Thoughts on the Sandy Hook Tragedy from a Cop, Father and Husband of a Teacher - ITS Tactical
 

Thoughts on the Sandy Hook Tragedy from a Cop, Father and Husband of a Teacher

By Eric S.

I’ve enjoyed a bit of anonymity here at ITS Tactical over the last few years. Bryan and the ITS staff have been very supportive of my request to keep a lot of my personal information private. Those who know me, see that I use a pseudonym on Facebook and other social media sites. Those in Law Enforcement or other sensitive fields do this to keep their families safe.

Today I’m going to step way outside of my comfort zone, as the murders that took place at the Sandy Hook Elementary School have hit me and my family very hard.

Just an Average Family

We are your typical middle class American family who happens to fall right in the center of the Sandy Hook shooting in several ways. I work as a Sherrif’s Deputy, my wife is a teacher who grew up thirty minutes from Newtown Connecticut and we have three school age children (one of which is in first grade and the same age as most of the children murdered). Two of our children attend the same school where my wife teaches and we are active in the school and church.

This incident has hit us like a ton of bricks. Our family represents the first responder, the teacher who was unwillingly thrown into a terrifying situation and the parents who couldn’t imagine anything like this happening to our children. We have been watching the news and talking about this event to the point of mental exhaustion. We have no answers for the madness that happened, just questions.

It’s made me and my wife angry, it’s made us scared and it’s taken away another slice of a normal life that we are trying to live. It seems like every day an event takes place that rips away another piece of a simple childhood that we are trying so hard to give our children. Yet another incident which our parents didn’t have to worry about when they were raising us. Another event that weighs on my shoulders as a parent.

The days of a childhood like my own are slowly being taken away by madmen. Be it by sociopaths or terrorists, the reality is our children have been stripped of the “simple times.” Our country and the world is changing. It’s our jobs as parents to shield them so they can just be kids, but it is getting harder every day.

Jaded

I’ll say it right now; I’m already jaded in life. Having been in a mix of the Army and Law Enforcement for 17 years, I’m at the point where nothing much rattles me. I’ve witnessed first hand the brutality that we can bestow on each other. I’ve built up walls and ways of coping, as those in a maddening line of work do. I recognize this and I try my hardest to deal with it. Its not easy but it’s what we do.

I feel that it’s my duty to keep my family away from those things in life that no one should have to see or experience. My wife doesn’t ask about the crazy calls I’ve been on and I don’t share the gruesome details. Right or wrong, it works for us. I try very hard to let my kids be kids and to let my family be a family.

Innocence Removed

Thank God my wife isn’t jaded. By all accounts she is just like those teachers at Sandy Hook. She had the calling for educating our youth and she enjoys working with children. She has a passion for her students and puts a lot of personal time into her class. The pay isn’t great, but it’s not about the pay or the monetary benefits. It’s about making a difference in life and doing something that affects others in a positive way. It’s about being an American and ensuring its children have every opportunity to be successful in life.

My wife and I have been together for thirteen years and she has been teaching for twelve. She enjoys the simple things in life and leaves the thoughts of violence in our society to me. I’m the Army “vet” and “cop” whose job it is to deal with evil. Until recently she didn’t put a lot of thought into school shootings, even though she has to listen to me get on my soapbox about “terrorists taking over a school” (more on this later).

Sure they do lockdown drills at her school and being married to a “cop” puts her sense of safety at a higher level, but overall I will go out on a limb and say most teachers and educators put thoughts of active shooters in the back of their minds. They just don’t want to think about it because its just not part of their everyday life.

A good example of this is when I took a class in 2008 on school safety which talked extensively about the Beslan School Massacre and Virginia Tech shooting. The book “Terror At Beslan: A Russian Tragedy With Lessons For America’s Schools” was given out at the end of the course. Update: It’s been brought to our attention that there’s controversy surrounding the legitimacy of the credentials that the author of Terror at Beslan presents in his book.

beslan-By Sergey Ponomarev, AP

I came home and talked to my wife about the class, about terrorism and about her thoughts on school shootings. After I completed the book I asked her to read it. She said she didn’t want to, as I gave her enough details and she couldn’t stomach reading about it. She didn’t want to know the details about children being tortured and read about how barbaric we can be to each other.

Well that all changed Friday.

Talking About Evil

My wife and I have been talking about Sandy Hook non-stop since Friday and we have been glued to the news. We have been discussing my wife’s school’s lockdown drills and talking tactics. We have been discussing what the school may do now that this happened, how the parents are going to react, the questions her students might have.

But where do we go from here? What are we going to change to keep this from happening again? Are we as a nation going to change “gun control,” mental health care, “violent” video games and school safety? Are we prepared as a nation to have a system like Israel? Does each community stand up and take care of their own by putting “armed” guards at their schools? Will our laws change? There are so many issues that relate to this type of incident that it will boggle your mind; there are no simple answers.

What can you do as a parent to try to keep your children safe at school? What do you tell them and how much do you tell them? My wife and I have been having this same conversation. I think every parent in the nation has been thinking about this. What do you tell your six year old about a full on adult topic? This is the tough part of being a parent and it puts you in the hot seat.

It pulls at every emotion and in our case will leave you struggling for answers. I don’t want my family to be jaded; I don’t want my young children to be scared to go to school. I dont want them yelling “stranger danger” at every  unknown  person they see. I don’t want my wife to struggle with how she would deal with a situation like this. But the reality is, this and other murderers have forced us to take action. You cannot burry your head in the sand, you owe it to your family to do something about it.

I think at this point the only sure fire thing you can do is talk about it among adults. If you think the government or your school district (or anyone for that matter) is going to solve this problem anytime soon, you’re dreaming. Put pure evil on the table, look it in the eye and talk about it. Figure out how you are going to talk about it to your children. If you can’t do it you are doomed to be a victim and your children will pay for it if evil arrives to do them harm.

Our Plan of Action

I won’t BS you and say we have a plan figured out ourselves. There are so many aspects of this situation that it’s going to take time to dissect them. We haven’t figured out what to say to our kids and who knows what their fellow students are going to say about it this week. My wife hasn’t figured out how to answer student’s possible questions. Like 9-11, how do you explain pure evil to children?

As a Deputy, I have training in active shooter response, I’ve mentally rehearsed going to a school shooting and have equipped myself outside what the agency issues to be able to respond. I have made up my mind that I will go into a situation like this by myself without waiting for backup if needed. This is my calling and I signed up on the dotted line, but my wife is a different story.

As a teacher and parent, my wife is struggling with the reality of what happened at Sandy Hook. She has a unique “issue” since both of our children attend her school in separate grades. If an active shooter happens at her school how can she protect her class, while knowing that our children are in other classrooms? She not only has to think about her own students, but our children as well. She trusts the other teachers to protect our children, but it’s a tough situation to think about. Unlike 2008, she’s at least talking about it now. I’m very proud of her for stepping up.

My wife and other teachers around the country, have been pushed into a first responder roll. Whether they like it or not, this is reality. My wife wasn’t in the military and didn’t sign up to be a cop or firefighter and she hasn’t had the training needed to deal with an active shooter outside the lockdown drills. But like Lt. Col. Grossman talks about in his books and classes, mental rehearsing is a key step in a plan of action. I feel a great first step is to talk about a plan and mentally rehearse it.

Teachers

If you are a teacher you are limited on what you can control. In talking to my wife about her situation the only real thing she has control of is her classroom. Yes, teachers can help shape policy and procedures, suggest ways to help secure the school and offer support to the principle, but it really boils down to controlling the  classroom.

This is where as a teacher you are going to have to mentally rehearse being in a horrifying situation. I think the days of simply going through the motions during lockdown drills are over and you owe it to your students to think ahead. How do you control your students while gunshots are being heard outside? How can you further fortify your room and protect the students from gunfire? What actions are you going to take if a gunman is  attempting  entry into your room? Do you have what it takes to confront evil when it steps into your classroom?

Just like Law Enforcement, you have to confront your fears and mentally rehearse these things. Seek some training outside your comfort zone. You’ve been thrown into the first responder roll whether you like it or not, how are your going to prepare yourself for it?

Law Enforcement

If you are in Law Enforcement, you owe it to yourself and our children to get the equipment and training to deal with active shooters. Think about the equipment you have. Do you have enough ammunition for your weapons systems? Do you have a plate carrier and ballistic helmet?

Do you have breaching tools in your trunk? The Virginia Tech shooter used chains and locks on the doors to slow Law Enforcement response. The Amish School killer also secured the schoolhouse doors from the inside.

Think outside the box and mentally rehearse things like using your vehicle to breach doors or gates. Talk to your squad mates about these things. I know my team is sick of hearing about my theories on terrorists attacking schools, but at least they are thinking about it and its out there.

Think about the training you get, do you train for multiple well armed and trained attackers? As we saw in Mumbai, the terrorist were able to overwhelm responders by creating chaos in different locations. Even if your agency doesn’t train on it, at least keep it in your mind and think about how you would respond.

Remember that by the time you show up it will most likely be over. You will have to walk over the dead and see things no civilized human should. This is part of the burden we carry and perhaps it will bring on guilt. Mentally rehearse this and when its over seek help.

Use social networking to your advantage. Follow people and training companies who are relevant to active shooting situations. There are several groups on Linkedin such as “Active Shooter Intervention,” which discuss these topics. Network with other officers and talk about their SOP’s and GO’s.

Parents

Hug your children and hold them tight. You are the  proverbial  “mamma bear” and you owe your children protection from the evils in the world. How you go about doing this is up to you. I dont have all the answers, but we all have the ability to take steps to protect our children. Talk to your spouse, family, and friends. Think of ways to get the skill sets to help you and your family be safe in the world.

Weapons in School?

This is a hot topic for sure. Statistics are starting to show that a homicide/suicide event is planned to be over before law enforcement arrives. Most of these cowards are taking their own life rather than confronting police. Statistics also show that these events can be stopped by armed citizens or off-duty Police Officers.

One thing I’m going to do is familiarize my wife with a few common weapons systems like the Glock, AR-15, shotgun and AK-47. While we all wait for the government to post armed guards, issue teachers concealed carry permits and change the laws for carrying weapons on school grounds (are you laughing yet?) I’m going to teach my wife about “battlefield pick-ups.” This involves the “possibility” of a shooter dropping a weapon due to jamming (or another reason) and my wife having the option of picking it up. This is a big burden and one which my wife is honestly scared to death of, but at least it may be an option. One more tool for the tool box.

I’m asking my wife to do something totally outside her normal thinking and comfort zone. This is also way outside her job description and she is actually really pissed that it has come to this. I don’t blame her at all.

Speaking of weapons in school and church. If you are a parent do you “carry” regardless of the state or local laws? This is something you are going to have to decide on your own. James Yeager makes some good points in this video (NSFW for language). If you are in a “gun free zone” you should be on high alert.

More To Come?

We all know this isn’t the end of this type of violence. We are in a new era of madness where children are targets. My personal fear is a terrorist attack like Beslan, which we are woefully unprepared for. If you think this isn’t a possibility, you have your head buried in the sand. It would only take a coordinated attack of a few schools throughout the country to cripple us as a nation.

You should familiarize yourself with past events and have a basic understanding of how they were conducted. Study the Beslan School Siege and watch some of the videos found overseas where the terrorists are training to take over schools. Why does the intel point toward elementary schools as opposed to high schools? You should have an understanding of your potential enemy. Talk about this stuff with your family and friends. Get people thinking about it.

As I was writing this another teen was arrested in Oklahoma for plotting a school shooting. This guy in Indiana was arrested recently for making threats to an  elementary  school, it seems like it’s never ending!

sandy-hook-victims-list

Remember Sandy Hook Elementary and the young souls lost. Look at their photos online, it will make you sick to your stomach. It should piss you off and make you say to yourself “never on my watch”!

While the politicians and school  administrators  try to figure out how to deal with this complex topic, mentally rehearse and carry your gun; you may be the only one between evil and innocence.

Are you getting more than 14¢ of value per day from ITS?

Thanks to the generosity of our supporting members, we’ve eliminated annoying ads and obtrusive content. We want your experience here at ITS to be beneficial and enjoyable.

At ITS, our goal is to provide different methods, ideas and knowledge that could one day save your life. If you’re interested in supporting our mission and joining our growing community of supporters, click below to learn more.

Discussion

  • Thank you. I mean that in the best way possible. This was thoughtfully written and echoes much of my own internal conflict as a parent and enthusiast. Things will surely get very heated and emotional over the next couple months and this is an atrocity that will never be forgotten. Hopefully, clear heads will prevail, but until then all we can do is be prepared.

    Thank you for a great article and for stepping outside your comfort zone. It is not easy, but know that I have taken much away from your words and I hope others will too.

    Sincerely,
    Josh
    “Whitey”

  • DanW.

    Thank you for posting this! I literally checked a few mins ago and didn’t see anything, so I sent an email wondering why I hadn’t seen even a blip on this. I guess I spoke too soon. Keep up the great work!

  • Brian

    Thank you!

  • Brav0Charlie

    Great article. Well said and nicely done.

    Here is a quote to think about:
    “With just one single exception, the attack on congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson in 2011, every public shooting since at least 1950 in the U.S. in which more than three people have been killed has taken place where citizens are not allowed to carry guns.”

    source: http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/335739/facts-about-mass-shootings-john-fund

  • Russell S.

    well said

  • Nathan Z

    I’m all for defending yourself and the defenseless. My concern is that normal people can become crazy people quickly. Some crazy people become murders. Not sure if it’s most risky to keep schools gun-free, or arm each school and trust that no one loses their mind who happens to have a gun with them. Not drawing conclusions here, this is the question weighing most on my mind in terms of defending schools (and permit to carry in general).

    • Chance

      I’m afraid I disagree. People simply don’t transition from a normal, even-tempered person to a person capable of the kind of monstrous insanity we saw at Sandy Hook.

      If you’re concerned about “road rage” or something similar, that’s a different story. Adam Lanza, however, was not “road raging” that day.

    • Nathan Z

      I’m not asking about Adam Lanza. I’m asking about the PE teacher who carries a gun in school to defend against Adam Lanza.

      People are literally a chemical imbalance in the brain away from flying off the deep end. Not to mention domestic disputes, drugs, or other scandal in ones personal life that could trigger an otherwise unexpected mental problem that could make them a danger to themselves/others. It’s unlikely that they become insane monsters like Adam Lanza but a murderer? Sure, you hear about it in the news daily.

    • Brian W

      This is the same kind of argument that is always brought against Concealed Carry of a firearm by normal citizens. Statistically speaking we now have a volume of data for many states over a number of years. It has been found that the probability of an average citizen who carries a concealed weapon going off the deep end is no different than a police officer (I believe about 0.02%, though I’d need a citation). I don’t think anyone would think twice about having a uniformed police officer with a gun in a school for protection, yet we hear criticism of armed civilians going nuts when there is just no data to back it up other than fear mongering. In fact Harrold school district in northwest Texas has been doing it since 2008 without incident. As Gary Griffiths puts it very well below — The ONLY effective way to stop an active shooter […] is IMMEDIATE armed response.

  • I am a retired Special Agent of the US Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID), and for the past thirteen years, have been Director of Advanced Force Tactics, Inc., a company devoted to providing training in judgmental use-of-force and gunfighting tactics to law enforcement and armed security agencies nationwide.

    Like all Americans, I was heartsick to hear of the tragic mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. It is especially poignant to me, because for years I have trained the Fairfield University Department of Public Safety in nearby Fairfield, Connecticut.

    As a consequence of this tragedy, there have been calls for a new ban on “assault weapons” and high-capacity magazines. That won’t prevent future tragedies like Sandy Hook. There are tens of thousands of these weapons and hundreds of thousands of these magazines in the hands of law-abiding Americans, and these are the very types of weapons that our forefathers envisioned our having when they ratified the Second Amendment to the US Constitution.

    The ONLY effective way to stop an active shooter bent on killing is IMMEDIATE armed response. It is a truism that when seconds count, the police are only minutes away. That was never truer than at Sandy Hook. Some propose allowing teachers and school staff to carry concealed weapons in schools, if they have concealed weapons permits. This might well stop an active shooter, or, if made known, dissuade a potential shooter from even attempting a mass murder. But allowing teachers to carry their concealed weapons would open the possibility that unauthorized persons could gain access to the weapons if left in a purse, briefcase, or desk drawer. Moreover, the responding teacher would be at a severe disadvantage in using a pocket pistol to confront a gunman with a high-powered semi-automatic rifle or shotgun, possibly wearing body armor. Finally, there would be a severe risk that a teacher attempting to intervene in an active shooting incident would be shot on sight by responding law enforcement officers.

    Based on my training and experience training law enforcement agencies all over the country, I believe there is a better solution to effective immediate armed response while minimizing the risk to the armed responder. A fellow law enforcement trainer has accurately called active school shooters “monsters.” Every school building in the country has fire extinguishers to enable teachers and staff to fight fires, should they occur. I believe that schools should also have “monster extinguishers” strategically located throughout the campus – a securely locked container holding an easy-to-use rifle, such as an M-1 Carbine or AR-15, plus an armored and distinctively marked “raid jacket” that would instantly identify the responder to law enforcement responders and provide some modicum of protection from the shooter. Specially trained volunteer teachers and staff members would have keys to these containers, and would be able to respond instantly with effective lethal force to terminate the threat. The rifle is much easier to shoot accurately in an emergency than a handgun, and would penetrate all but the most cumbersome body armor.

    This is, in my estimation, the only viable way to counter the senseless acts of violence we see taking place in our schools today.

    Gary L. Griffiths
    Director
    Advanced Force Tactics, Inc.

    • James Chao

      Mr. Griffiths, I wonder if you’ve attended any seminars with Lt. Col. Grossman? I know he tries to lecture often to the law enforcement community on the subjects of school violence and in your response you mentioned the link between our attitudes towards fire protection and shooter protection. In the attached article I recently read Lt. Col. Grossman makes just such a comparrison that I found very compelling.

      http://www.policeone.com/active-shooter/articles/2058168-Lt-Col-Dave-Grossman-to-cops-The-enemy-is-denial/

      You and the author Eric S. have brought up very good points overall and I thank you both for committing your thoughts to text.

  • Chance

    Excellent article, and you’re certainly not alone in your thoughts on Beslan-style school shootings. The concern of “small town terrorism” is (very) gradually gaining traction, and I’ve heard a number of people mention it over the years, most recently Haley at one of his courses.

    Whatever your position on firearms, I hope that discussion doesn’t completely distract people from reflecting on our state of preparedness for such attacks. It’s a reality that is not going to go away.

  • decepticon

    I agree that schools must make changes to deal with this present and future threat. However, it is important to note that the threat is more widespread. Attacks can (and have) come upon us at work places, malls, movie theaters and hospitals. It rips my heart out that defenseless little children have been victimized, but the victims at the other places were nearly as defenseless.

    I think we have to attack this problem on two fronts. First, from the tactical side – to think it through, train, and do the best we know how to stop armed killers from having access to crowds of innocent people. I’m all for them being dealt with harshly and immediately when identified.

    Second, we must discover what is creating these murderers and how to stop that. It is no longer someone else’s problem, we have to face the fact that it can affect any of us, any where, any time. Although I’m sure terrorists have no qualms against this type of activity, it seems that many of the situations we have experienced here in America are homegrown and seem more related to mental insanity rather than any terroristic ideals. I’m certainly willing to live in a heavily armed society if that’s what it takes to contain it, but I fear that it would be impossible to prevent 100% of what we don’t see coming.

    I believe eventually we must get to the root of the problem. We might be able to fortify our schools enough to keep the murders out, but what about the school buses, the Little Leage or youth league soccer games? What about Saturday afternoon at the park, the latest animated cartoon movie at the theater, the toy section at Walmart? We have to go after the source of the problem or we and our children won’t be safe anywhere.

    Obviously it is not just us – witness problems in Russia, China, Finland and others. And I hate to think about what freedoms we may lose while we are sorting things out. But something has got to change.

    Thanks for your honest assessment. And thanks to your wife on behalf of the parents of all her students, that she is willing to comtemplate the unthinkable in an attempt to keep their children safe.

    My daughter is 14 and homeschooled. But she also participates in pistol, rifle, shotgun and archery competitions and is studying kajukenpo and Filipino combat styles. It grieves me to say this, but perhaps we are in a time where the warriors in our society will have to more actively rise up to protect the defenseless. May God have mercy on us all.

  • Rod Gregg

    Thanks for sharing your unique perspective. In the recent days, I too have been vocal about sheepdogs, society, guns and crazies. I am a retired police lieutenant. I served for over ten years as a police negotiator. I was the team leader for many years. I made decisions based on what had occurred before I arrived. We all have learned from Columbine that setting a perimeter is not the right course of action when there are active shooters. We all signed up to go in, take on the shooter or just draw fire. What we know about the people that go into malls, theaters, churches and schools to kill is simple… We had a saying that murder was rage turned outward and suicide was rage turned inward. Maybe this is a suicide-by-cop event, in which case, the sooner the better. In every case, it is the fulfillment of a fantasy for the aftermath of their lives. They want the world to know… they matter and that they were a victim of the world. The world didn’t give them what they needed and they hold everyone responsible. The media publicizes his death and in the pursuit of “why”, he believes that all will see that he was a victim, just like all of the other victims of his senseless crime. As long as the media digs and publicizes how he was bullied or a victim, it empowers the next loser or inadequate personality to act. He might verbalize his plans and if so, the police must be told. Family members must make sure that he doesn’t have access to weapons, even if they have to hide them from him. And sheepdogs, prepare, rehearse and act. Its unfortunate that a family has to live in this world and prepare for an armed encounter, but its a father’s duty. Its a husband’s responsibility. Lets keep talking about this. There aren’t enough stories where the armed citizen or off-duty officer stops a crime, a shooting spree. Thanks again for sharing your story. Take care and God Bless you and all sheepdogs!

    • Ricebll

      I think that you hit on a really good point, one way to help prevent more shooting incidents like this is for the media to stop making such a big deal out of them, all it does is to encourage copycats. It give losers the idea that they too can get all the attention they desire if they too go on some sort of horrible shooting spree. If, on the other hand, the media stops covering these events non-stop and constantly mentioning the name of the shooter(s) then you’re going to have fewer people who’ll feel that shooting rampages are the perfect way of getting the attention that they’re desperate for.

      Reducing press coverage of these tragedies might not completely prevent such tragedies from happening in the future but I’m certain that it will do a lot more than more stupid gun control laws or bans. Anybody who is dead set on doing harm to another human being will do so regardless of whether they have access to a gun or not. Most Americans already have access to a deadly weapon which can inflict as much harm as any gun, their car. All someone needs to do is go crazy in a crowded parking lot and they’ll have done about as much harm as any gunman. The antis and the liberals forget that these crimes are committed by people who don’t care about laws and silly things like gun free zones and I bet that if you ask any of these perps they’ll tell you that they would have found a way to commit their heinous acts even if they didn’t have access to a gun.

  • Jonathan

    Well said on all points. I’m a civilian through and through, and while I hope to whichever God you prefer that I never have to do deal with a situation like this, I also hope that I have the presence of mind to put myself on the line to defend myself and others against some crazy with a firearm. Working on getting my CCW, hope I never need it.

  • John Turner

    As a former LEO married to a retired teacher and having two school aged children, I wholeheartedly agree with your entire article. The essay above reads like a preface to a training binder that should be sitting on my shelf.

    As those in the LEO profession have come to understand we must all train for the worst and hope for the best. Keep up the fight.

  • Steve B.

    All it takes for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing, or for the Govt. to remove their ability to do something.

  • Bo

    Thank you for the heart felt post and to ITS for consistently maintaining integrity and avoiding politics on hard issues.

    I’m a hippy kid from California and not going to pretend that i know shit about guns or active shooter scenarios. Im writing to share a skill set that i’ve been fortunate enough to experience and it has had a profound impact on my life and capacity to deal with pain and suffering. Its breathing. Im not just talking about taking a deep breath and then trying to going on with your life, Im actually referring to breath techniques and have been used in therapeutic settings to heal wounds in a matter of hours that would have taken years of talk therapy to work through. This work has drastically improved my ability to move through emotions and heal relationship, and as an added bonus has massive improved my sex life. I’ve witnessed several Iraq vets use these techniques to get through severe PTSD and the power of witnessing their experience is why i felt motivated to share this here.

    There are many similar types of breathwork but the two that I recommend are called: Reichian Therapy, and Transformational Breathing

    Make no mistake that pursuing these outlets will likely bring you into the “new age” airy fairy alternative scene, but please don’t allow that to discredit the power of these skills that every human should know – especially those of you soldiers out there bravely preparing to head into these horrifying situations that know could leave without scars.

    It may be challenging to find a practitioner as this work is not mainstream by any means. I be happy to help anyone seriously interested in getting connected with this work.

  • Brilliant.

  • Michael

    Well said. Keep up the good work!

  • Steve

    I work in the dept of corrections for 12yrs, and I know the evil that people do (male & female). When my wife and daughters go out, I’m always on watch. You never know where or when it will happen. I hope and pray that never happens, but I pray GOD will give me the courage to do the wright thing. If you don’t have a CCW I would advise you to get one. I do. As some of the comments said in the article, this isnt the 50s or 60s. we have new evils in this world to worry about. I dont like nor do you, but its a fact. This is a great article. Thank you ITS

  • Brav0Charlie

    And here is some more food for thought:
    Madness, Deinstitutionalization & Murder
    http://www.fed-soc.org/publications/detail/madness-deinstitutionalization-murder

    • Chance

      That’s an outstanding article. Thanks for linking.

  • Jimmy

    Eric, well written thoughts. Also, good follow up from Gary Griffiths.
    It’s a shame and a fact that evil exists in the world. It’s also a fact that the world is a dangerous place. Unfortunately, many in our society think they can legislate away evil and accidents. Not so.

    To all those out there who stand watch either personally and/or professionally, stay safe and Godspeed.

  • KEITH

    Thanks for the insight, outstanding article.

  • C4 U no more

    great article eric and thank you for remembering that its the victims not the villian that need to be remembered in this.

  • Great article and I really feel your pain in the word you have written.

    In Australia in 1996, a mass killing of 35 people galvanized the nation’s conservative prime minister to ban certain rapid-fire long guns. The “national firearms agreement,” as it was known, led to the buyback of 650,000 guns and to tighter rules for licensing and safe storage of those remaining in public hands.

    The law did not end gun ownership in Australia. It reduced the number of firearms in private hands by one-fifth, and they were the kinds most likely to be used in mass shootings.

    In the 18 years before the law, Australia suffered 13 mass shootings — but not one in the 14 years after the law took full effect. The murder rate with firearms has dropped by more than 40 percent, according to data compiled by the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, and the suicide rate with firearms has dropped by more than half.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/16/opinion/sunday/kristof-do-we-have-the-courage-to-stop-this.html?smid=go-share&_r=0

    Crime is decreasing in Australia
    (see http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/1301.0~2012~Main%20Features~National%20crime%20statistics~63)
    and part of that is because we do not have guns.

    • Ricebll

      That makes Australia the exception then, elsewhere in the world, the US included, crime (esp. violent crimes) rates go down with looser gun laws/number of guns in the public. Studies of nations across the world have shown that there is no correlation between violent crimes/murder rates and the legal possession of firearms, these studies have shown that nations with high rate of gun ownership actually have a lower rate of murder than those with fewer guns and/or more restrictive gun control laws.

      http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=8&ved=0CGoQFjAH&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.law.harvard.edu%2Fstudents%2Forgs%2Fjlpp%2FVol30_No2_KatesMauseronline.pdf&ei=hJnTUNnfL6S6iwKXkYD4AQ&usg=AFQjCNGEpT4LHNfY-pcjefcrgGnZLbX1Bg&bvm=bv.1355534169,d.cGE

    • Josh

      I’ve read that about Australia before and I believe it to be true. I’ve also read that Japan and England also have much lower violent crime rates than the US and both also have tighter gun restrictions and less weapons owned per person; so I think it’s worth considering.

      However, I’m not sure that the US is comparable to Australia, Japan, England, etc… None of those countries had a constitutional provision of gun rights for its people, and none of those countries (Australia included) had a population as well armed as the US. It was easier to do a buy back since such was the case.

      If the US government ceased ALL gun production today, that would still not erase all of the weapons and high-capacity magazines that are already in circulation. There are too many to buy back, and too few willing to sell. There is no legislation that will erase what we already have, so I question the effectiveness of further gun laws/restrictions, even though I’d be willing to look proposals over.

      If we were only comparing nations, then it’s only fair to mention Switzerland. Switzerland has a booming gun culture and has a very low crime rate – but i don’t think the US is very comparable there either. Their population is much smaller than ours and as a whole their economy may be better.

      It’s a tough situation and, like has been mentioned, it really doesn’t make sense. It can be hard to predict what crazy might do. I just hope and have encouraged my representatives to thoughtfully evaluate everything and to honestly ask themselves, “will this work?” I hope they don’t rush into a “quick fix” and thereby fix nothing while simultaneously creating more problems.

      And as far as self defense goes, the 2nd Amendment is so that we can defend ourselves against a government that decides to overstep its bounds.

      Such a tragedy.

  • Chris “MOPP” Q.

    Great article Eric.
    I do have to say that as an active duty member of the military I constantly keep my head on a “swivel” when in public. It drives my wife crazy, but I am sure one day she will understand why I do what I do. I do not have a CCW, but by monitoring my environment I see things that those who keep their heads down will never see. There are those that take advantage of the “masses of sheep” out in the world and it is our job to continue to protect them retired, off-duty, etc…
    I was saddened to read about what happened at Sandy Hook and it made me hug my children a little tighter that night before bed. Something must be done and I do not believe new gun laws are the correct course of action.

  • BrianI

    Great article. Thanks for taking the time to write it.

  • I am in the last chapter with the same book, “Terror at Beslin.” It is very frightening and and revealing.
    When I look at my granddaughters, I feel sad and angry, too, that they will not have an innocent childhood as I did.

  • Steve Fraser

    Very good arctical, and in the same note deeply saddening.

    A view from the UK… I find it horrific that this has happened yet again, we here in the UK had a similar event in the Scottish town of Dunblane on 13 March 1996. The gunman, 43-year-old Thomas Hamilton, entered the school armed with four handguns, shooting and killing sixteen children and one adult before committing suicide. Our firearm law changed drastically the year later, Firearms (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 1997 was enacted, which effectively made private ownership of handguns illegal in the United Kingdom. This made a massive reduction in any similar type events here, surely that has proven that the unavailability of a firearm has worked! Still, gun crime is an issue usually associated now with gangs or drug related situations, fortunately not events like Sandy Hook.

    Its a simple one for me, I doubt that even very strict firearm controls in the US will solve the problem, its a lump of metal and they last for a long time, and as with here in the UK they can be found, it’s really then a question of protection, the schools are perceived as a soft target for these nutters… a bank has guards, and in your country armed ones at that! That is the way to stop schools as being seen as soft, I’m not talking turrets and barbed wire, just making it known that they have protection, and they are able to fight back.

    My thoughts are with the families and it sounds like a lot of hard decisions need to be made.

    Keep safe

    • Ricebll

      All that a gun ban accomplishes is to get guns out of the hands of law abiding citizens, the criminals still have them and will never let them go. Sure an all out ban would reduce the likelihood of mass shooting but as events in China have proven, one does not need a gun to go on a rampage. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/30/world/asia/30china.html?_r=0

      Studies have proven that gun control does not reduce or prevent crime, in fact it seems to be the opposite. In countries with more liberal gun laws and a high number of people owning guns the crime rate, esp. murders, are much lower than in countries with more restrictive gun laws and fewer guns. So as sad as the events in Newtown are, gun control isn’t the answer and wouldn’t have done anything to prevent it from happening.

  • Thinbluelion

    As a police officer I am 100% for concealed carry and I routinely recommend the good guys without one to get one. I also chew out any concealed carry holder who is not armed whenever I pull them over. Only superior violence stops violence.

    • Ricebll

      Nice advice, but, unfortunately, not all of us live in a gun friendly state. Take me, for instance, I’d love to get a CCW permit but unfortunately I live in CA and in my part of CA the county Sheriff has a habit of denying CCW applications to all but A list celebrities, (anti-gun) politicians like Diane Feinstein, law enforcement (to include trial lawyers and judges), the wealthy, or regular people facing a serious threat like a stalker or has been threatened with death threats and the like. So for a citizen that falls into none of those categories and want a CWW for general safety and to be able to protect myself and my family at all times I’d be turned down.

  • Daniel

    I wonder about the efficacy of arming teachers.

    There are a few non-firearms solutions that need to be enacted in our schools:

    1. Solid doors and locks in the teachers rooms

    2. A policy that teachers don’t abandon their students to confront gunmen

    3. Quick lockdown procedures.

    If all the classrooms at Sandy Hook had been locked down in a timely manner, then maybe we save some lives.

    Additionally, the kind of firepower needed to stop a guy with a .223 semi-auto and bulletproof gear extends beyond what even a well-trained teacher is likely to accomplish.

  • Oleg Schvets

    Thank you for your article. As I can see You really care and ask right questions. But the problem is that there is no simple universal solution. It’s obvious even by all the controversial views expressed above. It’s just because the root of the problem is hidden deep in the mankind’s history. Some things do not merely depend on us (in a worldwide scale). Still some things we can do. Ready to discuss it in private? my mail: olko[dot][email protected][dot]com.

  • Michael

    Great writeup thank you for sharing.

  • Don Chestnut

    This was an outstanding article, thanks for putting yourself out there. I’m still very affected by the shooting… frankly, I’m mad as hell. I’m applying for a concealed weapon license in Maryland… which is a long and tedious process which they could deny, regardless of my justification, but I’m going to protect my family at all cost.

    I’m really glad I’ve found the ITS community. To read the forums, DYI and articles has really inspired me to be prepared… and I’m really running with it.

    Again, thanks Eric.

  • Ron Walsh

    I cannot thank you enough for writing this. I have been a fan for quite a long time, so it was not really a surprise to find that you are a LEO. I think the best part of the article was just the fact that you told of how difficult an incident like this is for you, a LEO, to deal with and also the feelings that your wife, a Teacher, have.

    I know from being in combat that people die, that is to be expected. However, something like this shakes me to my core. I like you, am struggling to comprehend how this could happen and more importantly, how do we prevent the next attack on innocents?

    Thanks again for writing an outstanding article, and for having such a great site. Semper Fi.

  • TK6

    I just wanted to thank you for posting this. I am a prior service military and I have a brother in law that is as well. We think about this all the time. How can we protect our family from pure evil? Thanks again!

  • wade vancleave

    A WORD ABOUT SANDY HOOK.

    It seems most ironic to me that when we have a tragedy in this country like the school shooting in Sandy Hook, that the liberal politicians in this country are just stunned as to why! How could this happen? Of course, the usual reaction is to blame GUNS! But the truth is that guns are not responsible for anything. They have no brain and no heart. You cant change the gun, you have to change the person holding the gun. If these same politicians really don’t know what caused Sandy Hook, or cannot figure it out, then they are not intelligent enough to hold their job.

    When I went to school in the 1940’s and 50’s we had good schools, good teachers, and plenty of books. Lots of books.

    At the beginning of each day, a student would come on the intercom to say a prayer to almighty God, Jesus Christ. Then, we all stood, placed our hand over our hearts, and pledged allegiance to our country’s flag, which was either standing in every classroom or was affixed to the wall.

    We were taught family values and that human life was sacred. We were taught that God was almighty. We were taught patriotism. And we were taught discipline.

    We had one principal and one vice principal and both were popular with the students. The vice principal had a long paddle, which he applied to the backside of any unruly kids. More often than not, if your parents found out you had to be paddled at school, you would be punished when you got home. Most likely a second paddling. I don’t believe that this discipline warped anybody’s psyche. Instead, boundaries were set and students knew the consequences for crossing them. Children today have few to no boundaries and have no fear of being punished.

    Parents didn’t debate with school administrators whether or not a child needed the padding. Parents knew and respected the judgement of teachers and administrators.

    I know that half the boys in school had a penknife or jackknife in their pocket, which was normal at that time. But, nobody ever pulled a knife on anyone. That was just unheard of. And certainly no one ever came into a school and started shooting kids. Most if not all of today’s “shooters” are students themselves or very young adults who never learned any social values in school and probably not much at home.

    Unfortunately, In the 1960’s, our country began to “liberalize” itself. Liberal politicians came to power and these politicians over the last 50 years have managed to take social values out of the schools. They said that the kids should not have to pray to God every morning so as not to offend someone. They should also not have to pledge alliance to the flag so patroitism went out the window. They said that kids should not be paddled at school so as not to warp their little physic. So discipline went out the window also to the point where now over half of the teacher’s time is taken up in trying to make students behave. But the point of all this is that our young people are not being taught VALUES. So now when some nutcase walks into a school armed and starts shooting children, these same liberal politicians seemed so stunned and just can’t imagine how this could happen! Their first response is to blame “GUNS!!” Those evil GUNS are killing our children!! But I can tell you in no uncertainty that guns are not responsible for Sandy Hook or any of the other gun related tragedies.

    Liberals are responsible for Sandy Hook and they should be imprisoned for what they have done. I am not naive enough to think that will happen but what we can do is get these people out of public office and replace them with more conservative God Fearing people.

    I know that Sandy Hook is especially tragic and different because this nutcase went into a elementary school and shot little children….babies. But for grown men in our government to stand up and blame GUNS for Sandy Hook is stupid on top of stupid.

    I am most discouraged over what has happened to our school system in this country and especially in Texas where I live. Remembering the schools we once had, it is really heartbreaking to see that we have come down to such a shabby instruction material like Cscope.

    Cscope is attempting to teach Islam to our children. Our children are not allowed to read the Bible and learn about Jesus in school, yet are directed to read about a false God called Allah. Who are these liberal wack-o’s responsible for this? Muslims would cut off the heads of anyone that would try this in their schools.

    Until it can be determined who is at the bottom of this, I suggest we start at the top, the superintendent. Find out why your children have no textbooks. Demand paper copies of the CSCOPE lessons. According to one Cscope lesson, Paul Revere was a drug dealer and the Boston Tea Party was an act of terrorism. Who are these communists that have taken over our Texas Schools? Who wrote this trash? Let them stand up and be identified.

    There are forces at work in this country that are attempting to destroy America by warping the minds of our children. We do not have to take this!

    Wade VanCleave……… a proud conservative, a proud American and one who supports the American Constitution and all its amendments, including the right for every American citizen to own a gun, and I do.

  • Feff

    How come the photo at the top has people wearing shorts, I’m pretty sure it was cold in Sandy Hook on December 14th–I know Gene Rosen, the neighbour who took in 6 children (and didn’t contact police), was sure bundled up?

    That picture reminds of the chopper footage aired that day where the network (KSDK) put the caption “Newtown School Shooting” over top of a video of cops running toward an obviously different school. There’s even what appear to be faculty members walking to their cars and driving away like nothing is going on.

    Anyways, did the Original Poster just use a wrong photo by mistake, or was the Sandy Hook shooting staged and that photo is just part of the media’s attempt to make this event look real.

    Wag the Dog anyone?

  • Thank you Eric! I signed up to ITS today and this was the very first article I read. I must say your words hit home. I’m a father of 3 young children and have spent the past 15 years in Law Enforcement. Reading this echoed my every thought and emotion. As a LEO and Active Threat Instructor I can’t help to be absorbed by these tragedies. It’s one thing to teach my fellow officers and help them to create the mindset for winning in these difficult situations but its an even bigger challenge preparing your loved ones to face evil. Things as simple as riding a bike to a friends house like we did as children, I cannot even imagine allowing my kids to do. You are absolutely correct in saying their childhoods have been robbed. I’ve often thought of moving to an area where I thought it would be safer to raise a family but as we’ve all witnessed, it doesn’t matter. Evil doesn’t sleep, evil has no conscious. We owe it to our families to educate them and prepare them for what we all pray they will never have to witness.

  • Ron Simpson

    Let’s be honest, the possibility of violence in the workplace is up too. I have a go-to-hell plan in place in case that happens at my office. It is smart for all of us to realize the world we live in has spawned violent, evil people who want to harm others. The reasons why don’t matter when they show up at the door. What matters is that you have to deal with it. So have a plan.
    Unfortunately, most companies are afraid to allow their employees to carry concealed on company property. So, my plan is to follow my chair out of the window by my desk, get to my car and retrieve my gun. Which in my state, I am allowed to keep in my car, even on company property. They cannot take that right away from me.

  • bob rob

    Provide false information much. Scroll to find photo later used for SH “School”
    http://yacht-sea.net/mega-yacht-articles/atlantic-ocean-yacht-explosion-likely-a-hoax-search-called-off.html

    • While we can’t verify that your link is truly the origin, we have updated the photo, thanks for the heads up.

  • PeggyNetrics

    Anyone who is simply sad about Sandy Hook, hasn’t truly looked at the evidence.  Anyone who clocked hours to look over the actual facts, is infuriated.  Sophia Smallstorm does an excellent 90 minute Youtube video laying out the evidence.  It appears that Sandy Hook was a staged event that was controlled by mainstream media.  Some think it coincided with a Satanic ritual.  Don’t be manipulated by your human emotions.  These ‘people’ do not deserve that.  We have yet to see one body.  The hospital was 12 miles away.  3 adults showed up.  One drove herself and it took her an hour.  Who were those men caught on video running away from the shooting and towards the Masonic Lodge?  One runner, Chris Manfredonia was caught, knocked to the ground and handcuffed.  Why did they let him go?  Because he said that he is a Dad and that he didn’t do it.  He said he was at the school to help his daughter’s class make gingerbread houses, yet he was wearing cammo and was at the school over 4 hours early.  Oh and he was an off duty SWAT team guy.  Rich, isn’t it?  The aerial video of the crime scene shows clearly that the entire Sandy Hook shooting crowd, just kept walking in one door and out the other.  Mainstream media takes strategic photos to elicit emotions to get real people screaming, “Ban guns forever!”..Look at the aerial video and you’ll be infuriated.  We have been duped.  Withhold your comments until you actually look at the evidence.  Put your emotions aside.  That is how they control you.  Stick to the brutal facts.  This was a staged event to support the gun law ban and it worked.  On top of that, U.S. Tax payers paid for $50 million to destroy the school and all evidence for the freaks who put on the show.  Who is being protected here?  Masonic Satanists?????  I don’t know what the true story is, I just know we have been deceived and now it is a huge cover up.  Seriously….they took down the school????

  • PeggyNetrics

    10 years ago over 50 corporations controlled mainstream media.  Today, 6 companies control mainstream media.  The mainstream ‘News’ is not legally required to tell the truth or present the real facts.  It’s entertainment.  If you doubt it, look what happened with the 2 Fox Reporters that sued Fox for protecting their high paying client, Monsanto.  Monsanto’s BT Toxin was in cow’s milk and babies drinking that milk were dying.  Not only did Monsanto and Fox keep the poisons out there to kill more babies, Fox fought hard to suppress the truth while babies continue to die, and they won an appeal against the 2 Reporters.  Seems that since Fox didn’t have a policy about reporting the truth, they were not legally required to do so.  If you are in a hurry, search google images for ‘Sandy Hook Hoax’.  Smiling happy parent faces less than 24 hours after a brutal murder of your child is not normal or possible.

  • I think the author is really courageous to come out of storage and give his take on this whole thing knowing that his identity could be compromised. But more important than that is the whole issue of the availability of guns and their usage out in the open by any tom, dick or harry. We need to stop letting tragedies like this happen because we haven’t taken the steps to a safer solution.

Do you have what you need to prevail?

Shop the ITS Store for exclusive merchandise, equipment and hard to find tactical gear.

Do you have what you need to prevail? Tap the button below to see what you’re missing.