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We Need To Bite The Bullet To Reduce Mass Shootings

Posted by Jerry De Luca on Saturday, February 24, 2024


Sadly, to deal effectively with the prevalence of school and other types of mass shootings, both Americans and Canadians need to look at themselves and be honest. It is easy to verbally decry all the horrible carnage, but if we're unwilling to accept and approve of the necessary tax increases, painful and difficult as they would be, then we're just spitting in the wind. Police officers all across North America are far from being adequately trained to counter and minimize these atrocious acts.  

SWAT teams are equipped and well trained, but in the majority of cases cannot reach the shooting location in the few critical moments necessary to prevent mass casualties. They don't have their teams positioned all over the city like police stations. There can only be one central location. SWAT members are not patrolling the city looking for mass shootings. Patrolling police officers from nearby stations are the closest to the event and will get there first almost all the time. When seconds count, this is crucial and determines how many live and die. Thorough and meticulous training of ALL police officers is necessary but is sadly lacking. Vast financial investment, as well as political and citizen resolve is essential to curb these deadly incidents.  

Waiting for SWAT: 

"The wait-for SWAT approach existed for good reason. Big city SWAT teams have exponentially better training than the average patrol officer. Excellent sharp shooters in top physical shape, Swat officers spend considerable time learning tactics, breaching, gunfighting, and close-quarter combat. Some are expert at repelling, hostage negotiating, and explosives. SWAT teams have a saying: 'When citizens need help, they call 911. When police need help, they call SWAT' 

"At Columbine, a SWAT commander arrived at 11:36 am and called for all available SWAT officers to organize for entry 'as quickly as possible'. The first SWAT team entered the building at 12:06 pm. That means it took about 47 minutes from the time authorities received the first 911 call for SWAT to enter the building." 

What it takes to adequately train a police officer to handle a mass shooting:  

Philip Hayden, former commander of an FBI SWAT team and instructor at the FBI Academy, has trained thousands of law-enforcement officers. He asserts it's unrealistic for today's police officers to effectively deal with a mass shooter: "(It's) inadequate and allows politicians and police departments to elude the complex and expensive issues that need to be addressed. To train an officer to be a 'good tactician and an excellent shot within a distance of 25 yards while an individual is shooting at them with a rifle would take hundreds of hours spent conducting tactical drills and live-fire exercises and thousands or rounds fired on the handgun range every year.'" 

Undertrained police officers:  

Sandy Wall, retired SWAT officer from the Houston Police Department: "If the public knew how poorly some police officers are trained and more importantly, how poorly those undertrained officers perform - thank goodness crooks don't know. The public expects a lot more out of the average cop than they are capable of delivering."  

Judith P. Andersen, police scholar and psychology professor at the University of Toronto: "(The) average police officer may not be all that much better prepared, given how limited their training is. Some arrive on the job with prodigious firearms skills - they grew up hunting, they served in the military ...... they are regulars at the shooting range. But some officers don't learn to shoot until they're attending a police academy, a brief time during which they're also learning how to wield handcuffs, batons, gas masks, and tourniquets, as well as familiarizing themselves with Fourth Amendment law, de-escalation techniques, community policing, and a huge bundle of other skills.  

"At anywhere from 10 to 28 weeks, American police academies are of notably short duration. Finland, for instance, which has a high rate of gun ownership by European standards ........ requires officers to earn a bachelor's degree in police studies, which takes three years." 

A very good way to get yourself shot:  

"Pete Blair, the executive director of the Texas-based Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT), and his colleagues studied 84 active shooter events from 2000 to 2010 and found that when officers attempted solo entry while a gunman was still active, a third of them got shot ...... Blair believes that if communities are going to require officers to engage active shooters one-on-one, officers must be provided with adequate tools - highly protective ballistic vests and rifles - and proper training."  

Confusing time to be a police officer:  

"Nobody is sure any longer what the job of policing is, (forensic psychiatrist Charles) Morgan told me, or how to weigh its different priorities. This squares with what cops have been telling me in recent years. It's never been a more confusing time to be a police officer.  

"'I don't envy a policeman's job,' Morgan said. 'I'm supposed to be getting to know the people in the neighborhood, but I might also need to be prepared to kill someone. Also, everyone has guns, and I don't want to get shot.' 

"Creating officers who can perform well in all situations - including confronting mass shooters - is an expensive, time-consuming endeavor. 'We want a lot of things from police,' Morgan said. 'and I don't know if we're willing to pay for it.'"    

Damned if you do, damned if you don't  

"Cops tell me another challenge of active shooter calls the public doesn't sufficiently appreciate is that yes, you need to move as fast as possible and make quick decisions - but quick wrong decisions can be deadly. Move too slowly, and you might be a coward; move too quickly, and you might kill an innocent person. Either can end a career in disgrace." 

Bottom Line 

To significantly reduce mass shootings, the public will have to foot the bill by way of severe tax increases. Very few young people will choose a career where they must pay a small fortune (and get into serious student debt) for three years of costly, elite-level training. All for a life of disrespect, insults and a bullet whizzing by their ear. If we really want to stop mass casualties, we need to "bite the bullet" and be willing to pay.  


Jamie Thompson, "American Cowardice", The Atlantic, March 2024 

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Photo: https://studyfinds.org/mass-shooting-in-your-state/ 

Jerry De Luca is a Christian freelance writer who loves perusing dozens of interesting and informative publications. When he finds any useful info he summarizes it, taking the main points, and creates a (hopefully) helpful blog post.


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