So, you think you know what you would do in a school shooting? You think that Sheriff should have ran into that Florida school without thinking right? Yeah? You’d do some kinda John Mcclane shit from the original Die Hard? Let me tell you why you have no idea what you would do. There’s a lot more to tactically assaulting a building than what you think.
Before I go on, let me tell you, I don’t know shit. The more I learn, the less I feel like I know for sure (see full disclosure at the end of this article). That said, I have learned a few things about guns, and terrorism over time. Also, when the Florida school shooting happened, I happened to be in the middle of reading a book called Terror at Beslan about the Chechen terrorists who took over a school in North Ossetia (part of Russian Federation). It was a shitshow with 1000+ kids taken hostage, 300+ people dead, hundreds of children, and like 800 wounded. A..complete…shit show. Worse, it could happen in America – but I digress.
If you think the Sheriff was a total pussy and should have ran in guns a blazing, let’s start with some background information to frame this question right.
Tactics for Assaulting Buildings with Terrorists and Active Shooters
First, there are two main tactics for assaulting buildings. While in the West, we have these things called civil liberties, the Russians see no need for that. They are a bit more stoic, pragmatic, and nihilistic.
- Western special forces and law enforcement generally follow a philosophy which can be summed up with the phrase, “speed, surprise and violence of action” – you will find that this language is common in any discussion of tactics. Generally, it means, train like a mother fucker so that a whole team of law enforcement or special operators can move into a building quickly, organized and overwhelm the enemy. This will minimize casualties for civilians and operators, minimize the time to take control, and maximize casualties of the terrorists.
- The Russians generally follow the above philosophy as well, but they add some stuff that doesn’t sit well with Westerners. First, they LOVE gas. They will use paralysis gas, sleep gas, all kinds of gas. Even when terrorists have gas masks, it knocks out all of the hostages so that they can’t be used as human shields, nor get in the way of friendly fire. Second, they will shoot through hostages. The Russians generally consider you “already fucked” once you have been taken hostage. If you survive, great, but if not it’s because you were already dead anyway. Third, they like to take the terrorist’s families hostage and use them as bargaining pieces. Kinda interesting.
What The Sheriff’s Deputy Probably Knew and Didn’t Know
Now let’s move on to some shit the Sheriff might have been thinking. I don’t know for sure, but it’s reasonable to think that almost any law enforcement officer would know this stuff…
- An AR15 is loud as fuck. People know when somebody is shooting an AR15 or AK47 (which is even louder). This gives you an indication of what you are facing if you hear one firing in a building.
- AR15s are WAY, WAY, WAY more accurate than pistols. They are frighteningly more accurate. The first time I ever fired one, I could hit hard drives (like 3″ X 5″) from like 100 yards away – without my reading glasses on. They are fucking terrifyingly accurate.
- AR15s will shoot through anything in a school, ANYTHING. There is nothing that would provide cover, so you have to move, fire, move, which most average cops don’t know how to do very well. Here’s a video of an AR firing through cinder blocks – this isn’t like the movies where you duck around the corner and you are fine.
- It’s possible he had no idea who was shooting. Could have been a trained terrorist (yes, they are well trained, read Terror at Beslan and you will never feel safe again)
- It’s possible he had no idea how many shooters there were
- It’s possible he had no idea if there were hostages
- It’s possible he had no idea if there were bombs
- It’s possible he had no idea about anything
- It’s possible he was following local department policy on SOLO ENTRY AND “CONTACT TEAMS” which are all over the map depending on police force
- If he ran in by himself, he would not be following best practice for assaulting a building
- He waited 4 minutes
- The investigation still isn’t complete so we don’t know a lot yet
- If he would have ran in, and shot a kid by mistake he would be fucked
- If he ran in, and got shot to death, he would be fucked
- If he ran in and the shooter had a kid hostage, he would be fucked
- He didn’t received any clear commands that we know of
- The shooter is responsible for killing the kids – he is not
The Actual Solution
After reading Terror at Beslan, I have realized that nobody in the USA is talking about the real solutions.
- More guns is not the answer. Arming teachers is retarded. The average cop qualifies once a year and fires like 60 rounds. That’s not enough, and they don’t do more because it’s expensive. No teacher is going to have the time/money to train enough. Furthermore, it’s tactically useless in like 99.9% of all scenarios. In Terror at Beslan, there was an armed guard, and an armed police officer. Both were taken hostage by terrorists, gave up their weapons, and were summarily executed because they could be a danger later. If you are telling me that a teacher wouldn’t give up in a heartbeat if given the “hostage” choice, you are crazy. As an aside, never take the hostage option, it’s a ruse. Always fight to the death. My two cents.
- Less guns is not the answer either. Banning guns only takes them away from normal people. The Charlie Hebdo Attack and the Bataclan Attack happened in France where people can’t easily have guns. Taking guns away does not stop terrorists or crazy people (who are almost always smart). Technically, we could probably stop stupid, crazy people by taking guns away, but I don’t think it would help enough that it’s worth the political battle.
- The Russians learned from the Beslan attack. The citizens had a shitload of weapons, including rocket launchers and machine guns, but they still didn’t assault the school (but armchair quarterbacks think the Sheriff’s Deputy should have with a 9mm pistol). The terrorists did, however, gather intelligence on the school for weeks, maybe months.
- So, the main thing we can do is wake the fuck up, and keep our eyes open. Terrorist typically build intelligence, just like special forces. This is just like child molesters, so when you see the crazy looking dude in the white van sitting outside the school, say something!!!
- Active shooters are similar but different. But, they usually post stuff on social media, so again if you see something, say something!!!
- I think the gun restraining order is a good happy medium, it adheres to every fact we know about active shooters and terrorists. Terrorists probably don’t buy all of their weapons, but they will often give away telltale signs while gathering intelligence. Also, following the money stream is useful, which the FBI already does.
Enough Armchair Quarterbacking
I get that people think things should be a certain way, but they’re not. They’re just not. There are practical constraints to the possible solutions.
- Cops ought to train to fire while moving, have body armor, practice with ARs, and be physically fit.
- In reality, they qualify once a year, firing 60ish rounds and many are overweight and out of shape
- We always want what ought to be vs. what is
- We need to live in reality vs. fantasy
- We need to think about how to fix things vs. get mad and rant
Full Disclosure on My Background
- 42 year old, white male – 168 lbs 5’9″
- College degree in Four Field Anthropology. Minor in Computer Science. Took a special topics 300/400 level sociology class on terrorism after 9/11.
- Market and sell free software for a living
- Have shot AR15s and plenty of handguns, semi-automatic and revolvers
- Train at gun range once per quarter – typically fire 200 rounds – do drills like a martial art
- Train 4-7 times per week – weight training, jump rope, rowing, running in weight vests, basically nutty
- Personal records: 360 lbs X 3 deadlift, 315 lbs X 4 squat, 205 lbs X 2 bench, 130 lbs X 1 overhead press. No other exercises matter.
- Grew up very poor, have been in plenty of physical fights
- Trained in high school in a private fight club – fought every day – every day – boxing gloves, no kicking in the privates, no gouging eyes, no other rules – lost plenty – won plenty
- Have been kicked in the head – three times to be exact – same fight – it sucked
- I don’t believe more guns are the answer, I don’t believe less guns are the answer either
- Radically neutral politically, always looking for the logical fallacies on both sides (I hate Libertarians too)
- I have never been in the military, been a law enforcement officer, or shot at anybody, but I have empathy for these jobs….