By WND. As the media focused on the thousands of students walking out of school Wednesday to protest gun violence and demand gun-control legislation, a longtime officer and police-academy director says a critical element of stopping or limiting mass shootings is finding the right people to become police officers and training them well.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School did have armed security when a former student killed 17 people on Feb. 14, but resource officer Scot Peterson did not enter the school when he determined shots were being fired inside.
Many critics branded Peterson a coward for his inaction, but 21-year Illinois police officer Randy Petersen (no relation) says it’s more complicated than that.
“Maybe it’s not a cowardly person but someone who is unsure of themselves, unskilled, haven’t been trained up properly. Anytime you have something like that, we can have this situation where we shoot people that we don’t want shot or we don’t shoot people that need to be shot,” said Petersen, who also directed one of the largest police academies in Texas and is a senior researcher at Right on Crime.
“To go to the point where we have a police officer that is either incompetent in their physical skills, their defensive tactics skills, their shooting, they’re not going to have confidence and a lack of confidence can get you to a point where an officer either fails to act or overreacts,” said Petersen. (Read more from “Police Expert: Critical Element to Fight Mass Shootings” HERE)
Mental Illness and Mass Shootings
By Townhall. . . . [Nikolas] Cruz had a history of disciplinary events at school — including two dozen such incidents at his middle school. Both his family and neighbors made multiple calls to the police to report violent or threatening behavior — the police were called to Cruz’ home 39 times in seven years. He was disciplined, suspended and eventually expelled from high school for aggressive behavior and possession of weapons and ammunition. State and federal law enforcement were notified of disturbing threats and photos (with weapons) that Cruz posted on social media. None of that stopped Nikolas Cruz from purchasing guns.
Consider, as well, the histories of other mass shooters:
Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people and injured 17 others at Virginia Tech University on April 16, 2007. Cho had been diagnosed with major depressive disorder, severe anxiety disorder and selective mutism. In high school, he expressed a fascination with the Columbine High School shooters. Classmates and teachers at Virginia Tech had observed and expressed concerns about Cho’s bizarre and threatening behavior, as well as violent and obscene writings. Despite multiple attempts at intervention and a determination that Cho was “mentally ill and in need of hospitalization,” a judge in Virginia ordered him to undergo treatment on an outpatient basis only (which Cho never did). Because there was no involuntary commitment, Cho was able to pass background checks (including 30-day waiting periods) and purchase the handguns he used as murder weapons.
Jared Loughner also had a history of bizarre and threatening behavior, including paranoia, psychotic ramblings in class, drug use and run-ins with police. He was eventually kicked out of the community college he attended. On Jan. 8, 2011, Loughner showed up at a Safeway parking lot in Tucson, Arizona, where congressional representative Gabby Giffords was meeting with constituents. Loughner began shooting, killing six and injuring 14, including Giffords (who was shot in the head, but survived). Loughner had passed a background check before he purchased the handgun he used.
James Holmes had a history of hallucinations, depression, suicide attempts and bizarre behavior, and was “obsessed with killing” according to one therapist. He was under the care of multiple psychiatrists, at least one of whom thought that he was potentially homicidal and dangerous. Holmes was nevertheless able to pass all necessary background checks and purchase multiple weapons legally. On July 20, 2012, he walked into a theatre in Aurora, Colorado, via an exit door he had propped open, and opened fire, killing 12 and wounding 70.
Adam Lanza had diagnoses of Asperger’s syndrome, obsessive-compulsive disorder and extreme anxiety. He suffered from anorexia and exhibited symptoms of schizophrenia. Lanza, too, was obsessed with violence — he prepared a massive spreadsheet with information about 500 mass murders, including the Columbine shootings. In the months before he massacred his mother while she slept, and then 20 children and six teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary school on Dec. 14, 2012, Lanza had retreated to his bedroom, living in nearly complete darkness with windows blackened by trash bags, refusing to interact even with his mother except by email. Lanza used weapons his mother had legally obtained. (Read more from “Mental Illness and Mass Shootings” HERE)