With the active shooter situation at Ohio State University this morning, I think we can all agree that regardless of social standing, financial stability or geographic locations; there are crazy ass people out on the streets, in our classrooms and among our closest friends and family at their places of work. Recently I read something from a friend that said “The margins of our lives are razor thin, live every day to its fullest”. That can also translate into the words drive fast and take chances…in any case, you never know when your card has been punched. What can we do to increase survivability in a situation like this?
Throughout recent history the term “active shooter” has become everyday verbiage in American households. I speak to my children (elementary school ages) about it on a semi frequent basis. This morning we can assume that there are more parents of college aged kids speaking about it too. First thing this morning; Ohio State University emergency management sent Tweets and texts saying “Active shooter on campus; run, hide and fight”, further urging people to stay away from Watts hall, OSU’s material science and engineering hub.
Initial reports of the shooting stated that 9 people have been evacuated to local hospitals and all but 1 have been admitted with non-life threatening injuries. Initial reports are stating that the one student is in critical condition, while the others injuries remain minor in nature. According to heavy.com some of the injuries were sustained by a vehicle striking them as Watts hall was being evacuated. Regardless of how, the fact of the matter remains; that injuries were caused by a nexus, one of the crazy ass people woke up and wanted to do harm to others.
How do we stay and remain ready? As much as I would like to go off on a rant, I intend to keep this short and somewhat sweet. A topic that has been hot in the past 16 months in our country, the term mass shooting which has (turned into) a “catch phrase”. Although the term was politicized (like it or not) the “ring master” in DC used mass shooting as a tag line for anti-gunners to grab ahold of and run with. Is there a sure shot way to prevent these shootings? The answer is no, not a snowflakes chance in hell. So what can we do to prevent them? Answer: NOTHING. What we can do, is Deter, Detect and Defend what we hold near and dear to the best of our abilities.
Anyone with half of a brain for security knows that before you can prevent, you must deter. Translating deterrence…Establish and maintain physical presence. Let me be clear in saying that I am not particularly a proponent of an armed guard standing outside schools, or anywhere that they don’t necessarily “need” to be. Living in middle of nowhere America, I want my kids to think about their studies not the uniformed or plain clothed officer standing outside their school. When I say physical presence, I mean let’s allow our teachers and faculty to have the means and ability to defend themselves and their students. The same is true for college campuses. Federal law prohibits anyone under the age of 21 to purchase or possess a handgun so that excludes 1st and 2nd year students…easy fix!
Our government mandates a certain amount of schooling and training before a teacher has their own classroom. Some of the training have catchy tag lines to sound more intense than what it really is. Nonetheless this training includes: running, hiding and barricading themselves in a classroom in hopes that the bad guy(s) don’t find them, with little thought to having a smidgeon of the warrior mindset. What harm can additional training cause? Firearms included. I am willing to bet that had the shitheads of any violet mass whatever… knew that there were people armed and ready to defend what is theirs; the incidents wouldn’t have happened or with very minimal results. I am going to break down enrollment for Ohio State University since it is the most current situation and the motivator for me spewing my thoughts… Ohio State University has approximately 52k students enrolled, almost half enrolled are active in the Sciences and Engineering departments within Watts hall.
Again, Per federal law, anyone under the age of 21 cannot possess a handgun; this alone excludes about 15k freshman and sophomores. This leaves approximately 10,167 Juniors and Seniors who are of legal age. According to OSU’s Enrollment Services, roughly 3% of those 10k students (in science and engineering) are not US citizens who cannot possess a handgun. This leaves approximately 9,700 people that could legally carry a firearm who study at the same hall that the shooting occurred. If 10% of the legal adults on Campus (specifically Watts hall) could carry, chances are that the active shooter wouldn’t have been so active, thus minimizing the amount of shooting injuries. Taking that data into consideration (all approximate) if the suspect knew that almost 1000 people were carrying and willing to exterminate him, he…or she might have thought twice, smoked a joint and chilled the fuck out! That…is deterrence.
Many (including our President Elect) and the National Rifle Association have said and studies have shown that if we as a country would enforce the current laws on the books and be more proactive in our mental health screening, less violent crimes involving firearms would occur. Due to the pussification of our society people are afraid to say something if they see something simply due to feelings. This too can be part of a campus carry bill (of sorts). Not only do faculty and students receive hands on firearms training, they also get training on how to spot and report suspicious behavior. Having spent my entire enlistment at a unit that our sole purpose was Anti-Terrorism, we got good at identifying key indicators preceding something bad happing. None of what we trained in was super top secret, nor was it complicated; what it all came down to was common sense. Something that our police officers deal with daily, as a matter of fact; they do it more than we did…finding a group of them to deliver a course every 6 months or so would not be outside the realm of possibilities.
The physical act of stopping someone from doing something bad is about 20% of the battle. Everything that you have read prior to this makes up the remaining 80%. Mindset, physical presence and preventative measures make up the lion share of stopping bad people in their tracks. When you cut through the bullshit, bad things happen to good people at the blink of an eye, how do we train our students and faculty to deal with that shit sandwich? For those who wish and can do so, Training! Im willing to bet that the clear majority of those that would arm themselves in a school setting have a chunk of the skills necessary already established. It would take additional hands on to train past the commonalities of marksmanship, force escalation, and finally putting everything together to increase survivability in an active shooter scenario.
I would like to be clear in saying; by no means am I armchair quarterbacking anything that has happened. We do not even have all the details surrounding the OSU shooting from this morning. I am saying that there are steps that we can take to further deter other incidents from happening and give our college students and educators the tools necessary to mitigate mass casualties from happening. I know that there are a lot of “ifs” floating around with this topic, There are hundreds of thousands of people who would agree with arming campuses and just as many and assumedly more that are staunch opponents. So, what is the correct answer? Our opinion…we as parents, educators and government officials need to quit pussifying our youth. Why not instill some sort of sense of urgency and preservation into our kids, just as our parents did with us! We protect what is ours and stand for something! Arming responsible adults and allowing them on campuses is not a bad thing, at this point what other methods of prevention have worked? What are your thoughts?