As reported by Fox News on October 15, 2014, the United Nations has issued an ultimatum to the United States of America: Control Ebola or face an unprecedented situation.
What the UN means by “unprecedented situation” can be found on the UN website (http://un-influenza.org/?q=content/un-response), in their response plan for the Avian Flu, under Objective 6: Continuity Under Pandemic Conditions: “Ensuring the continuity of essential social, economic and governance services, and effective implementation of humanitarian relief, under pandemic conditions.”
Reading between the lines, as well as observing their response throughout other nations, this includes the mandatory implementation of the UN’s other agendas, most notably confiscating all firearms for the “safety of all response workers.”
Similar indications can also be found on the World Health Organization’s website, in their Global Alert and Response (GAR) page (http://www.who.int/csr/en/): “Coordinate and support Member States for pandemic and seasonal influenza preparedness and response.”
Again, reading between the lines, the WHO brings the doctors, while it’s parent organization, the UN, brings the muscle.
This is further echoed in their August 28, 2014 Ebola Response Roadmap (http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/131596/1/EbolaResponseRoadmap.pdf?ua=1).
This document clearly states it’s purpose on page 5: “To assist governments and partners in the revision and resourcing of country-specific operational plans for Ebola response, and the coordination of international support for their full implementation.”
While they tie their “country-specific operational plans” to the “Ebola response,” the fact remains that an OPLAN is an OPLAN. It’s an Operational Plan. That’s military lingo for how an organization intendeds to accomplish its mission, and their specific intent for the United States of America comes through rather glaringly in Objective 2 on the same page:
2. To ensure emergency and immediate application of comprehensive Ebola response intervention in countries with an initial case(s) or with localized transmission.
The key activity of Objective 2: “Coordinate operations and information across all partners, and the information, security, finance and other relevant sectors.
The most alarming aspect of this document, however, involves their definition of “security:”
Security: where necessary, and particularly in areas of intense transmission and short term extraordinary containment measures, national/local authorities must plan for and deploy the security services necessary to ensure the physical security of Ebola facilities. National/local authorities must give particular attention to ensuring the security of the staff working in Ebola treatment centres, Ebola referral/isolation centres, laboratories and, if required, for teams working at the community level to conduct surveillance, contact tracing and safe burials.”
I have no problem with ensuring the security of Ebola treatment facilities. The question is, under Obama’s management, will it ever stop there? What legislation is in place to prevent overbearing law enforcement from pulling the same crap as the New Orleans Police Department pulled on American citizens immediately following Hurricane Katrina?
Since Day 1 at their training academies, American law enforcement officers have been taught to “control, control, control.” When you put them into a widespread situation, many of them are overwhelmed. They fall back on their training without any regard for the Constitutional implications that what they’re doing is WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. It might be suitable for a localized riot. It is NOT suitable for widespread chaos. This was most dramatically exhibited when SWAT teams busted down door after door after door in Boston immediately after the marathon bombing.
Did they respect our Constitutional rights? No. THEY BLEW RIGHT PAST THEM.
Again: What U.S. Federal Legislation is in place to ensure that NEVER happens again? What penalties are in place for local, county, state, and federal law enforcement officers, as well as augmenting forces like the National Guard, to prevent them from crossing the line?
Comments within the document such as “repurpose existing programmes [sic] to support control efforts” with respect to “security” indicate they have ZERO intention of respecting our Constitution.
What’s next? The widespread confiscation of firearms “for your safety?”
Here’s a thought: Instead of assuming Americans are idiots, let’s try another route: Education. Let Americans do what we do best: Control ourselves.
In 2012, immediately following the Mountain Shadows flare-up of the Waldo Canyon fire, I and all other residents of my apartment complex were denied access to our domiciles for five full days, despite the fact that residents in homes on either side of us were allowed to return after just TWO days. We were told it was for our “safety,” despite the fact we were no less safe than those homeowners.
THAT CRAP HAS GOT TO STOP.
Again, Congressman Lamborn: What legislation, specifically, do you have in place to ensure these rampant denials of our Constitutional rights NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN?
With few exceptions, We the People are perfectly capable of controlling ourselves. We’re well aware of the risks to both ourselves and others, regardless of what Obama is saying to the contrary.
All we need are clear and unambiguous guidelines. We don’t Obama lying to us in pathetic and misinformative attempts to calm our nerves. Older generations grew up during the Cold War. Younger generations watch The Walking Dead every week. Let’s get real!
As a retired USAF Officer, I remain well-trained in CBRNE operations. Most of my neighbors do not have my training, but given the fact this is a military town, there are a LOT of us scattered throughout the community who do.
Even those who are untrained, however, know the risks. If they’re told to limit travel for food and work, use hand sanitizer or wear and discard gloves, keep their shoes in the garage, and wipe down all doorknobs and other touched surfaces with a soap/water/bleach solution, I’m pretty darn sure they can handle that!
I can’t help but wonder if this is the beginning of the end of the United States of America.
By refusing to close our borders and by bringing in infected individuals, Obama is INVITING a UN takeover of our country. He’s long been looking for a way to either ditch or circumvent our Constitution, and I believe he may very well have found it.
UNLESS, of course, laws exist which clearly limit the scope of his many executive orders, most of which were drafted during his first term, yet clearly targeted to give him absolute dictatorial authority over our nation in times of crises — whether those crises were unavoidable, or, as many of us believe, manufactured by Obama himself.
On October 15, Dr. Ben Carson said, “We’ve known for a long time that [Ebola] has this kind of potential. That’s the reason that several weeks ago I said it was a real mistake to bring infected people in to this country in any way.”
This is NOT legal under either Colorado State Law (Colorado Revised Statutes) or U.S. Federal law. In fact, it violates several provisions of various laws.
Specifically, landlords in Colorado can only render contracts null and void based on items which are themselves prohibited by law, such as illegal drugs. They can place reasonable restrictions on other items such as pets and satellite dishes, as those items can result in additional expenses for the landlord and change the overall ambiance of the complex. The U.S. Constitution, however, expressly forbids authorities from infringing on the right to keep and bear arms. To wit: “…the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” It doesn’t say “may not.” It doesn’t say “should not.” It says “shall not.” Furthermore, in District of Columbia vs Heller, the Supreme Court upheld the right of the people to keep firearms in their homes.
All federal courts and the Supreme Court have already ruled that the lawful exercise of your right to keep and bear arms does NOT infringe on the rights of others. Specifically, they’ve said if the firearm is properly carried under state law i.e. you’re not brandishing it, then no one else’s rights are being violated. People do not have any right to be “free from seeing something they find either scary, alarming, or offensive.” This includes sayings on a t-shirt, the color of someone’s hair, or a firearm. The courts have ruled that the lawful carry of a firearm is not legal grounds for “alarm” any more that would be a picture of a spider on someone’s shirt. If spiders offend, scare, or alarm others, that’s unfortunately, but the truth remains that the Constitutional rights of the people shall not be infringed.
The landlord has NO legal right or cause to evict, and inclusion of this restriction in the lease violates Colorado State law, Federal landlord/tenant/leasing laws, and the supreme law of the land, the U.S. Constitution itself.
Finally, the “federal building” argument does not apply. The only “federal building” exceptions involve buildings where the federal government provides services to the public at large. It does NOT extend to residential areas. Here’s why: The area inside the resident’s home is protected under Supreme Court decisions Heller and McDonald. Furthermore, the common-use areas enjoyed by all the tenants are legally governed under “joint tenancy” laws. Even though the property may be owned by a landlord, that doesn’t give the landlord the right to violate the Constitutional rights of the individuals who live there, regardless of whether the landlord is Joe Citizen or Uncle Sam. The tenants retain the same rights in “joint tenancy” areas as they would in the front yards of homeowners, with few exceptions. One such exception is that they cannot plant their own flowers or erect structures. They can, however, set up a beach chair on the grass and lay out in the sun. Properly covered, of course. If the keeping and bearing of arms is allowed by law, as it is in this case, the building’s owners can NOT violate those rights.
UPDATE 1: I sent this layman’s brief to Will Ripley of 9News and others in the local politburo. Don’t know how much my assessment helped, but I’m happy if it helped.
UPDATE 2: We WON!Link. The Douglas County Housing Partnership, who has authority to overturn Ross Management’s actions, said: “This board does not support any action that infringes on an individual’s rights and will not allow Ross Management to implement these changes. The mission of the Douglas County Housing partnership is to preserve and develop safe, secure, quality housing while providing housing choices for those who have few.” A spokesperson for the Denver Housing Authority said, “It’s unconstitutional to prohibit the legal possession of a gun or a firearm on public housing property.”
On an interesting side note, the owners of Ross Management have given $9,000 to Democrats. Zip to any other political party. Naturally, this explains a lot.
“The few of us who are brave enough to face the horrors of war while protecting our rights and freedoms should NEVER have to worry about their rights and freedoms being denied them when they return.” – Anon
Soldiers often feel the weight of the world on their shoulders as they fight our war. Can you imagine how they must feel as they’re told, “we trusted you with these rights and freedoms before you left. Now that you’ve proven you’re worthy, we’re going to take those rights and freedoms away from you when you return.”
This is the madness our soldiers face. Not from the enemy. Not from within themselves. But from elitist politicians who’ve never been to war, never seen war, yet ask our young ones to go fight their battles for them, only to pull the rug out from underneath them when they return.
They fight for the rights of all American, only to come home and discover they now have to fight for their own rights, as well. No one was watching their back. While they were fighting on foreign fronts, under unimaginable conditions and against formidable enemies, we were under conditions of 68-72 deg F, with 30-45% relative humidity. The only enemies we faced back here were decisions about whether or not we were going to watch a sitcom or a horror movie. The thought of writing our Congressman in support of our service members or their rights never even crossed our minds.
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.
Since the Broward County Sheriff and his deputies refuse to do their duty, the State Commission Report says that teachers need to be armed. They didn’t stop there, however. They noted serious discrepancies with the way teachers and staff responded, as well. For example, while they “found that deputies didn’t rush into the school to stop the carnage,” they also found “school staff committed numerous security breaches, including leaving doors unlocked and not calling a “Code Red” alarm quickly enough.”
They concluded, “Armed teachers, stronger security and better law enforcement are needed to head off another school shooting like the one in Parkland.”
Although I am very pro-2A, I do not support ALL teachers being armed. In fact, I believe in a strict selection process administered by local law enforcement school security officers with both school board and law enforcement oversight. At each stage, weed out those who don’t qualify:
1. Only volunteers. If they didn’t volunteer, they shouldn’t be there.
2. Only those with prior law enforcement, military, and well-trained armed security guard training and certification. Honorable discharges and its equivalent, only.
3. Initial range qualification, beginning with a firearms and range safety class. Select only those who achieve a passing score on the range qualification test. As a consolation, everyone who completes this phase, regardless of their score, will receive state concealed carry permits/extensions for five years.
4. School security training. This hands-on training conducted in the actual schools covers a BASIC, easy to memorize mental checklist: DRESSED, pronounced, “Dressed.” It stands for:
– Detecting – potential danger
– Reporting – danger and the situation
– Evacuating – students to safe areas
– Securing – students against intrusion into the safe areas
– Securing – school against external threats
– Evading – detection while in the safe areas
– Defending – against an active shooter
This mental checklist and the steps one takes should be as well-ingrained as the bailout checklist of “canopy, visor, mask, seat kit, LPUs, four-line, horizon, and PLF” all military aviators commit to memory before they ever strap on a jet.
Believe it or not, if just 5% of teachers went through this three-day, 15-hour course, schools would be considerably safer, not merely because some teachers are armed, but because most teachers would learn DRESSED and be far better prepared to respond appropriately to an active shooter situation.
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.
While only three are actually “executive orders,” all of what Obama spewed forth last week is troubling, if not outright illegal. Without further ado, let’s just get to it:
1. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.
What “relevant data” does Obama want released? Does this include any sort of data currently protected under HIPPA? Would this allow the federal background check system to deny a firearm permit on the basis of certain medications? What about diagnoses? Would a permit be denied for a simple mental health visit?
The problem with the first of Obama’s edicts is that it’s nebulous. If acted on without regard to the Constitution and its amendments, countless rights violations would ensue.
2. Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system.
These “barriers” as Obama calls them, aren’t barriers at all. They’re protections, specifically built into the system to protect the rights and the privacy of all citizens. Attempting an end-run around them is unconstitutional.
3. Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.
The current background check system allows states the option of conducting their own checks or using the FBI’s system. As the FBI’s system does not meet the the privacy requirements of our State Constitution and its Statutes, our State conducts its own background checks.
This recommendation is nothing more than Obama’s way of back-dooring national gun registration, a step which historically has always lead to firearms confiscation, then oppression of the people by an ever-growing federal government.
This idea is utterly abhorrent to everyone who has fought for the rights and freedoms we enjoy today. It directly violates both the spirit and intention of the Second Amendment, the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches and seizures, and the Tenth Amendment’s limit on the powers of the federal government.
Put simply, it’s un-Constitutional. Even suggesting it violates Obama’s oath of office to support and defend the Constitution. Any support of it would violate the oath of office of any civilian, military, or law-enforcement officer.
4. Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.
This is a slippery slope upon which we must not step foot. It’s the same slope used (rather, abused) by the Nazis to identify, then incarcerate “persons of interest,” those whom the government considers “dangerous.” Dangerous to whom? To others? Or to the government? Once this line is crossed, it only gets worse, until the feds will have rounded up every “dissident” simply for standing up for their Constitutional rights.
5. Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.
Was the gun seized legally? If not, this is a wide-open door to violate a person’s rights under the Fourth Amendment. Law enforcement already has the authority to temporarily seize a firearm during routine traffic stops, along with the authority to run plates and a driver’s license. How does that differ from a “full background check?” If a person holds a concealed weapons permit, they’ve already had a “full background check.”
Furthermore, how long is this “full background check” going to take? A week? Ninety days? If so, this is nothing more than an excuse to deprive an individual the right to keep and bear arms.
6. Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.
There is currently no requirement for private sales to involve background checks. Making it a requirement will have absolutely zero effect on illegal gun sales (sales to criminals) while imposing an expensive and unnecessary burden on law-abiding citizens. A similar argument could be made about sales from gun stores.
7. Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.
The NRA’s Eddie Eagle Gun Safety programs have resulted in sharp declines in firearms accidents
among children. As it is, the CDC’s reports indicates some very interesting results. They’re interesting because they indicate the death rate due to firearms is exceptionally low. It’s so low, in fact, that it doesn’t even appear on the CDC’s top 15 list. For example, in 2010, total deaths by firearms came to 1.24% of the total for all ages, and just 0.25% of the total for those aged 1-14 years.
The fifteen leading causes of death are: Diseases of the heart, malignant neoplasms, chronic lower respiratory diseases, cerebrovascular diseases, accidents (unintentional – includes motor vehicle crashes), alzheimer’s, diabetes melittus, nephritis and nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis, influenza and pneumonia, intentional self-harm (suicide), septicemia, chronic liver disease and cirrhosis, essential hypertension and hypertensive renal disease, parkinson’s, and pneumonitis due to solids and liquids (choking). Even this last comes in at 5.5 per 100,000, which is nearly double that of homicide by firearm.
8. Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).
Firearms which must be locked up until needed are rarely accessible in a timely manner. They’re next to useless in stopping home invasions, much less armed robberies. They’re about as useless as seat belts which remain unfastened, or life jackets which remain in storage, which is why nearly all state and federal laws require seat belts to be fastened and life jackets to be worn.
Obviously, leaving a firearm unattended not appropriate, particularly around children. However, the proper place for a firearm is in its holster, worn on one’s person. For those of us who live alone, however, any requirement to keep it locked up puts us at risk of not being able to defend ourselves, and is unacceptable.
9. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.
This is yet another back-door attempt at gun registration, without which such “tracing” would be impossible.
10. Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement.
I sincerely hope the first such firearms to be analyzed will be those lost and stolen guns from Operation Fast and Furious. If not, if the DoJ is incapable of keeping track of their own firearms, it’s unreasonable to ask them to analyze information on the lost and stolen guns of others.
11. Nominate an ATF director.
When compared to their budget, the ATF has a dismal record. It currently costs them approximately $115,000 for each and every person they recommend for federal prosecution for firearms possession just through the Project Safe Neighborhoods framework. Many of those recommended for prosecution are never convicted.
Besides, B. Todd Jones, the acting director of the ATF, has already been nominated for the permanent position, subject to Senate approval, of course.
12. Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.
Law enforcement, first responders, and school officials already have proper training for active shooter situations.
13. Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.
This is so nebulous its not even worth addressing, except to note that the most effective means of preventing gun violence is to relax gun control laws.
14. Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.
This was done during an earlier Democratic administration, and the answer wasn’t what was expected. Basically, the three-year study published its findings in a 800+ page report which concluded that no amount of gun control legislation has ever had a positive impact on gun violence. Instead, it found that that the most effective means of preventing gun violence is to relax gun control laws, to make it easier for law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms.
Basically, it supports the wisdom that infringement on the right to keep and bear arms is a causative factor in increasing gun violence. As for the other factors, suicide by firearm (0.79%) is nearly twice the rate of homicide by firearm (0.45%). Even so, twice as many suicides are committed by means other than firearms, and the report stated that suicide by firearms has dropped while total suicides have remained steady on a per-capita basis.
As for firearms homicides, no study is required to determine that there are three reasons: Greed (robbery), hate (crimes of passion), and the least likely causal factor, mental instability/insanity.
15. Direct the Attorney General to issue a report on the availability and most effective use of new gun safety technologies and challenge the private sector to develop innovative technologies.
There is no “magic pill” with respect to firearms safety, and reliance on such technology diminishes the most effective safety protocol: Human. Jeff Cooper advocated four simple rules of firearms safety which, if followed, would eliminate nearly all firearms accidental deaths and injuries, and without any need for expensive gadgets which ironically tend to get in the way of the safe and effective operation of a firearm.
16. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.
My Second Amendment rights are none of my doctor’s business.
17. Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.
Health care providers are not qualified to determine what constitutes a credible threat against a law enforcement authority. Only sworn law enforcement officers and certain types of mental health care providers have the requisite training, and current law already allows for such reporting.
18. Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.
That’s up to the States and the school districts. However, the best incentive is protection of the children.
19. Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.
While this is indeed a good idea, the critical fact which must be remembered is that the only effective way to stop a shooter is to shoot them. Attempts at tackling a shooter usually winds up with the tacklers seriously injured or killed. Tasers are ineffective against an armed gunman due to their very limited range. The fact remains that more shooting sprees are stopped by citizens than by law enforcement, and more than 2/3 of the time that’s accomplished by armed citizens.
Another critical fact is that so-called “gun free zones” don’t work. They’re a magnet for those who commit shooting sprees. Only a known armed force will deter such shooters. More than a month ago I outlined a plan for the screening and selection of a small group of armed teachers for each school.
20. Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover.
21. Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges.
22. Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations.
23. Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health.
The last four recommendations, along with a few others, delve nebulously into mental health. Without clearer, better-defined terms, however, along with restrictions protecting and respecting all existing Constitutional rights, including those provided by the various State Constitutions.
Right now, Obama’s recommendations make no such promises or provisions, which is why so many sheriffs around the country have lined up to oppose it.
What’s in a typical oath of office? Is the same oath of office taken for different civilian and military positions of leadership? Are there common elements between different oaths of office?
The oath of office is SO important to American ideals, rights, liberty, and freedom — to the very fabric of our society itself — that it is required of everyone who holds any civilian, military office, or law enforcement office, from townships on up to the highest levels of our government. It’s even required of all immigrants who desire to become U.S. citizens.
We’ll begin by listing the various oaths of office. We’ve highlighted the legal basis for these oaths, as well as some common elements of all oaths throughout the United States of America:
Presidential Oath of Office: “Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:–‘I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.'” – U.S. Constitution, Article II, Section 1
Civil Office Oath: “The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” – U.S. Constitution, Article VI. This catch-all requires all state governors, as well as both state and federal legislators and members of the judiciary to take an oath of office. Traditionally, this has almost invariably been extended to the municipal level, if not informally, then by state Constitution or legislation.
From Article VI, federal legislation was passed to provide the specifics of the following oaths of office:
Congressional Oath of Office: “I 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.]” – 5 U.S.C. § 3331, Oath of Office. Required at the start of each new U.S. Congress, in January of every odd-numbered year. Newly elected or re-elected Members of Congress – the entire House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate – must recite this oath.
Federal Judiciary Oaths (2): “I, (name), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as (office) under the Constitution and laws of the United States. [So help me God.]” – 28 U.S.C. § 453, Oaths of justices and judges. The second oath is the same as required of Congress: “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.]” – 5 U.S.C. § 3331, Oath of Office.
An oath of office is is also required of all immigrants desiring to become U.S. citizens:
The United States Oath of Allegiance (Immigration): “I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.” – “Oath of Allegiance,” 8 C.F.R. Part 337 (2008).
Finally, we have the last oath of office class, that required of all members of the United States Armed Forces, whether they’re serving at the federal or state levels:
U.S. Military Oath of Enlistment: “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; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.” – 10 U.S.C. § 502, Enlistment Oath
U.S. Military Officers Oath: “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.” – 5 U.S.C. § 3331, Oath of Office. One notable difference between the officer and enlisted oaths is that the oath taken by officers does not include any provision to obey orders; while enlisted personnel are bound by the Uniform Code of Military Justice to obey lawful orders, officers in the service of the United States are bound by this oath to disobey any order that violates the Constitution of the United States. – Marjorie Cohn; Kathleen Gilberd (2009), Rules of Disengagement: The Politics and Honor of Military Dissent, PoliPointPress, p. 16, ISBN 978-0-9815769-2-3;Stjepan G. Meštrovi? (2008), Rules of Engagement?: A Social Anatomy of an American War Crime Operation Iron Triangle, Iraq, Algora Publishing, p. 7, ISBN 978-0-87586-672-7.
I strongly suspect the same is required of any sworn officer, whether civilian, military, or law enforcement, and at all levels (local, county, state, and federal).
Officers of the National Guard of the various states (additional oath): “I, [name], do solemly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State (Commonwealth, District, Territory) of ___ against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the Governor of the State (Commonwealth, District, Territory) of ___, that I make this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion, and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the Office of [grade] in the Army/Air National Guard of the State (Commonwealth, District, Territory) of ___ upon which I am about to enter, so help me God.” – National Guard Bureau Form 337, Oath of Enlistment
So! Why is an oath of office at all levels so critical to the successful operation of our country? Let’s begin by showing what can happen when people fail to adhere to their oath of office.
Let’s say we had a President who decided he wanted to implement some ideas of his own. To him, they might sound like good ideas, but when he starts floating them, he soon learns his ideas will never pass muster because portions of them violate the U.S. Constitution. Not being an actual American, and with civics lessons having been learned in Indonesia under a dictator who did pretty much whatever he wanted to so, this President finds himself a bit flustered. But he’s a determined, if not driven individual, one who is full of charm and charisma, so he switches tactics, and begins doing end runs around the Constitution, saying to himself, “Who needs that stuffy old document, anyway? That was then, this is now! These are modern times, so let’s change! Let’s progress! Let’s move ‘Forward’!”
What he fails to realize is that he’s repeating an historical course of action that has ALWAYS failed, because it fails to consider basic human nature with respect to independence, freedom, and a sense of fair play. He also fails to realize large countries require a more solid foundation than smaller countries, which is why our Founding Fathers built in a number of safeguards to prevent change from occurring too rapidly.
They knew it’s not difficult to topple a country once it abandons its foundation, because when that happens, the various powers which have united to form that country are now pulled in all directions, and the country can literally tear itself apart. When all factions were singing off the same sheet of music i.e. the Constitution, the entire nation operated in harmony. When a controlling or even a large faction decides to belt out a different tune, it leads to discord, disharmony, and a dichotomy of factions vehemently opposed to one another. It becomes a house divided amongst itself, and it will not stand. Out of desperation, rights take a back seat to “the vision,” and even basic human rights are often trampled beneath the march of “progress.” Throughout, many people suffer, and often die.
All nations who have ever experimented with this were doomed to failure. Hundreds of millions of people died during the 20th Century alone. I dare say that’s an “experiment” we don’t need to repeat for the umpteenth time, especially given the very high loss of life to which these experiments invariably lead.
Fortunately, our President does not operate our country in a vacuum. In fact, he can rant and rave all he wants, signing all the Executive orders on the planet, but so long as the rest of the government at all levels throughout our nation remains true to their oaths of office, nothing will come of it, for one simple reason: We’re faithful to our Constitution, not to the President. What can one man do if we remain true to our nation, rather than any man?
Our Founding Fathers specifically designed our government with this in mind, knowing all too well how easy is it for a single powerful person in traditional governments to topple entire nations. They wove checks and balances throughout the design of our government, but until now, you’ve probably only heard of three. I’ll share those with you now, along with the other three most often left out of the history books:
Presidential Checks and Balances: The President can veto any legislation sent to him by Congress. The President nominates Supreme Court Justices.
Congressional Checks and Balances: Congress proposes legislation for approval or veto by the President. If the President vetos, Congress can pass the legislation anyway with a 2/3 vote. If the issue is paramount, Congress can pass an Amendment with a 2/3 vote, rendering the legislation a part of the Constitution itself. Congress can impeach the President, any member of Congress, and Supreme Court Justices.
Supreme Court Checks and Balances: Reviews cases challenging current law for Constitutionality, as well as disputes between various citizens and states, and issues involving ambassadors and admiralty law.
State Checks and Balances: Each state wields all the power reserved to it by the Constitution and its Amendments. Should the federal government overstep the bounds of its authority, the states have full Constitutional authority to tell the feds “NO.” Should the feds insist, the states may challenge them in federal court, and appeal to the Supreme Court, if necessary. Alternative, each state remains sovereign. That is, a state governor can amass a militia as required to defend the state and its interests, against overtures by other states, or even by the federal government itself.
County/Municipality Checks and Balances: A Sheriff is the original form of law enforcement in the United States. They’re sworn law enforcement officers who’re duty-bound to the Constitution to enforce all state and federal laws. Their jurisdiction is by county, but does not include incorporated municipalities who maintain their own police force, although in some locations they’ve combined forces with the municipality. On many occasions, county sheriffs have refused to enforce state or federal laws which they deem un-Constitutional. On noteworthy occasions, they’ve been threatened by either the states or the feds, to which they’ve responded with threats of their own, namely, to arrest anyone, regardless of stature, who attempts to undermine their authority to enforce the law in that county. Police forces have the same jurisdiction over their municipalities as sheriffs do over their counties.
Citizen Checks and Balances: Each and every inhabitant of the United States of America has the responsibility to follow all Constitutionally-lawful legislation. Each citizen, however, has a duty to support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and bear true faith and allegiance to the same. In so doing, they have full Constitutional authority to resist, reject, ignore, or challenge any law which violates the Constitution and any other laws which remain Constitutional.
The last three set of checks and balances are crucial to keeping the feds in line. The federal government does NOT have unlimited power to do whatever they deem necessary, whether it’s for “national security” or “in the interests of public health and safety.” Their powers are specifically limited to those conferred on them by the Constitution. All other powers are reserved to the States and the people, both of whom have full Constitutional authority to tell the feds “NO” whenever the feds overstep the bounds of their authority.
In this context, the Tenth Amendment deserves particular mention. It specifically limits the power of the federal government, while solidifying the power of both the states and the people, by declaring, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Who decides which powers are delegated to the United States and which are reserved to the states or the people? The Constitution decides. Not the President. Not Congress. Not the Supreme Court. Not the States. And not the People. The Constitution alone lists which powers are delegated to feds, which are prohibited to the States, and declares all other powers are not held by the feds, but by the States or the people.
“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.” – U.S. Constitution, Article II, Section 4
“The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.” – U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 3
When all else fails, when the President or a member of his Cabinet, a member of Congress, a Supreme Court Justice, or any other civil officer of the United States commits a felony or misdemeanor, particularly as related to his or her conduct in office, charges can be brought against them. If they’re found guilty, they’re to be removed from office, after which the civilian authorities can charge them under their jurisdiction.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is how WE THE PEOPLE keep our government in line.
First, all oaths of office in these United States have one thing in common: Loyalty is sworn not to any man, woman, or office, but to the Constitution of the United States, the “law of the land” from which all other laws in the U.S. are derived.
Second, provided at least some civil and military officers adhere to their oaths of office, our nation will continue to remain on track.
Third, even if the entire federal government derails itself and our country because they fail to adhere to our Constitution, the people can restore our country simply by voting them all out of office, replacing them with leaders who actually have a clue.
The final check and balance involves removing an official from office. The President, members of Congress, and Supreme Court Justices are all subject to impeachment:
In closing, I’d like to propose a new oath, not one of some office, but a Citizenship Oath, one taken periodically by everyone in the United States, the same as we might pledge allegiance to our flag, perhaps beginning at age 12, the age most cultures recognize as early adulthood:
United States of America – Oath of Citizenship:
“I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure any and all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, whether or not I may have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same, following the precepts, principles, and procedures given therein, especially should I ever hold a civilian or military office requiring an oath of office; that I will obey all Constitutionally lawful legislation, executive orders, and court decisions of the United States of America and its member States; that I will oppose any and all unlawful legislation, executive orders, and court decisions contrary to the Constitution and its Amendments, expediently reporting any such violation(s) to the lowest level required to effect a swift remedy; and that I will exercise my inalienable rights and freedoms to the maximum extent possible, especially those recognized as important enough to have been enumerated in the Constitution and its Amendments; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”