. I strongly suspect the reason is because most armed citizens are reluctant to fire unless it becomes absolutely necessary, while most law enforcement officers are trained to stop crimes in progress.
In fact, armed citizens are 6.2 times safer than law enforcement officers in terms of stopping shooting sprees! 14.3 average deaths occur when law enforcement stops a shooting spree. Recall the 2012 shooting at the Empire State Building in 2012: New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said all nine bystanders wounded in Friday’s Empire State Building shooting had been hit with police gunfire. Link to CNN article. “…the bystanders were not hit directly by police, but rather the officers’ struck “flowerpots and other objects around, so … their bullets fragmented and, in essence, that’s what caused the wounds.”
Yeah, right. And I’ve got a bridge on some swamp land I can sell you cheap…
Regardless, had they hit their intended targets, there would have been no ricochets. Instead, they missed, either because they were poorly trained, panicked, or both.
Meanwhile, just 2.3 deaths occur on average when a shooting spree is stopped by an armed citizen. That’s not necessarily because law enforcement is less effective than armed civilians. In large part it’s because there are far many more armed civilians (around 5 to 6 million) out there than there are police officers (about 800 thousand). It’s a simple matter of response times: The sooner you can stop the shooter, the more lives will be saved, and seconds count, big time. The police responded to the Holmes shooting in just 90 seconds, yet look how many people he managed to wound or murder. Good on the police for getting there in record time, but it’s clear 90 seconds is far two long. “When seconds count, the police are just minutes away.” Had I or any number of my friends who routinely carry been at that theater, we would have put down the shooter in less than 5 seconds. Then again, I’ve trained for over 20 years to do just that.
Even with minimal training, however, the armed citizen is still highly effective. Recall the mother who was trying to escape the armed intruding by hiding in the attic with her children. She fired all six rounds, hitting the perpetrator five times, and stopping his attack. That’s pretty good shooting.
These statistics indicate we’re safer in the hands of armed citizens, simply because we are everywhere. We’re also less likely to shoot without being absolutely certain of our target. We are indeed effective: Well over a million crimes each year are stopped in progress by armed civilians, and roughly 700,000 of those crimes would have involved violence. The deterrent factor alone is well worth implementing an armed teacher program. Disarming everyone clearly doesn’t work: Gun free zones occupy less than 10% of the locations frequented by citizens in the U.S., yet they account for more than 75% of all shooting spree deaths.
Keeping in mind the above statistics, information, and rationale, let’s consider how we might proceed:
1. Allow teachers to volunteer for this position. Just as we have an all-volunteer military, we don’t want to repeat the mistake of forcing firearms into the hands of those whose hearts aren’t into it.
2. Vet the volunteers with recommendations from the principal, a panel, peers, or possibly the school board, or some combination thereof. Additional background screening should be done by the local police department. Establish clear “no-go” criteria that would halt the process for any single individual. Refer to the military’s Personnel Reliability Program (PRP) for guidance. No one individual should have absolute approval authority. Instead, they should have the authority to rank order the volunteers based on the inputs from a variety of sources, and provide recommendations as to why any teacher should or should not be considered for this position. A four-party panel consisting of the school principal, an Armed Teacher liaison in the police department, a representative from the teachers’ union, and a representative from the parent community should
3. Establish a minimum number or percentage of teachers who carry. This will prevent parties resistant to the idea from disqualifying everyone. It might be prudent to have a maximum number or percentage of teachers who carry, as well, simply to keep the quality of volunteers high. Regardless of the school size, I would recommend at least three armed teachers, and a maximum number of teachers to coincide with the number of exits, or 1/2 of 1% of the school population, whichever is greater. In my high school, we had around 2,500 students and approximately 10 exits, hence this “formula.” 🙂 I know for a fact we had at least 12 well-qualified and entirely trustworthy teachers for this role. That would come to approximately 5% of the population of teachers.
4. Priority should be given to teachers with a long history at that school (or within that school system), as well as former members of law enforcement and the military i.e. those who are well-trained in both the use and withholding the use of lethal force. I would recommend at least three years of history. Provided their service records are clear, teachers from law enforcement and military backgrounds have the requisite training to think and act both clearly and decisively while under fire.
5. Once vetted, armed teachers should be trained by the same specialists in the local police depart who train new recruits and/or who conduct recurrent training for sworn officers. They should also be trained alongside the same school resource officer(s) with whom they’ll be working, in both tactics and procedures. The training should include responses to school shootings and other potential and immediate life-threatening events, while also including identification of situations not requiring the immediate intervention of an armed teacher, when a call to an SRO would be the best course of action. Finally, as not all members of law enforcement and the military are ideally suited to react appropriately, this training should double as a screening program.
6. Some additional compensation should be given to those teachers who elect to put themselves in harm’s way. I recommend a stipend of 5% premium above their salary,
7. Armed teachers should be allowed to use their own firearms, provided they meet certain criteria common to self-supplied weapons allowed for law enforcement officers, such as minimum and maximum rounds, calibers, and barrel lengths. I would recommend calibers to include 9mm, 10mm, 40 caliber, and 45 caliber, with heavy precedence, if not insistence, on hallow-point rounds so as to minimize over-penetration. Magazines should not be limited, but they should be at least 7 rounds, commensurate with the M1911’s common configuration. I believe a common sense upper limit to be the common 16-round magazines. Teachers should be required to carry enough spare magazines so as to afford them access to at least 30 rounds. I feel it’s important to ensure both armed teachers and SRO’s have a similar number of rounds as do most police officers, if not most school shooters. Last time I checked, that’s at least 48 rounds, plus one in the chamber, for a total of 49. Personally, I carry 33 as an absolute minimum, and upwards of 55 when I’m traveling into or through higher threat areas.
8. Teachers who volunteer, vetted, and trained should be required to bring their firearms to school each and every day, and should check in with SROs as to whether or not they’re carrying that day. As with law enforcement and pilots, however, some circumstances, including illness, the use of many medications, and levels of personal stress should be automatic excuses for not carrying.
9. Legislation is required to protect these brave civilians, not from all culpability, but at least from acting in a manner commensurate with their training, the same as with law enforcement.
I may add to this later, on advice and recommendations from readers. 🙂
UPDATE: In the last year, 9 states have adopted plans to arm their teachers, and candidates are currently undergoing training. More…
UPDATE 2: Some states are now enacting this or a similar program, even though in so doing they’re directly violating federal law (gun free school zone act of 1990 – ruled un-Constitutional in 1995, resurrected from the dead by Janet Reno in 1996).
Federal exceptions to the GFSZ Act include:
1. Carrying or storing a firearm in one’s car on school grounds by CC permit holders, provided state law allows the exception.
2. Peace officers when their duties require their armed presence on school grounds.
The solution is simple: Deputize teachers. Not before they’re screened, selected, and well-trained, however…
UPDATE 3: Click here to read more about the Okey School System that has armed their staff.
I don’t buy it either. Not by a long shot. When these things keep happening to the 0.001%, something is either horribly wrong or the idiots in power can’t figure our how to cover their tracks. And if they don’t think we have a clue, the clue has already been disseminated six ways to Sunday.
We understand. Period. Grow a brain. Not going to happen, so very temporary powers that be.
State-sponsored socialism has many names. Regardless of whether you call it Naziism, fascism, Leninism, Marxism, communism, Islamism, or Obamaism, they all have a huge downside: Human extermination i.e Genocide. It follows a three-step pattern:
1. Registration – identifies those who will soon be disarmed.
2. Disarm the people so they can’t resist the armed police state.
3. Exterminate all who are either a burden to or a resistor of the police state.
By the way, extermination isn’t limited to only those who owned firearms. In fact, extermination has
historically been visited primarily on the poor, as they’re the greatest burden on the state. All those promises of “we’ll take care of you!” during the elections only last long enough for socialists to secure their stronghold in the government. That’s when the masses start dying.
Extermination is then extended to the III% who would refuse to knuckle under and who stand against the massacre no matter what. In the 20th Century alone, socialism exterminated 135 million humans, according to the U.S. Congressional Record. The vast majority of those were NOT dissidents, but merely the poor, who could not exist without handouts from the state. Most were relocated away from their farming tools, where they simply starved.