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Randy Speck

Superintendent , Madison District Public Schools

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Should parents, teachers and other personnel be able to carry a concealed weapon in a school?

Recently, legislation was passed in Michigan that gives people the ability to carry a concealed weapon in a school, hospital, church and other open areas (stadiums, shopping malls,etc.). Proponents say the legislation requires those carrying a license to have increased training and that this law would increase public safety. Opponents, say adding the opportunity for an increase in weapons in places that should be the most safe, such as schools, hospitals and churches is a bad idea will lead to something tragic.

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    Dec 17 2012: Randy, always good to talk to you. My first impression is no. Only personnel who are assigned weapons as a basic part of their job should enter with a weapon. A two hour class in weapons safety is not comparable to years of training that makes stress a part of the equation. Even as a law enforcement agent ... the lone ranger philosophy is stupid ... report the event, do what is safe and reasonable, control what you can as preventative measures, and wait for help.

    The opinion of a psych is that we should not make the big news deal we do ... we show people in panic ... seriens whailing ... people screaming and running .. He believes that this makes the shooter feel powerful .. then the media announces his name and that is instant fame to the world (in his eyes) ... perhaps the way these things are approached need to be examined ... and yes the media involvement examined also.

    I have been in some meetings with parents and was glad that they were not armed ... but it answered a lot of questions about their childs behavior.

    Have a good one. Bob.
    • Dec 17 2012: I absolutely agree with you Bob, I know that doesn't happen often, but here's a +1 from me.
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      Dec 19 2012: Dear Robert,

      If my memory serves me, you are a veteran of war, have served as a law enforcement officer, and corrections officer. Your knowledge, experience and well articulated comment are appreciated.
    • Dec 19 2012: That is exactly what happened in CT and it worked with very mixed and sad results. If the internet reports are true (CNN included) it took the police 20 minutes to arrive after the first call was received, for a school shooting in a small town. Think about that. A lone gunman armed to the teeth and shooting in an elementary school and it took the police 20 minutes to get there.

      Am I faulting the police? Absolutely not. But we delude ourselves if we think that waiting for help is the best thing. If so, then we are reducing people's options to a simple lottery and we should say 'do what is safe, reasonable, wait for help and pray your number is not up'

      In these types of tragedies a lone ranger could have potentially bought some time. Or not, who knows, that is the point of prevention.
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        Dec 19 2012: Mercuro Chrome,
        I think anyone deludes him/herself by believeing that a" lone ranger" could potentially buy time. I'm sure you know that some guns that are available, have a high RPM (rounds per minute)? Some assault rifles fire at a rate of 460-900 RPM. Submachine guns and machine pistols fire at a rate of 1,000-12,000 RPM. A lot of damage could potentially be done BEFORE a "lone ranger" even got notification. I believe the shooter in CT had shot himself before the police arrived? He/she could end his/her own life at any time after killing a lot of other people, and before the "lone ranger" arrived. I agree with your suggestion to do what is safe and reasonable. We will not solve a gun issue by bringing more guns into the scene. Those who want to kill, will simply get more advanced faster killing guns, which are availabe.
        • Dec 20 2012: Colleen. A lot of damage was done in CT because the shooter had a big capacity semi auto weapon and because the police response was slow. It's a combination of factors that made this massacre possible. We must reassess our thinking about this before it continues to happen. I am for gun control of specific weapons but I do not believe it is a panacea. for example, strictly speaking this killer used an illegally acquired weapon. He chose to go to a place where he knew he would be unopposed. He chose to target our children and we are choosing to see the gun as the only problem. That is a mistake. Until we reassess our views on gun free zones these tragedies will continue to happen.

          On your rounds per minute comment, here is some enlightenment for you. I own a handgun (surprise!) and it has got a low capacity magazine 6+1 shots. The last time I went target shooting I was there for 40 minutes (months ago) I had two magazines preloaded and bought 100 rounds at the range. I was able to fire all those rounds within 30 minutes while stopping to reload the magazines. 100 shots in 30 mins with a small gun, small capacity magazine. That is essentially 3 RPM taking my time. Using the same weapon the CT monster could have squeezed out 60 shots before the police could have arrived, enough for two per victim.

          You say let's not solve a gun issue by bringing more guns... I propose it is not a gun issue alone. This is becoming a cultural staple of the USA and must be looked at from multiple angles.
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        Dec 20 2012: I and many of my friends are school teachers. None of us want to wield leathal force. If we were comfortable with it we probably would have become cops or joined the army. How many teachers would leave the profession if weapons training became a requirement? If me and my friends are any indication, all of them.
        • Dec 20 2012: I never said it should become a requirement. I said volunteer. There is plenty of people that are first aid / CPR volunteers that are not doctors or intended to be ones. I understand none of you want to wield lethal force but if you wanted to you should not be stopped. By definition the evil ones will not follow any rules, so don't think for a second rules will protect you.

          Thank you for taking care of our children.
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          Dec 20 2012: As a former first responder on a rescue squad, carrying and using a gun was NOT my job. If I was spending time using a gun, I would not have been saving the lives in danger, which WAS my job.
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        Dec 20 2012: mercuro, Only in Hollywood does a "lone Ranger" exist. Granted every once and a while you hear about someone saving others ... and that is great ... but the reason they are heroes is that they defied all odds and everyone escaped danger. That person put both their life and the life of others in danger and got lucky.

        When a police team enters a building it is a coordinated effort to neutralize the situation and to "save" as many as possiable. If you were armed and in the hallway you would be considered a target. Let the pros handle it.

        Remember everything has an expiration date .. even mercuchrome was replaced by providone Iodine.

        All the best. Bob.
        • Dec 20 2012: Thanks Bob. You attack my lone ranger concept (poor choice of words on my part) as a Hollywood fantasy but offer another one in response. Reality is that these sick people choose to attack places that are by definition gun-free zones. You don't see these guys going Terminator-style on a Police department. You see them attacking schools, job places and malls, or gun-free areas. Why? because they know they can do so unopposed. Also, you don't see the police responding, as in Hollywood, almost immediately and in full SWAT gear, jumping out of choppers as soon as the first shot rings out. In turn, it takes 10, 15, 20 minutes.

          The reality is that the police is indeed prepared to deal with these guys but they are seldom there when needed and are too slow to respond. So what do you suggest? Hide, close door and wait. Basically bury your head in the sand and pray those gunshots are walking away... might as well invoke the holy spirit or a Jedy mind trick (some Hollywood for ya).

          For this debate to be truly about safety, all the facts must be on the table: long guns, purchase loopholes, police response, mental illness and gun-free areas reassessment.

          Wake up and smell the coffee Bob. If you are old enough to know mercurochrome you are old enough to know better, evil has to be confronted, not appeased.
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        Dec 20 2012: Yes Mercuro Chrome, as I understand it, the CT shooter had some automatic weapons. It's the only way he could have gotten 12 rounds into one little body so fast.

        To the best of my understanding, the CT shooter did NOT have any illegally acquired weapons. His mother, who worked at the school, bought the guns legally, she said to protect herself and her home.

        The shooter chose to go to that school because his mother was there, and I'm sure you know that he shot her too.

        I totally agree with you that we need to reassess our views, and to do that, it helps to have accurate information.

        You didn't actually "enlighten" me regarding RPM. I've had two law enforcement officers in my family, lots of soldiers, lots of hunters, and I used to shoot skeet. I am a little bit familier with guns.

        I am NOT seeing the gun as the only problem, and of course it is not simply a gun issue, which is why I keep saying we need to address the underlying issues. Do you read the comment thread before you argue? If not,it might help you participate with accurate information in the future.

        I will quote your wise words..."all facts must be on the table", and "wake up and smell the collee"
        Bob is a trained combat soldier, law enforcement, and corrections officer. Not only is he older, he is wiser as well:>)
        • Dec 20 2012: Colleen,

          The shooter did not have automatic weapons, semi-autos is what he had, one shot per trigger squeeze. He did not do this 'so fast', he had 20 minutes. My enlightening example was to point out to you that even with a small 'slow' gun he would have had time time to put two rounds per victim. Go ahead, ask your friends if 20 minutes make a difference with a small gun, that Colleen in an unopposed shooting situation is an eternity.

          Also the guns were registered to the mom, not the shooter. If I get a gun that is not registered to me I am committing a crime. If the mom gave the guns to him then she committed a crime. Either way, he did not acquire those guns legally.

          You said "we will not solve a gun issue by bringing more guns into the scene" your words. Spell out the underlying issues and put them into the debate.

          As a rule I don't trust anyone that likes cats, but I am sure Bob is a wise guy. However, the argument of training goes out the window by just looking at the issue from the vantage point of the shooters. None of these guys are ex-cops, ex-military or weapons-trained and are able to do a lot of damage. Letting a threat like that go unchecked is a major mistake that will continue to claim lives.
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        Dec 20 2012: Mercuro Chrome!

        What the heck is your point??? Two rounds per child....12 rounds per child.....it ALL KILLS!!!

        I ask you again....would you like your two little children in the cross-fire of teachers, staff, rescue personel and a killer?


        The topic of this debate is:
        "Should parents, teachers and other personnel be able to carry a concealed weapon in a school?"
        That is the topic, and that is what I am addressing on this comment thread, at this time.
        • Dec 21 2012: Colleen,

          No need to get worked up. Clouds your judgement.

          Yes, teachers should be allowed (not forced) to carry a concealed weapon. Your question is a narrow minded one. No parent wants its child close to any shooting, but given the option of defending children versus passively praying for luck, I rather go with the former.

          Is it potentially messy? Sure. A tragedy is a tragedy. But letting those sick psychos dictate the terms is a moral disgrace.
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        Dec 21 2012: Mercuro Chrome,
        I am not "worked up", nor am I making any judgement, so there is nothing to get clouded. I was trying to have a reasonable discussion, which takes two people.

        I do not agree that teachers should be allowed to carry a concealed weapon. I believe that practice would only cause more tragedies.

        My question regarding the safety of children IS NOT narrow minded. It is well thought out, and backed by relevant information.

        I have not noticed ANYONE on this comment thread suggesting "praying for luck", and your suggestion is not at all about "defending children", it is about teachers, staff, emergency responders and "lone rangers" (as you say) carrying guns under the guise of "protecting chidlren".

        NO ONE on this discussion thread has mentioned letting "those sick psychos dictate the terms", and several participants have offered suggestions which seem more reasonable, responsible, and more safe, which is the important part.

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