How Many Dead is it Going to Take?

How Many Dead is it Going to Take?

The last school fire that killed more than 10 people was March 31, 1954 in Cheektowaga, NY (15 dead). NFPA Website HERE.There were 8 total school fires from 1937 to 1954 that claimed the lives of 755 students, teachers and administrators.

Since then, Fire Prevention has greatly improved. In every school there are fire extinguishers, sprinkler systems and fire drills. All of the buildings are constructed to meet a specific code to prevent combustion and the spread of fire.

Since these changes were implemented by Fire Safety Experts and the local government there are only an estimated 25 injuries from school fires per year (HERE). Fatalities are extremely rare.

It took 4 hijackings on September 11, 2001 and the loss of 2,996 lives to radically change airport security.

Now when we go to airports we go through pre-flight screening. Metal detectors, we take out our laptops, and toss our shampoo. We have Air Marshals who fly in secret on almost every flight. We remove our shoes…we bitch and complain…but since 9-11 there has not been another hijacking in the US. In fact, airplane hijackings are extremely rare, the last one globally was in 2016. (HERE)

And in all this time…

We didn’t ban fire. 

We still fly planes. 

However it took SWEEPING changes implemented by experts in the field of fire prevention and airport security to all but STOP these tragic events.

Let’s look at school shootings (massacres)….

There are records of shootings on school grounds since 1764. Most of these are relatively small events. But if Columbine on April 20, 1999 where 13 were murdered and 24 wounded didn’t change anything, then the Virginia Tech Massacre on April 16, 2007 where 33 were murdered and 23 wounded should have moved us into action.

But it didn’t.

And the 28 murdered and 2 wounded in Newtown, CT on December  14, 2012 still didn’t get compel us to change either.

Not even the 10 dead and 9 wounded in Rosenberg, Oregon on October 1, 2015, the 6 dead and 18 wounded on the Rancho Tehama Reserve, California, November 14, 2017 or even the 17 murdered and 14 wounded in Parkland, Florida change anything.

The shame of it is that these aren’t soldiers, cops or firefighters being killed – they’re mostly CHILDREN and we have left it up to CIVILIANS to dictate how they will best be protected.

You got it –  the people who ultimately decide how to protect your child are the members of your local school board.

Not the military, not the police…school administrators, former teachers with PHD’s decide how to handle this. To be honest, I wouldn’t trust any of them to run a neighborhood watch let alone decide how to best protect my children. They are grossly underqualified.

But it’s not their fault – they didn’t sign up for this. 

But regardless they still decide on how to protect your child.

I submit to you that the vast majority of school administration has little or no idea about securing a facility and crowd control. If this were the case, they would be working for Homeland Security.

It’s time to take control of how our schools are secured.

When are we going to declare a WAR ON SCHOOL SHOOTINGS?

When are the people paid to protect us going to be allowed to do their jobs?

If my kids have to get up 30 minutes earlier or show up a specific time to get to school – I WILL SUCK IT UP (and so will they).

If I have to greet an armed trained officer standing guard over my most prized possession – that sheep dog is going to get a great Christmas present from the Ross house. And I hope and pray it’s the most BORING detail on the planet. 

If I have to pay a little more, or donate a little more so modifications to my school can be made – I will pay.

I’d rather pay for that than a funeral.

So you can kick and scream about gun control – there are over 300,000,000 guns in the US – they’re not leaving and the fastest answer to this is to PROTECT THE TARGET.

I might not know who is going to attack – but we all know WHERE AND WHEN they’re going to attack. 

We can fortify our schools and protect our children A LOT faster than we can debate gun control and talk about prevention.

The choice is yours America – let academia make tactical decisions based on your child’s safety – or let the people paid to protect and serve…PROTECT AND SERVE.

Train Honestly,

Damian Ross
The Self Defense Company

PS. In spite of what happened in Parkland with the failure of the School Resource Officer, this last SRO in Great Mills, MD. stepped up, did his job and saved lives.

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  1. Well said Damian. IT is tragic that more has not been done to fortify the schools and get better security (i.e. armed security at the high schools). Every time I go to my sons high school, I am identifying weaknesses in protection. If I can do this, I am certain someone else can too! And I am prior military! Perhaps it should be left up to the people how to better protect our children and our schools. As we have all witnessed lately, the feds seem to be in over their heads.

  2. Right on. Tired of them going around the real issues to focus on agenda of 2nd amendment rights infringements

  3. Brilliant! You should be interviewed on Fox news so that the whole country gets a strong dose of common sense!

  4. I teach a certified seminar on Countering the Mass Shooter Threat. Some facets of the solution are obvious – safety plans, locks, vigilance, school resource officer or other security, etc. Some potent features of our overall solution are not as obvious, but better in the long run. Damian, your point is right on, although school management is not likely to change its structure. We need to educate the educators.

    1. There are two solutions – immediate safety and security and long term prevention.

      Immediate safety and security is easy – we know how to do it. It just takes money and acceptance.

      In addition to your plan – BODY ARMOR needs to be part of that solution. Teachers and administrators should have PPE – just like firefighters and cops. I bet you more people got shot at the Parkland School than the history of the Law Enforcement in the town.

      The second part of the issue is cultural. It has to do with everything from bullying, social media, medication and who know what else – to be honest, I don’t think we can change it.

      Finally, there’s the gun issue. There are 300,000,000 million guns in this country. They’re not going away – enforcing the laws is the issue. Enforce age limits or up the age to 26 (since most school killers are between the ages of 15-25).

      Securing schools better is a problem we can fix.

  5. I get the people who want to live in a world without guns and violence against children. But that’s not the world we have. What you’re recommending doesn’t require us to change the world or human nature. Serious school security could be implemented next week or, at the latest, next month. And once we do it, our children would be immediately safer. That has to be job one.

    When we’ve hardened the schools and staffed them with security professionals, then we can talk about mental illness, gaming, fatherless families, and all the other potential causes of these acts of violence. Once our schools are secure and our children are safe, then we can take on those things…not before.

    Thanks for the straight shot of clarity, Damien.

  6. I see two possible extremes we could go to in terms of preventing mass shootings (at schools, workplace, wherever)
    1 – Arm everybody
    2 – Disarm everybody

    For option 1, when I say “everybody”, I mean every law abiding adult (no felons, no mentally ill persons). The problem with this is that well, everyone is armed and now potentially dangerous. A dispute over a parking space could turn deadly. The upside is that anyone who wants to become a mass shooter will face a multitude of armed people ready to stop him dead in his tracks.

    For option 2, while similar to what we have on airplanes, I don’t see it as being feasible. Police would have to stop and search lots and lots of people to ensure compliance. Law abiding citizens won’t buy illegal firearms, but when has the law stopped a criminal? I’m sure the black market would love to take over the firearms business. Add to that the fact that there are DVDs readily available that show how to make an AR-15 and a Glock (and possibly others that I don’t know about) using a file, hacksaw, and drill.

    The 3rd option, which seems to be what Damian is recommending, is beefing up security at schools. We could also add security at the workplace as well to prevent workplace shootings. I think this may be feasible, but I’m not sure the anti-2nd Amendment folks would go for it.

  7. I have a question…the 17 year old who shot up the school in Great Mills, MD today, did it with a handgun.

    Who owns the firearm?

    The minimum age to purchase and possess a handgun in Maryland is 21.

    The Maryland law also says that:

    A person “may not store or leave a loaded firearm in a location where the person knew or should have known that an unsupervised child would gain access to the firearm.”1 This section does not apply if:

    The child’s access is supervised by an individual age 18 or older;
    The child’s access was obtained as a result of unlawful entry;
    The firearm is in the possession or control of a law enforcement officer while the officer is engaged in official duties; or
    The child has a certificate of firearm and hunter safety.2
    State administrative regulations may impose storage requirements in certain locations.

    This doesn’t mention handguns, just firearms.

    I assume it’s the parents and unless the kid broke into the gun safe, shouldn’t the parents be facing criminal charges?

    Forget the “signs he was crazy” but just from a firearm ownership perspective.

    Shouldn’t there be some responsibility on the gun owner?

  8. Damian ,

    As usual your upfront honest practical approach makes perfect sense. Cowardly attacks like the ones you described are the hallmark of addled or disgruntled individuals motivated by irrational emotional thoughts.

    It is such an enigma to have anyone placed in “a supposed safe” area fearful of attack by their peers or opportunists. It is insane to expect things to change without professional intervention. Surely history has confirmed a change in command and practical safeguards are urgently needed now.

    I sincerely hope that common sense will prevail in the system and those responsible will step up and respect the fears of their staff and students. Also to honour the past victims and consider the survivors their friends and families and facilitate these urgent changes.

    The other point you eluded to is quite important that being the stigma attached to legitimate firearm ownership.

    Well said my friend you have a vast following of peaceloving support people behind you out here thinking the same thoughts as you.

    The message is clear that expert intervention and Action is necessary and imperative.

    Be safe always

    Liam B

  9. Like all of you know (or should know), keeping & bearing arms requires a lot of responsibility, maturity, training, etc… Having raised and/or mentored several children who are now young adults, I have had to cross this road several times now. Were they “Ready”, “Willing,” & “Able” to come to the defense of them self, others, family, friends, law enforcement, community, city, county, state, country, etc.., with the arms they were provided, keeping and/or bearing if & when duty called. Were they willing too (or have they) finished high school, join scouting, join civil air patrol, join 4-H, join FFA, do their chores, fill out the selective service form, stay free of drugs, enroll in fire arms courses, participate in public safety classes, etc.., My point is these are some types of prerequisites along with “Certificates of Competency” that could be considered for a rational middle ground between the PRO fire arms side & the ANTI fire arms side. Yea, I am aware of give an inch & they will take a mile.

  10. How Many Dead is it Going to Take? Good question. I’m thinking that those on the left would rather allow the problem to fester so it gets so bad that people will demand a total confiscation of all firearms. Classic Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals. :-(

  11. Damien, I like your common sense approach to this tragic situation. People can scream all day long about outlawing guns, finding ways to circumvent 2nd amendment rights, vilifying the NRA, and even if those who are opposed to gun rights had their way, it would not fix this problem. I’ll bet you a $1.98 that if guns were outlawed nationwide, the lawless in this country would still obtain weapons illegally through a black market. Having those who are paid to protect us (the police, the national guard) secure our school is the fastest, best and most effective solution.

    1. Heroin and methamphetamine are illegal. Yet in every high school you can find someone who can get you hooked up.

      Outlawing it does not work.

  12. It is simple, guns are not the problem, screwed up people are the problem and as long as we ignore them the problem will not go away.

  13. So what am I going to do and what can you do…

    Well, I’m not talking to the school board, I’m going over their heads.

    It’s time to pass legislation and have a mandate that says –

    Schools need a safety audit and an outline plan of implementation by specific dates.

    I’m really over simplifying this, but the point is – schools aren’t going to do anything until the state tells them to do it.

    Sunday we’re having a meet and greet at our Republican club – there I’m going to speak with our local assemblywoman who actually went to school with my wife.

    We’ll see – but the one thing politicians love to do is sponsor legislature. That’s where the fight has to start.

    The teacher’s unions want this. The parents want this and the students want this.

    If you go to your local school board it’s going to end there and you’re not going to get anywhere.

    1. Two articles that speak to your plan for action.

      First, based on parental concerns, the school board of Pikeville, Kentucky recently voted to allow trained armed teachers in the Pikeville school district. The superintendent of schools is 100% behind the idea. Article is here:

      Second is a call from another Kentucky school district (Lexington) superintendent for the governor to develop and fund a statewide school security plan. Article:

      Pikeville is a smaller, more rural community and arguably more prepared to accept guns in general and face the reality of school safety. Lexington is a city with a mix of people that would include more resistance to arming teachers and guns in general. This is the scenario you describe and they are going to need support from the state to do anything about security.

  14. Damien, you say that schools need to be fortified but you don’t say how. Let me help.

    The first thing that needs to be done at every US school is lock all the doors. Visitors can enter the school only through the main door, which is locked with two-way communication and a buzzer. Only those with a legitimate reason to be there are allowed entrance. All the other doors are also locked, opened with a key card similar to what hotels do. I am also supportive of SRO’s/SRD’s but locking the doors is easier, quicker, and less expensive.

    1. I appreciate your input, but it’s not that simple.

      First, controlling the points of entry are part of it – but how are the doors to be locked?

      If they’re locked from the inside, someone can let anyone in from the inside or simply prop the door open and come back later.

      Locked or chained from both sides presents a fire and a shooter hazzard.

      If a shooter breaches the main entrance, or any entrance and the doors are locked, IT WILL BE A KILLING FIELD.

      You need to fortify schools with bulletproof glass, metal detectors, SROs, BPP for staff as well as giving them first responder tools like webbing, celox, glass breaker, bear spray among other things.

      No – it’s not as simple as locking the doors.

      1. Just noting… I said the FIRST thing, not the only thing, is locking all the doors. Doors are never locked from the inside, for obvious reasons. They don’t have to be locked since anyone with legitimate access can use a card or code.

        IF a shooter breaches the main entrance — which hasn’t happened yet since in each instance the shooter just walked in the front door — that still buys time. Again, I am not opposed to SRO’s in every school (we have that in my jurisdiction) but it is expensive. Think 50K+/yr for each school. Add another 20K if you want a K9.

    1. Yeah….not a big fan of homeschooling – now I’m not a developmental psychology expert but in my personal experience – school for better for worse provides certain socialization skills you can’t provide at home.

      Rob, from the very brief time I’ve “known” you – I think you will agree…the problem with these kids is their lack of coping skills.

      Everyone gets a trophy.
      Everyone is special.
      There are no wrong answers.

      We all need a little “law of the jungle” – it’s in our DNA. It’s what tells us we’re not all going to be president, Bill Gates or MVP of the NFL.

      So…this is another problem and we need to adapt…until the next thing comes along.

  15. It appears the pendulum may have swung to the other side since I was in school. When I went to school it was to actually learn; get an education. We got our meaningful social inter action in community organizations; 4-H, Scouting, Explorers, Venturing, Civil Air Patrol, Sea Cadets, etc.., Now days it seems like it is about socializing, texting, snap chatting, sex, drugs, modeling, sports, etc.., Perhaps it is were I lived & grew up, which was in the country with plenty of outdoors; on a farm.

  16. This is very well said Damien!

    Here in Mid-Michigan alone, there is a threat in a school every school day since the Florida shooting.

    Currently there is one being investigated in a local community college that I attended, but the college is not taking it seriously. No emails, phone class, or texts have been sent out to the students. All they are doing are increasing police presents around the area of the school.
    I do agree with the increased police presents, but it’s not going to stop the attack.

    Outlawing guns won’t stop this. It’s not the guns it’s the people.
    We blame the people in domestic abuse situations, we blame the people in drunk driving situations, and we blame the people for possession of narcotics. All of these listed above are illegal, yet they are still done.

    We need more security in schools, end of story. Our children need to be safe.
    I was homeschooled myself and have never had any issues with social skills, etc.
    But homeschooling a couple of kids here and there won’t solve the issue either.

    “How many dead is it going to take?” Just sits in my mind and I wonder how it doesn’t to those in charge of our children.

    1. Like I said…I’m not a developmental psych expert :).

      The issue is we can’t have academics providing tactical solutions. The cops at the college are a bandaid. In a few days, they’ll be gone and it’s business as usual.

      I know, you know it and the killer knows it.

  17. Damian its like yousay in the training course. The gun is not the weapon its just a tool. The real weapon is the sick bastard using it to kill children with. Yet after every such incident the debate rages on about guns. I think it just gives most people the feeling that maybe there is something they can do about it. Its really not even a rational argument. It seems to me the most pressing issue is why all these defective sickos just seem to be coming out of the woodwork. That’s much more frightening to me than the number of guns out there.

  18. The root cause of the madness is PLANETARY OVER POPULATION and UNCONTROLLED CHILDBIRTH.
    Over 190 countries, over 7100 languages & over 1,000,000 people immigrating to the USA every year.
    The infrastructures of America: economics, agriculture, housing, transportation, LAW ENFORCEMENT, water, education (SCHOOLS), etc.., can not sustain the “EFFECT” of the “CAUSE”; OVER POPULATION !
    Until that changes every responsible individual on the planet needs to learn & practice self defense.

  19. So now they will give 18-inch ball bats to teachers. Think about this.
    First, what type of people become school teachers? Usually not the kickboxer, special forces types . . .
    Next, you are going to give a small ball bat to a teacher, then tell them to charge an armed gunman with a small ball bat.
    Please understand: the Army Special Forces (SF) are all teachers, but in a very different setting. We contact the indigenous people, convince them we are there to help them, then teach them commando tactics. A few SF veterans have done it, but most SF vets don’t teach kindergarten or home ec.
    Finally, are you going to charge a gunman with a small baseball bat? I think Damian has some better suggestions. Log into your STDS pages and see the better solutions.

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