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A Test Case for Armed Self-Defense in Schools

December 30, 2012

My professors taught me to challenge my ideas with a test case.  Some critics of self-defense claim that armed teachers would be more dangerous than a murdering madman because, and I paraphrase slightly,  “a teacher would open fire in a room full of five year olds and shoot the kids.  That is why guns must be kept out of schools.”  (I chose this blogger as representative, but you can do your own web search to find similar examples.)  It is possible that armed staff could shoot innocent students, though we have not seen this happen in practice.  Rather than argue about relevant data sets and statistical probabilities, let’s apply a test case to see what you might do.




Imagine you are a teacher (very unlikely in my case), a teachers aid (not impossible), or a parent visiting the classroom ( been there several times.)  The unthinkable happens as a gunman fires on the locked back door of  your school.  This sets off an alarm, and you, the teacher, close the locked classroom door to isolate the room from the hallway.  You lower a blind over the small window built into the door.  The young children tip over their desks and hide behind them.  You too retreat to the corner of the classroom and crouch behind your desk.  All that is bad enough, but now things get worse as the gunman bangs on your locked classroom door.  The gunman even tries to enter your classroom by shooting at the door.

This is a very bad day in school, and I want to ask you one simple question.  Suppose you are armed with a handgun to defend your students.  You trained just enough to be safe with the weapon, but you’re not a competitive marksman by any measure.  You could aim the gun at the doorway and shoot at the gunman as he enters the room, or you could do something else.

Would your students be safer if you shot at the gunman or if you hid your gun and attacked the gunman with your bare hands?

It is a simple question about an unlikely event, but most of us know how we would answer.  Larry Correia thought about it a lot.  I would not trust my children to a teacher who would not use a tool to defend them.

What do you think?tip the scales


Robert the simple

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 30, 2012 12:02 pm

    Such critics of self-defense really have no idea what it’s like to be a police officer going into a school shooting situation. When cops run school-shooting scenarios, almost to a “t” one of two things happen: 1) They wait for SWAT and the shootings are all over by the time highly trained professionals enter the building (i.e. the shooter has been shot by a civilian or has taken their own life), or 2) They don’t wait for SWAT and go in with the first 3-4 officers to arrive on scene, in which case the level of experience and training of the responding officers is notably less than SWAT, and they inevitably shoot some number of kids whenever the scenarios are run with kids in the building.

    Pick your poison: Dead kids, or dead kids.

    Cops aren’t any more immune to shooting kids than a teacher in a classroom. And, arguably, a teacher will be much more prepared NOT to shoot kids because they are more familiar with the kids, the building, relevant circumstances, etc.

    But really these types of arguments are utterly moot. The first issue is that these individuals are critics of self-defense. Self-defense is your right to protect YOURSELF. They can ask you not to. But no one is entitled to take that right from you, unless you consent to letting them take the responsibility for providing for your defense.

    The idea that you can keep me, a teacher, from defending myself, is ludicrous. And that you could do so without simultaneously providing effective physical security (i.e. employees with guns) is an even worse offense against the inalienable right of every human being to self defense. I’ve only got one life. You can’t give it back if someone else takes it.

    Key cards aren’t physical security. They didn’t save a single child (or teacher) at Sandy Hook.


  2. December 30, 2012 7:26 pm

    Thank you for your comment, David. I believe you since I have heard similar comments about police entering a home. In that situation, they have to perform a difficult job in an unfamiliar environment and with little time to think.

    The home owner has a huge advantage in self-defense since they know who belongs in their home, just as a teacher knows who belongs in their school. That familiarity explains why homeowners shoot fewer bystanders than police even though the homeowner usually has less training.


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