The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age
    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    The Deputy Who Didn't Shoot

    People, including the President of the United States, are heaping scorn and shame on the Broward County Deputy who was assigned to protect Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, but who did not go into the building to confront the Parkland shooter. He has lost his job. He will probably never live this down, and may never get over his guilt. I don't particularly admire him, but we should not pretend for a second that he is the reason that lives were lost. I might hope and wish he'd gone into that building, but his behavior was completely normal. He's not the first school-protection officer to behave in exactly the same way.

    First, let's deal with a simple fact. He was outgunned. The shooter's AR-15 was superior to the deputy's sidearm in nearly every way. It's easier to aim, it has a longer effective range, it's more powerful, and it can fire many more bullets before reloading. The 19-year-old misfit had the law enforcement officer badly outgunned, because that's the country we have decided to live in.

    The AR-15's superior firepower makes it more dangerous in the shooter's relatively untrained hands than the deputy's pistol was in his trained hand. The kid had enough firepower to kill the deputy before the deputy could get close enough to return effective fire, and the shooter had enough rounds in the magazine that he didn't need to be an especially good shot. He could just keep shooting. In a straight-up firefight, the expected outcome is that the shooter with the AR-15 kills the deputy with the handgun, not the other way around.

    We shouldn't assume that the deputy would have stopped or killed the Parkland shooter if he'd gone in. In fact, he was much more likely to have been killed by the shooter. The deputy would have needed to get some kind of tactical advantage on the shooter, by for example finding a way to get close to him and then shoot behind cover. But entering the building would probably have put him at a tactical disadvantage. He was much more likely to find himself in a position where the shooter had the drop on him, or was firing from behind cover, or both. The deputy had almost certainly undergone active-shooter training which made clear to him exactly how dangerous going into a building after a shooter is.

    This is what the old assault-weapons ban was about: about not having the cops outgunned by criminals, or by random kids. But we have decided that the Second Amendment requires us to live in a world where nearly everyone has access to pretty serious firepower. The country where teenagers outgun the cops is exactly what the NRA has been lobbying for, has been demanding, for decades now.

    The Broward County Sheriff has also announced from now on school-protection officers will have, well, AR-15s. But that's not a good solution; upping the firepower in an arms race just increases the risk all around. And it's too late now. The shooting is over, and the deputy only had the weapon he had.

    Now, does part of my heart wish that the deputy had heroically gone into that building anyway, knowing he was more likely to be killed than the save anybody? Do I wish he'd tried? Sure. Especially when I compare his position to the unarmed teachers who had to sacrifice themselves inside. But we're asking for extraordinary heroism here, even for futile self-sacrifice.

    If your position is that the deputy should have gone in and died trying even if it was hopeless, that he had a duty to get killed, that's a position. But admit that's what you're saying. 

    Instead of blaming the deputy for not risking his life against the odds, we should ask why he was put in that position at all. We have created, and accepted, a system where the deputy is more likely to be killed himself than to stop the killing. Let's not talk about what he did or didn't do without keeping that in mind.

    There was also an armed county deputy at the Columbine shooting. He didn't go into the building either. So what the Broward deputy did is not unexpected; it's what happened before. The deputy at Columbine High did manage to exchange some fire with one of the shooters in the parking lot, but when the killers went into the building he did not follow. Later, he and the same shooter exchanged some more fire through a window, without any real result. You will sometimes find people on the internet looking for evidence of "good guys with guns" point to the Columbine officer and say that it would have been worse without him, but there's no evidence of that. The Columbine shooters managed to kill 13 victims anyway. It's not clear the deputy even managed to slow them down much.

    The officer at Columbine waited outside the building until backup arrived. That was not cowardice on his part. It was what he had been trained to do. He did not enter Columbine High, where he was more likely to become a victim than to save one. In fact, a number of other deputies and officers showed up and all remained outside the building, focused on evacuating fleeing students and sometimes providing covering fire for them. They shot back at the killers when the killers shot out windows, but they didn't enter the school. Eventually a SWAT team arrived, a force strong enough to overwhelm the shooters, and that SWAT team went into the building, at which point the Columbine shooters killed themselves.

    The Broward County Sheriff has said unequivocally that his deputy should have gone in, "Addressed the killer. Killed the killer." The last part is wishful: just because Sheriff Israel would want his deputy to succeed in killing the shooter, that doesn't mean that it would have happened. You can expect your deputy to try. You cannot mandate that he succeed. And Sheriff Israel has to know that his deputy was more likely to be killed by the killer. Even I know that.

    As for demanding that the deputy enter the building and engage the shooter, that may be an expectation. But it may be a retroactive expectation. I am not at all sure how the deputy was trained. Taking a defensive position and waiting for backup may, in fact, be what the deputy had been told to do in this situation. Deciding after the fact that he should have done something else is, well, too late. Maybe Broward County deputies are trained to rush into dangerous situations without backup if the situation seems bad enough. I have known cops who rushed into homes before backup could arrive because they thought a situation, such as a domestic dispute, was getting too dangerous too fast. (To be fair, those cops weren't rushing into buildings where there was gunfire.) But neither would I be surprised if standard Broward County training turns out to dictate exactly what the deputy ended up doing.

    And, for what it's worth, we have been training a whole generation of cops, across the United States, to be very risk-averse, with training that heavily emphasizes the danger they're in. One of the reasons we've had so many police shootings of non-dangerous civilians is that the cops' training has made them intolerant of even very minor risk, and encouraged them to use deadly force in self-defense even against things that later turn out to have been phantom threats. Those civilians got killed because cops are now trained to approach every tactical situation from a place of fear. They have fear of their lives drilled into them as part of their training. It shouldn't be a surprise that a deputy whose training likely emphasized mortal fear didn't rush to face a genuine threat to his life.



    Nice presentation, stating what should be obvious to anyone who has read the specs on assault weapons, or seen one in operation. They are weapons made to kill people and have no other use. They are not hunting rifles, or, with a kill range of 1500 yards and the ability to penetrate walls, weapons for self defense. The bullets of these guns are specially engineered to instantly fragment and lethally damage organs to speed death.

    You have too many "we"s and zero "Republicans":

    People, Republicans, including the President of the United States, are heaping scorn and shame on the Broward County Deputy
    the country we Republicans have decided (we must)  live in.
    we Republican politicians have decided that the Second Amendment requires us to live in a world where nearly everyone has access to pretty serious firepower.
    We Republicans have created, and accepted, a system where the deputy is more likely to be killed himself than to stop the killing.

    This is not the country with the gun laws "we" have decided to live in. It is the country Republicans have decided we should live in, because they think the issue heaped with hysteria and lies keeps them in power.

    If "we" don't like it, we can vote them out this November.

    Residents of California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts and New Jersey live in states where Democrats acted to ban assault weapons.

    Democrat Bill Clinton banned assault weapons and clips/magazines of more than 10, nationwide from 1994-2004 when Republicans let the law expire. Antonin Scalia and the Supreme Court in 1994 ruled that assault weapons may be banned, there is no "right" to own one, and such a ban was also supported by Ronald Reagan.

    The NRA has always said, "We need to enforce the existing gun laws to stop the killing", as an excuse to block any new laws. Now across the country and in DC, Republicans are trying to eliminate, or loosen "existing gun laws" of many types, including ones relating to silencers, and cross state border concealed carry of weapons.

    Vote out Republicans in November if you want safer schools, and better government.

    I found myself incorrectly  tempted to pursue the "games theory" question of the tactic which would have maximized the related probabilities  of the deputy's   remaining alive and  thus   being able to possibly   stop the shooter and save the lives of some of the beautiful children and brave teachers. 

    Why was my first reaction  that self centered  intellectual exercise.  The  correct human response- which I failed- was of course for me  to  go to  the important  moral  and  political issues you raised. What does it  say about me , or any others of us  (any number is too  many)  who  make the same .choice.

    When will we ever  learn?

     Forget me , I've proved my opinion isn't worth considering,. What does it say about us , in general as a society, and  specifically  about  those of us who participate here when your  initial response in this  more than normally thoughtful site was my trivial one?

    I'm strongly tempted to delete this -pretending because it's too self indulgent -but really because I'm ashamed of myself.So I'll let it stand.

    WTF? He had a moral and legal responsibility to intervene in the best way possible for those he was charged to protect. I don't mean playing Rambo in any dumbfuck manner possible, or committing hara kiri, but actively trying to find a way to take down the gunmen and/or get more students out of harm's way, rather than sitting outside having a smoke while waiting for backup. His job involves danger, not just patting kids on the head and pretending to be a symbol of security. His paycheck and duty sheet had baked in the possibility, even if unlikely, that something like this would happen - whether a drunk guy with a pistol or knife angry at his wife, or this kind of completely unhinged, fully-equipped juvenile terrorist. 1 teacher was killed unlocking and relocking a door, another was killed stepping in front of bullets, 1 student was shot 5 times holding the door shut, and we're going to excuse away the responsibility of a policeman in protecting the public? And yes, oftentimes security and police are ex-military, presumably with some training in how not to panic and leave his team-members and public abandoned. Risk averse? It's simply a lack of sense and courage. Yes, maybe I'd be chickenshit too, quite possible, but then I wouldn't want someone defending me being chickenshit.

    There's at least 3 deputies with questionable behavior now. 

    If they are found to be remiss in following policy or procedure, it would seem like justice to me that besides being fired, like a year's salary to go to something like this fund for the Borges kid trying to do their work. Looks the Borges are probably Venezuelan immigrants--articles cite Anthony as Venezuelan, not Venezuelan-American--makes Trump's latest speech all the more idiotically cruel.

    p.s..Trump didn't visit him, but the Sheriff did:

    So much irony these days we need a new word to symbolize its commonplace new-ordinary nature. Is this the Singularity coming?

    The fact that it's three deputies only increases my suspicions that they were actually doing what their training instructed them to do. And it's pretty much exactly what the Columbine responders did.

    The Sheriff can blame them now. But I would like to know, first, what Broward County training instructs in these cases, and second, what orders were or weren't given to them on that day.

    If they were given orders to enter the building and they didn't, that's pretty clear. But the Sheriff has radio logs. He can produce records of those orders if they were given.

    The Sheriff also knows what the training was. If he can point to the part in the training where these guys were told "Do not wait for backup in Situations X or Y," then let him do that.

    Police are trained in simulations where they know that they won’t die. Facing live fire is obviously different. It will be interesting to see if deputies undergo simulations of facing an assault weapon.

    You make an important point. I'll add that in the course of that live fire training the trainees make the wrong reflexive move sometimes and lose to the shooter. It is quite possible that a young officer who had never been through that training would be quicker to kick open a door and charge in.  Part of my military training was how to get through a minefield. There was a wooded path to walk down and nobody made it through without tripping a simulated mine. Turns out it was a realistic exercise. 

    Did you ever have to maneuver a mine field after ”failing” simulation?

    Yes but you never know you are in a minefield until someone trips one. 

    Thank you for your service.

    I wonder if part of the reluctance of the deputies to enter the building is that they knew the effect of the weapon and decided to wait for backup.

    In an emergency, you shouldn't have the luxury to wait. If he thought he was outgunned, what about all those kids and teachers with no weapons in the meantime?

    And again it's funny strange that police have the urgent need to unload quickly against black suspects in an unpressing situation, but can't be fucked to go into a buolding when there really is danger to civilians.

    I not only think that training would [might] make them more wary of running through the door, having been trained as realistically as possible in the likely consequences of being shot dead if they did so, but I also think that the thing they were trained to do to avoid that outcome was to wait for backup to join in a coordinated action. 

    Thanks but I never let TYFYS go by without rejecting it. I always say don't thank me, I was drafted. I came to believe, and the belief has been reinforced ever since, that my "service" was to an action that was corrupt, illegal, immoral, and a host of other derogatory descriptors.  

    I had a number so high, that it was impossible for me to be drafted.

    I also suspect that they were trained to wait for backup. It would be a little strange if they weren't.

    Well, do you have an actual suggestion for what he could have done? You say

    actively trying to find a way to take down the gunmen and/or get more students out of harm's way,

    but what does that mean? Since the shooter could kill him before he could get close enough to fire back, what is the plan?

    The cops at Columbine, FWIW, did find a way to get more students out of harm's way without entering the building, in that they provided covering fire so that Harris and Klebold could not shoot at fleeing students outside the building.

    The Broward deputy needed a lucky break in order to make an effective difference. If a bunch of kids had fled from the school and the deputy had been there to cover them, we would be praising him today. (And now we've run into what the philosopher Thomas Nagel calls "moral luck.") He might have gotten a chance to help outside the building, but didn't. He might have gotten lucky if he entered the building, but probably would not have.  You say he should have gone in, but you can't say that would have made a difference.

    If I were the deputy, I would feel terrible guilt about not having gone into that building. Absolutely. And it feels wrong to me that unarmed students and teachers fought back while armed deputies stayed outside.


    let's not pretend that it's a choice between the deputy being shot and the students being shot. The deputy going in does not mean any of those kids don't get shot. It most likely means the kids still get shot and the deputy does, too.

    I'm not interested in whether or not the deputy is a hero or a coward. I'm interested in what could have changed the outcome. Having a braver deputy in the parking lot won't stop the next school shooting. And none of the deputy's decisions would make much of a difference. If you want to call him a coward, great. But if you tell yourself that things would have been different if he went in, you're just telling yourself a bedtime story.

    The decision that determined the outcome was the decision to sell that kid an AR-15. That's the decision that mattered. Nothing anyone else did on the day could change much.

    A lot of words to excuse no apparent effort. Is that all you got?

    What have you got, pp? A lot of raw emotion and no plan to make anything better.

    No plan, only emotion? Perhaps you missed where I mentioned preparedness, training... I.e. the opposite of just emotion and excuses.

    No. Preparedness and training are meaningless. Worse than useless. You are using those words to tell yourself that there is a way the cop could have won.

    He didn’t go in BECAUSE he was trained.

    The AR-15 can kill you from 1500 feet away. It blows an exit hole the size of an orange in your body. Go to a gun range with a handgun and see how well you can aim at 60 feet.

    1500 Yards not feet. Although kills at 1000 yards more common.

    So let's just give up, resistance is futile unless you have overwhelming superiority in force - yay Colin Powell.

    Having a braver deputy in the parking lot won't stop the next school shooting. And none of the deputy's decisions would make much of a difference. If you want to call him a coward, great. But if you tell yourself that things would have been different if he went in, you're just telling yourself a bedtime story.

    This is true and thank you for reminding us to try  to be coldly rational about things. (Must say, though, that it's strange for a literature professor to be doing so.)

    I would counter with a few things that are bothersome to contemporary psyches:

    • These guys are taxpayer paid and we are sold the hero thing time after time as part of the package of things like early retirement, pensions,that kind of stuff, why they are worth more than the average joe lunchpail
    • Current police science tries to sell the public that they got this kind of thing all figured out: including disaster planning, reaction to bomb/shooter in crowd, terrorism, riots,hostage situations etc. When something like this happens it suggests: there is no there there, the heroic first responder thing,it is just movie bullshit, not real.
    • It's to their benefit to make the public believe the above, along the lines of: nothing worse for civilization than people not feeling their safety is handled. When that happens, all hell breaks loose. This is really really bad P.R.; reinforces the whole 2nd amendment purist concept: we need our guns, we can't depend on law enforcement!

    p.s. All that said, I'm willing to keep an open mind on this one as to the investigation.Only because I think that in this particular situation, the local powers that be have had a shocking wakeup call themselves, are truly interested in finding truth and pointing out where mistakes are made. I don't expect a coverup or any "blue wall of silence" kind of thing here precisely because: these were basically their own children here! Not some "other". If they can't do their best to keep them safe, they themselves feel like worthless pieces of shit.

    Having competent, trained, responsible police will lower the risks, not provide a magic bullet. In this case we seem to have 3 civilians who rose to the occasion - 2 killed, 1 almost killed. I don't deny the difficulty and danger of the situation, but there's also a division that hands out parking tickets or does traffic control if cops don't want to take the risk. To me most heroism is first of all simply resisting the first urge to run or freeze. That said, watching snowboarders and trick skiiers today going balls out high with flawless crazy spins and loops confirms the idea that part of "bravery" or "heroism" is the right kind of practice and training. Again, I don't assume stupidly rushing through the door to get shot was the appropriate move, just like Putin filling a theater or school of hostages with gas, bullets and explosives. But complete inaction while a number of others were forced ti act seems inexcusable. I'm happy to entertain a real explanation.

    Life and death questions call for cold rationality. Thinking with your heart does not change the effective range of a firearm. And it doesn’t make anyone less dead.

    Do you want to know how I feel about school shootings? I. Work. In. A. School.

    Do you think I haven’t thought about what would happen if a school shooter showed up on my campus? I have spent hours thinking about what I could do, and what I couldn’t, if a shooter stepped into my classroom.

    Years ago, after a major college-campus school shooting, my school got a copycat threat, with a specific date. I went to work on the day the copycat had threatened to attack. Do you think I’ve thought about this?

    With all due respect, this issue will never be more real and immediate for you than it is for me.

    I am also, as I have mentioned before, a police brat. I have thought about the problem of cops with handguns facing perps with semi-automatic long guns. I have been thinking about that since the mid-80s.

    Let me be more specific: my greatest nightmare, all through my mother’s police career, was her having to face a shooter armed with a semi-automatic while she was armed with her handgun. I can picture that scenario very clearly. I have been picturing it since 1984 or 1985, usually picturing Mom and sometimes other cops in my extended family.

    I’m sorry that you think of cold rationality as a bad thing. I think you are wrong about that. But I know you are wrong if you think that this is less of an emotional question for me than it is for you. What you view as coldness, I would call an attempt to be honest and fair.


    Where exactly did I say "cold rationality is a bad thing"? I think you're letting your emotions go a bit. And no, I've never claimed this is a more emotional issue for me.

    I was answering AA, as should be obvious.

    Looking around on-line, it seems that most if not all schools and college campuses have an active shooter protocol, which I have to imagine would include the teachers as well as students.  Does knowing yours help with the anxiety or raise it?  I ask because since active shooter drills are becoming as common as fire drills in our schools (perhaps especially primary schools) debates about whether they help the students through preparation or harm them through raising fears abound.  You've eloquently expressed why you have not only an emotional reaction to this ongoing horror but also a clear-eyed one, so I think you're in an unique position give a well-informed perspective.

    The cops at Columbine, FWIW, did find a way to get more students out of harm's way without entering the building, in that they provided covering fire so that Harris and Klebold could not shoot at fleeing students outside the building.

    That's one take, Doctor Cleveland.  From a article about perhaps the first, best known school shooting in 1966 at the University of Texas Tower is another:

    “What we saw was a change in policing toward more and more specialization,” Blair says. “An active shooter situation would become the problem of a tactical team or a SWAT team – people who are specifically trained and their primary job is to deal with those kind of situations.”

    But 30 years later, this backfired in a big way.

    In 1999, two Colorado high school students killed 12 of their classmates and one teacher during a 50-minute shooting spree. Even though police showed up three minutes after shooting began, SWAT officers didn’t enter the school until nearly two hours later.

    “The shooters had free reign to murder students in the school,” Blair says.

    My bold.

    Banning assault weapons is the most rational approach to prevent this type of slaughter. Armed police officers in schools created the problem of more children of color being attacked by police. Arming teachers likely puts more children of color at risk. Minority kids face disciplinary action more frequently than white children. Having an armed teacher being present when discipline is being handed out is not a comforting thought.

    Cops in schools and the school to prison pipeline

    Armed teachers pose a risk to students of color

    Banning assault weapons is the solution to the massacres. We can then turn attention to hand guns that pose a risk to students of color when they are outside the classroom. Stand Your Ground Laws exist because children of color are viewed as threats. White students are victims. Black students deserve there fates.

    The racial double standard on guns and students



    In graduate school "Roy  B"  taught Ad Prac,  as" Human Relations was called then ,   through case studies. A showman ,prominent mustache ,If we brought a date to attend a class it was usually's Roy's  Famous per se.  and in particular for challenging the class  "tough guys" and their "cut the crap" solutions , And they, unlike me, Ivy  League graduates , entitled , from families of successful  tough guys, stuck to their guns.  

    In one session  one  of them -brilliant , self assured , top grades , open necked shirt in a class full of suits,- was called on by Roy. Two word answer  "Fire Him".

    Roy: "Get out"

    Student , dubious. Roy , impassive.  Student picked up his books, climbed the steps  towards  the exit. Silence.  When he reached the door

    Roy: "Stop"

    Roy : "Now you know what it's like to be fired".

    Towards semester's end  ,  a case touching on  the Parkland  issues

    .A mine. Blasting ,   done down around a  corner.  Guard to prevent danger.  Tired , really tired. Some good reason. Maybe his wife had given birth the preceding night. Falls  asleep . Some miners  almost killed.

    Earnest discussion. Issues : awareness of employee needs . , lax  supervision, Corporate responsibility to be a good neighbor. .  Etc. As usual Roy provided no guidance. Until the end .Then   " Fire him."

     Some failures  can't be excused.

    Flavius, I love that story. I have been listening to a podcast discussion between two philosophers and the only thing in the hour and fifteen minutes that I think I understand is this [approximate] statement by one of them: If one approaches moral questions without a developed sensibility they approach moral questions from a purely rational perspective and it is not possible to be properly ethical in that way. 

    So maybe a good person does something irrational.Because it's good. And he is.

    Murray Kempton wrote about fighting in the Philippines.  July of 45. War was going to end in weeks although they didn't know it. Japanese were loosing and they did know it.

    Previously he had watched  the Japs rescue a soldier wounded between the lines.

    Then it happened to him. His buddy was shot. Kempton started to crawl back to safety. His buddy says "you aren't going to leave me are you?" That was exactly what I was going to do, Kempton wrote.

    It wasn't a question of "who I was". He wrote. I knew who I was ,a bad person who was going to leave my buddy to die. But he was shamed into being  ethical.


    Kahnemann notes that a face pasted next to a volunteer donation bin (say the coffee fund) greatly improves "volunteer" donations. Shame and peer pressure are powerful antidotes to less than ethical or admirable personal tendencies. Multiply this by the likelihood of danger, and the tendency to rabbit & run away grows (sometimes - or often? - despite training, et al).

    It's been my understanding that at least since Columbine police response directives have changed from waiting for SWAT and back-up to enter/engage immediately.  From, a pdf of the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), March, 2014.  Page 24:

    [...]Today, we are training our officers to be much more aggressive, and to get into the venue and stop the threat. We’re teaching that in the Police Academy and then all the way through officers’ careers professionally.

    SWAT is a necessity as well, to have the equipment and the skill level and confidence that they have been trained to provide.
    We all work hand in hand, but there’s no question that we are trying to tell those first responders and supervisors to be much more aggressive in responding to the threat as quickly as possible.


    Excellent research,good find. That's the sort of thing I recall running across in news reading, relates to one of the points I made in my last comment here.

    More evidence here that other local cops do not like what this appears to be:

    Sources: Coral Springs police upset at some Broward deputies for not entering school

    By Jake Tapper @, Feb. 24, 2018

    Note that more information forthcoming soon:

    What these Coral Springs officers observed -- though not their feelings about it -- will be released in a report, likely next week. Sources cautioned that tapes are currently being reviewed and official accounts could ultimately differ from recollections of officers on the scene.

    The resentment among Coral Springs officials toward Broward County officials about what they perceived to be a dereliction of duty may have reached a boiling point at a vigil the night of February 15, where, in front of dozens of others, Coral Springs City Manager Mike Goodrum confronted Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel. A source familiar with the conversation tells CNN that Goodrum was upset that the Broward deputies had remained outside the school while kids inside could have been bleeding out, among other reasons.

    If you're interested in this topic, I think you need to read this whole CNN article, sounds like whistleblowing to me.

    Also I'd like to make the point again that here were are dealing with the very personal, many on these local forces probably feel like their very own brothers didn't do right by their very own kids. So maybe it's not all about the professional way of doing things, maybe it's more about being a coward, and then again maybe it's not.

    Time will tell, clearly now there's not going to be any sort of blue wall.

    Whatever the fallout, if any, it needs to be strictly professional.  Talk of cowardice should be relegated to internal, rank-and-file who are suffering through what happened - because even they realize that anything else just undermines their department.  And until/unless there's reason, that needn't happen.  A city's police department needs support from the community in order to function for them, so the lack of a "blue wall" is essential.  As is some time to sort things out.

    I avoid words like "cowardice" since human responses are normal and varied. When scared shitless, none of us know how we will respond unless we've been through something similar. Which is also why I think training and practice are important to avoid the unknown. We have virtual reality trainin simulation now along with laser tag et al - it's not the same as facing a live automatic or guy with explosives, but it certainly allows for looking for safe ways to enter a building, looking for other access points, etc.

    It mentions some departments provide all squad car deployed responders with ceramic body armor, AK-47s, shotguns and ballistic shields in the vehicle, along with advanced wound triage gear, bandages to stop bleed outs in victims.

    That's a much better way to spend taxpayer money than arming and training teachers.  I imagine the "some" are larger departments with more state funds (read Democratic, perhaps?) directed toward a complete and proactive response.

    Somebody's comment said, "Remember your high school teachers? Now imagine them armed with guns. Seem really crazy?"

    Well, this is all undeniably correct. All guns are not created equal. If they were, we'd send soldiers into battle with nothing but light weight, easy to carry, pistols.  You're also right that the original assault weapons ban was part of an anti-crime effort, not gun control for its own sake. Urban police were in some cases outgunned by gangs. They pushed for the ban. It's old school law and order conservatism. Nobody listens to hippies like me about why you shouldn't have a machine gun.  They do listen to police officers.  Or, they once did.

    Beyond that, I just think it's unseemly and wrong to be overly critical of anybody else's actions in a life or death situation. Of course I mean that none of us know how we will react and that even if we are trained and have practiced, this can fail us. Even if we have faced death or injury before and done well at it, there is no guaranty how we'll react the next time.  A little humility is called for when we discuss things like this. At the very least, avoid being a blowhard.

    But even that's just scratching the surface.  There's more than courage at play in a situation like this.  The "good guy with a gun" might well hesitate out of fear for their own safety, but they also might not act because the consequences of dealing a mortal blow, even in the service of protecting others, are enormous and irrevocable. It's a lot to process.

    While I'm sure in retrospect the reluctant deputy feels horrible and is grappling with questions of his own character, I take no joy from piling on.

    Good post.

    Reminds me of an argument from college logic class. The situation was that a hand grenade landed among a group of soldiers. A soldier throwing himself on the hand grenade would certainly die, but for the sake of argument we assume he would save the others. (Something like this happened in The Dirty Dozen, while they were scaling a cliff, I think.) Anyway, the question posed was, while it would certainly be 'good' to sacrifice oneself for the others, would it be 'bad' to simply try to survive by jumping for cover? How much sacrifice can we require of each other?


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