Back in the grim days following the Columbine High School atrocity, I pushed hard for the “Israeli model” of armed school personnel. After the Maalot massacre, an all-volunteer program was put together for school personnel and family members of students who were trained by Israel’s civil guard and reported to school with concealed handguns. It was fabulously successful in both stopping and deterring armed terrorist attacks on schools. The concept has much in common with the hugely successful FFDO (Federal Flight Deck Officer) program for armed airline pilots. (It matters not whether the “terrorist” in question is motivated by religious zealotry, politics, or madness. What matters is that a protector with a gun be in place to stop the evildoer with a gun.)
After the recent Sandy Hook atrocity, not only did the NRA come up with a plan for something similar here (while also pushing for more armed police assigned to educational institutions as SROs, or School Resource Officers), but we’ve seen similar plans actually implemented in places like Texas, Utah, and Arkansas. It is a solid, realistic approach to a genuine problem.
I call your attention to an excellent little book published in December of 2012, “School Administrators Guide To Practical Handgun Training.” The author is Richard Rosenthal, a retired lawman with an impressive 40-year career behind him. The first half of that was twenty years with the NYPD. There, he worked Homicide and Narcotics, served as a helicopter pilot, and spent many years teaching at the Firearms and Tactics Unit, which is where I first met him long ago. Retiring after putting in those twenty, he spent a like period as Chief of Police in Wellfleet, Massachusetts.
Having dealt with school administrators as a chief of police, Rich understands their thinking. His credentials make it clear to them that he’s not some sort of right-wing lunatic, and give him credibility in certain circles where gun enthusiasts simply will not be listened to by decision-makers. Rich is not only a master firearms instructor, but a shooting incident survivor himself. His advice on vetting and training armed volunteers and managing such a program is absolutely spot-on.
I highly recommend “School Administrators Guide to Practical Handgun Training.” It’s available for $19.33 plus shipping here.
The pundits say that gun owners are a smaller-than-ever minority, and that a majority of American homes are “gun-free.” (I hate that phrase, “gun-free.” No, guns are not vermin. Anything which sounds that helpless as “gun-free” can’t be A Good Thing.)
My friend and colleague Dave Workman – such a solid resource that I find myself linking to his stuff more often in this blog than any other source – observes that some 15,000 new concealed carry permits were processed last month in his home state of Washington alone. The list of permit holders increased by more than 60,000 there since May of 2012. http://www.examiner.com/article/cpl-figure-skyrockets-15k-a-single-month.
Obviously, density of gun ownership is a regional thing. You’ll have fewer guns in Manhattan high-rises, and more in rural farmhouses and on Western ranches, where guns are working tools as well as self-defense implements.
And, let us not forget, a whole lot of folks don’t want to tell strangers that they have guns, whether or not the stranger has identified himself or herself as a pollster. The media has, for decades, stigmatized gun owners. Besides, who wants to announce having in their house one of the very few things besides prescription drugs that thieves can peddle in the underworld for more than their intrinsic value, instead of pennies on the dollar?
We aren’t an overwhelming national majority, but we sure aren’t the weak and fading shadow the Prohibitionists wish we were.
Dave Workman ( left), Mas (center) and Tom Gresham (right) show how anti-gun media reacts to statistics favoring gun owners.
My old friend Don Kates – a hard-core liberal who worked with William Kunstler and the Freedom Riders back in the day – is the sort of honest liberal who believes that every potential victim has the right to defend himself or herself. Now retired after a long and brilliant career as a Constitutional lawyer, law professor, and criminologist extrordinaire, Don was kind enough to pass along the following.
It was written by David Kennedy. Kates describes Kennedy as not at all “pro-gun.” Kennedy does, however, appear to be honest, and true to his profession, which is criminology.
Pulled in to the driveway at 2 AM after not having slept in my own bed since the night before Easter. It was a coast to coast run: got my segments for the next season of Personal Defense TV filmed in California, taught a couple of 40-hour armed citizen classes, was in Houston for the whole three days of the annual NRA conference, and spent a week in Chicagoland for the annual conference of the International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors.
This month marks 39 years for me as a part-time but fully sworn police officer. (Doing it part-time staves off burnout.) I was an armed citizen before they pinned my first badge on me, and will be one after I leave The Job, and with one foot in each world I think I may have a pretty good handle on how the two actually interrelate.
At ILEETA, I was attending a course on interdicting active mass-murderers when it was announced that the universal background check bill sank in the Senate, and witnessed the audience of police instructors burst out in spontaneous applause. At the NRA annual meeting, I saw countless cops – many in uniform – on the floor in the conference center interacting with the gun enthusiasts. Across the street, where a relatively miniscule group of anti-gunners had gathered to protest, the cops seemed to keep their distance from those folks. NRA had a strong presence at the vendor expo at ILEETA, and one of the training presentations focused on a police department which provided NRA-based training to their community, with the tuition going toward the department’s own officer training budget. The “Brady Bunch” was, as usual, notable by its absence there. Oh, and the PDTV filming? We did the live fire segments on a police department tactical shooting range, thank you very much.
The ammunition shortage, caused by panic buying which was in turn triggered by a White House- and media-driven full court press for meaningless gun legislation, has had a profoundly negative impact on police firearms training as well as on law-abiding citizens who own guns. Yes, there is much in common between our armed citizens and our cops, both of whom realize at a boots-on-the-ground level that the problem is criminals, not guns.
Now I’m home, in a community where both the Chief of Police and the County Sheriff recently stated on the front page of the local paper that they’re four-square behind armed citizens and against meaningless “gun control” legislation. I for one find that reassuring.
The National Rifle Association’s annual meeting is underway in Houston as I write this. The national media is still claiming that 90% of Americans wanted the flawed Universal Background Check to pass last month. Let’s talk about voting with your feet. 70,000 NRA members are expected to be in attendance before the three-day event is done, and according to reports, only about six anti-gun people showed up to protest. I’m told that they stood on a sidewalk, reading aloud the names of murder victims.
I’m not sure what they thought that had to do with 70,000 Americans who arm themselves against the sort of criminals who commit murder, and fight for the right of other law-abiding citizens to also be able to defend themselves against murderers. I doubt that the six protesters could have explained it coherently, themselves.
The mainstream media claims a majority of NRA members were in favor of the background checks. Make that suggestion at the conference center in Houston this weekend, and you’ll hope you brought some hearing protection: the collective mocking laughter of that many people can get awfully loud.