Vehicles Are Deadly

Vehicles are Deadly. The distinction between Cover and Concealment is an important starting point. Concealment occludes visibility to a target, while cover provides material to protect the target from projectiles. Bushes, curtains and plastic garbage bags could provide concealment, but only eighteen inches of dirt, sand or rock will stop a .50 BMG or fragmentation from a 155MM High Explosive shell. Most homeowners underestimate how soft the drywall and studs are in contemporary homes. In fact, a standard 9mm full metal jacket (FMJ) round fired from a 4” Glock19 can pass through four walls before stopping in the fifth. Some rifles can do the same thing to cinderblock. These results do two things: first, prove that walls do not offer cover; and second, demonstrate that many gun owners are unrealistic about where their rounds will end up once discharged.

The Box-O-Truth Web site is a terrific resource to learn how ammunition really behaves after it leaves the barrel. The Author and host, Don, known to readers as “Old_Painless”, is a retired Police Officer and gun enthusiast. He spends a lot of time to create realistic situation to test ammunition against targets with real-world applications. You can find his work here: http://www.theboxotruth.com/. You should spend some time on his site.

Vehicles are Deadly. They offer the illusion of safety (since so many people think they provide cover – but they don’t), but vehicles are deadly for another reason. They concentrate fire. Let’s use a car with four occupants as an example. Each occupant merges to become one target in the vehicle. One or more shooters will engage a car before firing at a single dismounted target. Vehicle occupants are subject to accidental hits – if the driver is targeted, but rounds hit another occupant, the shot is still a “Hit” but it was accidental. If four suspects ambush a vehicle, all four weapons act to destroy it.

Dismounted targets are discrete and not usually pursued with the same concentrated fire. When an occupant dismounts they will simultaneously draw fire away from the vehicle, and offer a much smaller target. As they move farther away from each other they become separate targets and much less susceptible to accidental “Hits.” Distance is a good defense since people able to double their distance from a shooter will reduce their surface area by 75%.

Vehicles are not a substitute for adequate cover. They offer concealment only, and vehicles tend to draw heavy weapons. If disciplined aggressors have small arms and one heavy weapon – they will put heavy fire on a vehicle before engaging soft-targets. The proliferation of .50 Cal BMG rifles reinforces everything described here. To learn more check out Don’s review titled the “Buick ‘O Truth” a car that gave him a chance to examine damage from small arms fire and penetration by high-powered rifles. The results will encourage you to hide somewhere else, as any bullet can penetrate the car and even the engine offers little protection.

Risk Management

Safe Schools

In early January a 34 year old English teacher, and mother of three, was talking with two students as they left baseball practice at a public High School in a trendy neighborhood. A few minutes into their conversation the group was approached by two men. Both were in their early thirties, one had prior convictions for aggravated assault, while the other was released from prison a week earlier after serving nine years for kidnapping and rape. There was little the teacher and two students could do to defend themselves from the unexpected assault – a violent attack which left them unconscious in a parking lot until an assistant coach found them later and called 9-1-1.

Two days earlier I met with a school Superintendent to discuss the rationale and logistics to allow licensed teachers to carry their legal firearms to protect themselves and defend their students against an active shooter. It was instructional for me as I learned first-hand how this senior administrator sought to satisfy his constituent’s desire for security. He argued that since parents and residents had not asked to arm teachers, he felt it was his duty to provide security through other means. He pointed out the hundreds of cameras that were recently installed and funded through a bond issue. The Superintendent was excited about having a recording of any event. He was more comfortable telling parents there was nothing he could do than to deal with another “distracting program” or the possibility a teacher might lose control of a weapon inside one of his schools. He did not understand the difference between safety and liability, and although he acknowledged security could only be offered through an immediate response to danger, he chose to support solutions measured in minutes on a timescale that must be mapped to seconds.

This Superintendent preferred optics to action and logic and reason were wasted on him. Moreover when he asked us what data existed to show that armed teachers provided a safer environment he cut us off before we finished explaining that police stations and other offices where guns were frequently available had a much lower incidence of gun violence – his response was “Those people are trained.” That’s a lot of faith in a curriculum he’s never seen, but it also dismisses the possibility that Safe Schools could require the same level of training required for law enforcement Officers.

Gun Free Zones are a misnomer. They imply security where there is none. Most arguments in favor of gun free zones simply ignore that by definition a criminal will not follow the rules. Rules that in most cities prevent teachers from defending themselves, even while many of them are capable of maintaining the skills required to carry a concealed weapon and apply good judgment about situations where they may be needed. Safe schools would mean qualified teachers can carry without diminishing the educational environments administrators, teachers and students strive for. Let me show you how.

The Federal Flight Deck Officer Program is an excellent proxy for arming teachers. This is a cost effective program that places responsibility for safety with potential victims and recognizes that seconds count. Following 9/11 pilots were allowed to carry fire arms in the cockpits of commercial aircraft, as long as they met the training and licensing criteria to be an FFDO. This continues to be a voluntary program and at one point almost half of all commercial pilots flying for major US carriers were enrolled. The FFDO program has overwhelming support from passengers, Government officials, and the public. It serves as an existence proof that pilots can do their jobs and flights depart and arrive on time safely. Guns in the cockpit have not proven to distract pilots’ attention from their core responsibilities. What makes teaching so different? Do we view pilots as old marine corps fighter jocks – they’re men and they can handle a gun, while teachers are thirty year old Moms who drive mini-vans to work and don’t know the difference between a revolver and an AR-15? I suspect stereotypes play a role.

Members in both the FFDO program, and the Sky Marshals, those dedicated armed special agents in the sky, have lost or discharged firearms since 9/11, some inside security, but none of those situations led to disaster, and it’s unlikely that a voluntary program that allows teachers and administrators to carry concealed in school would have a different outcome, but it would put potential shooters on notice – This School is NOT a gun free zone.

Here’s a roadmap for real security:

  • Start with the goal – Allow capable teachers and staff members to carry concealed weapons in schools.
  • First, map your school districts decision-making structure: Principals, Superintendent, Board, City Manager, Police Chief, Security Manager or Security Consultant.
  • Next determine who understands the distinction between real security (responses measured in seconds vs. minutes or longer) and who has a desire to implement actual security measures.
  • Then determine who the decision-makers are, and what pressures (constituent, budgetary, human resources, etc) they are under. You must uncover how they are measured – graduation rates, test scores, etc.
  • Collect data about the number and percent of teachers and staff who have prior military or LE experience. Gather data about the number who have a CHL. Additionally, interview some of those teachers to get their opinions about an FFDO like program for teachers.
  • Meet with Superintendents and Board Members, but plan to “Teach” them how to “buy” from you.  Example: “we’ve met with other members of the board and a number of your teachers and parents and they support our position.” Share real stories from parents and teachers and the data you’ve already collected – these provide a great starting point for your discussion.
  • Continue to gather supporters until you have a security program that addresses the threats facing your kids.

There’s little cost to this program – unlike paid security guards (many unarmed), the teachers volunteer their time for a license and their money for equipment and training. You could even use a school fundraiser to donate ammunition for teachers’ quarterly qualifications, and the local police department should be engaged to conduct quarterly training and certification. All this is available immediately and places “first responders” where they’re needed – at the scene, without delay, and every school could do this without spending incremental funds.

The real story about the teacher attacked in the parking lot ended differently. In early January a teacher shot two attackers in a school parking lot. One of them died at the scene while another was transported to a hospital. How do you feel about this now? Does it matter that this seventy-year old teacher’s heroic actions actually enhanced the sense of security at his school?

He was walking two girls to their cars in the parking lot after Basketball practice when one of two attackers grabbed the chain around his neck. This took place in Detroit, and he was armed since he is a Reserve Police Officer.  Why should he be allowed to protect himself, while every other teacher in that school is prohibited from carrying a handgun? These are important things to think about and even more important to act on.

We’re anxious for your feedback – please share this article with your friends and tell us what you think!

Risk Management

Things Every Gun Owner Should Know

Things every gun owner should know.

  1. You are responsible to know the law; and to be knowledgeable about your gun’s operation.
  2. Treat every gun as if it is loaded at all times (only point it at things you want to kill).
  3. Your firearm must be stored in locked container or have a trigger lock engaged when it is not in your hands.
  4. Practice with your weapon UNLOADED to become familiar and comfortable with it.
  5. On semi-automatic handguns keep the slide locked rearward to prevent bad habits that ignore cycling action.
  6. Learn a two-handed grip that will allow you to walk with your hand gun and a flashlight.
  7. Do not conduct a search through your home or property with your gun in the lead.
  8. Use your free hand to open doors and keep your weapon close enough to prevent moving doors from knocking it away from you.
  9. Deadly force is justified only when undertaken to prevent imminent and otherwise unavoidable danger of death or grave bodily harm to the innocent.
  10. You are responsible for everything your bullet hits so you must know where it will land.
  11. 9MM handguns with a standard full metal jacket projectile can penetrate both sides of at least six interior walls before they stop. Brick walls will usually contain bullets from a handgun, but after the first shot all bets are off.
  12. Keep a firm grip on your weapon at all times and never put your finger on the trigger unless you are planning to fire at a target in your sights.
  13. If you use your gun to defend yourself or someone else – you are a threat to the Police. You must remember that they will treat you as they would any armed subject until they determine you are unarmed and not a threat.
  14. Describe what you’re wearing to the 9-1-1 operator and secure your gun before the Police arrive.
  15. Do not continue to carry it around after the threat is removed.
  16. After you call 9-1-1 You or a friend or family member should contact a lawyer to represent you.
  17. Do not answer any questions until your lawyer is present, and make it clear to the police that you want to tell them what happened, but not until you are represented.
  18. Study the Box-O-Truth Website for a realistic view of your gun’s capabilities. http://www.theboxotruth.com/index.html
Risk Management