2012 December 16 Sunday
M-4 Not A Suitable School Principal Weapon

Naturally we are hearing a chorus of Democrats calling for more gun control in the wake of Adam Lanza's killing spree. yet Congressman Louie Gohmert, (R-TX) wishes Sandy Hook principal Dawn Hochsprung had an M-4 rifle in her office to take out Lanza. My reaction: An M-4 seems like far too large a weapon for a school principal to wield effectively. I would think

"I wish to God she had had an M-4 in her office, locked up so when she heard gunfire, she pulls it out and she didnít have to lunge heroically with nothing in her hands and takes him out and takes his head off before he can kill those precious kids"

At close range how about a Beretta compact? Doesn't this seem like just the thing for school principals and teachers? Readers, what do you recommend? Picture some 50 year old woman running a high school. She suddenly finds she has a killer on her hands. How should she stop him?


What I want to know: Was Adam Lanza a totally misunderstood kid somewhere on the autistic spectrum?

He said Lanza experienced "total withdrawal from whatever he was supposed to be doing, be it a class, be it sitting and reading a book".

He would press himself against a wall or walk in a different direction when others approached and that he never seemed to feel pain, Mr Novia said.

So the kid was not neurotypical. But in what way was he untypical? In a country where celebration of diversity has become very politically correct we do so little to deal with the diversity that matters the most: neurodiversity. What made Adam Lanza tick? He should have been diagnosed years ago.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2012 December 16 07:58 PM 

ivvenalis said at December 16, 2012 8:35 PM:

Really, one guard armed with a handgun and instructions to teachers to lock the doors in case of gunfire is probably enough to stop a lone gunman. In all the schools I attended, doors were pretty sturdy to prevent break-ins. They wouldn't be easy to breach.

A 50-year-old woman can easily operate an AR-15 type rifle with a few hours of training. Recoil is minimal, and the stock sights are about the best iron sights you can get. Cost of purchase, training, and ammunition is certainly under $1000. Nor is it much of a disadvantage inside a room. Soldiers fight inside buildings with M4s all the time, it works out fine. The "close quarters" where you'd rather have a pistol are confined spaces like the inside of vehicles, places you can't move your body at all. Also, longarms are fundamentally easier to aim than handguns.

Compact pistols exist for only one reason: to conceal. My experience with inexperienced shooters is that the decreased weight of compact pistols is more than offset in ease of use by the increased recoil velocity.

Who cares about the kid? A lot of people have mental problems. Hardly anyone goes on a rampage killing.

Fritz said at December 16, 2012 8:37 PM:

A .38 S&W with a 4 inch barrel. Use JHP rounds. Simple, effective, ultra-reliable and easily kept secure. Now let the harshing on my choice begin!

Engineer-Poet said at December 17, 2012 2:41 AM:

12-gauge riot pump with #4 buckshot.

The problem is going to be securing any such weapon against intruders, or it becomes a potential threat in its own right.  Locks operated by RFID wristbands?

Black Death said at December 17, 2012 8:29 AM:

Many years ago, I attended a public high school in an eastern city. The school had a rifle team which regularly won state championships. I can recall members of the rifle team walking down the hall carrying their guns. They weren't supposed to be loaded, but I doubt anyone checked. Can you even imagine such a thing nowadays?

bbartlog said at December 17, 2012 11:00 AM:

I would agree with Engineer-Poet's shotgun recommendation. Minimal training required. Great intimidation factor if dealing with someone who can still be deterred. Enormous stopping power and if you're too nervous to aim well... hey, it's a shotgun, at close range you'll probably still hit your target. The only downside is a pretty strong recoil, but since we're talking about a once in a lifetime kind of emergency I think that's an acceptable drawback.
As for armed guards, consider this: there are 100K public schools in the USA. The cost of putting an armed guard in each one is therefore about 230 human lifetimes (of guard work) annually. Since you're not going to be saving that many lives annually, it's a bum deal unless these guards also have other, greater, positive benefits. The guarding should fall to existing employees such as the principal or a designate.

Stephen said at December 17, 2012 4:10 PM:

With this kind of crazy, the guard would be the first to take a bullet.

I think strengthened and lockable classroom doors will be good enough. That will buy time.

James Bowery said at December 17, 2012 4:22 PM:

Why in the Hell would anyone want to stop a massacre in a primary school when the higher the body count the closer to the repeal of the 2nd Amendment???

Get your priorities straight!

DH said at December 17, 2012 9:32 PM:

Arming school officials seems like a bad idea. I think it could cause more school shooting deaths than the crazies. If there are 100K schools out there, that is a lot of guns. Seems likely there will be a few mishaps per year.

What do about the crazies? That is a hard problem. They strike when unexpected. People probably would not be aware that they were under attack until after shooting starts. If I was a cray and wanted to shoot up a school, I would start with the principal if I new she had a gun. Keeping the outside doors locked and installing surveillance cameras might be the best that can be done.

If the past is any indication, the knee-jerk solutions of the politicians is the worst thing that could be done. Politician syllogism: Something needs to be done. This is something. Therefore it must be done. Politicians pass laws in pairs, the law intended and the law of unintended consequences.

Wolf-Dog said at December 17, 2012 11:46 PM:

Teachers and other people who are responsible for the well-being of vulnerable groups of people, should definitely be required to take gun training courses, and a certain percentage of school teachers should be required to carry guns. A good revolver with a laser sight would be more than enough.

Actually it is possible to establish a very elaborate personality test similar to MMPI geared for gun license applications.

In fact, since driver licenses must be renewed every 5 years, similarly gun licenses should also be renewed by re-taking the mental fitness test.

After all, it seems that the questions in the test that you must pass in order to obtain a driver license happens to be much more difficult than the ridiculously easy questions you must answer in the gun license. And there is very little practical gun experience required in order to get a gun license.

Thus the exam questions in the gun license must be more strict, and this test must include a rigorous personality section.

FURTHERMORE, note that there are various kinds of driver licences, such as licenses for ordinary cars, buses, trucks, etc, and the exam questions for bus and truck driver licenses are far more difficult. Similarly, for more powerful guns like semiautomatic guns, for high powered rifles, etc, there must be different classes of exams. To buy a revolver which has a capacity of 6 bullets, you would need a less stringent exam than the exam to buy a semiautomatic rifle or semiautomatic pistol. Also, there should be different licenses that authorize you to buy only a limited number of bullets for each class of license. Say,only a box of 50 bullets should be allowed for a regular gun license. For more bullets you would need to pass a very rigorous exam. For home defense, you should only be able to buy 50 bullets, for hunting licenses you would need to pass a more stringent kind of gun license test.

When you go to a firing range you would normally be required to buy the ammunition from the firing range officials but you should not be allowed to take home any of the unused bullets that you bought at the firing range. This way, the only way you can buy your bullets would be from the gun store. If you are involved in a defensive situation where you had to fire the bullets against a burglar, then you would have to document how many bullets you have fired by giving the gun shop the used shell casings. Of you want to refresh old ammunition, you should have to give the gun shop the old box of ammunition when you purchase new bullets.

If you are a business owner so that you need more serious defense, then in order to buy more than 50 bullets, you should have to pass a more rigorous personality test.

On the other hand, there are statistics that show that in those neighborhoods where it is known that homeowners have guns, criminals are a lot less likely to enter the houses. Ironically, in more "civilized" neighborhoods where upper class people do not like to own guns, the thieves have an easy time entering exactly those houses where there are things worth stealing. In Mexico it is illegal for ordinary citizens to own guns, but criminals have all the firepower then need, and the poor citizens are totally vulnerable. If ordinary citizens in Mexico all had guns, then the criminals would have to watch their backs.

dearieme said at December 18, 2012 5:59 AM:

"He should have been diagnosed years ago." Yeah, but then what?

John Cunningham said at December 21, 2012 3:30 PM:

why have paid govt guards? unpaid volunteers did quite well at Lexington and Concord.
these are some "common sense" solutions--
1. re-open the mental hospitals, lock up a million or two dangerous lunatics.
2. ban any press coverage of the name, bio, background, etc. of mass murderers, as they do in Canada.
3. put metal doors with serious locks on classrooms, as they do in Canada.
4. seek out retired cops and retired military to serve one day per week as armed guards in schools on voluntary unpaid basis.

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