The tragedy at Chardon High School is another reminder that it's open season for criminals or wackos to bring guns on campus and shoot whomever they want.
I say it's open season because schools have declared themselves to be "off limits" for carrying firearms. That means law-abiding folks have been disarmed and left at the mercy of those who don't care what the law says. The old saying is true: when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.
Pardon me for including the cry-baby "outsider" kids in the category of outlaws, but that's exactly what they area. You won't find me shedding any tears of sympathy for the nut-job students who get it in their head that it's okay to bring guns to school and shoot the place up because they weren't included in the popular peer group, or even because they were bullied. Hell, I was bullied when I was a kid. Any kid who wasn't a bully got bullied by the jerks who were. But back in my day we just took our knocks then sucked it up and toughed it out until we grew up and got strong enough to defend ourselves. Nobody shot anybody, at least I never heard about it happening.
But today, school shootings are, unfortunately, not uncommon. In a report on FoxNews.com by Larry Banaszak, chief of police at Otterbein University, he said, "At a recent FBI training that I attended, the agent commented that more people are killed by gunfire in our schools than by fires or tornados."
I'm not sure about those statistics, but apparently the problem is serious enough that there is training aimed specifically at dealing with this issue.
Then Banaszak went on to describe the shooter-on-campus survival concepts that are now taught at his university: "There are three basic survival responses," he said, "run, hide and barricade, then as a last resort attack the shooter."
That final option is very interesting. It goes like this — the first person who notices that someone has a gun yells GUN, then everyone else in the room starts throwing stuff at the attacker, books, chairs, tables, whatever is handy, aiming for the bad guy's face and eyes. That is intended to cause him to flinch, denying him the opportunity to take aim at anyone in particular.
During that exact moment, occupants of the besieged room rush the gunman, swarming and tackling him. The first few people in the swarm attack the assailant's gun hand, slamming it to the ground. Other swarmers pile on the gunman's body, holding him down while the first ones strip the gun away.
Students at the university are taught to place belts, t-shirts, etc. around the shooter's throat and into his nose, mouth and eyes to disrupt his ability to breathe and see. Meanwhile, someone is calling the police. The swarmers remain on top of the gunman until police arrive, allowing him to breathe, but nothing else.
This tactic has its critics, but when asked to come up with an alternative, they don't have anything to suggest. You can either sit there like a fish in a barrel and get shot, or you can take action to disarm the intruder. Personally, if I'm going down, at least I'm going down fighting.
Until schools wise up and allow (in fact require) qualified personnel to carry defensive weapons on campus so they can stop a shooter with a well-placed double-tap, that venue will remain safe hunting ground for anyone who decides to stroll into the classroom and start executing helpless targets of opportunity.
At least the swarm concept gives the victims a fighting chance to save themselves. And, by the way, the "attack the shooter" tactic can be used anywhere — a store, a fast food restaurant, etc., not only at school.
I applaud Banaszak and the Otterbein University for taking these steps toward protecting their students.