Another Shooting… with a Twist

Dear Fellow Survivalist;

I’m sure that you’re just as tired of hearing about school shootings as I am; but we just had another one. As has happened before, the police have caught considerable flack about their actions, which on the surface seem to be irresponsible. Parents in the town have belittled the police for what appears to have been their lack of action, allowing the shooter to kill more children.

As per usual, these people, and the news media quoting them, are operating out of a place of ignorance, not having all the facts at their disposal. Yes, there were police on-site and not, they didn’t rush the building. But there were actually good reasons for their actions.

Before getting into what the police did and didn’t do, let me say that this was a difficult tactical situation, different than what police had to deal with in other school shootings. It also took place in a small town, with a population of only 16,000 people. That means a small police department, with few resources and little money for training, even though 40% of the city’s budget goes to their police.

The tactical difficulties were created by the shooter, who had obviously planned out his attack, just as so many of these attackers do. Three key actions on the part of the shooter all but tied the hands of the police, until they could come up with the necessary means to counter them:

  • Apparently the first person he shot was the on-site armed security; the person who had the responsibility to stop him. That security, whether a security guard or a police officer, was probably armed with a pistol and if he had body armor, it wasn’t enough to stop a rifle round.
  • The shooter barricaded himself in one classroom, with the students who were his victims, rather than wandering around the school, shooting targets of opportunity.
  • He armed himself with two AR-15 rifles, bought apparently legally on his 18th That meant that police needed a Level IV ballistic shield to effectively make the breach.

It is this second point that is causing the police to catch a lot of flak, both from parents of the children attending that school and from left-wing pundits, who are confidently speaking from their position of ignorance. Some are trying to use this as an example of how a “good guy with a gun” doesn’t work.

Parents on the scene were urging the police to rush the school and some of them were even talking about doing so themselves. Apparently, the police had to talk several parents out of doing so, even to the point of restraining them. Their reasoning was that a rush on the school was suicidal, with zero chance of success.

One of those police officers even had a child in the room with the killer, who was ultimately killed. I think it’s safe to say that he would have given his life for his daughter, if we though it would do any good. So why wouldn’t it have?

I don’t know if the police on the scene had body armor or not; but even if they did, unless that included Level IV chest plates, it would have done them no good. The shooter’s bullets would have gone right through the Level IIIA armor which police typically wear, possibly killing the officers. That would have put their guns and ammunition at the disposal of the shooter, as well as their communications. Compromise of those communications would have made their task considerably harder, as the shooter would instantly know everything they were planning on doing.

So, the police were forced to wait until someone could find a Level IV ballistic shield and bring it to them. They then were able to breach the building, ultimately stopping the shooter by killing him. I don’t know where that ballistic shield was brought from, but it was brought by a Border Patrol agent, which probably means Del Rio, Texas, which is 70 miles away. Considering that, it looks like the police acted as quickly as they thought they had a chance of success.

There are a few important takeaways we can get from this event:

  • First – Barricading yourself in a secure room is an effective tactic against attack, especially if you are armed and the room is fairly solid. Contrary to how Hollywood portrays things, few people are going to shoot wildly through a wall, in the hopes of hitting someone.
  • Secondly – Understand the limits of the equipment you have. We’ve all probably seen videos of people putting on a “bullet proof vest” and telling a friend to shoot them, only to be surprised when that vest isn’t as bullet proof as they thought. Most ballistic vests won’t stop a rifle bullet; period.
  • Finally – Having the right equipment for dealing with a situation is critical. If the police or the parents had rushed the shooter, all they would have done is up the body count. I don’t know if the police had rifles on the scene, as not all police carry them in their vehicles. But pistols against rifles is a losing game.

Sadly, these shooters seem to be learning from their predecessors, analyzing their actions and improving their tactics as they go along. If we compare the actions of this shooter, who waited until his 18th birthday, so that he could legally buy those guns, to the actions of the Columbine shooters in 1999, we can see a clear progression. Each shooter builds on the actions of their predecessors, seeking a bigger body count.

There is no easy answer to this. Additional firearms laws won’t stop these things from happening. The good guy with a gun is still the best defense, even though he failed in this instance. But one thing is clear; the good guy with the gun has to be sufficiently equipped to deal with the ever-escalating threat these shooters present.

Just one more thing to be prepared about; like keeping our powder dry and our survival gear close at hand.

Dr. Rich

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