Keep Praising Unarmed Good Guys Who Tackle Shooters

Keep Praising Unarmed Good Guys Who Tackle Shooters
By Spocko

Friday’s school shooting was stopped by Jason Seaman, a former defensive end now a science teacher who ‘immediately ran up to the un-named student, swatted the boy’s cocked gun out of his hand before tackling the pupil to the ground.” He was shot three times in the abdomen, hip and forearm, he has been released from the hospital.

Pictured Indiana, Noblesville West Middle School, science teacher and school football coach, Jason Seaman.

One day after the heroic tackling, Trump and Pence tweeted praise for Jason Seaman, in contrast to the two weeks it took them to praise James Shaw, the other hero who tackled a shooter armed with an AR-15 at a Waffle House.

Hero James Shaw speaks during a press conference on the Waffle House shooting Sunday, April 22, 2018 in Nashville, Tenn. Shaw wrestled the gun from the suspect. (Wade Payne/The Tennessean via AP)

Unarmed people can stop shooters by tackling them. 

We need to remind the media and the public of other examples and repeat the cases of unarmed people stopping the shooter and saving the day.

The reality is that there are many stories of shooters being stopped by people tackling them. But unarmed heroes tackling shooters doesn’t fit the narrative that the NRA, the slaughter lobby, Donald Trump, Republican politicians and the right wing media want.  When a story doesn’t fit that narrative, they bring back a time it worked, even if multiple cases of it failing happened instead.

But showing unarmed people stopping a shooting isn’t enough. We also need to show the failure of the premise that someone with a gun is the only way to protect a school from someone else with a gun.  The data showing the failure of SROs and armed security is overwhelming.

The Post analysis found that gun violence has occurred in at least 68 schools that employed a police officer or security guard. In all but a few of those incidents, the shootings ended before law enforcement of any kind interceded — often because the gunfire lasted only a few seconds.
Analysis of US School Shootings History Analysis, March 25, 2018 Washington Post

Two thirds of school shootings are called “targeted shootings.” The perpetrator knows who they want to shoot and the school’s security systems. They catch people unaware and shoot them. It’s over in seconds.  More guns around the person won’t help protect them.

Remember this photo of Reagan two seconds before he was shot? Six well-trained men with guns around him and they still couldn’t react fast enough to save him.  When they did react, it was to tackle the shooter. To survive this kind of situation the target needs to be wearing a bulletproof vest that can stop the bullets.

Reading that analysis of schools shootings, the failure of SROs to stop the shooters, and the recent stories of people tackling shooters, I had an idea about how to protect lives in schools without adding guns.

Give teachers bulletproof vests and teach them to tackle.
Bulletproof vests are safer than guns! If a teacher leaves his vest in a bathroom and a student picks it up, it’s not going to hurt them.
It’s a lot easier to find teachers with a background in tackle football than those with a background in shooting people in a crisis situation.

Bulletproof vests can be worn all the time. They can protect people from bullets, even if they are caught unaware.  

Instead of giving teachers guns and teaching them to kill, give them bulletproof vests and teach them to tackle.

There is a reason I believe we need to keep talking about and praising cases of unarmed people tackling shooters. I’ve listened to men who want more people with guns in schools. They imagine themselves in an active shooter scenario. They want to act. They want to have control.  If they aren’t there and in control, they want to give that sense of control to others.  Pointing out that tackling is already a successful method to stop bad guys with guns can relieve some of their feelings of helplessness during a school shooting.

People need to see an active response that doesn’t involve guns that has succeeded in the past. They can see themselves as a hero in the future by tackling the bad guy. The NRA is heavily invested in the premise that guns are the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun. That’s because is sells more guns.  Imagine if the National Body Armor Association was as powerful as the NRA, everyone wearing bulletproof vests would be a solution.

Even when tackling works, I still hear the calls for more people with guns in schools. Adding more guns is an expensive, dangerous, ineffective response to school shootings.  Keep showing all the problems with adding guns in schools.

  • Point out the undeniable physics of human reaction time vs. bullet speed.
  • Detail the historical failures of SROs and armed security in school shootings
  • Tell the stories of unarmed people successfully stopping shootings
  • Describe the additional problems adding SROs and armed security brings to schools, like civil right violations 
  • Show people the stories of  gun accidents and the financial liability they represent to the school district
  • Calculate the total costs of this service that has proven ineffectively for the task they were hired to accomplish.

When confronted with the failure of “good guys with a guns” during school shootings, I’ve seen trained spokespeople stumble. They give ridiculous answers,”We need fewer doors!” They jump to whataboutism. “What about teen texting?! What about abortion?”  When the facts are against them they start arguing about unrelated statistics and definitions of weapons. “Show me one member of the NRA who was involved in a shooting! If you don’t know AR-15 stands for ArmaLite rifle and not assault rifle, then I’m not listening to you!”

Even in the face of failure after failure of guns in schools, the premise and the narrative will continue to be pushed. The NRA supporters will tweet, talk and remind people of any instances that fits their premise. Their believers will share those stories on Facebook and forward them in emails.   Narratives for either side are established by repetition and distribution though multiple sources that the group knows and trusts. That’s what we need to do. Repeat the tackling stories based on real-life successes and point out the real life failures of guns in schools.

Instead of giving teachers guns and teaching them to kill, give them a bulletproof vests and teach them to tackle.

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