I Guess This Needs to be Said

I had thought that post-9/11 and with the very visible object lesson of TSA security theater that this would have already been understood, but I will repeat it:  There are no security steps that we are willing to tolerate as a free society that would make it impossible, or even substantially more difficult, for a motivated deranged person to shoot up an elementary school.

Promises by politicians up to and including the President to take "steps" to improve safety are illusory.  What we will get, if anything, will be incremental steps that will hassle law-abiding citizens (think: taking your shoes off at the airport and not using your iPad during takeoffs) without doing anything to deter actual criminals.  In particular, any honest and knowledgeable security person will tell you that there is no realistic way, short perhaps of turning ourselves into North Korea, of stopping a killer who is determined to die as part of his crime.


  1. marque2:

    I think encouraging the staff and teachers to be armed would be helpful though. Getting rid of gun free zones will not eliminate the problem, but will certainly help

  2. CTD:

    But we have to DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO something! Why do you hate kids?!?!?!

  3. Hunt Johnsen:

    "Gun Free" pretty much means "target rich". The sensible approach, unlikely under liberal rule, would be to arm teachers and staff, just as the Israelis do. There is a graphic online there that claims " average mass attack casualties when stopped by police 18, average when stopped by an armed citizen, 2.5". As they say, when seconds count, the police are minutes away.

  4. LarryGross:

    not sure what is meant by invoking TSA but haven't we proved we can keep crazy people from bringing down our airliners?

    and mentioning Israel, their security is even more draconian, right?

  5. nnu-16121:

    Let's just make sure that any steps we seriously consider as law have a rational basis -- we seem to be very good at passing laws that we know would not have stopped the tragedy that they are purportedly meant to address.

  6. Rick C:

    "There are no security steps that we are willing to tolerate as a free society that would make it impossible, or even substantially more difficult, for a motivated deranged person to shoot up an elementary school."

    The liberals have you covered-they're willing to tolerate these steps, because they're sheep.

  7. Not Sure:

    "haven't we proved we can keep crazy people from bringing down our airliners?"
    No. The fact that no crazy person has brought down an airliner is not proof it can't be done.

  8. LarryGross:

    actually how many deranged have managed to get their hands on automatic weapons to wreak havoc?

    how many mass killings were done by crazies with automatic weapons?

    Does that mean our laws that restrict automatic weapons are effective at keeping these weapons out of the hands of crazies?

  9. Hunt Johnsen:

    Let's get this straight - very few people own "Automatic" weapons - aka machine guns. Semi-automatic weapons are common and they require a trigger pull for each shot. So actually, yes, the laws have pretty much kept fully automatic guns out of the hands of crazies. Real assault rifles can select full or semi automatic operation and only the military and some police get to have them. The kid next door may have a semi-automatic Ruger 10- 22, but unless daddy pays a big fee and tons of paperwork and waits months or years even, he does not have an automatic or a real assault weapon.

  10. mesocyclone:

    Probably the most important thing we could do would be to remove the shackles from our mental health system. The difficulty of committing people who are mentally ill and dangerous *either* to themselves or others are daunting. I knew a violent paranoid schizophrenic man whose family was unable to commit him - he was able to be sane for the 3 day observation period. This guy tried to stab people, and once sat on his roof naked, with a rifle. He was never committed.

    There's a good book on the subject by the brother of a harmless schizophrenic who needs to be committed: My Brother Ron by Clayton Cramer. Cramer examines in detail the history and law of US mental institutionalization. He's also the author of a book that influenced the Supreme Court in the landmark Heller case on the Second Amendment.

    Other than that... well... the reality is that we are going to see a push to do something symbolic that will restrict our firearm rights. Hopefully it will be as limited (or moreso) in damage as the silly assault weapons ban of the Clinton era - something which made evil-looking weapons illegal to sell or import, while not affecting functionally equivalent weapons.

  11. Matthew Slyfield:

    Actually, no Israel's security is not more draconian. What it is that US airline security policy isn't is rational.

  12. john mcginnis:

    As imperfect as it can be there is something that could be tried. How about arming some of the staff? No it won't stop a Columbine. But someone would be able to respond to reduce the carnage.
    Overreach? Maybe. But there is one school district in Tx that has been doing this since 2008. There have been no incidents good or bad to foster the idea elsewhere but it could be a response. Yes you must be trained and authorized.

  13. Matthew Slyfield:

    And in the case of an attack where the killer is determined to die as part of the attack, the only obligation the police have is to clean up the bodies.

  14. john cunningham:

    these are some "common sense" solutions--
    1. re-open the mental hospitals, lock up a million or two dangerous lunatics.
    2. ban any press coverage of the name, bio, background, etc. of mass murderers, as they do in Canada.
    3. put metal doors with serious lock, and metal door frames on classrooms, as they do in Canada.
    4. seek out retired cops and retired military to serve one day per week as armed guards in schools on voluntary unpaid basis.

  15. norse:

    Gods, yeah, those liberals. When the TSA was created to shackle American freedoms and waste taxpayer money in previously unforeseen ways, the only heroes resisting with all their might where our good father George W Bush and his righteous party-men.

  16. norse:

    1, 3 and 4 I'd say would be ineffective. 2, though, has my vote. The press coverage of the subject is scandalous on many fronts, but one thing it effectively demonstrates to any deranged teenager worldwide is that all it takes to get attention is to find a method to kill some children.

  17. norse:

    And this, in a nutshell, Warren, is why I really want you to run for high office. President, party leader, senator - I don't care. The net benefit to having at least one reasoned voice with actual smarts behind it involved in the political process would be tremendous. Especially so for one who dares speak unpopular truths. Pretty please? Only you can save mankind... ;)

  18. norse:

    The problem with the TSA is that other than doubling the cost of flights, it has no measurable positive impact on security. There are great case studies (Israel) about how to efficiently conduct business in a context of real and recurrent threats, but the successful security experts from that end of the world tend to quietly point out that the TSA is actually endangering travellers lifes. The net is full of discussion and evidence, Bruce Schneier has some well explained starting points.

  19. drew:

    See... you are talking like anyone here doesn't consider GWB at best a crony capitalist moderate.

  20. Andrew:

    Here's the original source for that data, it's very eye opening: http://dailyanarchist.com/2012/07/31/auditing-shooting-rampage-statistics/

  21. obloodyhell:

    I say to them: "Bah!"

  22. obloodyhell:

    Geeenyus, Go somewhere else with your brain-damaged bovine excreta. You're talking to a crowd that bitched more than amply about Bush's general lack of devotion to conservative principles all around, as opposed to some yes, some lip-service only.

  23. norse:

    Well, let's make this into a genuine debate, please. Define for me exactly what constitutes a Liberal.
    To me, the original post in particular smells like the kind of tribalism that gets us into this precise spot of bother when otherwise not completely lost causes end up electing idiots that increase big spending and reduce personal liberties.

  24. a_random_guy:

    I'd go even farther. I suppose that "There are no security steps that would make it impossible, or even substantially more difficult, for a motivated deranged person to shoot up an elementary school."

    Nutcases exist. Weapons exist. Nutcases will be able to get their hands on weapons. If not a gun, then a knife. Or a car. Or just a length of pipe to use as a club. Note the guy who stabbed 23 kids in China, just before the Newtown guy shot 20 kids.

  25. Tim:

    2, of course, is unconstitutional; but we'll make an exception "For The Children". 1 could also be unconstitutional; but that's OK too. I don't see any way that a future government could exploit due process or prior restraint of the press. It's not like there would be a effort to extend these powers to the "War on Terror", "War on Drugs" or "War on Narcoterrorists", at least until the next terror entrapment, drug shootout, or bafflegarb about how drug traffic (counterfeit airbags or your local falafel joint) goes to support terrorists.

    4 More cops in school would be a fine idea; right up to the point when you consider that students in school don't have constitutional protection, then you'll see more nonsense like public cavity searches, preemptive drug screenings, and zero tolerance suspensions done in the name of the War on Drugs.

    3 is the only thing on the list that would be effective; because it would allow shelter-in-place to work.

  26. Tim:

    If you have a spare $500, I'll sell you my extra anti-pachyderm machine. I know it works, because there hasn't been any rouge elephant attacks in my neighborhood since I built it.

  27. Arthur Felter:

    Along these lines I was thinking: this guy was supposedly smart (IQ wise, anyways). What's to say, if guns were outlawed and he couldn't get access to them, that he couldn't get some ammonium nitrate (think Oklahoma City) and blow up the building?

  28. perlhaqr:

    None! Oh, did you mean "semi-automatic"? That's different.

    If you want to participate in the conversation, you'd be a lot more convincing if you had any idea what you were talking about.

  29. LarryGross:

    Nope. I MEANT automatic. How many mass killings have been done by crazies with AUTOMATIC Weapons?

  30. perlhaqr:

    Since the Valentine's Day Massacre: None. And that doesn't meet your specification of "crazies", just criminals.

  31. perlhaqr:

    This. In the event that another school shooting happens, even the most anti-gun liberal (I'm ignoring the die-hard pacifists, as should everyone) is going to want the police to show up with their own guns.

    It makes far more sense to ask the teachers of schools for volunteers, submit them to psych evals and hard training with qualifications required, provide them with continuing training budgets and annual or semiannual requalification (and not static square range quals like police do, I'm thinking IDPA-style or the like) and give them a "hazard pay" type bonus for doing double duty as security staff as well.

    If there is another shooting, the best thing is for it to end sooner rather than later, and having trained armed responders already on campus is vastly superior to having to wait for the police to show up. Yes, a full police academy course is long, but the teachers don't need the whole thing. They only need the tactical and combat portions. They aren't going to be writing tickets or making arrests, so having fully licensed law enforcement perform this job is utterly unnecessary. So since the ultimate solution is to have the police show up anyway, why make the targets of the violence wait?

  32. LarryGross:

    after we've spent the recent years hammering on teachers for being failures... you're gonna get them to do this for a few extra bucks?

    So you're going to have a designated teacher (or teachers) in every single school and locked lockers for the guns?

    gee... why don't we do that for the airlines instead of having TSA? Just let the flight attendants pack heat, or perhaps just carry AR15s with bandoliers as they pass out drinks and meals?

    better yet... let's equip flight attendants and teachers with fully automatic weapons... that will give them a major leg up over some pimple face toting a puny semi-auto.

  33. mesaeconoguy:

    (anti) Liberals are those who believe that the mechanism of government can make you taller, smarter, and smell better, and violence-free.

    Primarily a leftist construct (tied to collectivism), big-gov’t neocons like W ran with this idea, and fucked it up good.

    Gun control by government does not, cannot, and will not work.

  34. mesaeconoguy:

    Dumbass, the "assault" and "automatic" classification is completely arbitrary, and Fuck Schumer's and Mikey Bloomberg's stated intent is to ban all weapons.

    You cannot buy full auto weapons - they must be sold currently as semi-auto, but can be converted to full.

  35. john cunningham:

    There were a million lunatics under confinement in the early 50s, I adjusted for population growth. why would this be ineffective? you cite no facts or reasoning.
    why would reinforced doors fail to help considerably? and why not armed volunteers,I bet you could find scores of retired cops and military to bring their own guns, take training at no cost, and be in the schools daily.
    Nanny Bloomberg has 20 cops protecting him 24-7, if he finds guns so evil, let him drop thebodyguard detail.

  36. LarryGross:

    the point remains... almost no crazies have got their hands on automatic weapons so we KNOW that we can do the same for high capacity clips.

  37. mesaeconoguy:

    I would've gotten away with it, if it weren't for those meddling kids!!!

  38. mesaeconoguy:

    The point remains banning "high capacity" (define high capacity) clips will do nothing, because I can reload "low capacity" clips faster than you can ban them.

    Stupid argument.

  39. mesaeconoguy:

    Apparently most of your frayed wires have come loose.

    Well done, Larry

  40. mesaeconoguy:

    The danger with that, along with arming multiple parties, is that you may not easily be able to tell who the shooter is.

    Since my kids are the same age as the CT kids, I'm more than willing to take that chance, and would likely show up with my weapon(s).

  41. mesaeconoguy:

    Since Jon Corzine was punished for his grievous crime, I’m sure our justice system will appropriately punish law-abiding gun owners for the actions of a negligent member.

  42. norse:

    Ah, its an issue of vocabulary (worked very hard here to supress a reflexive Princess Bride quote ;). What you call a Liberal is usually called Authoritarian in political discussions. Liberals, by contrast, believe in personal liberty as the driving force and would (depending on the shade of Liberal in question more or less forcefully) oppose the type of control you ascribe to them ;)

    Now, define Leftist for me (as I would not have grouped GWB, or, frankly, any US politician holding office into that category)

  43. Sandro Rettinger:

    In the event that you have trained armed teachers already at the school, they will know each other. Hell, mandate that as part of the training.

  44. Sandro Rettinger:

    Fully automatic firearms have been highly taxed (a $200 tax on a $10 machine gun is pretty high) since 1934, and no new ones have been manufactured for legal sale to the general population since 1986. So, I suppose, technically, you're probably right. We could eliminate the legal supply of high capacity magazines in, well, let's see. It's been almost 80 years since 1934, and 25+ since 1986, and there are still thousands of legal full-auto firearms in circulation, so, call it 200 years until the last high cap mag has worn out?

  45. LarryGross:

    re: teacher training... so the slime grabs a kid or two and threatens to kill them if the teacher shoots, then what?
    answer: the teacher dies - yes indeed.. let's make teachers be teachers as well as SWAT police. I haven't heard such idiocy in a while but here it is in all it's glory.

  46. norse:

    Ah, sorry, should have elaborated. Specifically, 1 will miss that one disgruntled teenager in a million (we already incarcerate almost anyone we can in prisons, doesn't help) who'll still go out and go crazy. 3 will result in that horrible incident where the perpetrator locks himself in class with all the other students. 4 will end up with that disgruntled cop or veteran going on a rampage.

    Tragedies like these will continue to happen but there is no practical way to stop them - they are small, significant events but beyond the degree that we could complete prevent from happening across a nation of the size of the US.

    They generate lots of coverage even though they are statistically less significant than other sources of infant death, thus creating high notoriety and an incentive for copycats, which is where 2 comes in.

  47. mesaeconoguy:


    Agreed on your denotation, however the modern connotation and use of “liberal” has been thoroughly hijacked by leftists to mean whatever it is they endorse, and whatever they wish to outlaw as dangerous. It is entirely subjective.

    What W did was glom on to various leftist ideas (Medicare Part D) and “conservative” “strong defense” ideas (Iraq invasion, DHS, et al.), positioning himself as “compassionate" (right out of Billy Climpton’s handbook).

    As you seem to be new to political discourse, I would recommend a refresher course on the events of the past 2 immediate decades.

  48. norse:


    I am still hoping for a definition of Leftist (especially as this might help with my remedial political studies). My (naive? ;) position is that almost all politicians I've ever encountered/listened to on TV or the radio appear ready to say anything and push any buttons that'll support their goal of funneling more money and perks towards their friends irrespective of party affiliation. Are those the Leftists?