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Law Enforcement 1

Mass Shootings Aftermath – We Should All Be Ashamed

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At a time where our country should be united, we are divided.

Instead of uniting as Americans against clear and obvious enemies like, hate and evil, we have allowed our country to become divided by political party lines and ideologies. This has done nothing but prevent any semblance of progress. Sadly, the longer we choose to make each other the enemy, the longer we allow hate and evil to win.

We should all be ashamed.

Any form white supremacy is disgusting and intolerable. This isn’t up for debate, nor should it be a dividing point in our society. As a country, we should stand arm in arm as Americans, to fight such disgusting and destructive ways of thinking. This should happen immediately without finger pointing, or blame, without second thought.

It hasn’t, and we should all be ashamed.

This same approach should be applied toward ANY and ALL forms of extreme or radical ideologies that only prove to be harmful to our country. It does not matter where these ideologies originate, which political party their “actors” associate with, or which religion they may practice, they ALL must be stopped and fought against. Once again, this should not be a debate, or a point of division in this country.

In the days following the tragedies in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, and Gilroy, California, it is abundantly clear we have failed at coming together. We have failed at uniting as the great country we are to fight the enemy. Instead, we fight each other about who to blame, foolishly looking backward, not forward. Inexplicably, we seem eager and determined to cast blame everywhere but on the shoulders of the cowards themselves who pulled the trigger during these horrific tragedies.

We should all be ashamed.

In the days following these tragic events, our refusal to band together has made us weaker. We have taken sides, engaged in frivolous social media arguments, and allowed the mainstream media to divide us once again to their benefit and profit. What has such infighting solved? What have we accomplished by arguing over who is to blame? When will we stop the blame game and start moving forward with solutions?

Instead of closing ranks and fighting the common problems and symptoms of the recent tragedies, we have chosen to make each other the enemy. We have chosen to turn on each other and point fingers, pick sides, and dare I say, hate, each other for varying opinions, beliefs, or ideas, on how to best move forward.

We should all be ashamed.

I believe it’s futile to complain about a problem without offering a solution. While I don’t claim to be an expert on public policy, law making, or ways to implement solutions to end violence in our country, I think we can all agree, our current path is not the answer. My suggestion in a nutshell is simple, we need to fight the real enemy, not each other. Until we do that, we will go nowhere.

The longer we make each other the enemy, the longer hate and evil win. I can’t think of a more simple way to put it. The longer we stand in the proverbial schoolyard screaming at each other, the more time evil and hate has to fester, likely leading to yet another tragedy, that could very well have been prevented.

We should all be ashamed.

Evil, hate, bigotry, racism, mass shootings, rising murder rates in our big cities, the list of enemies and problems facing our country unfortunately is quite long. Yet, despite this long list, you’ll notice “people with different political affiliations and belief systems” or “people with different solutions for a problem” are NOT on that list.

On September 12th, 2001, we didn’t fight among ourselves, point fingers of blame across political party lines, or use tragedy to further our political agendas. We didn’t allow the mainstream media to divide us along political party lines, determine the narrative, or pit us against each other.

We looked forward, not backward, as a nation.  Through tears, pain, and anger, we came together as Americans, to fight together, not each other.

We stood strong, we came together, we were united, and we won.

What we are doing now, looks nothing like September 12th, 2001 and that alone is a tragedy.

We are better than this.

We are the greatest country in the world and it’s time we acted like it.

Unfortunately, today, we should all be ashamed.

The Officer Next Door

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Law Enforcement 4

Fourteen Year Old Gunned Down in Dallas – Lack of Outrage Puzzling

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A fourteen-year-old was shot and killed in Dallas, Texas last night.

The fourth murder in as many days in Dallas.

According to initial reports and video surveillance, the victim wasn’t doing anything illegal. He wasn’t selling drugs or engaging in criminal behavior. He was simply standing in a gas station parking lot.

Unfortunately, for the fourteen-year-old, that parking lot is known for such activity. When shots rang out between two vehicles, one driving by and one in the parking lot of the gas station, the innocent victim was caught in the middle and tragically killed.

There’s no other way to put it, a young teenager killed in crossfire is simply tragic. Equally as tragic, is the fact that it occurred at a place known for drug sales, gang activity, and violent crime. It’s tragic because it’s becoming increasingly clear that the criminal element in Dallas and other big cities across the country, feel as if they can operate with impunity.

Protests and marches certainly have their place. However, despite what anti-police critics echo in their news conferences and statements to the media; police officers across this country never want to shoot or hurt anyone. Protests when someone is clearly and unjustly killed by the police make sense. People look to police for protection and when an officer kills someone unjustifiably, it creates anger and distrust.

Understandably so. Wrong is wrong. Justice should be applied equally and equitably across the board. A higher standard should always exist regarding the actions of police officers.

Not long ago, an officer in a city that borders Dallas, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for an unjustified shooting that took the life of 15-year-old teenager, Jordan Edwards. Tragically, Edwards like the latest victim in Dallas, was not doing anything wrong or criminal when he was killed.

The aftermath of the shooting by former Balch Springs officer Roy Oliver, spurred immediate outrage and calls for justice by members of the community and the District Attorney’s office. Again, understandably so.

Sadly, in the aftermath of the recent and senseless murder of a 14-year-old Dallas resident, I can’t help but notice the lack of community outrage. I watched a live feed of the Police Chief addressing the media mere hours after the senseless murder. No mention of crowd control. I had no trouble hearing the Chief speak to the media over the non-existent shouts from non-existent community members demanding justice and accountability.

Nothing.

Cars passed by the crime scene as if nothing happened. A congregation of police cars, crime scene tape, and news media trucks, just another Tuesday night in Dallas.

No outrage.

No protests.

I’ll ask the obvious questions.

Why is this crime acceptable? Where is the outrage about the fact in the month of May alone, Dallas logged more than one murder per day? Forty-one murders to be exact. The majority of which were in communities with a high population of minorities.

That’s a lot of tragedy in one month considering Dallas has typically averaged between 130-170 murders per year since 2015. You would think if anyone would be upset about an alarming number of murders in a neighborhood, it would be those who live in it.

Race, ethnicity, or any other identifier aside, if there was an alarming number of murders in my neighborhood, I’d be upset. Pissed off maybe. Wouldn’t you?

Apparently, if murder or violence in your neighborhood is the norm, the only time you get upset about tragic and senseless killings, is when a police officer is to blame.

A real shame to be honest. I don’t care where the crime spike occurs, one life lost is too many. Especially a senseless murder like the one of that took place last night in Dallas, Texas.

No fourteen-year-old deserves that fate. I don’t care what neighborhood or city you’re in.

Either way, it’s becoming abundantly clear, “activists” like Lee Merritt and Dominque Alexander – who have been actively involved in protesting and advocating for “justice” in Dallas – pick and choose which victims they care about. Lee Merritt had no issue rushing to make a statement and call for press conferences when a woman falsely claimed a DPS Texas Trooper raped her during a DWI arrest last year.

However, the innocent 14-year-old senselessly gunned down last night, apparently doesn’t meet their criteria for outrage. I didn’t see either of them rushing to Adam’s Food Mart to assemble and make a statement to the news media. Nor did I see emphatic calls for justice or plans for a protest or march announced on social media.

Nope.

Nothing.

Apparently, it’s “business as usual” in Dallas, Texas tomorrow. Just another young kid murdered for no reason other than the criminal element has been allowed to run wild in Dallas. A nationwide trend as police become increasingly reactive in nature.

In Dallas, a police force dwindled by a mass exodus of officers and a District Attorney and Police Chief, that favor making excuses for criminals, over holding them accountable. A true recipe for disaster.

As of writing this, I don’t know the race or identity of the 14-year-old victim, as the details haven’t been released. Quite frankly it doesn’t matter.

The fact remains, the silence is deafening and sad.

The Officer Next Door

Law Enforcement 5

I’ve Seen Evil

Photo credit: Jason Bullard and Karen Solomon for Blue H.E.L.P

As a police officer, I’ve seen evil.

Unfortunately, I see evil all the time.

Evil has many forms and doesn’t always look the same.

I saw evil at the drug overdose, where I found a mother holding her dead son in shock and disbelief.

I saw evil when I arrived at the shooting minutes after it took place and watched the victim take their last breath.

I saw evil when I arrived at the freeway accident caused by a drunk driver and put sheets over the deceased.

I saw evil at every domestic violence call and I saw the marks evil left behind physically and emotionally.

I’ve seen evil alright.

As a police officer, when I hear about a tragedy anywhere in the world, I can’t help but think about evil.

Whether I want to or not, I think about what the evil looked like.

I think about the brave souls who ran to confront it.

And worst of all, I think about the people who didn’t deserve to experience it.

Evil.

It’s everywhere it seems, yet books about law enforcement tell police officers, “There is more in this world besides evil!”

I know it’s true, yet it’s persistence is formidable. We see it so often, it’s hard not to become skeptical of humanity.

I’m not complaining. As some critics say, “It’s what we signed up for.” And to some degree, they’re right, I signed up to fight evil.

That part is true.

What I didn’t realize is the effect it would have on me. Once you see evil, it changes you forever.

The badge and uniform I wear, don’t protect me from evil. Evil has killed many like me, in more ways than one.

Evil has killed many officers on-duty. Sadly, evil has killed even more officers by their own hand.

We are not impervious to evil.

The badge and uniform don’t protect us from evil, because what’s behind them, is no different than anyone else.

My heart hurts and tears fall, just like everyone else who confronted by true evil.

Despite all of this no matter what, I want you to know, I will never quit and let evil win.

I wake up every day hoping to prevent evil and if I’m unable, I will fight to hold it accountable.

I live to protect and serve. I laugh and cry. I succeed and I fail.

Because in the end, I’m a police officer by profession, a human by nature, and a warrior by choice.

Rest easy knowing, I will fight evil, in hopes you never will.

Evil will not win.

The Officer Next Door

Law Enforcement 3

Police Playing Russian Roulette? Wait Before You Speculate.

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By now most people who follow the news have likely heard the tragic story out of St. Louis, where 24 year-old police officer, Katlyn Alix, was shot and killed by a colleague of hers, while allegedly playing a game of “Russian roulette.”

I have waited a few days to discuss this befuddling tragedy, like most, I was in disbelief  when this story broke.

I want to believe the officer who fired the fatal shot is telling the truth, but I’m not naïve and usually when something doesn’t sound right, it isn’t. Maybe it is the cold hard truth? Maybe not? There’s likely more to the story, but I won’t speculate, for good reason.

That being said, in all my time in law enforcement, I know one thing to be true, you’ve never, “seen it all.” I remember times while writing arrest reports exactly how the arrest happened thinking to myself, “There’s no way anyone will believe this report, this is insane.”  But it was the truth. Sometimes things happen that are nothing short of bonkers and hard to believe. Thank goodness for body cameras, at least now the craziness can be recorded.

Am I outwardly saying that Officer Hendren and his roommate, also a police officer, are lying? No. I’m simply saying we don’t have the entire story right now and this story seems hard to believe. Maybe because we don’t want to believe that officers could be this stupid. They of all people should know better, so that naturally creates disbelief.

Either way, we need to wait. Unfortunately, that’s how our system works. The trial will reveal the facts and I’m sure that between now and then, more information will be released when appropriate.

Let’s not forget that the two police officers who were on-duty when this happened, have been charged with serious crimes. Protecting the integrity of the case for prosecution is paramount in order to have a fair and effective trial.

This holds true whether police officers are charged with a crime, or a citizen. However, in today’s world, everyone demands ANSWERS NOW! This short-sighted behavior needs to stop. There’s a process in place for a reason and that reason is to seek justice no matter who is on trial, potentially dirty police, an alleged drug dealer or gang member, or a citizen. The process is the same every time, as it should be.

It doesn’t matter who is on trial. The process must be done the same way and with integrity to allow the system to work the best way it can. And no, the system isn’t perfect, but that’s an entirely different subject.

This case is similar to the highly publicized incident in Dallas, Texas involving former Dallas Officer Amber Guyger who came home from work and killed someone she thought was in her apartment. Come to find out, she was in the right apartment, but on the wrong floor. A tragic mistake to say the least.

All of the facts surrounding that case are yet to be made public, but rest assured, the rumors and nonsense have swirled. Why not just wait for the actual facts to come out? Why speculate or spread rumors that there were ulterior motives? Hidden relationships? Or other ridiculous allegations that are nothing but that, allegations. What does that do to help the situation? I’ll tell you, nothing.

I guess we are a society that demands and expects instant answers and gratification. Patience, a virtue according to the most, seems to be a thing of the past. Try sitting at a green light for more than 0.2 seconds after it changes. You’re sure to get honked at and told you are number one. Pretty shameful if you ask me. Relax. Life’s a game you’re bound to finish, so calm down. 

So what’s my point? There’s a few.

This story seems odd, maybe it really happened the way they say it did, maybe it didn’t. Time will tell. Thankfully, the officers involved who appear to be responsible for this tragedy, have been charged and the process of seeking truth and justice are in motion.

Let me say that again for the anti-police haters, the internet trolls, the people who think police support pages and police officers blindly support police officers no matter what, THANKFULLY THE OFFICERS INVOLVED WHO APPEAR TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS TRAGEDY, HAVE BEEN CHARGED AND THE PROCESS OF SEEKING TRUTH AND JUSTICE ARE IN MOTION. (I’ve had my share of trolls and haters on social media lately, but I doubt they’re listening, this doesn’t fit their narrative).

I recognize this may be hard to understand, but no police officer wants bad police officers to be employed and active. What good do bad police officers do for anyone? Nothing. It ruins police and community relations and makes the job of the good officers harder. It’s that simple folks.

Had this officer played “Russian roulette” and killed a civilian, my feelings would be the same. If the officer is wrong, fire him and lock him up. If a jury decides he isn’t culpable, then so be it.

Unfortunately, the wheels of justice are slow. Until they turn completely and all the details come to light, we can only wait. But we should wait in silence. Let the case play out, let the facts be sought, gathered, and shared when necessary. Spreading rumors and adding your own speculation across the internet does nothing positive or beneficial.

This was nothing short of a PREVENTABLE tragedy and for that, we should be upset.

May justice be served and Officer Alix never forgotten.

Thank an officer today.

The Officer Next Door

Law Enforcement 0

Media Headlines Matter

 

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Colin Kaepernick, right, and Eric Reid kneeling during the national anthem before an N.F.L. game last year. Credit Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Today there was yet another news article published somewhere in the United States about the shortage of police applicants in their jurisdiction. Admittedly, I didn’t read the article. The headline stated what we already know, or at least what any reasonable person would suspect. People aren’t applying to be police officers anymore. At least not at the rate they did in the past. (If you could see me as I write this, I’m displaying my best shocked face).

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock for the past four years. Since the Ferguson, Missouri police shooting and the subsequent riots and protests that swept the nation, police officers across the country have been labeled nothing short of racist and blood thirsty monsters. By and large, thanks to the mainstream media in this country. Why? The answer is simple. The controversy surrounding policing in the recent years has made them money. Sadly, it’s that simple. The more people protested, marched, and held rallies, the more the media could give them the microphone to stir the controversy. The more controversial a topic gets, the more clicks, views, and revenue they make. Their job is to make money. Nothing gets more views than something controversial.

How do I know this? I know from experience in writing and posting articles like this one on my website and social media platforms. The number of “views, clicks, or shares” articles get, seem to be directly correlated to the photo or title that accompanies the article. To test this, I’ve posted the exact same article with two different photos and guess which one got more traction? The one with the more controversial and sad photo. Same article. Same title. Different photo. Completely different results in readership. The photo and title I choose for this article will be relevant the first time I post it. Then the following day I will repost it with an even more controversial person in the photo, I’m almost certain, the results will be completely different. We will see how it affects readership and I will update this article. I don’t like or want to be controversial. I started this to be honest, truthful, and give officers a voice. Their side of the story if you will. But, sometimes controversy happens.

Conclusion, the more sad or controversial an article title or photo appears, the more “clicks, reads, or views” it garners. So maybe we as consumers are also to blame? Apparently, America just loves controversy and sadness. This may all be true, but it doesn’t remove responsibility from the mainstream media to be mindful on how they report facts and stories, or worse, how they choose to skew them.

Basically, media headlines matter.

The narrative they push matters and has direct and tragic real life consequences when they create hate that leads to police being ambushed and killed like in Dallas on July 7th, 2016. Other consequences are less tragic, but equally concerning when it comes to the lack of police applicants nationwide. Soon, there will be a crisis. I’m calling it now. Unless the economy crashes and people are in dire need of jobs, police applications will remain low, continually pushing police departments to levels that put officers and the public at risk. Who honestly wants to work holidays, weekends, and be called a monster for doing your job for $60,000 a year? Not to mention the obvious dangers associated with the job.

Sadly, the mainstream media doesn’t care about the repercussions of their controversy creating headlines. They don’t care if people who once strongly desired to be a police officer, are now rethinking their career choice. Can you blame them? After over a decade of wearing the uniform myself, in one of the largest cities in the country, my simple answer is, NO. I don’t blame them. In fact, I think it is wise to really question your desire to be a police officer in 2018 and beyond. If you really, really, want to be one, then do it. Because those are usually the best ones. It’s not just a job, a paycheck, or something you should do half-assed. It’s a serious job, with lifelong consequences for you, your family, and everyone you deal with. If it’s nothing more than a paycheck to you, you’re likely the kind of officer I wish never became one. They generally seem to become officers that make negative headlines in legitimate way.

Buzzwords like “police reform” now flood media headlines and political rallies because somehow “they” believe “they” can change the fact that every day police officers confront the violence most people deny exists. Yet somehow, “they” get upset when the confrontation turns deadly. Well, let’s keep speaking the truth, “they” only get upset if the police officer survives and a citizen dies. However, if the officer happens to be one race and the deceased another, CHACHING!!! Time for an inflammatory headline! Let’s not worry about the facts or circumstances surrounding the incident, publish that inflammatory headline! To hell with the consequences! Who cares about the facts or the fact the entire incident was on video and  likely justified!? Profit through division. Tell me I’m wrong.

Sadly, no matter how many community events police plan, cute lip-sync videos are made, or ice cream cones are handed out in the summer. One even remotely controversial police shooting and we are back to square one with the help of the media. Police are quickly painted with a wide accusatory brush suggesting that because of ONE particluar incident, we must remind you that ALL police are racist, blood thirsty monsters! It’s like a sad game of chutes and ladders.

Meanwhile police recruiters hastily hold up signs at a job fairs, “Sign up folks! Come join the team! It’s the greatest show on earth! Let’s make a difference! You can help people!” Come on, let’s stay on the honesty train. Times have changed and your good intentions no longer matter. It’s now all about what the media headlines say that define police officers’ actions. The media doesn’t care if you are the best officer to ever wear the uniform, never been disciplined, or have 58 medals pinned on your chest. Ultimately, when given the chance you, the American police officer will be crucified to their benefit.

To my knowledge there’s never been a protest or rally after a police officer was shot and killed. If there has been, please enlighten me, because I am unaware of such an incident. Vigils don’t count. Police haters generally spew the usual despicable response when an officer is killed, “That’s what they signed up for.” Get real. No one signs up to die.

I’ll be the first to say, dirty or racist cops of any kind should be fired and go to prison if warranted. The recent 3 year prison sentence of a Police Chief for framing African Americans for crimes they didn’t commit was too short. The punishment should have been harsher for ruining people’s lives, betraying the trust of society, and tarnishing the badge. His despicable acts have consequences for everyone involved and the damage is permanent and likely irreparable. For that, he should’ve been punished more harshly.

To conclude, I will say this. Police officers don’t become police officers to get rich. They don’t become police officers to hurt people. They genuinely view their job as a way to keep the evil from hurting the good. They know their role is to hold those accountable for THEIR bad decisions. Becoming a police officer, is a way to serve their community and bear burdens of which most people are blissfully unaware. They don’t go into notoriously violent communities – no matter what the racial makeup may be – looking to hurt someone.

The next time you hear about a fatality car accident with multiple people killed, a deadly shooting, or any horrific tragedy, pause for a minute and ask yourself, would you want to be the one rushing to that scene? Do you want to see the dead bodies sprawled across the highway? Do want to see the person taking their last breath after being shot by a rival gang member? How would you feel about the fact the media is able to portray you as a monster or an inherent racist with a few simple keystrokes, despite knowing nothing about you? Despite the fact you rush to those scenes without knowing or caring about the race of the victim. You just want to HELP. Would you be able to handle it? Again, I think we know the answer. When you think about it in these terms, the nationwide police application shortage comes as no surprise. There is an elephant in the room. The question is, how long until it reaches a critical point?

Thank an officer today.

The Officer Next Door 

Law Enforcement 3

The School Shooting Solution, Is There One?

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Every parent’s worst nightmare, a school shooting. I can’t imagine having to experience it as a kid, a teacher, or a parent. I vaguely remember an incident in my high school where a kid brought a gun to class. Luckily, he didn’t use it and the situation was quickly resolved. It was in the classroom across the hall from me, so there’s little doubt I would have been involved to some degree had things gone bad.

Throughout my career, I went through what police call “rapid rescue” or “rapid response” training on more than one occasion. I won’t get into details, but essentially the training was geared toward how to respond to an active shooter, primarily in a large building like a school. When I was a patrol officer on the day shift, I can tell you with absolute certainty, that an active shooter at a school was my worst nightmare. I thought about the possibility of that call coming out every single day, usually as I put my patrol rifle in my squad car at the beginning of my shift. I knew if I had my rifle, I was equipped to get into that situation and handle business with accuracy and confidence. Pistols are just not as accurate, especially at longer distances and under extreme stress, so I was thankful I had that tool. In preparation of my worst nightmare coming true, I studied where all the schools were and even the ones near the borders of my patrol division. I probably should have prepared more and walked through them a few times, but I didn’t. Thankfully, that call never came.

So what is the million dollar school shooting solution? I’ve thought about it, like most of you probably have and I never quite reached a perfect answer. I would hope if there was one, it would have been implemented by now. Short of turning schools into something resembling a prison, I don’t know if there is a hard and fast, guaranteed way to prevent any and all mass shootings in schools. Can you imagine making all of the school windows bulletproof, requiring access cards to get from room to room, pat downs and metal detectors at every entry point, armed guards with a bird’s eye view of the perimeter? Sounds awful.

Also, before I go any further, this topic could turn political quickly and that is certainly not my intention. I am looking at this solely from a police and teacher perspective in regards to their roles in prevention and in ending an incident quickly, should one arise.

First off, I think school resource officers are paramount in every school. They have so many upsides, I don’t see why a school wouldn’t have one. To start, they are there daily and get to know the kids. By always being there, they know who likes who, who fights with who, and may even have an idea of someone that could be at risk of carrying out such an atrocity. As we have seen in the past, there are usually warning signs, but not always. This doesn’t mean that intervention or prevention by police is a certainty. Hindsight is always 20/20.  Sadly, people fail to realize that law enforcement could intervene in certain situations, however, we don’t live in a full on “Big Brother” society that allows police to follow “those suspected of being dangerous” on a 24 hour basis. Police aren’t always ready to step in at the first sign of trouble. That just simply isn’t realistic. I hate to break it to you, that’s just the truth.

Yes, you could arrest a bad apple for making threats or getting into fights or whatever it is that the bad apple did to raise suspicion. If you’re being realistic about how KIDS are dealt with criminally, unless they kill someone, they will eventually be released to a parent or guardian and able to carry out their previous threats, should they be so determined. It’s just a fact. Unless people are honestly willing to lock up kids forever anytime they threaten to carry out a mass shooting, then the notion that it is solely up to the police and justice system to intervene is ridiculous.

Should we arm teachers? Initially, I was like, “Heck yeah we should!” And to some degree, I see benefits of it. But like most things in life, there are also drawbacks or unintended consequences we must consider. To start, where do you keep the firearm and how do you ensure it won’t be taken and used against kids in the school by a bad actor? Even if the teacher keeps it on their person, they could be disarmed by a big angry kid who has been bullied for years. Do you secure it in a safe in the classroom? If so, will the firearm be accessible when it is needed when seconds matter? Which teachers should be armed? Do we take volunteers and only allow those who may have a military background, are avid hunters, or have a concealed weapons permit? That seems to make sense, but it may not be the perfect solution, if one even exists. I don’t see the advantage or forcing someone who has no interest in using a gun, to use one. They’d likely be more of a danger than a help, if an active shooter took place.

Maybe if teachers were armed there would have to be extremely strict rules and protocols that had to be followed? For example, if a shooting is taking place, as soon as the school went into lockdown, any armed teachers must remain in the room they are in, no matter what. An armed teacher could only confront a shooter, IF the shooter managed to enter a “locked down room” and it was vital and necessary to take action, in order to protect themselves and the kids in that particular room. Basically, no running around with pistols in your hand trying to save the day. If a teacher is armed and is actively attempting to find and end the shooting while police are also running into the school, how do they know who are “good guys” and who is the “bad guy”? I know the arguement to this will be, “So just sit there while the shooter is actively killing? It defeats the purpose!” Yes, this topic is difficult. No one shooting is exactly the same. You can plan all day and set up measures to prevent a shooting and one could still happen.

In a recent presentation I attended about the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, the officer said when he ran into the building it was complete chaos. The fire alarms were going off, water was spraying everywhere from bullets that hit waterlines, and everyone was screaming and running. Communication was nearly impossible. Adding teachers running around with guns into the mix, doesn’t seem like a great solution to the problem, it could easily make the incident worse and lead to even more tragedy. That is why I think the lockdown method may be the most realistic. If nearly every room had a gun, then the hope would be that the threat would be neutralized quickly. Of course, everything always sounds good in theory.

Lastly, let’s not forget, it takes a special person to run toward a horrible event like an active shooter. There’s no other way to put it. Human nature tells us to run away. So we need to consider the absolute courage it would take to confront a shooter in a school. Not to mention, asking a teacher to shoot someone they likely know as a student. Horrible to even think about, I know. I can assure you, the idea of it isn’t any better if you’re a police officer. I’ve said this many times in my articles, police officers don’t want to kill anyone. Period. I don’t care if they’re the biggest monster in the world, in the end, you’re taking a life and that isn’t normal. I don’t care what anyone says, it will change you. The training for this type of incident using fake ammunition similar to paint balls, really gets your adrenaline going. I can’t imagine what it is like heading into a live situation where the consequences are real and permanent. I would like to think that if I was charged with handling that kind of situation, I would have in an efficient and effective way. Luckily, I never had to find out.

So what is the solution? I honestly don’t know. I think every solution needs to be heavily thought out and we consider pros and cons of every decision. I think ultimately it starts with parents, and trickles down to teachers and eventually the kids. Bullying is a major issue. I have yet to hear of a situation where a student likely to be voted “Homecoming King” goes on a killing spree to get revenge on all the people that like him. That isn’t a joke, it just highlights an obvious underlying root cause, being bullied, ostracized, and picked on.

So what can parents, teachers, and kids do? Well you know the answer to that. Be smart, be vigilant, and be kind. See something, say something. All the clichés are already out there. Also, we can’t ignore the harsh reality that there is a certain percentage of humans that are just pure evil. There’s no other word for it. Evil. Someone that is pure evil, likely can’t be stopped if they are determined to be evil. If I figure out how to prevent or stop someone from carrying out acts of pure evil, I will let you know. Until then, stay safe and take care.

Thank an officer today.

The Officer Next Door

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