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GARRISON: The Deputy Who Wasn't

PHOTO: Thinkstock/ipopba

At the school in Florida where the awful shooting took place last week, there was a Broward County Deputy Sheriff who was “on duty” at the school, was up very close at the school, “took up a position” but never entered the building.  So many questions:  was he trained in tactical entry, had been successfully through active shooter training, aside from being scared out of his mind was there a reason not to enter?  To all of those we have no information.

​What the deputy’s apparent cowardice does is to make a mess of things regarding proper response to dangerous circumstances in public places in general and schools in particular.  The best thinking out there now, so logical that even democrats have trouble ignoring it is the concept of hardening of premises with buzz-in only access to all school property together with having a substantial force of armed, trained police personnel on duty throughout the school day.

​It’s expensive and can be a bit cumbersome by comparison to the lackadaisical ideas in place in most schools, but then again, measuring expense and catastrophic losses suffered by schools who do little or none of this against monetary costs proves the point.  Now there are a number of considerations involved in such an idea, most important of which is school size.  The Florida school was very large, no doubt had multiple entrances, and once a shooter got inside it was tough to find him except for following the sound of gunfire—a task most daunting with all the hard surfaces echoing down the halls.

​In the first place the proper cameral surveillance married to doors that cannot be breached except by the people watching the video or actually being on location; keeping them out beats every other fix.  If an armed assault is launched against these hardened facilities, it’s time for the cops.  Again in the large campus or school building we have to have sufficient firepower and response in a large enough force and numerosity to be able to get to the place where the shooting is going on to overpower the shooter or shooters at once.  

​Next is training; I have been privileged to participate in active shooter-type training, at least once in the Army and again a few years back with the State Police.  It’s not rocket science, but it’s scary as hell, and it takes people who are both courageous and trained.  The bad guy isn’t hard to fine—he’s the one shooting at people.

​The teachings out there from the awful events in Florida are many; and whether or not you think it’s bad to arm teachers, it’s pretty tough to carry the argument that having schools unprotected and exposed to leaky provisions for keeping the bad people out is preferable by any good logic.  Time to grow up as communities, stop denying that bad people will always have guns, knives, bombs and dump trucks.  Time to get ready.  

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