Purdue University Homeland Security Institute: Guns In Schools Save Lives

Dr. J. Eric Dietz, director of the Purdue University’s Homeland Security Institute, presented research at the recent NRA Annual Meeting in Indianapolis regarding active shooters in schools. Their threat assessment modeling program examined the active shooter scenario and looked at factors that would be most effective in reducing casualties. These factors included locked doors, school resource officers, and staff carrying concealed.

The control scenario was just a school with locked doors and no resource officers or staff with concealed carry permits. The researchers found that the control scenario had the most casualties and the longest response time. Their model showed that the response time would be 10-12 minutes and an average of 20 casualties. Their model used historical active shooter data to arrive at this.

When a school resource officer is introduced to the scenario, response times dropped to a quarter of the original times and casualties were reduced by two-thirds.

The scenario involving concealed carry in the school had rather conservative parameters. Only 5-10% of the staff and administration carried concealed and those holders sheltered in place with their students. They only engaged the threat when the shooter came into the room in which they were sheltered. In other words, they were not roaming the school actively searching out the shooter. The Homeland Security Institute found that adding concealed carry holders to the mix reduced both response times and casualties the most of any scenario tested. As Dr. Dietz charactered it, more friendly guns in a firefight is a good thing.

The research has not yet been published but will be soon.

You can see Cam Edward’s full interview with Dr. Dietz below:

Family Structure And School Shootings

Let me start this off by saying I was raised by a single mother. As I’ve alluded to many times, my father was an Army careerist. I am the unusual Army brat in that I didn’t move from base to base. My parents made the decision long before I was born that my dad would move base to base and on deployments while my mom maintained the family home in North Carolina. It don’t know why they came to this arrangement but it just was what they did. The result was that I saw my dad on occasional weekends and when he got leave. While my parents officially separated when I was nine, it really didn’t change the reality of things for me.

W. Bradford Wilcox of the American Enterprise Institute has a very interesting article in the National Review Online regarding what he calls “sons of divorce” and school shootings. He notes that most school shootings over the past year from Newtown to Arapahoe High School have involved young men whose parents were divorced or never married. Wilcox goes on to say that upheaval at home often finds its way to the world outside.

The social scientific evidence about the connection between violence and broken homes could not be clearer. My own research suggests that boys living in single mother homes are almost twice as likely to end up delinquent compared to boys who enjoy good relationships with their father. Harvard sociologist Robert Sampson has written that “Family structure is one of the strongest, if not the strongest, predictor of variations in urban violence across cities in the United States.” His views are echoed by the eminent criminologists Michael Gottfredson and Travis Hirschi, who have written that “such family measures as the percentage of the population divorced, the percentage of households headed by women, and the percentage of unattached individuals in the community are among the most powerful predictors of crime rates.”

Why is fatherlessness such a big deal for our boys (almost all of these incidents involve boys)? Putting the argument positively, sociologist David Popenoe notes that “fathers are important to their sons as role models. They are important for maintaining authority and discipline. And they are important in helping their sons to develop both self-control and feelings of empathy toward others, character traits that are found to be lacking in violent youth.” Boys, then, who did not grow up with an engaged, attentive, and firm father are more vulnerable to getting swept up in the Sturm und Drang of adolescence and young adulthood, and in the worst possible way.

I was lucky in that I had a strong (and strong willed) mother who had taught high school for many years and was used to dealing with adolescent boys. I also had many good male role models in my life including uncles and Scout leaders. My father, while absent from my life for long stretches of time, did his best to keep involved through letters and through making sure I got plenty of good attention when he was at home. I still remember some of the fishing trips we took.

I think it is harder for young men and boys nowadays. Divorce is more prevalent, the media and the entertainment industry have denigrated the role of fathers in the family, and bullying in schools is more insidious through the use of social media. Good male role models are fewer and farther between. I don’t want to even get started on the role of schools and their emasculating curricula. Supporting and promoting the family as well as activities such as Scouting and organized athletics would not cure the problem of these broken young men but it might be a good start.