Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Thoughts and Solutions on School Shootings

Here is a copy of my latest newsletter through my Web site. Enjoy!

Minuteman Monthly Newsletter
Issue 64
November 2006

Our hearts go out to the Amish people of Lancaster County Pennsylvania, as well those victims in the other very troubling school shootings in recent weeks. As law abiding, honest and upright gun owners, we're mad as hornets when some evil creep takes advantage of innocent students in school and decides to take their young lives away. It's my belief that losing a child is one of the hardest things human beings endure.

School shootings are not an epidemic as some people in the anti-gun crowd don't hesitate to say. School shootings are still rare. They began to rear their ugly heads with the Pearl High School shooting in Pearl Mississippi in 1997. As of this date, only two school shootings have been stopped prematurely. Both of these were stopped by armed citizens protecting innocent life.

In the Pearl Mississippi school shooting, it was an Assistant School Principal who quickly exited the school to retrieve a firearm from his pick-up truck that was parked off of school grounds. At the Appalachian School of Law in 2002, the shooting was brought to a quick stop by an armed college student.

What can we do to help prevent and deter school shootings? That's what this month's newsletter is all about. It's gonna be a long one, so go get a cup of coffee.


"Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law,' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual."Thomas Jefferson(1743-1826), US Founding Father, drafted the Declaration of Independence, 3rd US President

"The constitutions of most of our States assert that all power is inherent in the people; that... it is their right and duty to be at all times armed;..." Thomas Jefferson letter to Justice John Cartwright, June 5, 1824

"The congress of the United States possesses no power to regulate, or interfere with the domestic concerns, or police of any state: it belongs not to them to establish any rules respecting the rights of property; nor will the constitution permit any prohibition of arms to the people;…" Saint George Tucker, Blackstone's Commentaries (1803), Volume 1, Appendix, Note D

"Posterity, you will never know what it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it."John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) Sixth President of the United States.

"Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the greatness and the genius of America . . . America is good. And if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great."Alexis de Tocqueville

"All men are created equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; among which are the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing the obtaining of happiness and safety."George Mason(1725-1792), drafted the Virginia Declaration of Rights, ally of James Madison and George WashingtonSource: First Draft, Virginia Declaration of Rights


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If you're simply hiding a loaded firearm in your home, without taking the time to properly teach safe firearm handling to your children or grandchildren, you could be very sorry that you went this route.

Certainly one should always store firearms appropriately, but the three rules of safe gun handling should also be carefully taught as well.

Teaching young ones about firearms and how to handle them is a much better way to prevent accidents than hiding a loaded firearm. Don't make guns in your home a "forbidden fruit" either. If you tell the kids "these guns are off limits", they will most assuredly seek them out when you're not around.


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Something has to be done about school shootings. Nobody with a sound mind will argue with me about that fact. We must develop a policy to deal with this very disturbing trend.

Obviously gun control laws are not an answer. However, it seems to me that more gun control schemes are the only thing that government officials can come up with. A gun control law will never stop a school shooting. The perpetrator(s) have already made the decision to commit a more serious crime than a firearm violation anyhow. Often, as in most of the cases, the shooter has decided to end their lives during the event anyway. No law can prevent that, gun control or otherwise.

Gun-free school laws have only served to embolden those twisted minds of mass murderers and thugs who are counting on being in complete control of an unarmed school.

In one of the latest evil and twisted school shootings in the Amish school in Lancaster County Pennsylvania, the shooter had no previous criminal history and no documented history of mental problems. He would have passed any background check. Nobody knows how he was able to hide his demented tendencies. Even his own wife seemed to have been clueless as to the reasons for his evildoing and subsequent suicide.

We should wake up to the fact that there is a moral and spiritual vacuum in the lives of many American youth. Many of them have never seen the inside of a church or synagogue. They have no clue that the very foundation of freedom was forged using morality and religion as an essential ingredient.

Many young people today lack the strong moral convictions that teach us the difference between right and wrong. They have no remorse or twinge of guilt that should be telling them not to do wrong things. They will view more than 1,000 shootings and murders on television and in the movies each year. What kind of future will we have if things do not turn around?

What can we do about school shootings? What federal, state and school policies should we be looking at? I have a three-pronged approach to the problem. I realize that probably only the readers of this issue of the Minuteman Monthly Newsletter will hear about my approach, but I cannot keep silent about it any longer.

My hope is that you forward this newsletter onto others and maybe my approach will get the attention I believe it deserves. If you think my approach to this perplexing problem is worthy, then please feel free to pass it on. Let's get right to the first of my three prong answer to school shootings.


First, let's address a factor that seems to be very common in many school shootings. The subject of bullying in school is the first prong of my three pronged response to school shootings.

Bullying should not be tolerated in the least little bit. Most incidents of bullying in school would result in a criminal charge and arraignment by law enforcement and the District Attorney's Office, if it occurred outside of school and after high school graduation.

If bullying is allowed in school and goes largely unpunished, we are making our schools a safe harbor for criminal acts of violence. If nothing is done about bullying in school and there is no effective school policy to deal with it, we are condoning it by our inaction.

Think about it for a moment. If you were at your place of employment and an eighteen year old new employee pushed you, harassed you, stole your belongings or assaulted you verbally or otherwise, law enforcement would intervene and criminal charges of assault and battery, criminal threatening, larceny and maybe more would be leveled at this young punk.

But earlier, while in high school, this same punk gets away with this very same conduct, Scot-free!?!? I have personally witnessed vicious incidents of bullying in school, while timid teachers looked the other way, not wanting to get involved or hurt themselves. Two family members of mine that were public school teachers have been injured, while breaking up such bullying incidents.

Bullying in school should never be treated as if it's just a "kid thing" or some kind of right of passage into adulthood. Our school systems are the very cradle of future American civilization and should be treated as such. There should be no room for school violence... none, none whatsoever.

When school bullying occurs, a meeting should be called quickly involving the bully and his/her parent(s), the bullying victim and his/her parent(s), a school administrator, a uniformed police officer and a volunteer student body representative, possibly a class president or vice president or other responsible student of good repute.

Each and every participant should have a minimum two (2) minute opportunity to speak in order to resolve the problem, if they choose not to speak during this two minute segment, there should be complete silence during this two minute interval.

This should go a long way toward exposing the bully and diminishing these abhorrent incidents. In most cases, I would imagine, that the bully's parents have no clue how badly their child is behaving in the first place. This policy should be adopted in every school and practiced as early as first grade. School bullying should not be brushed under the carpet as a right of passage for adolescents. School bullying is a factor in school shootings and it's not "just a kid thing" any longer.


I know this second avenue of focus is controversial. Even many long-time Second Amendment warriors are not completely convinced that this is a good idea, but please hear me out.

For the most part, people who line up against such proposals, with all due respect, have no clue what they're talking about. The notion that a gun control law will prevent a school massacre from occurring is an empty-headed and Utopian view at best. Thinking that a law against bringing a firearm to school will prevent someone from doing so, when they've already decided that they will die in the process is simply sticking your head in the sand.

The legislator or school official who believes that another metal detector will prevent a Columbine-style shooting, is at best oblivious and at worst, they're stunningly ignorant. It's exactly the same as a restraining order. A restraining order is only as good as the person who willingly obeys it. A pink sheet of paper forbidding contact with an estranged spouse in a domestic violence situation, is useless if the restrainee doesn't care about violating it.

Likewise, a student who is determined to commit a school massacre, will not be slowed down by a metal detector at all. They won't even slow down long enough to notice the flashing red lights and audible alarm go off!!

In Israel, there was a terrible school shooting by a group of Palestinian terrorists many years ago, where dozens of Israeli children perished. Since then, Israeli teachers and school administrators have been allowed to be armed to defend the school if necessary. Why not us too?

Firearms have not been allowed in school in the United States since January 27, 1991 and the law has not been obeyed by any school shooter yet. Anyone who thinks a school full of unarmed adults and unarmed children are completely safe because it's unlawful to have a gun in school is a total idiot.

I have not even made a case for the fact that a gun-free school zone runs contrary to the words and spirit of the Second Amendment itself. The words "...shall not be infringed." don't leave any wiggle room for a gun-free school. That being said, let me continue...

For one to obtain a CCW or concealed weapons permit or whatever your state may call it, you must ordinarily undergo a strict background check and demonstrate a knowledge of safe firearm handling and most often satisfactorily complete a firearm safety course.

Those Americans who choose to legally carry a concealed handgun in a public place are among the most well-behaved and most level-headed and responsible citizens I know. That has always been the case. Concealed firearm permit holders are among the most upstanding and honest people. That has been my experience through more than thirty (30) years of being involved in shooting and being an NRA Certified Firearm Instructor and NRA Membership Recruiter. Disagree with me if you wish, but I speak from experience on this.

The teacher or school administrator who has passed safety and marksmanship training, as well as a complete and thorough background check, should be allowed to carry that handgun concealed on their person during school hours if they freely and responsibly choose to do so. There is no legitimate reason whatsoever that this should not be allowed, none whatsoever.

School administrators and teachers should be allowed to defend their school in the case of a student gone mad, or some evil adult who ties up young girls and attempts to execute them. When one of these terrible scenarios occurs, let's go over what happens shall we?

During a tragic school shooting, somebody calls the local police department to respond to the school. School officials call upon members of law enforcement, who are fully trained men and women that carry firearms. Hello? Does anyone else see the irony in this?

The school calls upon someone to remedy the situation, who carries a gun and has been trained and certified to do so. Certainly, members of law enforcement have a higher level of training for such things, but why can't an armed teacher or armed school administrator be a first responder as well? Most often, by the time law enforcement arrives, analyzes the situation and takes charge of it, much of the damage has already been done and often the tragedy is already over.

The bottom line is that we must allow fully trained school employees to carry a concealed firearm in school as long as they are licensed to do so and keep the firearm under their control at all times. It doesn't matter to me if it's the district superintendent or a part-time janitor. They must be allowed to defend innocent students and that's the bottom line. Next topic...


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Preparing students and training them properly on how to handle a school shooting and what to do during one, is the third and final focus on this topic.

Let's suppose for a moment that a disgruntled, misled, angry and armed student enters a local police station with a gun instead of a school cafeteria or library. Would the fully trained law enforcement personnel inside obediently line up and agree to be tied to each other with plastic strapping? Of course not! Then why the heck would we tell students to obey a violent, gun toting fellow student or adult? This is simply not common sense.

If members of law enforcement would not obey the commands of an armed student, then why should we tell the students to do so? Our past experiences with tragic shootings in school clearly tell us that obeying the commands of an armed student is very deadly and should be the very last thing students do.

We should train and prepare students to deal appropriately with armed and violent students. Yes, I know that school shootings are very rare occurrences. They happen on average less than once a year, but as of late, these tragic events are being repeated to the point that we should prepare students for such an event however unlikely it may be.

As we all know, a firearm is simply a device that discharges ammunition in a straight line. A gun by itself, is never a threat. A gun by itself is never a danger at all. A gun pointed in a safe direction is not dangerous to anyone. This can be a difficult concept to comprehend for those who are not completely familiar with how guns work.

Allow me to repeat my previous statement, because it's essential to understand this third focus. A firearm pointed in a safe direction is not dangerous!!! That being said, let's explain what I think the elements of proper student incident preparation and training should consist of.

Listen carefully now and make sure you grasp these concepts. First, the armed student should not be given freedom of movement throughout the school. When an armed student first appears in a room, library or cafeteria, student bystanders, adults and teachers should immediately take away the shooter's freedom of movement. This may be a difficult decision, but anything else is probably more deadly.

Anything and everything should be thrown at the student without any hesitation whatsoever. Scissors, staplers, lunch trays, laptop computers, books, overhead projectors and anything else that's not nailed down. Then immediately, when the armed student is confused, disoriented, possibly injured and put on the defensive, he/she should be attacked so that the shooter's freedom of movement is brought to a stop.

The shooter should immediately be brought to the floor and the shooter's arm and hand that is controlling the firearm, must be strictly controlled as soon as physically possible. Once again, I'll repeat myself. As soon as possible tackle the shooter to the floor and "pigpile" on top of him, restricting his freedom of movement and absolutely as soon as possible, control the direction that the barrel of the gun is pointing.

If the armed student is brought down and the direction that the barrel is pointing in can be strictly controlled, the situation can be very quickly snuffed out. Once the direction the gun is pointing can be controlled, the armed student is nearly harmless.

Students should be trained not to necessarily disarm the student, unless it can be done safely. Disarming a violent person who is in control of a firearm is not easy without lots of training.

Short of actually relieving the shooter of the gun, the shooter's movement can be severely restricted and the direction that the gun is pointing should be able to be controlled if enough bystanders participate.

This concept of preventing the shooter's freedom of movement and controlling where the gun is pointing, is nearly opposite of what has been done in the past. In the past, students have tried to hide themselves, while leaving the armed student free to roam around and fire at will, unmolested and unchallenged. In the past, students have obediently lined themselves up in a straight line to be tied up and shot at the shooter's leisure.

What is crystal clear, is that obeying the shooter's commands and giving him complete freedom of movement is exactly the wrong thing to do. You see, the armed student is going into the situation thinking that he will be in complete command. He's thinking that he will be free to roam around at will and give payback to whoever or whatever his reasons for shooting are.

In my opinion, the student should be disoriented and immediately put on the defensive, he should then be attacked and subdued immediately, restricting his freedom of movement and the barrel of the gun should be pointed in a safe direction as soon as possible. Then and only then should they wait for law enforcement to arrive, hopefully within a few short minutes.

Allow me a few moments to recap my three points of focus. We must not allow bullying in school to continue. Bullying should never be viewed by school officials as some kind of right of passage for adolescents. Develop an effective anti-bullying campaign as I've briefly outlined and begin it early in grammar school.

Secondly, teachers and school administrators who are licensed and qualified to have a concealed firearm on their person and under their personal control in a public place, should not be prohibited from doing so while at school, if they so choose.

Lastly, we should fully prepare students and have them rehearse responding to a shooting at school. The shooter should be attacked immediately with thrown objects of any size or weight. Then the armed student should be brought down to the floor and his freedom of movement taken away from him. Then as soon as physically possible, the direction that the gun's barrel is pointing in, should be strictly controlled and forced into a safe direction, away from fellow students.


What are some of the individual and family factors that contribute to violence committed by teenagers?

1.) Attention deficits and/or hyperactivity disorders. A child who has these mental and cognitive disorders is more likely to commit a violent act than those without any such disorders.
2.) Antisocial beliefs and attitudes. The Columbine killers clearly had anti-social attitudes, wearing all black and calling themselves the "Trenchcoat Mafia". If such anti-social behaviors are observed in school, these children are calling out for intervention, even if they don't voice it.
3.) History of early aggressive behavior. Obviously if a young child has aggressive and contentious behavior before age ten, he/she is more likely to commit a violent act as a teen without some degree of intervention. Many of the most violent people have tortured animals as children. If you know of a child who regularly participates in animal torture, this child could be on the road toward disaster and significant intervention is warranted.
4.) Involvement with drugs, alcohol, or tobacco. Narcotic use, alcohol use and tobacco use can be contributing factors. An aggressive youth is more likely to commit a violent act when alcohol or narcotics are diminishing their inhibitions toward acts of violence.
5.) Early involvement in general offenses. If a youth below ten years of age, clearly demonstrates no respect of the law or parental authority, they are more likely to be insubordinate as teens.
6.) Low intelligence. A teen with a very limited ability to learn in school for whatever reason, will get easily frustrated and can be more likely to lash out.
7.) A lack of self control. If a youth demonstrates a lack of ability to control their own actions, acts of violence may indeed be more likely to occur.

8.) Last, but certainly not least is what I've already mentioned above. School bullying is a common thread found in most school shootings.

There are many elements in the teen's family life that may contribute greatly to their propensity toward committing a violent act:

** Too overbearing and strict parental discipline.
** Acts of domestic violence in the home.
** Parental discipline that is inconsistent.
** Parental substance abuse or alcoholism.
** Parental involvement in criminal activity.
** Lack of proper supervision of the child.
** Lack of parental involvement with the child.

Be on the lookout for these important factors! If you examine these above factors closely, it's pretty easy to see that the falling apart of the traditional American family is to blame for much of the disturbing trend of youth violence. I don't intend to offend anyone when I say this, but it must be clearly stated.

The situation where the man of the home is the father of the children and he is married to the woman of the home, who is the children's mother is far too rare in today's America. Just take a look around you. The traditional family structure in America has fully and completely collapsed. The rise in incidents of youth violence is just a symptom of this collapse in my opinion.

There is an entire generation of young people that are crying out for change, but who is listening?


If you think I made any sense here, please feel free to post this newsletter, forward it, print it or blog it. Just make sure you use www.SaveTheGuns.com in any material.

Thanks,Marc RichardsonOwner/Founderwww.SaveTheGuns.com

"We have staked the whole future ofAmerican civilization, not upon the powerof government. Far from it. We have stakedthe future of all our political institutions uponthe capacity of each and all of us to governourselves according to the Ten Commandmentsof God."

James Madison (1751-1836) Fourth Presidentof the United States.

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