Thanks to some assistance I now have parts two and three to last months post titled “Mass Slaughter in Our Public Schools: The Terrorists’ Chilling Plan.” I am posting part two today and part three will be posted next week.
Read, contemplate, and learn.
Si vis Pacem, para Bellum
“4 Ds” For Thwarting Terrorists’ Plans To Massacre Our School Children
By Chuck Remsberg, Senior PoliceOne Contributor
[Editor’s Note: In Part 1, we documented the plans of Islamic terrorists to strike U.S. schools in murderous raids, claiming the lives of hundreds of children, as reported at a recent anti-terrorism conference, sponsored by the International Assn. of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors (IALEFI). In Part 2, we summarize countermeasures proposed by one of the conference instructors, Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, author of the popular books On Killing and On Combat.]
As Instructor Todd Rassa pointed out in our first installment, if we are not trying to prepare for and thwart the daunting terrorist threat to our schools and children, we are, in effect, conceding defeat and surrendering without a battle to those who would obliterate us.
There is no simple master plan for an easy victory. But the cumulative effect of many seemingly small countermeasures, effectively applied on a large scale by individual officers and their agencies, can have a powerful impact.
Here are some of the practicalities that Trainer Dave Grossman suggested we consider in beginning to address the critical problem of terrorists coming for our kids.
That’s overcoming denial. And where schools and terrorist attacks are concerned, denial abounds.
U.S. schools continue to take extensive and overt measures to guard students against the threat of fire, with drills, alarms, sprinkler systems, building codes, etc.-even though there has not been a single child killed by fire in any American school in the last 25 years, Grossman declared.
In contrast, well over 200 deaths have occurred from school violence by active shooters and other non-terrorist offenders over the last dozen years, and Islamic fundamentalists are believed to be plotting attacks that will claim hundreds of child casualties in a single blow. Yet efforts to significantly harden schools as a target of violence have, for the most part, been slow, timid or nonexistent.
“We need to treat the threat of violence like the threat of fire. But if you try to prepare for violence, people think you’re crazy, paranoid,” Grossman said.
“Denial is the enemy. It’s a big, fluffy white blanket we pull up over our eyes to convince ourselves the bad men are never going to come. And while we pull that blanket up, bad guys come and kick us in the groin.
“Let’s face the lessons terrorists have already taught us in blood and lives. They are coming, and they may well come for our schools, our kids. We’ve had all the warning in the world. And if we continue living in denial, then all the lives they’ve claimed to date have been sacrificed for nothing.”
Grossman’s 4 Ds.
Besides working to eliminate the big D (denial), Grossman cited four others we need to focus on:
1. Deter. An armed police presence in a school can provide strong deterrence against attack, Grossman argued. “Terrorists are willing to die, but they desperately don’t want to die for nothing, without completing their tactical objective. They want a body count.”
To squelch would-be attackers, some Israeli schools deploy on-site police at squad-level strength, and armed guards accompany all class fieldtrips, usually one per 10 students. But even with a single armed officer in a school, “the prospects of a massacre go way down,” Grossman said.
Having unarmed security in or around schools is both pointless and ethically derelict, in his opinion. “Don’t give someone responsibility for human lives and not give them the tools to do the job. You wouldn’t give a firefighter just a hat, uniform and badge, and no hose or water.”
Should teachers be armed? At least two states (Utah and New Hampshire) now authorize concealed-carry permits in schools, according to Grossman, and the Federal Safe Schools Act allows for it. Faculty with military experience and a willingness to receive additional training could be a starting point.
“Even one or two armed teachers in a school can make a difference,” Grossman said. But given the current American mind-set, “you have to push this envelope very gently.”
2. Detect. “The ultimate achievement is a terrorist takeover that doesn’t start,” Grossman said. And officers being suspicious-“doing what cops do”-are well positioned to interrupt attack plans before they culminate.
Follow good criminal patrol procedures on traffic stops, for instance, by asking probing questions and being alert for contradictions, inconsistencies, irrationalities, unduly nervous behavior and other indicators of deceit and guilty behavior. Be aware of what you can see inside vehicles or on subjects that may merit closer investigation.
Watch for signs of static or mobile surveillance of potential targets. Terrorists “always conduct a recon,” which may involve photographing or videotaping a prospective site, Grossman said. Don’t limit your suspicions just to persons who fit the stereotypical terrorist profile. “There are terrorists who are blond and blue eyed.”
Inform schools to report any calls from people inquiring about security. Someone claiming to be a concerned parent wanting to know if any armed officers are on the premises may in fact be an operative gauging the vulnerability of the location. The staffer taking the call should jot down the caller ID number and note the precise time and the phone line the call came in on to facilitate further checking. “Any time terrorists bounce off a hard target is a chance to catch them.”
3. Delay. If terrorists do strike, “one man or woman with effective fire from behind cover inside the school can hold off a group of attackers for 5 minutes,” saving lives by buying time until police responders “can get in the door,” Grossman claimed.
Meantime, at the first hint of trouble, teachers and children should kick in to a preplanned and frequently rehearsed three-step “lock-down model,” he recommended. “Sheltering” children in place, as has been attempted in various school shootings, is more likely to be dangerous than protective. Instead, Grossman advises potential victims to:
* Move away from violence, which otherwise tends to be “mesmerizing and paralyzing”
* Move to a pre-selected secure location, someplace “secure enough to keep the bad guys out until the cops come in”
* Move again if you have reason to feel threatened at that spot. “Lock-down does not mean hunker down and die,” Grossman said.
“As a last resort,” there may be times when a teacher would need the courage to “go toward an attacker.” Grossman cited a case in which an active shooter broke a window in a classroom door and reached through to release the locked knob. Teacher and students cowered inside and just waited, whereas a teacher might have “grabbed a chair and attacked his hand” and possibly have delayed or deterred a fatal assault.
Plans on paper “mean nothing,” Grossman reminded. “You have to get the schools to rehearse” anti-terrorist scenarios. “Principals have been fired for not doing fire drills,” and yet the terrorist threat these days is so much greater. Where are our priorities?
4. Destroy. As a responding officer, you have to be fully prepared, mentally and physically, to use deadly force to stop the threat. “It is your job to put a chunk of steel in your fist and kill the sons-of-bitches who are coming to kill your kids,” Grossman declared in an emotional crescendo in his presentation.
“Fight from the very beginning. Don’t wait, thinking you’ll fight later.” Referring to the terrorist massacre at the school in Beslan, Russia, which we described in Part 1 of this series, Grossman said: “Every minute the Russians waited, the target got harder.” If you hesitate in responding, “you’ll die with a bullet in the back of your head in front of children.”