The Lessons of the Sandy Hook Report

Editor's Note: Tactical Defense Institute's John Benner rarely weighs in on issues, leaving that function to others. When John addresses an issue it is noteworthy and well worth the read. This article was originally posted on the TDI Facebook page. Republished with permission.

by John Benner

The official report from the Connecticut States Attorney's office on the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre has been released.

This horrific event has had a tremendous impact in many ways. My belief is the impact was so strong, not based on numbers killed, but the age of the 20 very young children murdered.

The interesting and most important section of the report from my standpoint is the timeline of the event. Time is THE important factor in the taking of and hopefully saving of lives. The FASTER the killer is stopped, the less lives we lose.

At TDI we believe without question (and have for a long time) in the arming of school staff (willing, trained and competent). Quite honestly, I considered that a pipe dream until the Sandy Hook Massacre took place. Everything changed, and we had to start asking the hard questions. What is a real answer, because law enforcement is not effective.

After speaking with Jim Irvine and the Buckeye group we partnered with Buckeye Firearms Foundation to do classes specifically for school staff members. Buckeye named it FASTER, certainly a fitting name.

I am not saying that law enforcement does not wish to do their job or will not do it - they are simply not there and the response takes way too long. The Sandy Hook report proves that once again.

There four specific time lines in each of these events.

1. Time the event starts to the first 911 call is placed.
2. Dispatch time.
3. Response to scene time by LE.
4. Entry to the building and solving the problem.

Following is the Sandy Hook time line according to the official report.

9:30 AM – Coward enters the building by shooting out glass to get by the locked doors. The first 911 call is received at 9:35.39 AM.
1. 5 minutes 39 seconds.

9:36.06 AM Newtown Police Dispatch puts out the active shooter call at Sandy Hook
2. 27 seconds – "outstanding."

9:37.38 AM Connecticut State Police are dispatched to Sandy Hook.

9:39.00 AM First Newtown officer on scene followed 13 seconds later by 2 other officers.
3. 2 minutes 54 seconds.

9:40.03 AM Last gunshot is heard. Believed to be the suicide shot of the coward.

9:44.47 AM First Newtown officer enters the school.
4. 5 minutes 47 seconds just to enter the building, this does not show how long it took to find the dead coward.

This massacre was done essentially five minutes before the police even entered the building. You and I were not there. I throw no stones because I do not know how they were trained, what they ran into or the thought process of all involved. It is easy being the quarterback when the game is over. My point is if we do not have willing trained and competent armed people in the school or any other "GUN FREE" zone we cannot win this or even stop it.

The school staff members we and the Cerino Group have trained in the last year have been awesome. Buckeye Firearms Foundation and their terrific volunteers have put forth so much effort to make this happen. With 1500 more school employee volunteers to take the FASTER class just in Ohio, proves the willingness of those here to step up and protect not only themselves but other staff and obviously the children.

We need more law enforcement to step up to the plate, realize they can't be as effective as they would like to be and have the courage to politically-back arming school staff.

To those Boards of Education, look at the real problem. There are many other things to do as well as arming the staff. I agree with most of them. But if you don't have armed staff as a final solution, YOU are responsible for the deaths that will inevitably occur should one of these horrible events come to your school.

John Benner is a 37-year veteran police Lieutenant and Vietnam Veteran. John recently retired as Coordinator of the Drug Abuse Reduction Task Force. John spent 25 years with the Hamilton County Police Association Regional SWAT Team. During 20 years as Commander, John received several prestigious awards including Contribution to Law Enforcement, Police Leadership and Officer of the Year. John is certified to instruct and a guest instructor for the Ohio Peace Officer’s Training Council (OPOTA). John is a member of and presenter for the International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors (IALEFI). John is the co-author of the nationally used CQPC Program.

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