Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Lt. Col. Grossman on the VT Report

Lt. Col. Grossman: Virginia Tech Tragedy Report Misses Point

A leading expert on mass violence has taken issue with a presidential task force report delving into the Virginia Tech shootings and school violence in general, saying it fails to address the key issues.

The report, released to the public on June 13, was issued by a panel that included Michael Leavitt, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, and was officially titled "Report to the President on Issues Raised by the Virginia Tech Tragedy.”

But Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, a former West Point instructor, declared: "I think they missed the boat.”

Grossman is the author of several book including the Pulitzer Prize-nominated "On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society,” which is required reading for FBI recruits.

After reading the government report, Grossman told NewsMax exclusively:

"All they are reporting on is largely mental illness, sharing information about threatening individuals, keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, getting help to mentally ill people, and improving emergency preparedness and violence prevention.

"A full spectrum plan looks at: Deter, Detect, Delay, and Defeat.”
Grossman elaborated on each of the four points:

"Deter: The killer can be deterred. That is why there are seldom any successful workplace massacres in police stations. We need to start putting pressure on schools that refuse to arm their police.

"Most colleges and universities are small cities. Any city leadership that refused to arm their cops, and then had people murdered, would be put out business at the next election. We entrust our kids in the care of organizations that neglect the most fundamental aspect of public safety: armed cops.

"And of course we have the whole issue of not permitting concealed weapons permits to apply on campus. These are laws that disarm law-abiding citizens, and attract killers who want a body count.

On "Detect,” Lt. Col Grossman told NewsMax:

"The whole focus of the president's task force report was on detecting mentally ill killers before they strike. But most of the high school killers were not mentally ill. The kids that gave us Jonesboro in the middle school and Columbine in the high school are now showing up in the colleges. And the high schools are getting very good at identifying these wannabe killers. All the methodologies learned in blood in the high schools now must be applied in the college.

"An alternative is to identify (‘detect’) and list in a national database all the colleges that refuse to arm their police, and to recommend that parents not send their kids to these colleges. Instead of trying to detect the killer, just detect the negligent schools.

As for "Delay,” Grossman says: "This generally means lockdown drills and securable facilities. Lockdown is to violence what fire drills are to fire. Every classroom must be quickly securable. How many teachers and professors and students have to die blocking doors with their bodies before we learn this lesson? "Also, every classroom must have two exits, even if one is out the window. And colleges have to do lockdown drills, just like high schools. The faculty must be briefed on where and how to secure their students.

"Defeat: This brings us back to our cops again. First, armed cops need to be onsite. The Virginia Tech shooter killed 32 in nine minutes. How many more would he have killed if armed police were not onsite?

"Secondly, the police need rifles so they can defeat body armor (the high school killer of seven at Red Lake, Minn., was wearing body armor) and so they can effectively engage snipers. The campus police need SWAT teams trained in explosive breaching so they can quickly and effectively respond to barricaded gunmen scenarios.

"Remember, if a gunman is trapped in a bank or convenience store with hostages, he isn’t there to kill people. But if a gunman takes hostages in a school, he can be there for only one purpose: to kill kids and to carve his name in history in your children's blood.”

The expert concludes: "In these scenarios, seconds equal lives, and just as colleges have fire hoses and fire extinguishers on site, they need to have the tools to respond to violence on site.

"If they are not going to permit their citizens (students and faculty) to carry lifesaving tools (firearms), then they must provide those lifesaving tools, in the hands of trained professionals. This is a moral, legal obligation.”

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