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Maurice Brandt, Fargo, Published April 02 2013

Letter: Put end to it in seconds

Parents, do you really want teachers in your child’s school to help your child hide under a desk in response to a school shooter? This seems to be the response preferred by the anti-gun crowd as far as I have been able to determine. The other popular response, the one recommended by many police chiefs, our own included, is to have someone immediately dial 911.

While neither of those responses is necessarily wrong, let me point out a couple of things.

1. While behind a desk may be a hiding place, most school desks are not going to stop a bullet.

2. When you need help in seconds, the police responding to a 911 call are just minutes away. You need to think through how a 911 call is handled. First, a dispatcher answers the phone and asks several questions they are REQUIRED to ask. Then, based on the answers, they send x number of officers, who then must drive to the location of the emergency from wherever they happen to be. All this takes precious time, which there isn’t much of when some nutcase is standing in the midst of a bunch of terrified students, shooting at them.

On the other hand, someone of authority in the school, with a gun, might well be able to walk right up behind the nutcase and put an end to the whole thing in seconds, which is how quickly help is needed, not minutes. Also, a person of authority on scene and armed may have been able to stop the whole thing from happening in the first place. I assure you, however, if there isn’t someone like that there, they can’t help. Dialing 911 is of course necessary, but obviously, it is not the whole solution.

Some also advocate having someone in a uniform standing guard at the entrance to each school. Great, just great. Now the bad guy/shooter knows just who to target to make the rest of his attack relatively resistance free. If you want someone armed at the school to help protect it, that person should not be someone easily identified by the bad guy. In other words, it should be a teacher or school administrator who looks very similar to all the other teachers and administrators in and around the school, or, perhaps it should be a police officer who appears to be a teacher or school administrator.

In any case, the key is that it be someone the bad guy won’t immediately target because of his or her appearance. The nutcase/bad guy may not be a genius, but, you can be sure he is sharp enough to see and identify an easily seen threat to carrying out his plan.

So, there you have it. Teach your teachers how to get your children to lock doors and cower under desks, or have someone of authority in plain clothes and armed and trained present in each and every school. That’s expensive, you say? Really. Well, just how much is your child’s safety worth to you, anyway?