May 30, 2022

Dear Readership,

I too am shocked that Law Enforcement (LE) didn’t charge to the rescue of those innocent lambs at the school in Texas last week.  For a time I was a USAF Security Policeman; I have two sons who are municipal sworn officers, and my step-grandfather was a Chicago officer killed on duty while charging into a room full of criminals.  An examination of incident may assist all LE agencies, schools, and others for future preparations in prevention of these types of events.

Probably the following factors apply based on the information received so far from media and Texas law enforcement authorities:

  1. Lack of protective body armor for police (there’s no such thing as bulletproof).  Officers I know who have been shot wearing it feel a big impact and have broken ribs or had big bruises in the aftermath of that impact. So many smaller departments can’t afford them.  See pricing video here:  https://www.221btactical.com/blogs/news/how-much-does-a-bulletproof-vest-cost
  • The single point of entry must be respected and enforcedThe Epoch Times reports that a teacher had unlocked the door that the perpetrator later entered.  This was against policy, assuredly so, but a lack of protocol discipline on the part of an employee allowed easy entry. Carelessness prevailed in Texas, a small and mindless mistake that cost so many young people their lives and destroyed the lives of many others who have to live with the aftermath.
  • Probably the most important factor is lack of training by all LE and other agencies: meaning Drill, Baby Drill.  Do you remember the true story and movie, “Run Silent, Run Deep” with Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster?  This classic film is one of two required videos for viewing and analysis at our Military War Colleges.  The new submarine’s captain ordered the crew to battle stations time after time (ad nauseam), obsessively practicing the dive and their individual positions in the arena of war until they had reduced reaction time by a quantum leap.  They practiced until it was routine without taking the edge off of their proficiency.  In the end, this exercise of discipline paid off as the submarine just scarcely missed being hit and sunk in an actual action.  This is the type of discipline that must be practiced by LE agencies across the nation in order to avoid another slaughter of human beings such as in Texas. It takes rehearsal to make a great stage production, and this is the greatest of productions.  It must be perfectly executed.  Training includes faculty and staff, fire department, parental, ambulance and EMT instruction. This is just like the fire drills we have all experienced. Everyone has a job and should know almost instinctively his actions. Just like anticipation in baseball, “What is my role if the ball comes to me?” 
  • Hesitation is akin to death or suicide.  This is the greatest lesson I learned from my USAF AZR School instructors who had survived the TET Offensive in January 1968.   In a case like this catastrophe one must shoot first and ask questions afterwards.  Every split second can cost lives, and it may be the victim’s or the officer’s own life.  FBI training in Quantico, Virginia teaches this to our elite officers on their small arms range. In less than a second, a perpetrator is identified, a civilian hostage shield is recognized, and the decision to shoot is executed or declined.  Remember that this decision must be made instantaneously or you, the protector, are going to be dropped.  This is where training kicks in; there is no opportunity to mull and procrastinate. 
  • Indecision is a decision not to take the initiative.  These perpetrators generally act alone and after their initial conquest are outnumbered, outgunned, less protected by geography and distances, and questioning themselves.  The psychological tenet of “giveupitis” sets in.  In my time as a sworn USAF security police officer, I was taught to get the upper hand as soon as possible.  Lingering discloses fear setting in on the LE establishment and builds confidence in the perpetrator.  The culprit is surrounded and realizing that they are, at this point, supporting a lost cause. In most cases the suspect gives up the fight.  Action must be taken quickly to prevent any other damage to persons.  In most cases we have seen the wrongdoer commits suicide of himself or by police as a mindless last-ditch statement.
  • An armed and well-trained guard should be in every school despite the distastefulness of the thought to most Americans.  Are schools hardened fortresses or bulwarks of defense?  In reply, we must determine which is more important: philosophy or comfort and safety of Americans?  A wise and informed decision must be made.
  • Hostage situations and hostage negotiation is a great idea, but in rampage shooting, the effort is unwarranted.  It doesn’t work unless it is a two-sided discussion and there is plenty of time to work the issue.  Perpetrators want their 15 minutes of glory, not to talk and spend a lifetime in prison. 

Parents, grandparents, fellow citizens, it is time to rattle elected leadership to take actions.  There have been over 200 mass shootings in our nation in 2022 so far.  We must all persist in this alarm until politicians and school boards hear nothing else from us.  Take a strong stand.  Now is time.

Regards,

James M. Hoover, CACM
Captain, USAF (Ret)

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  1. Jim, I think that now, not tomorrow, is the time to say to ourselves and colleagues that if we realize that a mass murder is about to occur it is time to shoot to kill and not start negotiating with a lunatic, who, as you said, wants his 15 minutes of fame. And then he will proceed with the slaughter. If we establish a guarded entry by an armed and trained person (off duty cop, armed security guard, etc) and law enforcement is lucky enough to arrive on time because the guard at the ONLY entrance to the school has given the police a heads up, it’s shoot to kill and nothing less. If a lunatic with a gun gains entry to a school, by example, he is there only to murder the innocent and should not be catered to in prolonged negotiations. Sadly, in almost all cases law enforcement arrives in the aftermath of a slaughter because they find out too late. Thus, I would add to the security of a school teachers who are willing to be trained in the use of a firearm. That armed teacher would represent the first line of defense in a school other than the person guarding the only entrance/exit door in the building.

  2. The same thing happened at Columbine, police stood by while children were murdered. Not having body armor is no excuse, those teachers and students didn’t have any either but they couldn’t sit on the sidelines during the attack. I can’t help but wonder if the teacher who unlocked the door was part of the plan, a cohort of the shooter.