Monday, August 20, 2007

School Shootings Force Change in Tactics

From the Star Telegram:

By Deanna Boyd

FORT WORTH -- A moaning man sits in the hallway to their left. A classroom is to their right.

As two officers search the classroom for a gunman and another keeps watch on the back hallway, Euless patrol officer Rocky Fimbres keeps his gun trained on the moaning man, unsure whether he is a victim or the shooter.

"Keep your hands up, brother. Relax," Fimbres orders the man.

There aren't any students in the school; it's a teacher work day.

Suddenly, a different man's voice bellows from a different classroom at the far end of the hallway.

"Mary, you b----! Where are you?" shouts a man -- gun in hand -- as he emerges from the classroom, making his way across the hallway toward another classroom.

The four officers run down the hall in a diamond formation, yelling at the man to stop and drop his weapon, but he never even turns around.

Before the officers can reach the classroom and shoot the gunman, he shoots three more victims.

Fortunately, the victims and gunman are really fellow officers, and the "bullets" are capsules filled with blue or pink liquid soap.

But the lessons learned from this and other scenarios last week at Central High School in far north Fort Worth aim to prepare first responders for the real thing and their ultimate mission -- get inside and stop the shooter.

It is far cry from less than a decade ago, when the responsibility of the first officers on the scene was to try to establish contact with the shooter until SWAT teams arrived.

"The driving event was Columbine," explained Fort Worth officer Chris Moody, referring to the 1999 shooting in which 45 minutes passed before SWAT officers entered the high school.

"Then it was still get to the scene, set a perimeter, start trying to establish communications and negotiate," Moody said. "Now, when we arrive on the scene, if there's still a suspect actively shooting, we enter the school, office or whatever it may be, and stop the shooting."
This is a step in the right direction, but still not optimal. The best action is pro-action. Allow trained school teachers, administers and staff the option of concealed carry. Having armed and trained individuals mixed in with the caretakers of our children just makes sense, especially when we know that terrorist are targeting our schools.

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