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Our Worst Fears Realized Again

It is a feeling that leaves you helpless--again. We never wanted to see this ever again but it has happened. How do you make sense of something so insane?

And, once again it has happened. As we are only days from Christmas, we hear the news from Newtown, Connecticut. A shooting occurred.  It was at an elementary school. At least one dead. Shortly thereafter the news is worse. There are multiple deaths. Finally the worst case scenario. Twenty children have been killed. Twenty eight people killed. It is a massacre.  

The suspect, Adam Lanza, had mental problems. He killed his mom and then walked into the Sandy Hook Elementary School and began shooting. At some point he either killed himself or was killed by police meaning we'll probably never know the motive. 

Gun advocates and gun-control advocates will again pick up the argument on gun control. School security will come under scrutiny. 

Already we have learned from the Columbine and Virginia Tech that efforts to prevent are nearly impossible. Short of reading minds, we are left with what we can control which is defense once an incident begins.

From Columbine, we learned that tactical response may be a half hour or maybe more away. Many police departments, including Sandy Springs Police train in shift tactical training so that first responders are equipped to immediatly enter the incident area and rapidly search for the threat. The theory is that if a gunman knows the cops are immediatly in the building and moving fast, he will focus on them instead of seeking out more victims.  

At the same time, the thinking is that instead of hunkering down in locked rooms. Fear makes you freeze. You should do the opposite. Move. Occupants stand a better chance in creating exits, as in using whatever you can, chair, table, whatever, and create a hole in the window, then move out of a threat area. If you remember, many of the VT students killed were hiding in a room that had been locked. Once the lock was breached, they had no time to escape. They were shot and most killed. 

Unfortunately, everything is designed on the reactive side. I wish there were more ways to anticipate. How much difference would stronger gun control make in this case? He legally bought the guns but why would a man who was willing to kill his mother and 27 other people, including 20 children, hesitate for a minute to steal a gun? Guns are stolen out of home burglaries and thefts from cars every single day. If you want your hands on one, you can obtain one. For now, there's no clear difinitive answer for either side.

More and more, police departments work with schools on emergency plans and unfortunately, we'll probably see more practice on active shooter scenarios. It's a step in the right direction but again, it's a reactive response. 

There are parents, siblings, grandparents and friends, hundreds, grieving and who will be affected by this the rest of thier lives. So, maybe instead of burying yourself in front of the TV this weekend watching the games, and even though it's really cold outside, why don't you take the kids out for an ice cream or a movie or just hang out with them. Make this crazy world seem a little normal again.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Esther Begle December 15, 2012 at 05:19 PM
My heart breaks for those poor families!! I couldn't wait to see my kids yesterday after learning of this massacre. There are no good words for those families who lost their sweet dear ones yesterday. Only God can wrap them in His strong arms and carry them through this tragedy. My solace was the thought of my sweet Mom who is in Heaven who adored children greeting those beautiful children with her open arms and loving them and envisioning them running and playing in Heaven with no more thoughts of terror, sickness, death, sadness, exams..... Guns did not commit this heinous crime; guns probably would have prevented so many lost lives! Had a security official at the school had a gun, maybe he/she could have shot down the sick man. God bless these families, this community, our police officers, our schools, etc. and, God Bless America. Bring peace to all of us!!
Chris Mueller December 16, 2012 at 02:15 PM
Really, E. Begle? One security official might have prevented this? Not likely, one guard can't cover such a multi-building school when gunshots shattered lives in just seconds. Now go ahead an ask tax payers to pay several full time guards for each school in the district to just sit around in case an insane person breaks in. That would cost millions and millions of dollars across each county. It's not going to happen. Our society is floating in a sea of guns, where deranged people can too easily get their hands on them. We need to follow the model of Australia or Canada who have reduced these mass killings without outlawing guns for law abiding citizens.
Chris Mueller December 16, 2012 at 02:18 PM
Please take a moment to read this NYT op-Ed by Nicholas Kristof: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/16/opinion/sunday/kristof-do-we-have-the-courage-to-stop-this.html?_r=0
David Davis December 17, 2012 at 10:14 PM
Or take a moment to read this article about the difference between the way we protect against fire and the way we protect against violence. In Sandy Springs, both our middle schools and high schools do indeed have armed public safety officers on duty.. Maybe an armed guard cannot stop an armed assailant as Chris Mueller notes but an unarmed one for sure can't stop an assailant bent on murder. I think LTC Grossman makes some valid points in this article which is why I offer it for additional consideration. You may have to copy and paste the link in to read it. http://www.policeone.com/active-shooter/articles/2058168-Lt-Col-Dave-Grossman-to-cops-The-enemy-is-denial/

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