Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was surrounded by cowering "good guys with guns"


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/02/23/last-responders.html


#2

A coward with a gun? Who would have thunk it?


#3

Yeah but I bet a 60-year-old geometry teacher with a glock totally would have succeeded where those trained officers failed.


#4

For whatever it may be worth to you, that was Trump’s reaction today, verbatim. “Coward.”

Peterson was carrying a semiautomatic pistol with ten rounds in it. Those rounds are low-velocity and designed not to go through walls (or bodies). Under these kinds of circumstances, if he was a truly excellent shooter, he stood a pretty good chance of hitting the attacker if he got to within 100 feet and the attacker didn’t see him. That’s 100 feet, not yards. Handguns are meant to be defensive, short-range weapons.

Given the vastly superior range and accuracy of the AR-15 he was up against, suffice it to say that going in was probably suicidal.

Now, he should have done it anyway, but if you think his gun was the source of his “cowardice,” it’s because he knew his gun was all but worthless up against someone with that kind of weapon.


#5

Yes, we should all be clear what was being asked of them. They were being asked to lay down their lives in a likely-futile attempt to save children.

Is failing to live up to that expectation “cowardice?” Perhaps. But most of the people criticizing them probably wouldn’t have done it either, and certainly not Trump himself.


#6

For sure, I completely get that. The parents? Probably not so much.

My point was that there are a lot of John McClain wanna be’s out there, but it’s a different story outside of hollywood.


#7

Can we please stop using comments like "… hiding behind a police car outside the school. " The inference is that they should have charged the breach with guns blazing. It further infers cowardice because they didn’t. It’s exactly the same conversation as the “arm all teachers” fools. One cop (or 3) with a handgun is no match for a madman with a semiautomatic. The problem is the semiautomatic, not the cop.


#8

Look, the guys may have had bone spurs /s

I was saddened when there were suggestions after a shooting in Florida that first aiders should be trained to go into active shooting zones. When you do your first aid tests here the first question you are to ask in any situation is “is it safe for me to help people here?” if you fail to ask that question you fail the test.

Are these people with guns trained, sufficient, and capable of being safe (rather than killed themselves) and also protecting others? Guns make you targets. A fact the “we need guns to protect ourselves from government tyranny” crowd seem to forget.


#9

Meanwhile, a football coach with the testicular fortitude to do the needful is prohibited from bringing his LTC weapon on campus. “Gun-free zones” are innocent-people hunting grounds, and should be abolished. If the cowardly cop had given his his gun to a brave coach, the world would be a happier place today.


#10

Oh, this is gonna be FUN.


#11

Good point. We should be able to notice and point out when our opponents are using the logic of action movies, without falling into that frame ourselves.


#12

I am not sure that it is a universal truth that an insane and homicidal teenager can never be defeated with arms. Obviously, deputy Fife in this case was not up to the task. But if you are going to be the one armed person responsible for a school or church or whatever, It is your duty to intervene in any way you can.
There seem to be some real issues in our society in that there is a large disconnect between what we are paying and equipping the police to do, and what they seem to think their duty is.


#13

Protecting children has nothing to do with testicles. Drop the toxic masculinity thing, it’s part of the problem. (If you disagree feel free to post a list of mass shootings in America carried out by women or girls and we’ll run the numbers.)


#14

Turns out “Hollywood Wild West shootout” isn’t a tactic embraced by real human people who have to deal with the consequences.


#15

Fair enough. I would be equally content with:

Gender doesn’t matter. The ability of the willing and able to effectively defend themselves against evil, does.


#16

OK, you said it better than I was going to, so I’m just deleting my text.

The cop will probably commit suicide eventually, and that won’t fix anything either. Just one more body on the heap.


#17

Soldiers are trained and paid to risk their own lives to do their jobs; teachers, not so much.

And frankly, unless you’re willing to do the same yourself, it’s really unfair and highly unrealistic to expect them to.

This isn’t ‘Sparta,’ and most people are not the fucking 300.

"Hi.

I’m your kid’s teacher, and I would take a bullet for your child. But I wish you wouldn’t ask me to.

.

We had an intruder drill today.

.

I have shepherded children through a lot of intruder drills. I have also, on one memorable occasion, shepherded children through a non-drill. When I was a children’s librarian in a rough suburb, armed men got into a fight in the alley behind our building. We ushered all of the kids - most of whom were unattended - into the basement while we waited for the police.

During intruder drills, some children - from five-year-olds all the way to high school kids - get visibly upset. At one school, the intruder drill included administrators running down the hallways, screaming and banging on lockers to simulate the “real thing.” Kids cry. Kindergartners wet themselves. Teenagers laugh, nudging each other, even as the blood drains from their faces.

Other children handle intruder drills matter-of-factly. “Would the guy be able to shoot us through the door?” they ask, the same way they’d ask a question about their math homework. In some ways, this is worse than the kids who cry. To be so young and so accustomed to fear that these drills seem routine.

And then there are the teachers. There is no way, huddling in a corner with your students, ducking out of view of the windows and doors, to avoid thinking about what happens when it’s not a drill.

.

People really hate teachers. I don’t take it personally. It actually makes a lot of sense: what other group of professionals do we know so well? How many doctors have you had? How many plumbers? How many secretaries?

Over the course of my public school education, I had at least fifty teachers for at least a year each. So of course some of them were bad. You take fifty people from any profession, and a couple of them are going to be terrible at their job.

So I had a couple of teachers who were terrible, and a few teachers who were amazing, inspirational figures - the kinds of teachers they make movies about.

And then I had a lot of teachers who did a good job. They came to school every day and worked hard. They’d planned our lessons and they graded our papers. I learned what I was supposed to, more or less, even if it wasn’t the most incredible learning experience of my life.

Most teachers fall into that category. I’m sure I do.

Looking at it from the other side, though, I see something that I didn’t know when I was a kid.

Those workhorse teachers who tried, who failed sometimes and sometimes succeeded, who showed up every day and did their jobs: those teachers loved us.

.

Of course you can never know what you’ll do in the event. That’s what they always say. In the event of an intruder, a fire, a tornado.

You can never know until you know.

But part of what’s so terrifying, so upsetting about an intruder drill as a teacher, is that on some level you do know. You don’t aspire to martyrdom; you’ve never wanted to be a hero. You go home every night to a family that loves you, and you intend to spend the next fifty years with them. You will do everything in your power to hide yourself in that office along with your kids.

But if you can’t.

If you can’t.

When people tell me about why they oppose gun control, I can’t hear it anymore.

I’m from a part of the country where everybody has guns. I used to be really moderate about this stuff, and I am not anymore.

I can’t be.

Every day, I go to work in a building that contains hundreds of children. Every single one of those kids, including every kid that makes me crazy, is a joy and a blessing. They make their parents’ lives meaningful. They make my life meaningful. They are the reason I go to work in the morning, and the reason I worry and plan when I come home.

Parents usually know a handful of kids who are the most wonderful creatures on the planet. I know a couple thousand. It is an incredible privilege, and it is also terrifying. The world is big and scary, and I love so many small people who must go out into it.

So when adults tell me, “I have the right to own a gun”, all I can hear is: “My right to own a gun outweighs your students’ right to be alive.” All I can hear is: “My right to own a gun is more important than kindergarteners feeling safe at school.” All I can hear is: “Mine. Mine. Mine.”

.

When you are sitting there hiding in the corner of your classroom, you know.

The alternative would be unthinkable.

.

We live in a country where children are acceptable casualties. Every time someone tells me about the second amendment I want to give them a history lesson. I also want to ask them: in what universe is your right to walk into a Wal-Mart to buy a gun more important than the lives of hundreds of children shot dead in their schools?

Parents send their kids to school every day with this shadow. Teachers live with the shadow. We work alongside it. We plan for it. In the event.

In the event, parents know that their children’s teachers will do everything in their power to keep them safe. We plan for it.

And when those plans don’t work, teachers die protecting their students.

We love your children. That’s why we’re here. Some of us love the subject we teach, too, and that’s important, but all of us love your kids.

The alternative would be unthinkable.

.

When you are waiting, waiting, waiting for the voice to come on over the PA, telling you that the drill is over, you look at the apprehensive faces around you. You didn’t grow up like this. You never once hid with your teacher in a corner, wondering if a gunman was just around the corner. It is astonishing to you that anyone tolerates this.

And the kids are nervous, but they are all looking to you. You’re their teacher.

They know what you didn’t know, back when you were a kid, back before Columbine. They know that you love them. They know you will keep them safe.

You’re their teacher.

.

If you are a parent who thinks it’s totally reasonable for civilians to have a house full of deadly weapons, and who accepts the blood of innocent people in exchange for that right, it doesn’t change anything for me. I will love your kid. I will treat you, and your child, the same way I treat everyone else: with all of the respect and the care that is in me.

In the event, I will do everything in my power to keep your child safe.

I just want you to know what you are asking me to do."


#18

I guess the thin blue line is just rhetoric and bumper stickers?


#19

Question: have you actually met any teachers who think it would be a great idea to bring a loaded firearm into a classroom full of children every day? Because I’m a teacher and my wife is a teacher and neither we nor any of our colleagues think that would be a good idea. In fact we could recite a whole list of reasons to believe such a policy would be disastrous.


#20

On the one hand, calling people that don’t want to charge into a school with a handgun and get shot to death by someone with an automatic rifle “cowards” is unfair. People are generally averse to getting shot to death. A group of people, for instance, could overwhelm a lone gunman at close range(which would be the case inside a building), but some of them are probably going to die in the attack, so this doesn’t happen.

On the other hand, you would expect the police, our supposed protectors and upholders of law, to be part of the small subset of humans that would take action in a situation like this. But I can’t blame them, really, for being scared.