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Peoria-area school puts off decision on arming administrators

Tuesday, Jan 15, 2013

* When I think about this idea, the image of Barney Fife comes to mind. Over-eager and far from well-trained

School board members in a central Illinois town are thinking about arming and training a handful of administrators as auxiliary police officers so they can carry guns on campus.

Washington police Chief Jim Kuchenbecker says training Washington Community High Schools administrators as officers is a way around Illinois’ law against carrying concealed weapons. The chief and school Superintendent Jim Dunnan talked about the idea after December’s school shootings in Connecticut and presented it to a parents’ group last week.

They’re talking about 40 hours of initial training. Would we send a lone cop out onto a beat with just a week of training - particularly in a sensitive area full of kids?

* More

Schools in the town have long had an armed officer on campus, but [Council President Kim Brownfield] says that “does not suffice.”

“These [shootings] are happening and we all hate it, but you cannot stop an intruder who forces [his way] through the front of a school building unless you’re going to stop him from within,” she said.

Unarmed people who attempted to stop the killing in Connecticut were killed, but an unarmed teacher stopped the recent California school shooting.

* No action was taken last night

District 308 School Board members on Monday agreed that a plan to train and arm Washington Community High School administrators should continue to be explored.

But their approval came with the caveat that further research into the plan devised by Police Chief Jim Kuchenbecker and Superintendent Jim Dunnan must be part of a broader discussion of improving high school security.

“We don’t have an agenda and we’re not looking for attention. We just want to be transparent and do all we can to avert a tragedy at the school,” said Kuchenbecker, who presented the plan to the board and more than 100 audience members.

“It would be irresponsible for us not to explore every way possible to provide the safest environment we can for the students and staff.”

I don’t doubt the sincerity of the effort, nor the fear among parents. I just doubt the mechanics of what they’re considering.

I’m also quite open to being told how and why I’m wrong here, but with a reasonable and calm explanation. So, have at it, but take a deep breath first. I’m beyond sick of the overly harsh comments on gun threads. I have a little time on my hands today, so I’ll be deleting and banning the jerks on both sides.

* Meanwhile

The grade school massacre in Newtown, Conn., has spurred Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn to schedule a statewide summit on school safety.

Educators, law enforcement officials and school management groups from around the state have been invited to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency headquarters Jan. 22 for a four-hour discussion on how to keep schools safe from violence.

The summit is just one part of the governor’s response to the killing of 20 children and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.

Quinn earlier called for a state ban on the kinds of semi-automatic weapons used in the shootings. He also directed the Illinois State Board of Education, the Illinois State Police, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and other state agencies to review existing programs for student protection and determine whether improvements can be made.

“A critical part of this review is to bring together subject matter experts in the fields of public safety, education, mental health, and law enforcement to address the short- and long-term efforts needed to safeguard our schools,” Quinn said in a Jan. 10 letter inviting various groups to the meeting.

Discuss.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


108 Comments
  1. - Cheryl44 - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 11:37 am:

    What happens when one of these people shoots an unarmed schoolkid? I would hope this would never happen, but it is not beyond the realm of the possible.


  2. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 11:39 am:

    This is the most ridiculous idea ever conceived. Let’s put guns and schools so they are right there for kids to find. We have a gun problem? Hey, I know, lets put even MORE guns out there. Nice logic.


  3. - Just sayin' - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 11:41 am:

    Why don’t we send in Donne Trotter to protect the schools. He’s a trained armed guard, right?


  4. - Chicago Cynic - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 11:42 am:

    There were armed guards at Columbine and Virginia Tech. Neither helped. Introducing more guns in this kind of environment, especially when they’re minimally trained, is an ABYSMALLY bad idea. If someone tried to do this in my kids grammar school, I would lead the protest effort to stop it.


  5. - Former Merit Comp Slave - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 11:46 am:

    I guess I have a different perspective. I grew up on a farm, around guns my whole life. When I think of all the little kids, my heart breaks. I will probably get clubbed, tarred and feathered, but I’m all for it. It’s not the length of the training that matters - it’s the regular and frequent qualifications that will make the difference. Cops only get trained once, but they are required to qualify often.


  6. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 11:48 am:

    ===I will probably get clubbed, tarred and feathered===

    Not gonna happen.


  7. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 11:50 am:

    ===I guess I have a different perspective. I grew up on a farm===

    So did I. But I’ve also been around a couple of war zones, which taught me some valuable lessons about trained and untrained. The disjointed and panicked and over-eager to do something response of some half-way trained Iraqi militia to gunfire outside their camp was telling, for example.


  8. - davidh - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 11:52 am:

    I’d love to see serious consideration of what effects armed school personnel (as opposed to a police officer stationed at a school) might have on the learning environment. Also, as a grade school parent I am quite sympathetic to calls for improving school safety, but I am wary of this summit. There seems to be a gun crisis in this country; I’m not sure there is a school safety crisis. Our schools are already buried under new mandates and demands to solve problems that may or may not exist. I’m not sure I want to see new things added to that list.


  9. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 11:54 am:

    –I don’t doubt the sincerity of the effort, nor the fear among parents. I just doubt the mechanics of what they’re considering.–

    What he said.


  10. - siriusly - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 11:58 am:

    If the District 308 Board feels this is the right move for them, then they should do it. I just don’t think it is the most proper response.

    Arming people at schools is an emotional response to what happened. Yet, that does nothing to help reduce gun violence and gun-related deaths. More than 400 people have been shot to death in the United States since the shooting in Sandy Hook.

    We’re all sad and angry, but there are more than 75 million “students” at US schools (including pre-k to undergraduate colleges and universities). I don’t think that armed defense is the solution. The most common gun related deaths happen every day in the home and on the street, not in schools.


  11. - Griz - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 12:10 pm:

    Think of this environment we are creating. “Armed Teachers.” Does this create an atmosphere of “Education and Knowledge” or “Fear and Desperation?” A knee jerk reaction teaching a horrible lesson to young innocent children about violence.


  12. - Oh Please - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 12:10 pm:

    What I’d like to see is a real examination of the statistics surrounding deaths due to gun accidents vs. events like the recent school shooting.

    These type of events are tragic, and stand out in our minds. But I suspect a realistic analysis would find the relative risk of such events is low compared to the risks of poorly trained lay people having access to lethal weapons around children.

    It also strikes me that the fact that this is a primary response being considered means that the NRA has already achieved what is likely it’s main objective in such matters: put us on the road to more guns.


  13. - Nuance - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 12:13 pm:

    Probably the only way it should even be considered, is if the teacher’s involved had prior military or police experience. Otherwise, not so much.


  14. - Tequila Mockingbird - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 12:17 pm:

    I’m all for armed law abiding citizens but I don’t see the need in schools. We might be reminded that statistically, our kids are safer in school than at home. More children die at the hands of family members, boyfriends, etc than in mass shootings.
    Not saying th CT shooting wasn’t tragic, but I think armed guards at all schools is over reactive.


  15. - Fred's Mustache - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 12:19 pm:

    I think that the aftermath of the Connecticut shootings has proven to me that we should have an armed security presence in our schools. In furtherance of this, I think the presence needs to consit of sworn police officers. Assign some police personnel to security detail at our schools. This sloppy half-hearted attempt to arm non-sworn school personnel is well intentioned, but insufficient.

    I understand what I am proposing can be very expensive, but you know what, citizens of this country have to realize that we have to pay for the services that we want. If we are serious about having armed personnel in our schools to protect the lives of our children, we have to do it right, and we have to pay for it.


  16. - Angry Republican - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 12:19 pm:

    “What I’d like to see is a real examination of the statistics surrounding deaths due to gun accidents vs. events like the recent school shooting.”

    I agree, and what you will find is that homicide is not the most likely cause of death for children. Depending on the age group, a child is two to three times more likely to die in a motor vehicle accident.

    Armed guards at schools is as dumb an idea as confiscating all firearms.


  17. - Wensicia - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 12:32 pm:

    If you’re thinking about arming educators, you’re more or less declaring schools to be the equivalent of war zones. Is bringing more guns to the problem, carried by amateurs, the answer? How will these amateurs react in a real, or not so real, situation? Will they blindly start shooting in the direction of fire? Will they notice students caught in a potential crossfire. What if the shooter isn’t dressed in full military armor, will the staff recognize and shoot the correct person. Will they be able to take on the responsibility and aftermath of taking another’s life, no matter how deserving?

    I’m an educator working in a high school in a high minority, gang district. We have a full time armed police officer. We train for lockdowns. We have a police swat team that practices for just such a situation several weekends a year in our school. We have metal detectors and electronic locks on every door, cameras inside and out.

    Can any school staff possibly reach the type of proficiency necessary to handle and control the type of invasion we’re talking about, compared to what law enforcement must have. I can’t see this happening. The chance of injury or death to innocent bystanders is too high to risk this.


  18. - Wensicia - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 12:34 pm:

    Sorry for the missing question marks, didn’t do a punctuation check.


  19. - Bird Dog - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 12:35 pm:

    I don’t know about the difference between the cops and school personnel with training. Neither would be likely to do well in a confined combat situation. Didn’t the NYC cops injure a lot of bystanders in a recent shootout?

    Tough issue - maybe look more at the first line of defense, i.e. making entry by bad guys more difficult.


  20. - papa2009 - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 12:40 pm:

    Here come the tar and feathers. Most of these shootings that have made the national news involved one of two things. A mentally unstable person and/or student that had been bullied. Instead of arming teachers or banning guns, why don’t we focus on treating the mentally ill and preventing the bullying. Both of my kids, when they were in high school, could tell me which kids in their school they felt were the ones most likely to explode. They knew who was bullied and which kids listened to the voices in their heads. We all did, whether we want to admit it or not. Let’s focus on solving these two root causes of these tragedies instead of creating potentially more problems with well intentioned responses.


  21. - John Galt - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 12:42 pm:

    I don’t think it’s an entirely crazy idea. The devil is in the details of course. Obviously a hasty policy slapped together might create a “Barney Fife” situation and should be avoided. On the other hand, we already have armed security at select schools. Having one or two properly trained & responsible on-campus adults might not be a radical departure from the status quo. First, if some crazy comes onto campus, waiting 10-15 minutes for an organized police response can be an eternity for a school full of unarmed kids. Second, it could create a chilling effect.

    I think the big thing is to trust the local communities to make these decisions themselves rather than a once size fits all approach from Springfield or DC. What might be the right choice for School District X might not be the right choice for School District Y. Let the parents, teachers, administrators, school board members, etc hash it out at the local level so they can come up with solutions that best fit their own needs and values. And if a particular model works really well, then I’d expect other area school districts to copy those effective & innovative solutions.


  22. - John Galt - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 12:43 pm:

    **And just to be clear, I also think much of the solution does involve the mentally ill or bullying issues. I don’t see it as an either/ or thing. I’m for All of the Above.**


  23. - OneMan - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 12:44 pm:

    On a level it doesn’t sound like a bad idea….

    The concerns I would have

    1) I can think of at least one assistant principal from when I was in Jr. High who should not be given a firearm of any type. Nice guy, just went from 0-6,000 on the anger scale too fast, I know he would have drawn at some point just to get our attention…

    2) Curious how you maintain the training and readyness, shooting at a range is one thing, shooting around a bunch of kids in a stressful situation (where someone is likely to fire back) is an entirely different kettle of fish.

    3) So the expectation would be they would be carrying on the job, is a concealed gun going to get in the way of work? Some of these folks spend time behind a desk, wouldn’t you put the gun in a drawer?


  24. - SO IL M - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 12:45 pm:

    While I am not against well trained personnell in schools being armed, I dont believe this would be a good idea due to being poorly trained. Just like learning a little bit of a martial art is just enough to get your butt kicked. There is a big big difference between a trained Law Enforcement Officer, and an undertrained wanna be Cop. If they follow thru with this idea, it should only be after comprehensive training.


  25. - Notacop - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 12:54 pm:

    ===Angry Republican - “Armed guards at schools is as dumb an idea as confiscating all firearms.” ====

    I was going to say the same thing. If take a logical look at the situation with these mass shootings, neither assault weapon bans nor armed guards would have stopped them. A tragic event like the one in Newtown really draws attention, but like “Siriusly” said, the number of murders since that day dwarfs the loss of life at the school. Yet the outrage is over the low number/high profile school killings rather than the thousands of lower profile murders that happen every year.

    In rebuttal to a couple other comments:

    -40 hours of basic firearm safety and handling is a LOT. Comparing it to the training of a police officer is not an accurate comparison. That is like comparing the first aid training necessary to operate an automatic external defibrillator (that our state requires in schools, health clubs and dental offices), to the trahining needed to become a doctor.

    -Worrying that kids will get their hands on the guns should be assuaged by the knowledge that the administrators will keep the guns locked up safely or well protected on their person at all times. School administrators are known for following the rules and modeling appropriate behaviors, right?

    -The California teacher that cut short a shooting was facing an individual who sought retaliation against bullies, not a deranged individual on a suicide mission. Using that as an apples to apples comparison with Newtown is not really accurate. Someone who wants to make a name for themselves and cause as much death/destruction and mayhem would have no qualms about shooting a teacher that tries to stop them. Do you think the 6 teachers/administrators that died in Newtown didn’t try to stop the killer?


  26. - downstate commissioner - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 12:55 pm:

    Regular readers know that I am pro-gun, so before you disregard my comments, also know that I have eight grandchildren in three different schools, with two more coming up. I understand the sentiments of both sides of the issue: Fear of guns in an area with kids, and the fear of outsiders with guns coming in. Also, my wife is a retired elementary teacher. I have also talked with adults who went to schools with armed security when they were growing up; they really had no problems with it.
    More to the point, 1. these people (administrators, janitors, teachers) should be carrying concealed (concealment should be more important than access), and on their person; no guns in a desk drawer, or in a purse, where they could be accessible to anyone else. 2. Guns should be carried only by persons who want to-if a person is uncomfortable with the idea, or just doesn’t want to deal with the hassle of carrying a gun, they should not be required to. 3. While there is a chance that a gun might fall in to the wrong hands (see #1) there is probably more of a risk of a child being injured in P.E. or walking to school, or being bullied. 4. 40 hours of training is probably adequate for the actual risk that an incident would happen. Peoria probably has more of a chance of an incident, than the small-town schools where my g-kids are at, more because of the gangs,than the isolated nut. 5. This is an afterthought, but the knowledge of who is actually carrying should be restricted only to key personnel-the fewer who know about it, the better.
    This started out to be my concluding statement, but 6.while it may not be the best answer in all schools, it would also be cheaper (schools have other needs more important) and safer to have people who’s first thought will be the children than to hire full-time armed guards, with more militant backgrounds.


  27. - OneMan - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 12:56 pm:

    I think the risk is, even with comprehensive training, it’s going to be hard to remain sharp. Keep in mind this is a skill that statistically will most likely never be used.

    Also is the goal of these folks to stop an attack, deal with other issues? Should they pursue someone outside the building? Just on school grounds? Would they be expected to carry 24×7? What about school activities outside of school grounds?

    If you are going to keep them trained, you gonna pay for that time?


  28. - dupage dan - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 12:58 pm:

    I would hope that arming anybody who would be in a school setting is done carefully and thoughtfully. I have already stated that I am in favor of considering such a program. Doing so as a knee jerk response to the kind of horror we have seen without carefully vetting who is being armed and what they are going to be doing is not what I would support. However horrific the event was, it doesn’t happen regularly (thankfully) and we have to consider the risks involved in having someone in the school carrying a firearm as opposed to the risk of having children exposed to an armed intruder.

    Passive barriers should be considered as well - bars across the windows of the first floor could have prevented the entry of the mad man in Conn as he apparently gained entrance to the school thru classroom windows after finding the door was barred/locked.

    Carefull evaluation of the school and the resources available along with proper, ongoing, training of any armed person is clearly appropriate. We have armed Marshalls on some domestic/international flights as well as some armed pilots. We have folks armed at courthouses. We have armed guards at some banks. We have armed US Park Service officers manning various sites (I saw M16s on park service employees at the St Louis Arch post 9/11 & US park rangers armed with 9 mil handguns on South Manitou Island {Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore} on northern Lake Michigan).

    This can be done thoughtfully and safely as long as we don’t do it quickly/in a panic.


  29. - Cook County Commoner - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 1:07 pm:

    How an armed school guard or two will provide a deterrent to a motivated pschopath eludes me. Schools are not built with security in mind, so they provide access at several points. And locking ungaurded doors may not bar access to the well equipped intruder. Using dedicated personnel to guard a school will probably require more guards than budgets can afford.

    The arming and thorough (almost military basic training level with annual skill checks and upgrades) training of all school employees appears to be the only cost effective strategy that would provide decent security coverage on the premises. Let’s face it. The only way these kids have a chance in the event of a psycho attack is if a well armed guardian is close by. That means a teacher with a gun.

    Hopefully, anxious parents are getting rational advise at security meetings, including the extremely long odds that anything could happen at their kid’s school.

    The cost of providing effective school security would be better spent in trying to identify the locals who might consider such a crime.


  30. - reformer - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 1:07 pm:

    Angry Repub
    Why do you suppose it is that American kids constitute 85% of the children in the world under 15 killed by a firearm?


  31. - Former Merit Comp Slave - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 1:10 pm:

    Point taken re war zones. Thankfully I don’t have that point of reference. But my dad did, serving in WWII. He’s the one who made sure I could handle a gun and defend myself. I always wonder what the outcome would have been in the movie theater or the school if someone had had an ankle holster on (not in a drawer or purse). And papa I agree wholeheartedly those issues are important to address. But just as guns aren’t the only issues in these cases, neither are those items. I lived in another state which had a carry law. I always had a gun with me - never needed it, but felt secure knowing it was there. That’s just me - and I respect the varied opinions expressed here. That’s why I keep coming back.


  32. - RSW - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 1:13 pm:

    Rich, take a one week pistol class at Gunsite or equivalent class. You may have a little more knowledge and credibility on subject.


  33. - G.I. Joe - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 1:13 pm:

    As a veteran and former police officer/D.A.R.E. Officer, I too have been around guns most of my life. I was also in schools on a regular basis. Most of the faculty and administrators in grade schools are female and of small stature. Being a large man, I don’t feel I could successfully confront an active shooter unarmed. I applaud the person in California that was able to talk that young man down. Nearly all of the mass shootings have occurred in a ‘Gun Free Zone’. IF you were planning a mass shooting, would you select a restaurant where half of the customers are armed police officers or a grade school with no one armed? IF people are placed in school settings that are armed, they also need to be trained as a first responder and as a responder to an ‘Active shooter’ situation. We have fire extinguishers in schools don’t we? How many concrete schools are in need of a fire extinguisher? They evacuate the building and wait for the fire department. Bars and locked doors are not going to stop someone who has had a lot of free time to plan a school shooting. I suggest one of the new biometric gun safes that would keep the guns safe until needed and only accessible to those authorized. My wife, who works in a grade school, suggests having the National Guard assign one or two guardsmen to each school as their duty time. GUNS ARE NOT THE PROBLEM; IT IS THE BAD GUY BEHIND THEM THAT IS THE PROBLEM! Gun control is a feel good liberal thing. We see how well that works in Chicago and New York. The framers of our Constitution were very wise men; they saw the need for the population to be armed. When seconds count, police are only minutes away, even in populated areas.


  34. - RNUG - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 1:14 pm:

    If Quinn is serious about doing an objective look at all the factors, maybe some good ideas could come out of it. Or not.

    I’ll admit I don’t know what the answer is. I suspect there is no single answer. It’s probably a bunch of different small actions.

    Hardening school access, be it physical barriers and / or armed police presence, may reduce schools being seen as an easy “target of opportunity”. A lot of government buildings were “hardened” after 9/11. But, like securing a house against burglary, that just means a shooter bent on havoc would go somewhere else.

    Better mental health screening and stricter mandatory reporting of certain issues might help.

    Better parental awareness and responsibility might help. In the most recent case, from the reports, it seems the one parent was aware of issues, but may not have taken sufficient preventative action. That’s always a tough call for a parent.

    Limiting access to certain types firearms or certain accessories might make a difference, but I’m not sure the statistics realy show that would make much difference. (Before both sides jump on this, I am a firearm owner, including at least one pistol that would have been banned by the last proposed IL bill.)

    Lots of other things might help, but nobody seems to know for sure.

    If we assign some of the cause to the breakdown of personal responsibility, then that needs to be addressed. Changing that would be a long-term multi-generational effort.

    The one thing Quinn did get right in his statement is the need for both short-term tactical solutions and long-term strategic solutions. Those are, most likely, different solutions.


  35. - John Galt - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 1:27 pm:

    ====
    How an armed school guard or two will provide a deterrent to a motivated pschopath eludes me.
    ====

    I’m no security expert, but my assumption is there are different benefits for different situations. Visible metal detectors & one or two Officer Friendlies would probably have a major chilling effect on moderate to low level troublemakers. But you’re right, the truly psycho or determined would just crash through detectors and immediately attack a (probably) unsuspecting armed uniformed guard.

    I think the advantage of the conceal-carry concept is that it’s response-oriented. It’s less likely that a madman would know who & where any particular conceal-carry response might come from. It’d give a conceal-carry, ready-response individual the chance to quickly assess the situation and at least have the element of surprise.


  36. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 1:27 pm:

    ===The chief and school Superintendent Jim Dunnan talked about the idea after December’s school shootings in Connecticut and presented it to a parents’ group last week.===

    Putting aside for a moment the merits of the idea, I think the Washington Community is at least going about this the right way. They’ve opened a dialogue with parents and law enforcement. They can decide what works best for them. They aren’t rushing into this and they appear to be seeking guidance from parents. I applaud that.


  37. - Jimmy - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 1:28 pm:

    This solution will make children safe from an attacker with an assault weapon the exact same way that “duck and cover” will protect them from a nuclear bomb dropped on their school.


  38. - Michelle Flaherty - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 1:30 pm:

    Who could blame the Washington school officials. Some pretty scary people either live there or went to school there.
    But I think in times of uncertainty, they should turn to one of their vaunted alumni for leadership and answers.
    That man?
    Tim Nieukirk.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8×9IT_zWjk

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8×9IT_zWjk


  39. - Fred's Mustache - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 1:40 pm:

    === I don’t know about the difference between the cops and school personnel with training. ===

    === Tough issue - maybe look more at the first line of defense, i.e. making entry by bad guys more difficult. ===

    Well, my thinking is the police are located at the entryway of the schools - hence being the first line of defense.

    Also, when police go through the academy, they are certainly trained to deal with situations that consist of, for a lack of a better phrase, confined combat. I don’t think that although armed school personnel would be trained on how to use a weapon, they wouldnt be trained on how to act during these situations.


  40. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 1:41 pm:

    Barney Fife? There’s an answer to your question yesterday — Don Knotts would have been excellent for playing Governor Quinn.


  41. - dupage dan - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 1:46 pm:

    The Ghost and Mr Chicken - great movie.


  42. - dupage dan - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 1:48 pm:

    Hey, Jimmy, the bumper stickers are over in aisle 5 in the back of the store.


  43. - Fred's Mustache - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 1:50 pm:

    ===The arming and thorough (almost military basic training level with annual skill checks and upgrades) training of all school employees appears to be the only cost effective strategy that would provide decent security coverage on the premises.===

    C’mon man, these are teachers not Marines. How many teachers would be able to complete the “almost military level basic training”


  44. - Liandro - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 1:51 pm:

    I think it’s a great idea, until I get to the part where it is only 40 hours of training. I needed more training than that to get my food sanitation license. If this is going to be part of their job description, they need to be better trained than that. Once that issue is cleared up, go for it.

    I’ve done a little research on armed guards (let me stress again: only a little), and they certainly have the potential to be useful. There is a reason people put armed guards to protect things that are very important…it works. NOT saying I’m on the NRA’s “everywhere, all-the-time” bandwagon yet, but if a local district wants to look at it, they should do so.


  45. - OneMan - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 1:51 pm:

    == Rich, take a one week pistol class at Gunsite or equivalent class. You may have a little more knowledge and credibility on subject. ==

    RSW,

    So you would be comfortable with someone who took a week long class firing into your kids classroom or their lunchroom trying to hit a target that may, not look all that different?

    If you want to do this, fine, then those folks should be trained like the best shooters in the world (lets say the secret service) with the same sort of continuing training. It would have to be their full time job..

    Don’t have some dean responsible for this.


  46. - Cheryl44 - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 1:52 pm:

    If this wasn’t such a serious topic, I would be amused by the people who want to hand out guns to (shudder!) members of a union.


  47. - Bigtwich - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 1:54 pm:

    The problem is larger.

    “116,385 children and teens in America have died from gun violence in the 30 years since 1979.
    The number of children and teens killed by guns since 1979 would fill 4,655 public school
    classrooms of 25 students each or Boston’s Fenway Park three times over.
    Since 1979, America has lost nearly three times as many children and teens to gunfire as the number of U.S. military deaths during the Vietnam War and over 23 times the number of U.S. military deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

    From

    “Protect Children, Not Guns 2012″
    http://www.childrensdefense.org/


  48. - Bluefish - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 1:56 pm:

    One critical piece in this debate is what teachers think about this “solution”. Just about every teacher I know thinks arming teachers is a disaster waiting to happen.


  49. - RNUG - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 1:58 pm:

    Cheryl,

    I’m still laughing at an image of armed teachers protesting or on strike!


  50. - Logic not emotion - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 1:59 pm:

    “- siriusly - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 11:58 am: … Arming people at schools is an emotional response to what happened. Yet, that does nothing to help reduce gun violence and gun-related deaths. More than 400 people have been shot to death in the United States since the shooting in Sandy Hook.”

    Siriusly: I too think that arming people in schools will have little impact simply because those type events are so statistically rare – not because it wouldn’t be the approach with the highest probability of success. I agree that arming people at schools is an emotional response. I would put forth that is a much more reasoned and logical response though than banning firearms.


  51. - Wensicia - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 2:02 pm:

    ==One critical piece in this debate is what teachers think about this “solution”.==

    I agree.


  52. - Small Town Home Owner - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 2:05 pm:

    For many years Illinois discussed the subject of medical malpractice. This was because of the number of lawsuits in the court system and the dollar amounts of these cases when settled. If we give guns to teachers and if something happens, as it certainly will over time, one needs to ask what is the liablity of the teacher in such a case and what is the liability of the school system (and thus the tax payer)? Do the teachers want to take all, some, or none of such a risk? Will any liability of the school system take money away from the educational process and if so how much?


  53. - JoeVerdeal - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 2:12 pm:

    I see this idea as being one that might appeal to teachers or any other profession that seeks acknowledgement of respect from society.

    By allowing certain qualified teachers to have enhanced ability to protect our children, we are reinforcing the implicit expression of trust that we are already extending to teachers….as they teach and watch over our children during the school day. To honor qualified teachers with the role of an armed protector….that will certainly be understood in a positive way by educators, generally speaking.

    Why would I not want my kids teachers to have the ability to defend their students? I am already trusting them to care and watch over my children.


  54. - Nieva - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 2:18 pm:

    We need armed security at all schools. It might not stop every event before someone is killed but I sure would rather have a trained security person or a teacher there on site to respond in seconds where it will take law enforcement minutes to get there. Anywhere there are hundreds or perhaps thousands of students there is the chance of some nut coming in and shooting up the place. The same people that are against armed teachers are against conceal carry in public.


  55. - the Patriot - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 2:24 pm:

    Rich, I am very disappointed in your small minded negative perspective of small town people. I would rather have the supt of my kids school respond to any such situation with a gun over any Chicago police officer. She is more educated, smarter, and a better shot. Even police officers get a few practice rounds a month. If you have someone with years of training this is the best solution. No, you can’t put a gun in every administrators hands, but it should be an option.

    Most police response to school shootings is far too late. If you have an educated, armed, and well trained person on the premisis you have to worry about how many shots can be fired in 90 seconds, not 15 minutes.

    I am tired of having options for running schools cut off because of the failures of Chicago Politicians. Just because people in Chicago want to keep letting their kids die trying to make gun control work, the rest of us should not be prevented from looking for real solutions.


  56. - OneMan - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 2:25 pm:

    == I see this idea as being one that might appeal to teachers or any other profession that seeks acknowledgement of respect from society. ==

    The acknowledgement of respect from society and the idea of carrying a gun do not seem to go hand and hand to me…

    What is seems to me is they we would be saying…

    “This is not important enough for us to have a dedicated resource for this, but we think you can do it”

    That’s a bit like saying, ‘we don’t have a librarian but we trust you to take your kids into the library and have them check out books’.


  57. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 2:27 pm:

    ===Rich, I am very disappointed in your small minded negative perspective of small town people. ===

    I’m from a small town, dude. Clifton, population about 1100 last time I checked. Born in Kankakee. And this wasn’t about small towns. It was about arming school administrators and hoping that a week’s training will suffice.


  58. - Jimmy - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 2:27 pm:

    Dupage Dan - let me explain - the proposal is flawed because it will give a false sense of security to parents, teachers, students, administrators, taxpayers, etc. (who are naive enough to believe that it will work. You simply can’t do armed security on the cheap for these basic reasons: (a) it’s unlikely to work (like “duck and cover”), (b)it’s likely to harm a student, teacher, parent, etc. and (c) because it is very, very clear that the proposal is being done in order to save money instead of provide real armed security, the school is likely to be liable in a court when something goes wrong (see (a) and (b) above).


  59. - Michelle Flaherty - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 2:34 pm:

    If you arm them, next step is they begin qualifying for the enhanced pension.


  60. - Ahoy! - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 2:35 pm:

    – The framers of our Constitution were very wise men; they saw the need for the population to be armed.—

    The framers of our Constitution were also mostly slave owners who protected the slave trade and importation of slaves via the Constitution. We don’t eve n think of allowing this today and we’ve amended the Constitution before because it was wrong. Remember, these “very wise men” set up modern day democracy… except for women, blacks and anybody else who wasn’t a white man.

    Yes, they protected the right to bear arms when it took 30 seconds to reload a musket. It’s probably a stretch to use the framers of the Constitution to support some amateur security guard/principle carrying a weapon around in schools.


  61. - Cheryl44 - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 2:43 pm:

    From some thoughtful poster way up there:
    “Schools are not built with security in mind”

    I went to a grade school in the southwest suburbs that was built immediately post Our Lady of the Angels. One floor, each room shared a mudroom/outside entrance with a room next to it. The school was cruciform with more outside doors at each of the four points. Then there were the main entrance and outside doors on the gym, music room and art classroom. It’s owned by the park district in that suburb now, but I would think there are other schools that were built that way and how on earth do you secure such a thing?


  62. - Fred's Mustache - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 2:44 pm:

    ===Rich, I am very disappointed in your small minded negative perspective of small town people.===

    ===I am tired of having options for running schools cut off because of the failures of Chicago Politicians. Just because people in Chicago want to keep letting their kids die trying to make gun control work, the rest of us should not be prevented from looking for real solutions.===

    Dude, get the chip off your shoulder. And by the way, it sounds like you are the person with small minded negative perspective of people not like yourself.


  63. - John A Logan - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 2:49 pm:

    Amen Patriot.


  64. - Notacop - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 2:51 pm:

    =======Michelle Flaherty -

    “If you arm them, next step is they begin qualifying for the enhanced pension. “=======

    This made me laugh out loud!


  65. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 3:00 pm:

    ===Remember, these “very wise men” set up modern day democracy… except for women, blacks and anybody else who wasn’t a white man.===

    You forgot non-property owners.

    But, seriously, there would’ve been no Constitution back then if it freed all the slaves and gave women, black people and renters the franchise. Sad to say, but true. They did what they could in an almost impossible situation.


  66. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 3:05 pm:

    I was born in Rockford in 1963, attended Illinois public schools and graduated from NIU, where I had a lot of classes in Cole Hall.

    I never once thought I needed an armed guard at school.

    There is a mental illness problem in this country, and it has resulted in 300 million guns in private hands, and an enormous, unregulated market buying and selling them.

    The voices that scream “tyranny” over gun safety regulation think it’s a solution to arm school personnel? So you can keep your 30-round mags and peddle your guns on the sly at the shows?

    Where do you think the gangbangers and felons get their guns? That would be from “law-abiding” gun owners — the straw buyers who leave no paper trail.


  67. - geronimo - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 3:08 pm:

    I’m wondering how many teachers/administrators would like to have responsibility for their students’ lives as well as their education. A tall order maybe best left to law enforcement. In far suburbia here, we’ve always had a liason officer, armed with taser, mace and gun present in our junior and senior high schools. Thankfully his presence has never been tested (as far a shooting his gun, at least). As mentioned above, his presence might deter a low level wannabe shooter, but as far as what happened at Sandy Hook or Columbine, his effect would be minimal at best. Too many doors not to mention windows. You’d have to station a guard at every door in the school. Kids have been known to prop them open to let in their late friends, or whoever. Probably daily.

    No question that attacks on schools are particularly heinous crimes. But how safe do you feel in crowds, generally speaking? Movie theaters, outdoor concerts, shopping malls? No one can protect everywhere.

    So, it has to be more attention paid to mental and emotional health issues. All the little things mentioned in previous posts might make a difference.


  68. - Stuff happens - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 3:13 pm:

    People need to step back and understand some of the history behind US gun laws, too. I dug up this year-old story from the Atlantic:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/09/the-secret-history-of-guns/308608/

    It’s fascinating that Reagan started gun control in California, and the NRA strongly supported special taxes and registrations for machine guns.


  69. - Notacop - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 3:16 pm:

    I think a lot of the discord over guns comes down to a PR issue.

    I posit that a majority of the gun control advocates do not have an accurate image of your “average gun owner”. Nearly half of all adults self-report gun ownership. Figure there is a decent number that own guns but wouldn’t tell someone on the phone taking a poll. Gun owners come in many forms: level headed hunters, collectors/investors, recreational shooters and people who want to defend themselves and their families. Sometimes it seems like the media or even public opinion wants to pretend all gun owners are like Bert from Tremors or some of the rabid gun advocates who advocate anarchy if gun owner rights are restricted. With half the country owning guns, this is simply not true.

    The NRA benefits from the threat of anti-gun legislation with huge boosts in sales for their benefactors every time gun control comes up. What is there incentive to change this public opinion?

    Who is there to act as the spokesperson for level headed, responsible gun owners and to combat the PR disaster around firearms?


  70. - OldSmoky2 - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 3:17 pm:

    Patriot ==Just because people in Chicago want to keep letting their kids die ==

    Please, no one in Chicago or anywhere else wants this. That’s way over the top.
    That said, I grew up in a small town and the thought of the administrators in the schools there walking around with loaded guns, concealed or not, scares the heck out of me.
    It is possible to make it much harder for people like the Newtown shooter to get into a school. After all, we’ve done that with airports, courthouses and other buildings. It’s not rocket science - it’s things like locked, bulletproof doors, security cameras, metal detectors, etc.
    That said, I’ve yet to see anyone here say they’re itching to raise taxes, especially local property taxes, to pay for any of these ideas, including armed administrators, more police, or security guards. We can’t even get people in most of Illinois to agree that local school boards should pay for the end-of-career pension raises they award. I’m fine with people discussing all these ideas and trying to arrive at decisions locally. But anytime any of these things are seriously proposed, local school boards need to also discuss how much they’re going to raise taxes to pay for it. And, just to be clear, I’m opposed to just saying we’ll cut some other programs or services to do it. In this anti-tax environment we live in today, if people want new initiatives, they have to be willing to pay more taxes for them.


  71. - Steve Brown - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 3:28 pm:

    I live in Washington. I know both the Chief and the Supt. Both seemingly reasonable people. Generally I come down on the side that says more guns is not the answer.
    I understand how people are grappling with the best way to prevent a repeat of Sandy Hook.
    This does not seem like a common sense solution.
    I do not find it comforting.
    It also seems like a sad testimonial to the issue of protecting what some believe are the rights intended in the 2nd Amendment.


  72. - wishbone - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 3:32 pm:

    I do not support the idea of arming teachers or principals to protect schools. They should be focused on teaching kids. On the other hand both NBC’s David Gregory, and our own mayor Rahm Emanuel send their kids to schools with professional armed security. Are they wrong to do that? The cost of providing armed security for every school in the U.S. has been estimated at $5 to $6 billion a year. This is the cost of a couple of weeks of the War in Afghanistan. So bring the the troops home a few months early, and provide this Gregory/Rham family level of security to all our kids. Why not?


  73. - geronimo - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 3:39 pm:

    OldSmoky2

    Well said. It does come down to money. That no one wants to have to pay. As far as security cameras—our schools have those in addition to the armed liason officer. Problem is, you have to have someone employed to watch those monitors every minute of the day. Knowing an administrator personally, he said that’s impossible–no one really watches. The cameras are used “after the fact” to identify a break-in, vandalism, whatever.


  74. - Aldyth - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 3:43 pm:

    The only thing that I would agree to be armed with in a school would be a can of pepper spray with a power nozzle that can shoot a stream thirty feet. The consequences of making a mistake are a whole lot less, especially if a student decides to wrestle it away from the teacher.


  75. - dupage dan - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 3:44 pm:

    Jimmy, yeah I got that. I am of the generation of duck and cover. However, let me explain. Your premise is flawed and assumes certain things I just don’t agree with. You start out saying that duck and cover wouldn’t work, and who would argue with that? Even a far miss by a thermo-nuclear device is likely to vaporize most folks.

    However, you then veer off the reservation with your conclusions about the comparison. You have no idea whether or not it will work - you just say it and it’s true? It’s “likely” to harm a student, etc. How do you KNOW that? Based on what study or research? Finally - you claim this is just faux security on the cheap. Frankly, sir/madam, placing an armed guard (better get the gold standard - not some cheapy security firm, right?) in a school on the off chance (very rare for school shootings to take place - exhaustive coverage by media {understandable} makes them seem more prevalent) makes this a very high cost for low return.

    That is why I commented - I fully understand the comparison. I just think it is flawed and useless since the comparison is flawed and not supported by logic and facts.


  76. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 3:53 pm:

    Steve Brown, I’m with you.

    I was a cops and courts reporter for a long time. I’ve put my children through school.

    The idea, that in 2013, that we need to put armed guards in our schools to protect our children, is an admission of a profound failure by this generation.

    Really? We can’t send our kids to school without armed guards.

    What a disgrace.

    Maybe we can put our thinking caps on, look at Best Practices on the rest of the Planet Earth, and see if we can come up with something better.

    As always, maintaining the Holy Right of easy access for guitar-less men to go plinking.


  77. - Jimmy - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 3:58 pm:

    DuPage Dan, please allow me to ask a few questions: (1) what percent chance do you believe an armed amateur/administrator/security guard preventing the Sandy Hook tragedy; (2) what is the percent chance that an armed amateur/administrator/security guard shoots a teacher or student before a bad guy; and (3) what is the percent chance that an amateur/administrator/security guard shoots him or herself before a teacher, student or bad guy?


  78. - dupage dan - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 4:10 pm:

    wordslinger said == “There is a mental illness problem in this country, and it has resulted in 300 million guns in private hands, and an enormous, unregulated market buying and selling them” ==

    I don’t understand what you are trying to say, word. It sounds like you are saying that the mental illness issue has caused 300 million guns to be in the hands of citizens.

    The other part of the sentence seems to indicate concern about unregulated sales which helps a little bit - the sentence looks awkward to me.


  79. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 4:12 pm:

    If we don’t put more firearms in schools to protect children, how are we going to protect them?

    Let them fend for themselves?


  80. - Fred's Mustache - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 4:16 pm:

    === The idea, that in 2013, that we need to put armed guards in our schools to protect our children, is an admission of a profound failure by this generation.

    Really? We can’t send our kids to school without armed guards.

    What a disgrace.

    Maybe we can put our thinking caps on, look at Best Practices on the rest of the Planet Earth, and see if we can come up with something better.===

    Word, I agree. Its a little off topic, but I think thse societal problems are a product of a generation of people who are increasingly going through life in isolation and are becoming incapable of interacting with human beings. They live in a video game world (and they don’t even need to go to a friend’s house to play video games with them anymore! They can just play online!) Its no wonder that the shooters in these killings have had mental issues and/or have shown no respect for human life!


  81. - Ahoy! - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 4:16 pm:

    – They did what they could in an almost impossible situation. –

    Point taken, but let’s not treat them like gods delivering the law to the people, the constitution was one giant compromise in morality (in my opinion). I still think it’s a stretch to use the founders of the constitution to support inadequately trained administers to carry semi-automatic weapons in schools.


  82. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 4:18 pm:

    == So you would be comfortable with someone who took a week long class firing into your kids classroom or their lunchroom trying to hit a target that may, not look all that different? ==

    If a bad guy was firing into a classroom of innocent children, and my choices were to have someone with 40 hours of training firing back, or letting the little children fend for themselves, guess which one I’d pick?


  83. - Notacop - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 4:22 pm:

    Jimmy - Doesn’t the battle cry of the gun control crowds revolve around “If even one life is saved…”?

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely not saying that logic is sound, by any stretch.

    Again, it is all PR. If you picture the government bus just handing out handguns to random school administrators, of course you will have that idea.

    Instead picture a situation with select members of the school staff who pass a vigorous background check, actively volunteer for the job and then are proactively trained in proper use of the gun (including target identification, when it is safe to fire, etc). It wouldn’t be some airhead running down the halls waving a gun.


  84. - Plutocrat03 - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 4:24 pm:

    Hardening the school is worth considering . The big money question is how.

    Our courts and many public spaces use armed guards and restricted entry processes. Schools in tough or elite areas use armed guards. There is a solution out there between an open access paradise and an armed compound that can be made to work for all communities.


  85. - Wensicia - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 4:25 pm:

    It seems the result of having military style weapons available to the general public, without any specific restrictions, has resulted in gun enthusiasts taking very lightly the terrible damage these guns can cause. I would like to hear acknowledgement of this fact and find ways to protect our children and others without adding more guns to the equation.


  86. - Michelle Flaherty - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 4:31 pm:

    We could open Tamms as a school. It’s a pretty secure place.


  87. - Plutocrat03 - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 4:32 pm:

    If you are a straw man purchaser, then you are not law abiding by definition.


  88. - nothin's easy - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 4:36 pm:

    And, Nero fiddled while Rome burned…


  89. - Cheryl44 - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 4:39 pm:

    Notacop, I do know a few responsible gun owners. I can’t imagine they’d be getting their pants in a twist because they think Obama is coming for their guns. I suspect several of the gun owners I know voted for him. It’s the people who get on the internet and call themselves “The Only Patriot” and scream about the black helicopter that I don’t want near guns. Oh, and gangbangers.

    And to say we have gun control in Chicago is laughable. We have laws on the books here, but they seem to be as effective as the laws banning the sale of alcohol in Capone’s day.

    We need more actual gun control. And we need a more realistic approach to mental health issues.


  90. - nobody - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 5:12 pm:

    Reactionary “solutions” are not solutions at all. Schools are the safest place for children to be. These tragedies perpetrated by damaged individuals cries out for dealing with the real societal problems that lead to these outrageous incidents. Treating mental health problems in an enlightened society would save many people from a lifetime of pain and would most likely save lives both literally and figuratively. We should be attempting to move away from rather than towards a “wild west” environment where everyone has a gun and they are willing to use it. Let’s put rational thought and effort into making a better society.


  91. - Cheryl44 - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 5:39 pm:

    I work in higher ed and have been in the situation in which students ignored a fire alarm and me when I told them we had to leave the building. It was a drill, but still. If it came down to a Columbine/VA Tech situation, I have identified the place near my office where I would hole up. I would try to save the lives of the students who actually did what I told them to do.

    Also, if I were asked to ‘volunteer’ to be trained and carry a gun, I would ask how much more they’d be willing to pay me to do so.


  92. - dupage dan - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 5:45 pm:

    Jimmy, you are asking hypothetical questions without much basis. You are assuming facts not in evidence - such as all school staff are not capable of coherent, logical thought - concern for those around them and ability to discern fantasy from reality. Not a basis for a decent debate.


  93. - Rod - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 6:18 pm:

    I will tell you that having school administrators armed in schools is somewhat unnerving. I do understand the logic, one armed officer in a school would be the first target for a mass murder so having multiple armed individuals in a school has some logic to it. But if we step back and look at this it’s still crazy, a mass murder could shoot down kids leaving school with a legal sniper rifle and those administrators would probably stand little chance to do much.

    There isn’t a real solution, Sandy Hook type killings can still happen and there is no full prove solution to this and banning all semi-automatic guns also isn’t going to happen. Just like with Columbine High School the impact of Sandy Hook will pass, the NRA will get lots of new members, and the anti-gun groups will too. Am I cynical, yes I am.

    On the issue of military experience as a pre-qualifier of administrators to be armed in schools. I honestly can’t recall how many hours of training I had when I qualified with various weapons. But I do know I was not trained to use any weapon in a very discriminating way with non-bad guys all over the place in school hallways etc. I do know more specialized assault training was provided for units, but I know I did not get that level of combat training because I did not serve in a front line combat unit.

    I think I complained yesterday of Mayor Emanuel’s opportunism, I guess today I am complaining about claims of solutions to calm the nerves of unsettled parents with children in schools all over our country that aren’t likely to stop a potential mass murder who is also suicidal. We can’t prevent every potential nightmare out there, but if it’s any reassurance most suicidal individuals with weapons kill just themselves and there is no better example of that than the 349 active-duty troops killed themselves in 2012, up more than 15 percent from 2011 despite renewed efforts by the military to stem the suicide rate. One of only murder suicide cases among these 349 incidents at Joint Base Lewis-McChord involved a soldier suspected of shooting and killing his wife and himself during a police chase.

    The incidence of murder-suicide in the United States and other western countries according to researchers has been stable over the last 40 years. Generally the rate of murder-suicides in the US is considered to be 0.2–0.3/100,000 per year (see Marzuk P, Tardiff K, Hirsch C: The epidemiology of murder-suicide. JAMA 267:3179–83, 1992) About 5% to 10% of all murderers
    commit suicide.

    Most murder-suicides are between intimate partners and the victims are most often female. It is true that firearms were involved in most murder-suicides as gun control advocates claim, somewhere between 85% and 94% according to the research I have seen. One of the subgroups with higher incidences of murder-suicide are sadly police officers and their families.

    What is called rampage homicides commonly called mass murders do often end in suicide but statistically they are very rare. Only about 3 to 4.5% of murders in the US involve more than one victim (see http://www.suicidology-online.com/pdf/SOL-2010-1-19-27.pdf). The chances of the average American being murdered based on the most recent Uniform Crime Report (compiled by the FBI)is about a .000054 chance per year (nationwide, local stats are varied) multiplying that by the average life span (about 70 years), you get about a .00378 chance of being murdered in your lifetime. Even for citizens of Chicago your odds of not being murdered are pretty good somewhere around 1 in over 10,000. Even in Chicago’s most dangerous communities like Washington Park the average citizen statistically has a 5% chance of being murdered in a decade. The odds for younger people are higher and the odds for older people in Washington Park are lower.


  94. - Jeeper - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 6:23 pm:

    Cheryl44 @4:39: As you pointed out, if passing laws would make a city or state safe, Chicago and Illinois would be safe; they are not. How do you propose to institute “real gun control?”

    Gang members and other criminals use guns because the guns give them real and perceived advantages over their intended victims/adversaries.

    There are really only two ways to remove those advantages:
    1) Remove the guns possessed by gang members and other criminals. Because it is impossible to know who all of them are, this method requires the removal of all guns from civilian hands. In turn, that will require a detail search of every home and business, every structure, every auto, vehicle and every bit of real estate in the nation. This is just not practical. It would be prohibitively expensive and intolerably intrusive. Many will resist this method; many of those will die. If 1% of the 80 million gun owners in America resist and are killed, there will be a minimum of 800,000 funerals, more if any police or bystanders are also killed.

    2) Allow the intended victims to have the means to defend themselves in a manner similar to the manner of attack. Allow them to arm themselves. The expense of this method is borne by those who choose it. Some of those who choose to arm themselves will die. Those who kill or injure innocent persons will undoubtedly be prosecuted and probably imprisoned. Experience in other states would indicate a drop in violent crime should be expected.

    Which do you prefer?

    Cheryl44 @5:39 Would you defend yourself for free? In doing so, you would be defending others, perhaps.


  95. - reelpro - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 6:39 pm:

    I have seen armed officers at High School Sporting events since the 1960’s. What is the difference? Go ahead and put them in the schools. It sounds like a nice simple solution to me.


  96. - Excessively Rabid - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 7:01 pm:

    ==Don Knotts would have been excellent for playing Governor Quinn. ==

    Foul. I didn’t know we could use actors from the past. Consider:
    Dudley Moore
    Alfred Hitchcock
    Yul Brynner
    E. G. Marshall
    Henny Youngman
    Don Wilson
    Richard Burton
    John Gielgud
    George C. Scott
    Dean Jagger

    The possibilities are endless. Any of them could play Quinn better than he does.


  97. - Todd - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 7:32 pm:

    Cheryls opening statement speaks volumes to the knee jerk reactions to any disscussion about guns and using them for self defense.

    I guess she thinks so little of her colugues in education thatone of them is going to shoot an unarmed kid? Under what circumstances is some teacher, or administrator going to shoot just any kid for no reason.

    Or do you think that your colegues or so unhinged that they are incapable of of the responsibility?

    In Sandy Hook we know that 3 female administrators came out of an office to confront an ARMED individual. Don’t you think they would have liked tomhave something other than a high heeled shoe, stapler, book or cell phone in their hands?

    If we trust these people with pur kids for 6,7,8 hours a day, then why don’t we think we can trust some of them to be capable of defending kids if the unthinkable happens?

    If Cheryl thinks locking the door, turning off the lights, hiding and hoping is a plan, then that is sad.

    As far as the training goes, 40 hours is more than enough and like another commenter said take a gunsite 40 handgun course and see the kind of poele out there handling guns.

    I would suggest looking at the janators and maintance people, they are already invisible. No body pays attention to them and they are moving around all the time.

    What we know in all of these shootings is that when confronted by force, they fold and usually kill themselves. In columbine there was an armed person and reports suggest that as he made his way to the area of the shooting, the shooters retreated to softer targets.

    In Sandy Hook reports now say that it may have taken more tha 10 minutes for cops to respond and arrive on scene.

    When seconds count, the cops are just minutes away.

    I am all for leaving it up to the school districts and if they think this is a policy for them, then so be it. I won’t second guess them.


  98. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 8:23 pm:

    –I don’t understand what you are trying to say, word. It sounds like you are saying that the mental illness issue has caused 300 million guns to be in the hands of citizens.–

    What I meant is that this country is nuts with guns.

    –An historically awesome, unchallengeable military at a price more than the rest of the planet pays put together;

    –300 million guns in private hands, also more than the rest of the planet.

    – yet for the first time ever we’re to believe we’re having a serious discussion that we can’t send our kids down the street to kindergarten without armed guards?–

    What I meant to say was, we’re nuts with guns. Once you can’t send your kids to school without armed guards, the guns control us.

    For crying out loud, who grew up in that world, and who wants that for their kids?


  99. - Michael Westen - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 9:10 pm:

    The program should be run like the Air Marshals program following 9/11. Nowadays, it is very likely that someone on your airplane is packing. You, or the terrorists, just don’t know who it is. The same could be done in the schools.


  100. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 10:11 pm:

    ===The same could be done in the schools.===

    Air marshals are highly trained. They know what to do in a crowded plane when a single stray bullet could literally kill everybody. No way is it the same. Not even close. Not even in the same ballpark. Not even in the same city. Not even on the same planet.


  101. - Smitty Irving - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 10:15 pm:

    Rich asked people for “reasonable and calm explanation” and pretty much that’s what I’ve read.

    Can’t be so complimentary of the press coverage. The first link calls them “auxiliary police officers” - their training requirements are established by the Illinois Municipal Code (65 ILCS 5/3.1-30-20). The second link calls them “part-time police officers” - their training requirements are established by the Illinois Police Training Act (50 ILCS 705/8.2), there is no Home Rule exemption (50 ILCS 705/8), and to be part-time you can only work up to 1,560 hours (Administrative Code, Title 20, Section 1770.102). For a full-time position, like a school administrator, that’s 30 hours a week. If they work more than that, they’re “full-time” and have to go the 10 week academy (none of which offer a course that coincides with summer vacation!).

    This is a serious topic, and we could use some better reporting.


  102. - Smitty Irving - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 10:23 pm:

    Forgot to add that if the school is in an unincorporated area, the auxiliaries would have to be appointed by the County Sheriff, which is under the Counties Code (55 ILCS 5/3-6012). that section has an interesting little tid bit which says if there are vacancies in the certified ranks of the department, the number of auxiliaries cannot exceed the number as of January 1, 1982 … which means that a county might not be able to appoint any new auxiliary deputies.


  103. - Michael Westen - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 10:33 pm:

    Um, Rich, it is possible to “highly train” a couple of people per school district, which would make it “close….in the same ballpark….on the same planet.” I don’t think I ever suggested picking a couple of nerdy teachers at random and arm them with gats.


  104. - Arthur Andersen - Tuesday, Jan 15, 13 @ 11:41 pm:

    Thanks to all for thoughtful comments today.

    Steve Brown, appreciate the insight from a Washington resident. Sounds like your community is taking a measured approach to a tough problem.

    Interesting research also posted by Smitty Irving, Rod, and others. Thanks.
    Some additional points to ponder as schools and Illinois move forward-
    -The police officer/armed school staff comparison doesn’t work for me, and not just because of the firearms training/proficiency concerns raised by other commenters. Prospective police officers also undergo substantial psychological screening before entering training academies; this important safeguard would likely not be in place for ad hoc school employee/armed guards.
    -Michelle’s excellent zinger aside, the compensation and benefits for school staff who would take up arms as “an other duty as assigned” will become an issue at the bargaining table.

    None of these ideas, theories, or plans really grab your attention until something happens in your kids’ school or the school of friends’ kids.

    For me that happened today.

    Just before the end of the school day, I got a robocall from
    the principal at my younger daughters’ school. Her voice belying tension, she calmly and briefly advised that an incident involving a student had taken place today. With the intervention of school administrators and local police, a student was removed quietly from the school after discovery of a “kill list” of other students who had allegedly bullied this student in the past. The police investigation continues.
    As I thought about the events of the day, I strongly question how effective a small force of armed security guards would have been on a large campus-like setting against a determined, mentally ill adversary if he had been able to secure firearms and ammunition.


  105. - civil - Wednesday, Jan 16, 13 @ 2:02 am:

    Rich.. farm life.. guns.. and military service…
    when did we become a people of extremes. why is the farm life all peaches and creme. why are guns so bad. why spotlight a coward in the military. why would you conjure the image of a trained school administrator as barney. also you reflected on military service and the failures of a few around you. i counter your barney with the lone ranger (insert awesome sheriff here). i counter the failed servicemen with Audie Murphy (insert congressional medal winner here). i counter your rural farm life with Disneyland city of the future :).. Rich if we live at the fringe, be it left or right, we get nowhere. come to the middle. local authorities will train only those able to handle the responsibility of “carry” at school. come to the middle and redouble our efforts to have a properly functioning foid program. come to the middle and legislate positive actions… increased effective mental health. away from the fringe of punishment and denial is the only way.. away with the strife and heated contensious fights… humans are flawed.. someone will always provide a rally flag for the fringe both pro and con. stand in the middle with me focus on anything positive. armed or un armed security at school.. my father would delay a shooter for 20 min just being shot to death happily refuseing to die and happily being a huge pain to a shooter at the age 70-something his only cost would be all the coffee the school system can provcide… better secure schools… increased access to mental help… increased rehabilitation efforts to combat recidivism.. rich start a list, a board, of only actions, we can take to improve the safety and security that we don’t fight over.. Illinois legislators take note we have watched you fight…. pass, i dare you to pass, increased access to mental health unanimously…. nobody is against that.


  106. - dupage dan - Wednesday, Jan 16, 13 @ 3:33 am:

    Sorry, Rich - one bullet in a plane killing everyone? You watch too much TV. How can we have a decent debate when thoughtful people who support protecting our children with armed staff in a school are demonized as irresponsible buffoons?

    Evidence in a recent Secret Service report that the bad guys forgo attacking what they perceive as a hard target in favor of soft ones. In the rare event that a mad man decides to go on a rampage he may very well avoid a school he knows has an armed presence and not a single shot need ever be fired.

    You , it seems, would have us believe that it would be a wild west free for all in the school hallways. Just like we see with CC citizens shooting it out in road rage incidents - except that is NOT happening. The hyperbole is not supported by the evidence.


  107. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jan 16, 13 @ 7:33 am:

    –Evidence in a recent Secret Service report that the bad guys forgo attacking what they perceive as a hard target in favor of soft ones.–

    DD, what Secret Service report is that?

    The only one I’m aware of is the 2002 Secret Service Safe School Inititiave. It found:

    –• Almost all of the attackers were current students at the school where they
    carried out their attacks (95 percent, n=39). Only two attackers were former
    students of the school where they carried out their attacks at the time of
    those attacks (5 percent, n=2).(final report pdf, page 15).–

    The attackers went after folks at their schools, regardless of armed guards or campus police. The concept of “hard target, soft target” is nowhere to be found in that report.

    Is there another one?

    http://www.secretservice.gov/ntac_ssi.shtml


  108. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jan 16, 13 @ 7:57 am:

    ===You , it seems, would have us believe that it would be a wild west free for all in the school hallways===

    Never said anything close to that. Bite me.


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