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Emotions, Police Chiefs, and Celebrity Murders

January 13, 2023

I’ve made bad decisions. Most of us accept that we can make mistakes even on our good days. Being the chief law enforcement officer for a school district that was attacked by a celebrity murderer is a horrible day indeed. Uvalde schools police chief Pete Arredondo was in that position and made some bad decisions. It would be an even greater loss if we didn’t learn from his mistakes.

For large plans or small ones, we go through similar steps. We search for solutions. We should evaluate what works in our situation and then review our plans with others. We can pre-plan our decisions and rehearse our actions. The failure to plan is why the Uvalde, Texas school district police chief made such bad decisions that cost the lives of children and teachers in his school.

It is hard for us to make good decisions when we are under stress. That is why we plan our important decisions ahead of time. At its simplest, that is why we have drivers-education training so we have some practice before the first time we have to hit the brakes on a dark wet road. It is also why we practice fire drills at home. Those are trivial examples compared to what first responders should do during an attack on one of our schools.

You make plans every day. You bring a shopping list with you when you go for groceries. Protecting our children deserves more attention than we give to a shopping list. Saying that school officials will simply call the police in an emergency is a failure to consider the options.

The failure to study and plan is settling for failure in advance.

In an emergency, we can suffer from too many choices as well as too few. Some of those actions will help and some of them will hurt. We want to consider many possible actions ahead of time. We want to ask other knowledgeable people what they think. We want to study the range of actions that fall within best practice. Those are impossible decisions to make when someone is killing our children. We need to think about the problem now because we won’t have the time or the ability to think clearly then.

The great news is that other people have considered school security before. That means we don’t have to guess about strengths and weaknesses. We don’t have to wonder about the character of celebrity murderers or the character of school staff. We have seen how they will react when a murderer comes to one of our schools.

Some plans won’t work. We make plans every day so that our ideas die rather than us dying. We have the benefit of millions of years of experience with armed School Resource Officers. We have a hundred million years of experience with armed citizens going about in public. We have over two million man-days of experience with armed school staff. All that is good information. Unfortunately, we also have hundreds of examples of celebrity murderers who will do anything to get their name in the news.

The defenders and the attackers are known and understood. You might not know about them, but other people do. You can learn about them if you want to. It isn’t hard. The chief security officer for a school district definitely should know.

Chief Arredondo may have many strengths when it comes to law enforcement and security in the Uvalde schools. He also had a significant weakness. I made my living trying new ideas. I showed my ideas to my customers before we built them. We almost always learned something by reviewing our plans. That is why we ask school teachers if they have ideas about protecting their classroom. We ask school principals and superintendents about protecting their schools. We listen to bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and janitors. We ask outside auditors to look at our annual security plan. We’d be a fool not to listen and learn while we still have time to improve.

Time is everything.

Seconds count. A murderer at school will kill until he is stopped. That isn’t a secret, but the chief chose to ignore it. The school district police chief in Uvalde decided to treat the attack at Robb Elementary School as a hostage situation and evacuate the rest of the school rather than enter the classroom and stop the murderer. He wrote off the lives of the children and teachers in that classroom. He was wrong.

Most of us have seen pictures of the dozens of armed law enforcement agents standing in the school hallway while they waited for directions. Border patrol agents eventually entered the unlocked classroom. They shot the murderer and ended his attack on innocent children. They allowed medical personnel to finally start treating the injured and saving lives. Many students and staff died because Uvalde law enforcement waited so long to act.

At home, we escape and call 911 if we smell smoke or see fire. We can consider if we used too much fire-suppressant chemicals after the fire is out. At school, we lock the doors, call for help, and stop the murderer if we hear shots fired. That isn’t always the perfect solution but it is an excellent place to start.

We know how to stop celebrity murderers. Best practice is for armed defenders to move toward the sound of gunfire and shoot the murderer. First responders don’t wait for a partner and they don’t wait for permission to act. It is also best practice to train school staff to stop the bleeding until EMTs take over. That is old news.

For the last two decades, we’ve known what to do when a murderer comes to school.

Making a defense plan for your home isn’t magic. Tens of millions of ordinary people have done exactly that. Millions of classrooms should have a security plan. Many do. We have a right to ask if our schools have a plan.

Sadly, some school bureaucracies will play politics with our children’s safety. Fortunately, we have the courage and common sense to ask questions of our police and our school officials. It is our duty to make sure our school security plans make sense.


I gave you my best 1000 words on stopping mass murderers. Please take them to heart and act on them. RM

News Sources-

Uvalde school district police chief’s statement-

Background information on the Uvalde attack-

Ed Monk describes best practice-

3 Comments leave one →
  1. thecrmsnpyrut permalink
    January 14, 2023 10:31 am

    The chief and his officers did have a plan, but it was the wrong plan. They had an active shooter plan and they had a barricade/hostage plan. They executed the barricade/hostage plan when they should have executed the active shooter plan.

    Some years ago Daily Anarchist did an analysis of mass shootings up to that point. It revealed that mass shootings ended when the shooter was either confronted or had accomplished their goal. It did not matter who was doing the confronting. So someone confronting the shooter as fast as possible is paramount.

    50% if mass shootings ended before police arrived, so police are completely irrelevant fully half of the time.

    A large number, I don’t remember the exact figure, end in suicide by the shooter.

    The average casualties were 2.x when stopped by non LEO on scene, and 14.x when stopped by arriving LEO. The x is because I don’t remember the number after the decimal.
    So again, the paramount need is for someone to confront the shooter as fast as possible.

    The most interesting finding for me was that it did not matter statistically if the person confronting the shooter was armed or not.

    I would love for the results to have been that good guys with guns did better. But the fact is that good guys without guns did just as good.

    Never the less I would want to have a gun if I was confronting a mass shooter and I want anyone else confronting one to have a gun as well.

    Good guys being killed confronting shooters had only happened once when Daily Anarchist published the findings. I beleive it has happened once since then as well. In the total number of mass shootings, 2 good guys being killed trying to stop it is statistically irrelevant.

    I have said since 911 that no one will ever be able to hijack a plane again. Prior to 911 we had always been told to cooperate with hijackers. They would trade you for terrorists in Isreali prison or want to get flown to some 3rd world or communist country. Or hostage rescue teams would come in and kill you. No one had yet hijacked a plane to use the plane as a weapon.

    Since 911 no one will ever trust a hijacker again. We have seen several instances since then where the passengers have stopped potential hijackers or terrorists planes. Even in the last plane on 911, once the passengers found out what was going on they attacked the cockpit and caused the plane to go down in an open field far from it’s intended target.

    Similarly, since Uvalde no one should ever again trust a hostage taker who isn’t on a plane. Plans for barricaded people with hostages have to be scrapped and the only plans should be plans for active shooters.

    We should remove all restrictions on bearing arms. Then no mass shooter will ever know who is armed and who is not. And there will be a high chance that armed person will be nearby to respond quickly.

    We need to flush the run hid fight crap down the toilet and replace it with fight fight fight. How different would things in Uvalde have been if the teacher had shot the mass shooter or if 30 kids had mobbed him and taken him to the ground.

    We need to change our entire outlook; you are ultimately responsible for yourself, your life, and your actions and for the lives of those less capable under your care. We each need to be prepared to be the hero anytime and anywhere and to give our lives in that cause regardless of our age, ability, training, or experience. We need to teach our children to fight for themselves.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. 1rapidrobert permalink
    January 14, 2023 11:25 am

    Good one, Rob. As usual, well thought out and with source material. Good comments from thecrmsnpyrut too.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. January 16, 2023 8:30 pm

    Rob, your stance on planning is right on. Consider writing the next column on drilling. If you don’t drill, you will freeze when the event happens. You need to drill so often that response is automatic.

    I periodically teach a class on “Preparing a Disaster Plan for Your House of Worship. The first thing I ask the class is “When was the last time your church had a fire drill on Sunday morning when the sanctuary and religious school were filled?” All I ever get for answers is shaking heads. I then set up a scenario where a fire breaks out between the sanctuary and religious school and ask they parents what they would do. Most would admit to trying to run through the fire.

    I then mention a plan where rally points for each class are posted in the parking lot, teachers are expected to count noses, march children to the parking lot, and count noses again. Parents will leave the sanctuary on an orderly fashion by the nearest exit, and go to the rally points where the children will only be released upon parent’s signature.

    Good plan, but for it to work, it has to be drilled at least annually. The children must bring home notes to be placed on the refrigerator reading “In the event of an evacuation at [house of worship], I will be at Rally Point [number].” as a constant reminder for parents. Maybe semi-annually is even better.


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