Why They Murder Our Kids, and How to Stop the Next School Attack

Faster School Training Safety Students Guns Teachers
Why They Murder Our Kids, and How to Stop the Next School Attack

U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- Life tests our character and we are both the ant and grasshopper from Aesop’s fable. We both prepare and we procrastinate. We face a similar choice when it comes to protecting our children at school. Some of us planned and prepared ahead of time to protect our children, and some of us put that off for another day. What is worse is that some unprepared adults will blame the next mass murder at school on the citizens who took steps to protect their children from harm. Fortunately for all of us we know how to stop mass murder in our schools. That wasn’t always true. Defending our children at school was both discovery and an invention. I’ve studied school safety for the last decade and this is some of what we’ve learned.

Mass murder is designed to shock us, yet most of us ignore why these murderers kill our kids. Fewer of us act to take away the murderer’s motivation. Only a few of us work to put an effective defense in our schools. Mass murder strikes at all of our hearts, but a dedicated handful of people worked for years to make our children safer. It was hard work. It remains hard work.

Comparing mass murder to a natural disaster, it is easier to write detailed fire codes and seismic requirements for our schools than to admit that some people who look like us will deliberately hurt our children. Mass murder makes us feel helpless. We have to look evil in the face and not flinch. The good news is that we know exactly what to do to stop the next mass murderer in his tracks.

Murder is an ancient problem. We have laws against taking an innocent life but those laws are ineffective against someone who doesn’t care if they get killed. In the past, killing innocent victims was usually motivated by politics and religion and resulted in terrorist attacks. Planning your own suicide to include the death of a number of unrelated innocent parties is relatively new. We had to make a new name for it. This celebrity murder was spawned by the news media that turned the murderer into an overnight sensation.

As peculiar as celebrity murder sounds, we’ve seen similar behavior. We saw teenagers kill themselves so that they would be talked about on the local television news and in local newspapers. Teen suicides would cluster as one depressed teen wanted the attention given to the previous suicide. These troubled kids would rather be dead than live with the feeling of being ignored. We learned to keep these teens alive by not mentioning the name or showing the picture of the teenager who took his own life.

We reduced teen celebrity suicide when we denied the teenagers the notoriety they were dying to get.

We can trace the growth of celebrity murder back to the attacks in Dunblane, Scotland, and then to Port Arthur, Australia. It was 1999 when we saw a celebrity-murder jump to the US with the attack at the high school in Columbine, Colorado. Old investigative reports found over 80 copycat attempts following the attack at Columbine. I’m sure the number of copycats is far higher by now.

If you doubt that celebrity murder is real, then remember how the media idolized the two terrorists who set off a pressure-cooker bomb at the 2013 Boston Marathon. The media gave the murders a public relations campaign worth tens of millions of dollars. In response, thousands of attention-starved teens wondered what they would have to do so it would be their face on the news.

Building Celebrity-Murderers

The solution to stop celebrity murder should be as easy as repeating what we did to radically reduce teen celebrity suicide. What makes the solution harder is that few politicians will scold the press and hold them accountable for sensationalizing the mass murderer. The politician depends on the news media for campaign coverage.. and the press feeds the politician’s ego. I think that is why so few politicians will promote legislation to punish the news media when the press creates celebrity murderers.

Given our flawed political and media climate, we might think that the situation is hopeless if we want to stop someone who wants to kill others and then kill themselves. Threatening the murderer with punishment certainly doesn’t work. That means increased criminal penalties are ineffective. The murderers will study and plan for years. That means those mandatory waiting periods for firearms don’t work either. We’ve seen these murderers kill their family members to get a gun. We’ve seen mass murderers lie to school counselors and psychiatrists, so the murderer is not looking for help with their personal problems. That limits the therapeutic model of stopping mass murderers. In fact, many of the murderers feel superior to the rest of us because of their skill in deception and in manipulating others. A firearms background check looks backwards, and mass murder is simply not a long-term career choice.

We discovered the solution to stop mass murders in schools almost by accident, but the discovery wasn’t simple. Fortunately, we had lots of people looking for a solution. The obvious place to turn for expertise at protecting our children was to ask the people who carried guns at school every day as part of their job. The process of discovery started when we asked school resource officers what they could do to stop mass murder in our schools.

There is a strong strain of professionalism in law enforcement when it comes to learning from the experience of other agencies. Administrators studied what worked and what failed. Someone asked the organization that studied school resource officers to see if an SRO could stop a mass murderer. The answer offered a ray of hope.

Yes, the SRO is an effective deterrent. Unfortunately, he is in uniform so he is easily identified. All the attacker had to do was wait for the SRO to go to lunch or until the SRO was at the opposite end of campus. The multiple attackers at Columbine, Colorado drove the single uniformed officer off-campus with their gunfire. These researchers determined that time was the critical factor in stopping an attack. Whatever solution would stop the attacker had to be inside the building before the first shot was fired. Every other solution took too long and left too many of our children dead or injured.

After the attack in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, we had tens of thousands of school boards and school principals calling their local sheriff or their police chief. They asked for armed officers in every school. Time is so critical that the school officials wanted an armed officer in every building.

Consider the problem of providing an armed officer at school. Not only do you need an armed officer only seconds away from each student, but you have to be there whenever students are present. The defenders have to be on campus early to protect the music and sports activities that take place before class starts. The defenders have to stay late for the sports and drama activities that happen after school. Then we can add in the weekend sports and music activities. Now include the kids riding on the school bus and the sports teams riding to an away game. The magnitude of the problem seems overwhelming. The solution was staring some sheriffs in the face every day.

About one-in-a-dozen adults legally carry concealed in public. In some states, the sheriff issues concealed carry permits. Sheriffs knew that many school staff legally carried a concealed firearm in public. These school staff members carried all the time, except when they were at work.

Some states didn’t have that problem since they never disarmed parents and school staff. After seeing school attacks in other states, more of these school staff simply got more training and carried a concealed firearm at work more often. If that shocks you, then hold on to your seat for what we discovered next.

We have the perception that teachers are politically liberal. That is certainly true of their labor union, but less true of individual teachers. Teachers are our neighbors. Teachers were polled to see if they would be willing to carry a concealed firearm at work as part of a recognized school safety program. Like the population at large, most teachers said no. What was surprising was that a much larger fraction of them said “yes” than the fraction of adults in the general population who have their carry permits. We don’t know the opinions of the rest of the adults at school, people like bus drivers, janitors, and cafeteria workers. We learned that school staff may not like guns but many were willing to carry a gun to protect “their kids.”

The sheriffs who knew which citizens were legally armed in public put together the blind date between the school staff and the school boards. That solved part of the problem. Luckily, the next part of the solution was waiting to be discovered.

The law enforcement brain-trust that set the curriculum for school resource officers looked at the skills required to stop a mass murderer. Only a tiny part of law enforcement training was useful to defend a school. These law enforcement trainers considered if they could prepare civilians to stop a mass murderer. It would take only a few days of instruction rather than the months required for a law enforcement officer at a police academy. For one thing, these ordinary citizens already knew how to carry a concealed firearm because they did it every day.

Again, I think we were lucky. The psychological temptation is to add more and more qualifications on armed school staff. That ignores that each restrictive requirement means another disarmed staff member at school. Quantity has a quality of its own when time is critically important. The perfect solution is the dangerous enemy of good enough. As an aside, the shooting qualifications for school staff are more demanding than the scores required to become a law enforcement officer.

Putting teachers and instructors together was a monumental achievement. The program started small and grew year to year. The organizers were civilian volunteers who cared about saving our kids. They had the vision, raised the money from private donations, and fought the political battles to let school boards do what the boards thought was best. Civic volunteerism on this scale is uniquely American.

FASTER in the Schools
Training on campus

We’ve talked about the defenders and their training. The last critical part of the solution to save our kids was provided by the attackers themselves. The murderers are not afraid of dying but they are deeply afraid of failure. They needed to murder a lot of people and nothing less will do. In their eyes, killing a hundred kids makes them a phenomenon while killing a few kids proves that they were really a failure all along. That turns out to be vitally important.

The murderers feared nameless mediocrity more than they feared death.

While the attacker may plan to murder unarmed students, they fear that they won’t see the little old lunch lady who pops out a back door of the school cafeteria and shoots them in the back. We don’t need a perfect defense but we do need a credible defense that sows doubt in the mind of the attacker. Mass murderers want a sure bet and armed school staff creates significant uncertainty in the attacker’s plans. Mass murderers turned away from schools and looked for other helpless targets in “gun-free” zones.

I have a fairly good imagination and we can imagine all kinds of problems that might exist with armed school staff. Before our imagination runs wild, consider that we already have several thousand man-years of experience with armed staff in schools. We wouldn’t notice that because concealed firearms are concealed. I have been in the training classes with school staff who volunteered to go armed on campus. The teachers and SROs talked to me after class. They were exactly the levelheaded people we want protecting our children. They would stop a bullet with their body to protect their kids.

Now we’ve given them a chance to save our children and a chance to go home alive. The greatest threat our children face is a politician and a journalist who can tell a biased story and leave the kids unprotected. That is another story for another time, but we have more challenges to face.

Let me leave you with this perspective. Our fantasies are not reality. Please consider this before you get overconfident because you play video games and think you could defeat a few elementary school teachers. In exercises on campus, the school staff I saw beat the police officers who tried to attack the schools. Our children are in good hands.

I respect both the SROs and the armed school staff. I’m glad they’re on our side defending our children. I wrote this so that more of us would be on their side.

About Rob Morse

The original article, with sources, is posted here. Rob Morse writes about gun rights at Ammoland, at Clash Daily, at Second Call Defense, and on his SlowFacts blog. He hosts the Self Defense Gun Stories Podcast and co-hosts the Polite Society Podcast. Rob was an NRA pistol instructor and combat handgun competitor.Rob Morse

5 3 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Great article. Why must so many “gun rights” supporters pussyfoot & babystep away from armed civilian staff? LaPierre has backed “gun free” school zones since long before he testified for them in 1998. His genius plan after Sandy Hook was to hire govt-union cops for every school, as if there could ever be enough to put one in every room. As if the govt isn’t big enough & inflation bad enough already. The solution is armed civilians. The only one with you at all times is you. The only adult in a classroom at all times is a teacher.

Last edited 9 hours ago by Russn8r

Seems as though main stream media has partially adopted some of this. Following more recent mass killings, I’ve seen more pictures and stories about the victims. i would however be OK with significant coverage of killers. You can name them all you want – just do so with assigned names as done with hurricanes. Go ahead and publish their picture. Show them in puddles of blood, with their brains scattered about, show how they shat and pissed themselves in death. Tell the story of all their embarrassing failures which contributed to their insanity. Of course, stress killer’s utter failure in… Read more »


you teach your children to be self sufficient and moral and responsible, or you raise them to be victims and live in mommies basement with no hope of self sufficiency drug addict looser have seen both outcomes


I wanted to say that all kids must have their psychologist meetings, and schools must take care of students’ wellness. Without it, we will see more and more such situations and more kills. Sometimes parents don’t understand how hard to study their teens. That’s why there are many resources such as https://uk.edubirdie.com/buy-assignment-online with homework help. We need to make our kids happy.


I was going to reply but decided it’s too early in the morning to deal with your nonsense.


That’s so scary as a parent to think about such a danger to your kid. They must think about ways to do their homework. We must help them to do it, sometimes by using some services because it’s easier. But not about traumatized teens who didn’t get help at the time.


I am scared by actual events. This week terrorists have attacked again in Tel Aviv, and now I start to think that, at least, online learning is safer. I can’t find another solution at the moment.


Much better solution; home school. Better for their developing intellect and safer for their souls.


Not all parents are good at such.


Thanks Rob, let’s get this information spread throughout the main stream media. We can all share it with our school boards.


excellent article, truly worthy of sharing, thank you rob.


The No Gun Zone law passed in 1990, sponsored by Joe Biden, which banned guns in certain public places notably public schools facilitated these mass shootings. This law ” enables and guarantees a successful mass shooting every time” by making everyone in the public school system or venue defenseless and easy targets. This law also guarantees the shooters’ safety by making sure they alone had weapons during the carnage. Please notice that all these shooting occur at public schools, this law does not cover private schools or events which have their own armed security. There have been no mass shootings at private schools in the same 30 years. (1990 to… Read more »


Interesting and well written. I can only find one point that does not sit right. In one place the author says “willing to take a bullet to protect our kids.” I would be willing to fire a bullet, take a life, to protect some one else’s child but I’m not willing to take a bullet to protect anyone except my own. Trainers often tell us to visualize scenarios in which we would act defensively and having done that my decision is to protect myself and my own. Being willing to die to do that is hard to do but being… Read more »


Taking a bullet to protect their students IS something teachers have done on multiple occasions. Pretty much every time there is a mass shooting media covers at least one hero who did just that. Like you I don’t think I’d sacrifice myself for individuals outside family, but that doesn’t mean there are not those who would. As Rob Morse says, shouldn’t we allow such heroes tools to be more effective and increase their odds of both stopping an attack and surviving? You have thought through scenarios deciding what you ought to do commiserate with your morals and skill set. However… Read more »


The Principal of my school actively saught out teachers with Law Enforcement and Military Background. On my campus, he found three of us. We would weekly get together and work on our skills. We also hunted together and by doing these things, we learned a lot about each other’s abilities. All four of us (the principal included) carried concealed every day at school. No one knew except those who had a need to. When we finally were assigned an SRO, we began to train with him. We all brought skills and experience to the table. We all improved, the SRO… Read more »


Thank you for your service (trite… I know, but sincere) i strongly agree with need for last ditch protection, but really appreciate your last sentence. If someone becomes a school-shooter best option is to stop them as quickly as possible by whatever method is available – lethal or not. I suspect some of the shooters could have been put on better path through reasonable adult interaction, had it been provided early enough. If not, identifying a threat early allows preemptive action from suspension to incarceration or even intercepting them outside school before they start shooting. OK – I don’t understand… Read more »

Wild Bill

That principle was (hopefully still is) a wise fellow!


Be a parent , children need guidance not another friend, Teenagers will push parents to the limit. Parents need to be held accountable for their children’s actions. Parents need to be held accountable for their own actions and their firearms. Safeguard your firearms at all times.


Wasn’t it in Mi. last year,where the parents bought the pistol for their underage disturbed son?


Bad parents stupid parents should be held accountable.

I remember as a kid my parents saying you live under my roof you will do as I say till your old enough to move out as we are responsible for your actions till then this is not a democracy or up for debate