Protecting School Children from Mass Murderers

by Drew Beatty

Part 2 of 2

In part one, we reviewed the phenomena of school shootings, or spree killers. We covered some of the history of this phenomenon and also looked at the evolution of responses to it. Given what we know, what can be done about these incidents?

Historically, politicians have acted on these incidents with sweeping gun restrictions and scolding rhetoric toward gun owners, while ignoring the fact that criminals by nature don't care about these laws. 

These killers carry out their murderous acts regardless of what laws are on the books. We've seen this over and over again, including in states like Connecticut where very restrictive gun laws already existed when the Sandy Hook incident took place.

Many schools, acknowledging the spree killer trend, and being tasked by society with the great responsibility of keeping children safe, have decided to arm teachers and other faculty members to immediately respond with lethal force should their worst nightmare unfold.

Utah has had their program in place for 22 years. Arming teachers may seem drastic, but the increased body count from being unable to adequately protect children from a spree killer is equally, if not more drastic. 

FASTER Saves Lives, where FASTER stands for Faculty/Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response, is a program that has trained over 1,000 teachers and other staff in Ohio over the past 5 years. This Buckeye Firearms Foundation program has now been implemented in Colorado. 

The program is based on the idea that, when confronted with deadly force against children, the best response is to counter that deadly force with deadly force that is already on school grounds. FASTER trains school staff to neutralize the threat immediately instead of allowing a killer free rein while waiting for the police to arrive. 

Both the Ohio and Colorado FASTER teams report inquiries from all over the country to bring this training to their state's school staff.

Threat assessment, threat de-escalation, first aid for gunshot wounds, and how to react when law enforcement does arrive are also covered in FASTER training. These are critical components of an overall approach to school safety that fill the gap between when an attack occurs and when police and emergency medical services arrive. 

It is a sad fact in our society that the spree killer phenomenon is not going away. Whether by knife, propane bomb or firearm, some disaffected members of society will choose to act out violently on our most vulnerable members of society — our children — in the environment where they should feel secure: their school. 

Politicians, Hollywood elites, and banks deploy armed security to protect what they deem to be valuable assets. What's more valuable than our children? It's time to give them the protection that they deserve, and the protection that many teachers volunteer to give them. 

Drew Beatty is a 50 year old husband and father, and a lifetime resident of the great state of Colorado. He is an NRA Life-Member, and a long-time firearms enthusiast, as well as a strong advocate for The Second Amendment.