Friday, May 02, 2014

NRA Convention The Dave Grossman Seminar

Lt. Col. Dave Grossman should need no introduction to the serious gun owner. The author of On Killing and On Combat and many more books, he's an expert on the subject violence. If you haven't read the above two books and you carry a firearm for protection, you owe it to yourself to do so.

The Presentation he gave was tittled: Sheepdogs! The Bulletproof Mind for the Armed Citizen

The Seminar was advertised by the NRA like so:

Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, co-author of Glenn Beck's new book Control: Exposing the Truth About Guns, and author of the book On Combat and several others, gives his special presentation on mental and physical preparedness for the armed citizen. Grossman will speak about your role as an Armed American Citizen in the future challenges to our nation. Hear about the potential threats, be they internal or external, and the response to those threats as intended by our Founding Fathers. Grossman will also discuss how to prevent PTSD and be physically and emotionally triumphant after an armed encounter. Seating for this one-of-a-kind presentation is first come, first served.

The seminar was all that and more.

First Col. Grossman immediately grabbed everyone's attention by noting that while no children have been killed by a fire in school in 50 years, many have been by violence, and the biggest reason for it is denial of the problem. Why none form fire - we have fire drills, fire alarms, sprinklers and fire resistant building requirements. We currently lack killer-resistant schools because we continue to deny the problem and not take steps to detect potential killers, deter them from attacking by denying them access to their targets, and to effectively defeat them when they do attack.

He also stated something that changed my worldview on the matter. He noted that the media and politicians are calling these "School Shootings" committed by "Active Shooters".

These murders he correctly pointed out aren't school shootings - these are school massacres and mass killings. Here the media and others are focusing wrongly on, and blaming a weapon used and not the killer. Using the term active shooter stigmatizes people who shoot and associates shooters with criminal acts.

From now one, this blog will not refer to these massacres as school shootings committed by active shooters. Instead I'll be using school killings and killers accordingly. Following Grossman, the killers names will not be mentioned on this blog as that is one of their goals - to know they will be remembered and associated with their horrific acts. If the media ceases to name them, ceases to put them on the cover of magazines and in the news, future killers who do it to crave the attention will realize that they will receive none, and that will deter some of them.

Grossman went into the reason why, after over two hundred years of firearms ownership, we're only recently seeing kids take weapons into school and murder other children en masse. He convincingly and eloquently argues and points the finger at violent video games and other media that is inuring and acculturating susceptible youth with mental issues to commit acts of murderous violence by both seeing it and virtually committing it. He identified a few using very vivid examples: “Grand Theft Auto V” has the players get a higher score by killing police, stealing, selling drugs, patronizing prostitutes, and then beaitng and killing the prostitutes and taking their money back. He pointed out that the Wii's “Manhunt 2” game has players using the motion sensor controller for the game to actually physically reenact the actions of the character on the screen - bashing people with a baseball bat and creeping up on people from behind and slash their throats with a knife. Grossman said that all of the multiple school killers tended towards being loners and anti-social, and all of them spent many hours playing these types of violent video games and racking up scores by killing doing so.

Grossman notes that denial of the problem and the lack of will to both face this media onslaught and to have both secured schools and armed personnel in schools is the problem. This makes schools a target-rich environment that offers the killers the opportunity they crave - the chance to run up a high score of kills and get media attention for their murderous acts.

He points out that at Sandy Hook, the killer gained access by shooting out a standard window which let him open the door to the building - a mesh screen or inexpensive but effective laminate coverings for the glass could have prevented access or slowed him down further and saved lives.

He continued by pointing out that the lack of potential armed resistance gives these killers the opportunities they need to commit their crimes. He stated their greatest fear is failure and the presence of armed individuals increases their risk of failure and deters them, and he gave plenty of examples of how and where that deterrence has worked.

Sadly at Sandy Hook, two officers arrived at the school while the shooting was ongoing but failed to enter the building for six minutes due to orders to wait for two more officers to arrive so they could form a four man team as the doctrine dictated at the time. This was exactly the wrong decision. Doctrine has now changed to two or even solo entry to get at the killer as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, it took a lot of innocent lives to reach the obvious need for rapid intervention. Failing having armed security on the premises due to denial, rapid intervention will prevent at least some lives from being lost.

He then made some damn scary prognostications:

1. There will be shootings at day care centers as killers seek easy opportunities for both easy kills and media sensationalism

2. Once US forces fully pull out of Afghanistan, we will see a Beslan-level terrorist attack against a school here by an organized force of Islamic terrorists.

3. We will see incendiaries (gasoline, firebombs etc) used in a school attack and the casualties resulting form the fire will be greater than in any school attack to date. He stated unequivocally that the Islamic terrorist attack will use fire as a weapon, as they did at Beslan and on 9/11. Expect the non-Islamic killers to do the same.

4. We will see increased violent gang activity in the US, and it will make parts of the US look like the areas in Mexico that are currently under control of the drug gangs.

5. The disturbed kids already inculcated to violence and taught by video games that violence is the way to solve problems are going to grow up and enter the workforce. Expect a wave of workplace killings as these ill-adjusted people enter the workplace and work things out by violence.

Yes, it was a damn scary presentation.

He covered what can be done about it, including joining the school board or being active in what is happening in the schools and working past denial to enhance actual school safety. He also covered the role of the armed citizen as a deterrent to such acts and in deterring crime in general and the psychological resilience and mental preparation needed for doing so. He also called on the audience to be involved in their community and to demand their school boards take action to make their schools more likely to deter attacks.

He received a well-deserved standing ovation from the crowd at the end of his three-hour detailed presentation. To say it was informative, powerful and enlightening would be an understatement.

Fortuitously, I just received a school security survey from my local school board yesterday. I sent it back noting the availability and need for the installation of the security laminate on school windows, and strongly suggested that they have Col. Grossman give them his presentation and consult with them on effective school safety. We'll see if we can get past the denial stage at the local level.


Old NFO said...

Yep, he doesn't sugar coat it... And glad you got to hear him!

Aaron said...

That's for sure. Glad I got to see him, and it was well worth attending.