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'Hardening the target' is schools' best chance


Date published: 1/16/2013

In regard to Del. Mark Cole's bill that would put a uniformed, full-time school-resource officer in every school, I suggest to Del. Cole that the time to address a potential shooter is not after he gets into the school, but before he gains entry.

Advocating an armed officer in the school as the primary deterrent is suggesting a strategy of "minimizing" the loss of life, not preventing it entirely.

If the shooter gains access to a school, then the number of persons killed would depend entirely on the officer being at the right place at the right time, or getting to the right place quickly to address the shooter.

There are no guarantees as to who would prevail after gaining entry, the shooter or the armed officer.

There are too many variables at play: the number of shooters, the element of surprise, the types of weapons, body armor the shooter may have, the shooter's mental state, the location of the armed officer when the shooter gained entry, the officer's armament (affecting his ability to meet the shooter with like force), the officer's body armor (capable or resisting weapons used by the shooter), and so on.

The best way to ensure that no children or school personnel are harmed inside of a school is to deny a shooter access to the school in the first place, and stripping him of his element of surprise.

Harden the target. That is where the primary emphasis should be, not on armed guards.

L.A. Bibbs

Spotsylvania