When seconds count – real solutions for real problems

By Jim Irvine

When seconds count, police are only minutes away. It’s an old cliché, but every day we have a “news” story that illustrates it's truth.

What if a school full of children are being murdered by a killer with a gun? What if police were there, but they waited outside? What if your child died as a result? For too many parents, these are not "what if" questions. They are living with the grief. With that knowledge, why would you just wait and hope it does not happen to your child? Love requires that you get involved on your child’s behalf.

The situation – a killer is in a school or church or other gathering place. He has a gun and is killing innocent, unarmed people. Seconds go by and another life is lost. If one was killed as you started reading this story, it may be time for another to be shot. At Virginia Tech, a person was shot every 15 seconds. More than 3 out of 4 died every minute. When will society decide that enough is enough? Sadly, I fear it will not be in time to save the innocent lives lost to the next mass murderer. But there is a solution.

We all understand that police can not be everywhere, but why would police wait after arriving on the scene of an ongoing school shooting? Because they were told to. New information is changing how police respond.

Traditionally, police always waited for backup before entering a building with an active killer. (Note the term. “Shooters” are good people. “Killers” are murders. Correct your local media every time they mix them up.) They did so for their own safety, and a lot of other good and valid reasons. But today’s active killers (Columbine, Paducah, Jonesborough, Virginia Tech) are a different kind of criminal. They are not looking for a gun fight – they are looking for a body count. And waiting for backup is giving them the time they need to accomplish their goal. It’s time to stop helping them kill.

WCPO in Cincinnati recently ran a story on this topic. Reporter Brandon Keefe is to be commended on an excellent piece. I highly recommend you view the video.

After the Columbine massacre, the tactic of waiting for SWAT teams was replaced by quickly assembling a team of 4-5 officers to go in. Now that tactic is being replaced by one where a lone officer or team of 2 goes in without backup. The reason – time. The quicker the response, the less people die.

John Benner who owns Tactical Defense Institute (TDI) in West Union has worked with Ron Borsch who runs SEALE (South East Area Law Enforcement) Regional Training Academy in Bedford, Ohio. Independently, they came to the same conclusion; the first officer(s) on scene should make an immediate entry to engage the killer as quickly as possible. Do not wait for backup.

Borsch has studied over 90 active killer incidents. Benner has run hundreds of force on force exercises. They have developed the best tactics available to deal with active killers. For those who hear their message and give it due consideration, there is little disagreement. Benner and Borsch know what works. We need to ensure all police officers and school officials have learned the lessons written in the blood of our lost children.

There have been enough mass murders that irrefutable data now exists. Studies have been done. We know what works, and what does not. It is time to equip our police with updated knowledge and skills. Blue Ash police Chief Chris Wallace has made sure all his officers have received this new training. They are ready.

Has your city properly trained all their police? Is your police chief being forward thinking and pro-active with training? Or mired in outdated tactics and ancestor worship? If you don’t like the answer, now is the time to start preparing.

Knowing that time is of the essence, we should look for ways to stop killers quicker. Ideally schools should have armed police officers present at all times. Because that is not always possible, teachers and school administrators need to be armed. Not all of them, but at least one of them, in every school, every minute of every school day. Anything less is giving the next mass murderer the time he needs to kill. Our children are dying for us to respond, and it is our duty to see to their needs.

If you are a police officer, take this information to your superiors. Be proactive in getting your department trained.

If you are a citizen, email this story to your local police chief.

If you are a teacher or parent, make sure your school is as safe as it can be. The life you save may be the one you hold most dear.

Further resources:
WCPO When Seconds Count: Stopping active killers

Ohio trainer makes the case for single officer entry against active killers

Tactical Defense Institute

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