On Newtown, and Non-Lethal School Defenses

Here’s an email I sent recently to Brad Rieger, the Superintendent of Sylvania Schools (and an all around pleasant and very smart fellow.) I thought it was worth sharing:

Hello Brad,

I’ve been giving some thought to the Newtown tragedy, and to the debate about whether to allow arming of teachers or posting of armed security guards in schools. In my opinion as a parent and CCW permit holder, there may be safer and more cost-effective means of defending a school against an armed assailant than firearms. I thought I’d run this suggestion by you to get a professional educator’s opinion, and in the hopes you’d spread this idea among your colleagues to solicit their opinions as well.

In particular, I’m thinking of devices such as the Torch, the Inferno (also see Wired’s article), the Dazzler (or an open-source variant), “less lethal” weapons or paintball markers, and others. These devices can be quite inexpensive — For example, the Torch is $199 and puts out 4400 lumens. (350 lumens is enough to blind an attacker for a second or two after exposure, even in broad daylight.) They also have other notable advantages, in particular, they are easier to aim for effect than a firearm, they require little (if any) specialized training, and they pose little or no threat of permanent injury or death to the students. If devices like these were placed in strategic locations throughout a school, the entire staff and/or student body could actively participate in their own defense against an armed intruder.

Please let me know what you think about this general idea when you get the chance. I’ll be looking forward to hearing from you.


Update: The WP put up an article a few days back on Pennsylvania schools hiring armed security guards.

Update: The Toledo Blade put up a similar article about the schools in Montpelier, Ohio arming their janitors.

Newtown Memorial

photo credit: NorthEndWaterfront.com via photopin cc

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