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Crime News

How the Lessons of Columbine Saved Lives At Arapahoe High School 894

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Ray Sanchez reports at CNN that the handling of Friday's shooting at Arapahoe High School, just 10 miles from the scene of the 1999 Columbine High School shooting, drew important lessons from the earlier bloodshed. At Arapahoe High School, where senior Claire Davis, 17, was critically injured before the shooter turned the gun on himself, law enforcement officers responded within minutes and immediately entered the school to confront the gunman rather than surrounding the building. As the sound of shots reverberated through the corridors, teachers immediately followed procedures put in place after Columbine, locking the doors and moving students to the rear of classrooms. "That's straight out of Columbine," says Kenneth Trump, president of National School Safety and Security Services. "The goal is to proceed and neutralize the shooter. Columbine really revolutionized the way law enforcement responds to active shooters." Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson credits the quick police response time for the fact that student Karl Pierson, the gunman, stopped firing on others and turned his weapon on himself less than 1 minute, 20 seconds after entering the school. Authorities knew from research and contact with forensic psychologists that school shooters typically continue firing until confronted by law enforcement. "It's very unfortunate that we have to say that there's a textbook response on the way to respond to these," says Trump, "because that textbook was written based on all of the incidents that we've had and the lessons learned (PDF).""
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How the Lessons of Columbine Saved Lives At Arapahoe High School

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  • Rule #1 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BasilBrush ( 643681 ) on Sunday December 15, 2013 @09:34AM (#45694391)

    The first rule should be to not give easy access to firearms to the general public in the first place.

    • Re:Rule #1 (Score:4, Interesting)

      by DamonHD ( 794830 ) <> on Sunday December 15, 2013 @09:52AM (#45694465) Homepage

      Seems obvious to most Europeans. And my emphasis is on 'easy'; not never no way ever, else I'd be all for unconditionally banning bleach and kitchen knives and human-driven cars too. This needs a more nuanced fix than most would like to admit I think.

      I *never* want to see permits for concealed carry or similar in the UK, BTW.



      • Re: Rule #1 (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The answer is obvious to a lot of people in the US too. Don't publicly and legally declare huge buildings full of people as defenseless. Schools are the only place in the country that I know of where firearms are unequivocally banned yet there is no security otherwise. This is the most dumbfounding lot obvious thing in the world...and despite shooting after shooting after shooting we don't do a thing about it. The article even points out that the most important thing is to confront the shooter as soon possi

        • Re: Rule #1 (Score:4, Insightful)

          by hey! ( 33014 ) on Monday December 16, 2013 @01:29AM (#45701113) Homepage Journal

          I was hiking just the other day in the woods, and came across a pair of young men plinking with a handgun -- not legal in this park, by the way, but I'm not uptight about stuff like that. They were standing on on side of the path and shooting across the path at some soda cans they'd set up on a log. I excused myself as I crossed their improved shooting range, and they resumed firing.

          It was then I noticed that even though they were standing only eight feet from their target they couldn't hit it. And this was with all the time in the world to draw a bead on their target.

          Now in the hypothetical scenario where the good guy is called upon to draw his weapon to defend people from a shooter, the good guy is always a crack shot, but if it were one of these bozos shooting to save his life, the safest place to be when they were shooting is between them and whatever they were shooting at.

          I'm fairly relaxed about guns. They're not my thing, but I don't get vapors if someone else has one. But it's been my observation that gun owners are like drivers in their skill self-assessment. Nearly all of them think they're better than average and it's quite common for them to think they're pretty darn amazing.

          A school shooting that ends with only one critically injured student is a pretty good outcome. Expecting a *better* outcome with some randomly chosen gun enthusiast trying to shoot to save his life strikes me as unrealistically optimistic.

          • Re: Rule #1 (Score:5, Insightful)

            by DutchUncle ( 826473 ) on Monday December 16, 2013 @10:57AM (#45703553)
            In 2012 in New York City there was an incident near the Empire State Building. One person killed another, premeditated, a dismissed employee taking revenge on the person he thought responsible. A crime, but comprehensible. Two police officers confronted the shooter, he pulled his gun, and they fired numerous times - hitting NINE bystanders in addition to the shooter. And these were supposedly trained, practiced officers. What would one expect from the average (or, 50% of the time, below-average) armed bystander?
      • Re:Rule #1 (Score:4, Insightful)

        by flyingfsck ( 986395 ) on Sunday December 15, 2013 @10:58AM (#45694885)

        In Israel, Switzerland and even the crime ridden South Africa, everybody has firearms at home and they don't have school shootings. It is something peculiar to the USA.

        If the USAsians don't have guns, then they will gouge each other's eyes out with spoons...

        • It is something particular to certain inner city subcultures actually, that's where the majority of gun (and other) crimes are committed. These tragic school shootings are not the majority of gun deaths. I reject the notion that other people should have their guns taken away because of the actions of certain inner city savages without civilization, without regard for life or property or rule of law. To reduce crime in the USA those lawless and immoral people need culture change.

          • School shootings are much more of a suburban thing than an inner city thing. They are generally carried out by people who feel bullied. While the history of school shootings in the US [] dates back to its founding, there are also quite a few shootings elsewhere []. Media attention has dramatically increased of course, but it isn't like they happen every day.

            The answer to the problem is really anti-bullying training of students, and it happens now. There will always be something, but teachers carrying guns is

    • by deanklear ( 2529024 ) on Sunday December 15, 2013 @10:28AM (#45694685)

      "Every country is unique, but Australia is more similar to the US than is, say, Japan or England. We have a frontier history and a strong gun culture. Each state and territory has its own gun laws, and in 1996 these varied widely between the jurisdictions. At that time Australia's firearm mortality rate per population was 2.6/100,000 -- about one-quarter the US rate, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the US Center for Disease Control. Today the rate is under 1/100,000 -- less than one-tenth the US rate. Those figures refer to all gun deaths -- homicide, suicide and unintentional. If we focus on gun homicide rates, the US outstrips Australia 30-fold.

      The 1996 reforms made gun laws stronger and uniform across Australia. Semi-automatic rifles were prohibited (with narrow exceptions), and the world's biggest buyback saw nearly 700,000 guns removed from circulation and destroyed. The licensing and registration systems of all states and territories were harmonised and linked, so that a person barred from owning guns in one state can no longer acquire them in another. All gun sales are subject to screening (universal background checks), which means you cannot buy a gun over the internet or at a garage sale.
      Australia didn't ban guns. Hunting and shooting are still thriving. But by adopting laws that give priority to public safety, we have saved thousands of lives." []

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 15, 2013 @11:11AM (#45694973)

        The UK isn't gun free as many think - if you've got a need for a shotgun or a rifle (eg farmers, sport shooters) then it's pretty straightforward to get a license. The big, lifesaving difference is that we don't just have guns lying around. Speak to anyone who holds a firearms license and you'll find they have much the same attitude as a range safety officer in the US, rather than the attitude of somebody who keeps a loaded pistol next to the bed in an unlocked drawer - if a gun in the UK is not being used it's kept locked in a metal safe, bolted to the floor, with the ammunition kept in a seperate locked box. The idea that people can just have a gun without adopting some obvious and strict responsibilities is the main difference.

    • Re:Rule #1 (Score:4, Funny)

      by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Sunday December 15, 2013 @10:41AM (#45694767) Homepage Journal
      We're afraid if they terk oer guns, some king will come in and try to oppress us again. As long as we have our guns, we're quite happy to live with a corrupt government that's happy to stack the deck in the favor of the wealthiest citizens in exchange for the funding to stay in power. We're quite happy to sit around and watch them dismantle all the social safety nets and worker's benefits that our grandparents' unions negotiated, and the only down side is one or two massacres a day. They're so common now that usually if only two or three people get shot, it won't even be reported on the national news. And we like it that way. Obviously. Anyone who tries to terk oer guns quickly finds themselves un-elected. After Sandy Hook, a couple of Colorado Democrats passed some legislation that stated something to the effect of if you were mentally ill you couldn't get a gun. One of them was recalled and another resigned because it looked as if the recall effort was going to pass. But hey, at least some king isn't oppressing us!
  • Sick kids (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 15, 2013 @09:38AM (#45694411)

    We should be reading the text book on how to prevent this kind of tragedies. Treat cause and not sympthoms.

    I don't see saved lives but 2 lost lives.

  • sad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 15, 2013 @09:41AM (#45694427)

    So sad the news is

    Columbine really revolutionized the way law enforcement responds to active shooters.

    instead of

    Columbine really revolutionized the way society identifies and treats those in need of psychological support in order to avoid them turning into active shooters.

    • +1 that comment....let's prevent people from wanting to shoot up a school instead of being proud of knowing how to deal with the situation after the fact.
  • by skovnymfe ( 1671822 ) on Sunday December 15, 2013 @09:41AM (#45694429)

    The way to deal with shooter situations is having a better emergency procedures? What about all the hidden surveillance and monitoring and CCTVs and metal detectors and RFID tags? What did they do to help?

  • The lesson we keep ignoring is that the root of the overwhelming vast majority of these cases is the same: mental health. Our country continues to completely ignore the elephant in the room. Until we improve access to mental health care, and de-stigmatize the pursuit of mental health treatment, we will continue to have unstable individuals in our society who will do this to us. We don't necessarily need to lock them all up, many can be treated; but they all need access to help.

    Our current health care system fails miserably at this. The Health Insurance Industry Bailout Act of 2010 (aka "affordable care act", aka "Obamacare") does almost nothing for this problem.
  • by retroworks ( 652802 ) on Sunday December 15, 2013 @11:05AM (#45694937) Homepage Journal
    The "Stephen King" laws [] and other calls to focus less media attention on these shootings [] has apparently been ignored by Slashdot. The Lesson, or stuff that matters, is that these stories should be less newsworthy.

    "But it shouldn’t require another Sandy Hook to make us realize something has to change. The school shooters are committing a grandiose form of suicide. Media, traditionally, doesn’t cover suicides, and is very careful when it does. It’s a long-standing custom, borne out of numerous studies from groups like the Suicide Prevention Resource Center and the National Institute of Mental Health.

    “More than 50 research studies worldwide have found that certain types of news coverage can increase the likelihood of suicide in vulnerable individuals,” the NIMH concluded. “The magnitude of the increase is related to the amount, duration and prominence of coverage.”

  • by Dan667 ( 564390 ) on Sunday December 15, 2013 @11:21AM (#45695025)
    I think the bigger story is that there appears to be a mental illness epidemic, but all the resources are going into militarization of communities. At some point we are going to have to wake up and start to work on the hard problem of mental illness.
  • by runeghost ( 2509522 ) on Sunday December 15, 2013 @01:12PM (#45695869)

    It appears that the timeline is:

    Shooter enters school and shoots 1 student.

    Shooter kills himself.

    Police respond.

    Police claim credit.

    Unless I'm missing something here, it doesn't look like the police response accomplished anything. They arrived after the crime was over and done with.

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