Loose Canons

After Newtown, a Wasted Year

The dangerous mentally ill remain at large.

By 12.16.13


After 56 pages of educrat baloney, you finally get to the subject of dealing with an active shooter. And all the report can say is that people have the choice to run, hide or fight with weapons such as scissors and fire extinguishers. What it’s telling the school personnel is that the federal and state governments have no interest in really making the schools safer, so some portion of them and the children in their care will die before police arrive.

There is a better way, as I wrote a year ago. My friend Dale McClellan is president of Special Tactical Services, a company that trains elite military and police units (and former special operators) to deal with everything from hostage situations to Somali pirates. McClellan, a former SEAL, spends his every waking hour thinking about how to deal with situations like the active shooter in a school.

McClellan has a plan to make schools harder targets. Not to make kids think they’re going to school in a military compound, but to spend some money on the schools that will dramatically improve the odds of kids and teachers surviving until the cavalry arrives.

As I wrote last year, McClellan said:

“The first part of the problem is that teachers and school administrators aren’t trained. They need to have training beginning with situational awareness.” That means understanding their surroundings, what signals indicate a potential problem and how to properly react in those situations. “The whole idea is to have the teachers and principals do what’s necessary to buy time — it may be two minutes or twenty — for the cops to arrive and deal with the active shooter.”

So what should they do, and how should they be equipped? McClellan said:

“There’s a lot they can do. First and foremost, school rooms could have ballistic doors with magnetic locks which would prevent most shooters from getting into the rooms.”

And when there’s a shooter roaming the school the teachers can do more than sit in a corner with their children and wait for the police:

“The next thing schools should have — in every classroom — are what we call ballistic blankets. They’re made of Kevlar or other ballistic material and can stop most handgun rounds and most high velocity fragmentation rounds. Why not have the teachers get the kids into a corner and cover them with ballistic blankets? Sure, it’d be scary. But if you have fire drills kids get used to, they can get used to proper lockdown drills. Kids would learn to cooperate and communicate, and that’s another condition of buying the time you need to protect the kids until the police roll in.”

Every day states delay legislating easier involuntary commitment, they’re making a choice that results in school children being more vulnerable to the dangerously insane. Every day the psychiatric community delays revising the DSM to create more usable criteria for involuntary commitment, they’re failing their duty to society.

And every day we choose to not provide the plans and assets Dale McClellan advocates to protect school children and staff, we’re making a decision that the kids’ lives are less important than the money it would cost to do so.

Would it be too much to ask that our bloated debt-ridden federal and state governments cut some other spending to pay the cost of adopting McClellan’s plan? It would — unlike all the gun control nostrums the liberals are peddling — be worth it because it would save children’s and teachers’ lives.

Are we content that the next school massacre — whether it’s tomorrow or next year — will happen because we’ve done nothing to prevent it? The silence from congress, the state legislatures and the psychiatric community is deafening.


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About the Author
Jed Babbin served as a Deputy Undersecretary of Defense under George H.W. Bush. He is the author of several bestselling books including Inside the Asylum and In the Words of Our Enemies. He is coauthor (with Herbert London) of the new book The BDS War Against Israel. You can follow him on Twitter@jedbabbin.