When It Comes To Schools, The Best Gunfight Is The One That Doesn’t Happen

In The 74 today Drew Pache and I take a look at school security. The defeat of the shooter at Covenant School was professional and highly competent, which is not always the case. Still, two things are true at once. The violence there could have been far worse. It was also not the best outcome, six people still died.

From The 74:

The police body cam videos from the shooting at Nashville’s Covenant School left few unimpressed. The training and professionalism of the officers was obvious, and despite the tragic loss of life, it could have been far worse. Their actions were a stark juxtaposition with what transpired in Uvalde, Texas, or Parkland, Florida, where disorganized or delayed responses compounded tragedy. 

The outstanding performance of the Nashville Metro Police officers likely drastically reduced the number of casualties, but six killed instead of 15 or 20 doesn’t feel like a win. We must not lose sight of an underlying reality: By the time a gunfight breaks out at a school, many systems have already failed. Defeating a shooter at a school should be the very last line of defense. Politicians and educators should commend the heroism of the Nashville police without creating the impression that this response is the ideal outcome.

That’s because when it comes to schools, the most effective gunfight is the one that never happens.

You can read the entire commentary here in The 74. We talk about the measures – most importantly healthy school culture – that schools can take upstream to prevent shootings. When four in five shooters tell you what they’re going to do ahead of time we should take that seriously. Don’t take our word for it, the Secret Service says the same thing.

Drew Pache and I previously wrote about security in The 74 here, and why training for adults is more important than scaring kids. Drew, who is a retired Special Forces officer with substantial global experience, wrote here about why arming teachers is a lousy idea. And I’ve written about while these episodes are horrifying, they’re rare and there is far more common gun violence we should be more focused on.