SANTA FE

A gun rights group held a political event in a Santa Fe park Saturday afternoon, during which members called for more public school employees to be armed.

The group, called This is Texas Freedom Force, held the “Carry For Our Kids” event at Runge Park, a small public park about 2 miles from Santa Fe High School.

The group has held pro-gun rallies in other cities, as well as events protesting removal of Confederate monuments from some cities. Pictures posted on the group’s website show members at events carrying rifles, wearing camouflage and displaying Confederate flags.

The crowd of more than 60 people on Saturday afternoon called for arming teachers, with some carrying signs that stated: “Who you gonna call? Gun toters.”

It’s time that teachers feel safe in classrooms, Fredericksburg resident David Treibs said.

“I think it’s the only effective method we can use,” he said. “I’m certified as a teacher. I would like the option to be armed.”

It was the first such political event in Santa Fe since a May 18 shooting at Santa Fe High School left 10 people dead and 13 others injured.

Most events held in Santa Fe since the shooting have focused on fundraising for victims and emotional support.

Brandon Burkhardt, the group’s president, said he was grateful for the people who attended the event and who vocalized their opinions.

“We are the first line of defense,” he said. “We have to be very vocal. If we want to protect our students, we have to come up with better solutions.”

The group supports gun training and licensing teachers who want to be armed and it believes school administrators should not be allowed to limit who and how many people can carry weapons at a school, Burkhardt said.

Arming teachers can work because a school employee doesn’t have to be an expert shooter, they just have to be able to defend themselves, Lamar Henry, the group’s vice president, said.

“It takes a willingness to act,” he said.

The Santa Fe school district was not involved in planning the event, spokeswoman Patti Hanssard said in an email Tuesday. She did not answer a question about the district’s stance on the event.

Connor Behrens: 409-683-5241; connor.behrens@galvnews.com.

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Before coming to work for The Daily News as a staff reporter, Connor worked for us as a freelance correspondent throughout 2017. He has written for other publications such as the Washington Post.

(45) comments

Gary Scoggin

“Arming teachers can work because a school employee doesn’t have to be an expert shooter, they just have to be able to defend themselves, Lamar Henry, the group’s vice president, said.”

I understand the argument for arming teachers but doesn’t this statement take things a little far? Wouldn’t you want armed people on campus to have an expert level of proficiency?

George Croix

Gary, 'expert' is a term defined by whomever is doing the grading. All x ring hits versus a few 9s or even 8s only matters on paper. I have shot alongside Police officers and active and ex-military personnel who cleaned my clock, and who's clocks I have cleaned, and I am not a 'certified expert' by any commonly held standards, because I have no official measure.
I can put 50 rounds of full power .45ACP into a 4" circle at 7 yards at a 2 shot per second rate, which takes me 3 reloads on a G21 for a total of 40 - 45 seconds, or 14 rounds of the same ammo into a 9" circle at the same distance in 5 seconds. I have no paperwork declaring me an expert, but that will beat a lot of people who carry firearms as part of their job. AND it would be more in 45 seconds directed at an attacker than the zero in 45 seconds while waiting for even a very fast Police response in a few minutes. 'Expert shot' also does not take into consideration that the targets are not shooting back, and that is an issue that requires actual exposure for offensive missions, but, defense, and we're talking defense, only requires a willingness to be ready and to try.
You don't need to be an expert to fire at, or at least be set and ready to defend yourself and others if that person enters the room you are in, some nut shooting up a school...you need a firearm and the willingness to use it...and those two things are not exclusive to 'experts'.
Consider, even ONE round fired back AT a nut shooting up a school has just changed the dynamics of the situation for the shooter from a free kill zone to a he may get killed zone, and at least served notice that if he continues it will not be with impunity, and that his intended victims are not all helpless any longer.
It would...would....have saved some lives if a school shooter had himself been incapacitated to stop him from continuing shooting.

Steve Fouga

"14 rounds of the same ammo (.45 ACP) into a 9" circle at the same distance in 5 seconds."

I'd say that'll do.

George Croix

It's easy if you practice.
Nothing special at all.
Given a fixed amount of money to invest, buy a cheaper gun so you can buy more ammo - then go shoot it a lot....

Chris McMurray

Getting the schools safe from”active shooters” would negate the need to arm teachers

Carlos Ponce

Chris, at first they thought proclaiming Texas Public Schools "Gun Free Zones" would make them "safe" from an active shooter.
Then they thought forming a SFISD Police Department would make it "safe" from an active shooter.
An armed teacher would be like a safety net - not needed if everything in place works but there just in case an active shooter finds a kink in an otherwise protected school.
Metal detectors, dress codes, secured doorways, armed teachers, staff trained to spot potential troubled students, etc. all needed today - unfortunately.
Better be safe than sorry.

George Croix

I agree 99%, as nothing is perfect, and anything can be defeated even if it's Murphy helping the defeat. One wonders, though, who the sacrificial 1% might be.
Problem is, that requires on-site hardening of facilities and on-site armed security and on-site detection and exclusion devices.
Passing laws and rules only followed by honest people or 'bans' does nothing....zero...to make schools safe from active shooters. Only active measures at the site can do that.
I'd prefer NOBODY ever needed to be armed in self-defense.
Hasn't worked out ever since the dawn of Man yet, so we have to play the hands dealt us....

Gary Scoggin

From my days doing risk analyses, this has been ringing in my mind. For a bad event, there are peventative measures that keep the event from happening and mitigations that contain the impact of the event. Armed school staff is a mitigation. Behavioral analysis and tighter school security are preventive measures. My biggest concern with arming school staff is the new risk you have created by placing more guns in the school. These risks are not active shooter related but just the risk that comes from having more weapons in the midst of teen aged mischief. If the staff has their weapon so locked down as to prevent unauthorized access could they access it in time to be of use in the unlikely event of an active shooter? In other words does the mitigation measure actually create a bigger risk than it prevents?

George Croix

Gary, what do you think the odds are of a teenager frisking a teacher who has a LTC and is carrying concealed willingly and legally and discovering that concealed weapon and then disarming the teacher and incapacitating him/her and then taking that weapon and handling it recklessly or deadly?
We're not talking about someone dispalying their weapon for all to see or leaving it sitting ona desk. SOME level of competency has to be figured into risk management, as you well know. And improbability or even impossibility doesn't wipe out probability in risk analysis.
In a 'what if' session doing a risk analysis on allowing willing teachers already holding LTCs to carry on site, the question 'what if a firearm ends up in unintended hands' would, and should, be followed by the fact that anyone in the building shooting at students and staff is ALREADY 'unintended', and needs to be countered, fast, as the mitigating factors part of risk analysis requires.

George Croix

ps:
Referencing the picture accompanying this article, I, personally, would never...never... advocate for teachers or citizens allowed to legally be armed at a school to do so with open carry.
Out of sight-out of mind is one factor that makes defensive use of a firearm more likely to be successful as a bad guy doesn't know you can resist, and out of sight discourages some of the slower witted or impulsive among us from making an issue of or drawing attention to the firearm.
It's just me, but open carry, in a non-sporting/field related endeavor, for civilians...civilians...with the primary purpose of self-defense....primary purpose....is unneccessarily useful to the bad guy because he/she knows who's armed, and it removes recognition/reaction time advantage the concealed carrier has by the heads-up to the bad guy.
I, myself, like to see others open carry, because THEY will get shot first by an active shooter elliminating threats to himself, and give the concealed carriers a second or two extra engagement time. 'Defensive canaries', as it were....
Not disparaging the folks in the photo, as they have every right to carry open, but, to me...me...if you want to convince people that school carry is a good idea, you should show them how it can be done and nobody would even know you had a firearm unless they knew and saw the most lilely 'tells'.
The goal should be to educate and convince, not take it or leave it.
IMO

Jim Forsythe

The training required for a teacher to carry at school, will keep up to 40% that apply from becoming a School Marshal. This is from two different stories that I have read about how many pass and become a Marshall. One must pass a approved 80 hour School Marshal course, before becoming a School Marshall.
The following is what it takes to become a School Marshall.
After making application with the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, a qualifying institution must send the candidate to an 80 hour training course, conducted by a law enforcement academy that has been specifically prepared to provide the school marshal curriculum. Among the topics covered in the School Marshal course are: physical security, improving the security of the campus, use of force, active shooter response, and weapon proficiency. No other course can be substituted or exempt an individual from the specific school marshal training course.

Appointing Entity Information

The Appointing Entity will be the School Board/Governing Body of a Public School, Open Enrollment Charter School, or a Public two Year Junior College.

Process to appoint a school marshal:

1. Appointing Entity must submit the completed Appointing Entity Number Application to TCOLE. This form designates all authorized signatures on forms and paperwork to follow. (Provided upon request).

2. Appointing Entity selects candidate(s) for School Marshal.

- Candidate(s) must be an employee(s) of the school or college.

- Candidate(s) must hold a valid License to Carry, issued through the Texas Department of Public Safety. (Copy submitted to TCOLE).

- Candidate(s) must pass a psychological exam (TCOLE will provide this form).

- Candidate(s) attends/completes TCOLE approved 80 hour School Marshal course.

3. Appointing Entity submits School Marshal Appointment Form and Fee. Once approved, a School Marshal license will issue to the candidate(s). He or she will be authorized to act as a School Marshal, per the written regulations adopted by the School Board/Governing Body.

George Croix

Summarized:
40% of the people who might...might...be able to stop ot redirect a school shooter will not be allowed to have the opportunity because they are not recipients of a piece of paper certifying their ability to pass classroom requirements.
Well, 60% is better than nothing....

Jim Forsythe

I found the post about how many passed. this was just a highlight.
"HARROLD, Texas allows teachers to carry.
Those participating in the program must hold concealed-carry licenses and are approved by the school board to carry on campus. Less than 50% of teacher that said they wanted to carry, were able to qualify
Ray Dunn, is a tactical trainer for teachers that want to carry guns at Harrold school's
It's a training tool Dunn uses to create lethally skilled shooters. Dunn’s class isn’t for hunters or law enforcement. The exercises he teaches are to train educators in how to kill. "If you have to shoot where there's a crowd of people, and in school there is a crowd of kids, you’d better be accurate,"

George Croix

Sounds reasonable, which, of course, is what that statement is designed to do, sound reasonable.


Jim Forsythe

The 40% was from about 2 years ago.
The majority of the 40% were not able to pass a psychological exam. Some decided that after starting the class, it was not for them.A few were not able to get a License to Carry, because they could not quality. A couple decided that they did not want to invest the 80 hours, even though they knew what was required before they started.

George Croix

Thganks.
Psych exam.
I remember being told, several times, I was the one crazy for worrying about the conditions that ultimately and collectively led to blowing up a large chunk of the plant, so I may be forgiven for having, uh, limited use for them personally, but knwo that Joe Public places a lot of faith in same. Hey, it works on TV.
I'll take your word for it that anyone would be...well, whatever...enough to go apply for such a position anyway without already having the license...what can ya say.
Etc.
So, that just pretty much reinforces what I said about letting EXISTING LTC holders who are WILLING to get involved, do so. The school district ALREADY has them in their employ, so, supposedly, the only thing missing is authorization to eliminate the 'gun free zone' for those folks.

Jim Forsythe

Would still need the 80 hour class.

George Croix

I understand that.
Unfortunately a killer doesn’t have to live up to expectations of professional level proficiency.

Gary Scoggin

George, just so I’m clear. Are you saying that a CHL is sufficient qualification for a school employee to carry a gun in a school. No more, no less?

George Croix

It is if the school says so, Gary (note: it's LTC now...License to Carry...due to open carry passing). The school can set whatever qualifications they deem necessary, and in the age of lawsuits for everything no doubt would have stringent requirements for their employees.
If they say 80 hours, then it's 80 hours because they say so...fine...but it's NOT because nobody is capable of attempting to stop a killer who does not have 80 hours of officially sanctioned training doing so.
To me, ANYBODY who had the means and ability to resist some nut shooting at children is better than nothing...but, that's just me.....
Or, would anybody...anybody...object to a person with only range time on his own involving himself to try and save children. THAT is all I'm saying...endless debate and angst while trying to get perfection means zero gets done. Stop thinking perfection and start thinking better...a LOT better...than already in place, and things will move forward positively, and improve with time.
You've got people here worrying about accidentally hitting someone when at the EXACT SAME TIME you are talking about a shooter ACTIVELY ENGAGED IN TRYING to do so.
That's like worrying about WHICH life jacket would be better to throw to a drowning man...while he continues to drown unaided.....

It's something like at the plant when we 'drafted' help at an emergency. When I needed help closing a valve to stop hydrocarbon flow to a fire, and all the firefighters and operators were tied up, I didn't care WHO I could get to help...Guard, bystander, whoever.....the first guy willing and strong enough that passed by was fine, even if he was not an Operations person...all he had to know how to do was grab, pull and grunt at a problem already readily identifiable....

Undertsand.
Nobody, at least not me, is saying the schools can't require whatever they want.
How has what they've required so far worked out?

George Croix

ps: Gary, I'd bet a cold Diet Coke that multiple teachers in the Santa Fe, Texas, ISD already are LTC holders, and that some of them would, if allowed, carry at school.
Could be wrong, but I doubt it.
They are ALREADY employees of a school system that has found them sufficiently qualified and mentally stable to be among and work with students and other staff.
The only missing item is their sidearm.
Why ignore the part(s) already deemed acceptable?

George Croix

pss:
Gary, I always value your opinion and input, disagree or not, and am trying to find some way to explain more clearly.
Perhaps this:
I do not have an EMT certification, nor am I a wrecker driver or a law enforcement officer and am no longer a firefighter.
If I was passing by and saw you wreck your car and found you passed out in it with the gas tank leaking all over and the engine still running and the dash criumpled around the ignition button, would you care if I hauled you out and dragged you to safety, or would you prefer I call 911 and wait until they got there?
I see it as pretty much the same situation from a PRACTICAL standpoint, which is at least a starting point.....

Gary Scoggin

The difference is whether or not someone is tactically trained and repeatedly drilled and can safely shoot back in a room full of kids. I would imagine that’s a bit different than shooting targets at the range. But since I don’t know the difference between an LTC and a CHL I’m hardly an expert.

Carlos Ponce

Jim posts: "The 40% was from about 2 years ago. ......"
I'd like to see the documentation on that.

Jim Forsythe

"HARROLD, Texas allows teachers to carry.
Those participating in the program must hold concealed-carry licenses and are approved by the school board to carry on campus. Less than 50% of teacher that said they wanted to carry, were able to qualify

George Croix

Why were they not able to qualify, Jim, if your source details it? Be interesting.
Couldn't get an LTC?
Didn't meet Harrold ISD Board requirements? Was that a failure to pass a required curriculum or just failure to get Board approval, which, if decided on a personal level, enterjects another worm or two into the can.
A 50% washout rate isn't uncommon for anything similar. We had at least that many wanting to join the Fire Dept. that were not selected due to inability to pass a very basic set of physical aptitude tests, or that decide they didn't want to be firefighters after they were exposed to it.
You'll recall, though, that while we did have a Fire Department, we also required nearly all employees to take basic fire extinguisher training, the 50# DC type, and actually put out fires with one at the drill field, so they'd be able to assist with immediate danger to themselves if they had the means and the willingness to do so.

Jim Forsythe

Yes, I remember, as I was at fire extinguisher training and the smoke house for fresh air training every day.
Guess what group had the most problems with the fire extinguishers?

Sorry I can not it find it, as I would like to reread it. . If I remember right, it had to with the people wanting to be a Marshal for the wrong reason. So they were not able to pass a psychological exam.

George Croix

I don't need to guess. Once we got called, we were 99.5% or more beyond fire extinguisher time......I thought it was a bit funny, in an ironic sorta way.....
Like the guy who can ride a bull but gets knocked on his but_ when a Chihuahua runs between his feet... [beam][beam]
Never mind on the data....
I'm too old to keep tilting at windmills, so will dig out my St. Jude medallion and put it on and move along....

Jim Forsythe

George, that was my point. without practice, we can become less proficient .
Just asking a question,once you get your concealed-carry licenses, do you have to requalify?.If not, do you think it would be a good idea?
Most of the people I know that have a concealed-carry licenses, do go to the range or other actives.

Doug Sivyer

Teachers do not want to be armed and should not have to be. The answer to this problem is more effective gun laws, background checks that work, increased training for those in schools to recognize mental health issues within the student population community parent involvement.

Carlos Ponce

"Teachers do not want to be armed and should not have to be."
I know many teachers, some with a military background, comfortable with guns who are willing to have access to a firearm in case of a shooter on campus.
No teacher will be armed. Those accepted into the program will have access to firearm.
No teacher will be forced to be armed. Strictly on a volunteer basis and only if they pass psychological and marksman standards. Teachers already pass a background check to teach in public schools in Texas.
I have 38 years teaching experience, 32 in Galveston County Public schools. I have talked with current teachers, coaches, administrators who all agree the option should be available.
SOME teachers do not want to be armed. Plenty more would like to have access if it means protecting the lives of his or her students. Would I be included in that group? Probably not. But I know many who are willing and able.

George Croix

OK.
Now, there's an active shooter in the building, despite doing more of all the things that have never worked before....just like the last sveral school shootings
What then.
Afterwards, just do more, of the same more, that we did more of last time?
Sorry, Doug. But that is the what your answer amounts to.
Eventually, it's bound to become apparent that we cannot stop evil people by doing things that only effect good people. You must do things that stop evil people at the place they intend to do so.


Jim Forsythe

I read somewhere that the Governor was pushing to increase the number of Marshal's a schools could have. I can not find it anywhere to verify it..

"Santa Fe Independent School Districts had the legal ability to secretly arm up to seven people at the high school, under the existing state law (Marshal plan)"
The cost for someone to go to the training is about $4,000, which the Governor said the state would pay for.

Gary Scoggin

I would recommend listening to Mike Matranga’s testimony of a few days ago. Unlike most of us, he is a true expert on these matters. I’m putting the link below. A warning, it’s 52 minutes long but, except for a few bloviating Senators, it’s worth a listen. BTW, he’s not a fan of arming teachers.

https://youtu.be/rQ0UlmaCH8I

George Croix

Gary, no offense to Mike, because I don't even know him, but it was 'true experts' in refining who made the decisions that ultimately set up the situation leading to the cost of 15 peoples' lives and 142 others' futures. Half of all experts are in the bottom half of the expert list....just like anything else. Me...I'm not on any expert list anywhere.
I think TCISD should dance with the guy they invited to it, and the citizens should support him, and they should all hope it works out.
They are not the ones at risk. The kids are.

Gary Scoggin

Not to rehash the sad events of years ago but it wasn’t the experts that got us into that mess. It was just the opposite. Afterwards, the true experts I talked to were appalled at the condition to which things had been allowed to deteriorate. And that the warnings of many long time knowledgeable staff, such as you, Jim, and me, had gone unheeded. A story for another day.

I don’t know Matranga either but I know people that do and by all accounts he is a true expert. His ideas start with the prevention side of things. He is thinking things through a lot deeper than us ametuers. He is worth paying attention to.

George Croix

Ya know what a true expert is, Gary.
That's someone who's been proven to have been right after everything went wrong.

Like I said, this is just an opinion forum, we're just talking, and the citizens should get behind the guy that their duly elected ISd Board decided was the right choice, and hope that nobody ever has to find out whether it was or not b y virtue of nothing ever happening.

Jose' Boix

No new approach will work until the Trustees and Staff commit themselves to ENFORCE the rules and policies. So far, I have not heard any noise regarding the start of enforcing such rules; i.e., dress code, visible ID badges to name just two. In addition, I would like to hear as well that Trustees and Staff will start doing (enforcing) what is right while putting aside the lack of action for fear of lawsuits. This is basic folks!

George Croix

ps:
Subject matter example rather than my refining one - Sheriff Scott Israel

I trust the TCISD to have a lot more sense and do a lot better selecting of someone to be in charge of security than Broward County did selecting their expert Sheriff....

Anyway...I'm done....
Prediction....?
Based on what a majority of people have written about what they see is the correct course of action, we'll do pretty much the same things that have been done before, at the local, state, and national levels, with a little tweeking, pass a few rules or laws that make the existing ones a little more 'lawsome' and that the people already following them will follow, and hope to never be tested here at home again.
Sounds like a plan....

Gary Miller

Main problem? The people writing gun laws are the people who know the least about gun owners. They write laws they would obey but criminals will ignore. More laws honest people obey and more laws criminals ignore solves no problem.

George Croix

Gary, they wouldn't obey them themselves, because such people consider themselves the elites, and above the laws the rest of us slobs must follow.
And the people they reference as their motivation for the acts they take are the emotional actors, rather than the cold hard reason ones.
More votes for emotion than reason.....
It all boils down to the simple fact that we are totally hypocritical and/or just plain dumb about firearms.
They are the only inanimate objects routinely blamed for human misuse.

Steve Fouga

"The people writing gun laws are the people who know the least about gun owners."

That's one of the smartest things I've ever read, concerning gun laws! I'd expand it to include the people clamoring for more gun laws, whether they're the ones writing them or not.

It's high time lawmakers get to know gun owners. If you split "gun owners" into two groups -- good guys and bad guys -- and examine what makes each category tick, I believe you'll immediately find the good guys won't commit a crime no matter what, and the bad guys won't follow a gun law no matter what.

George Croix

Well......for my personal little bitty part of that....thanks, Steve
Believe it. Especially the part about the clamoring.
The giveaway is almost always the immediate cry to 'do something'...before even knowing what all of the facts of the something that needs doing about is.
The many millions of us NOT comitting crimes with our hundreds of millions of firearms are not the same as some nut killing kids...no matter how much the MSM and the 'do something' public insists we are.
It's very hard to try and reason with anybody who thinks all one has to do is not want a thing to happen, make it illegal, and that will take care of that.
I hope one day to be convinced by one exactly how a stack of 30 round AR mags in my safe is a great and definite danger to their kids, as but one example.
I don't consider all of them a great or definite danger while they are piloting 2 tons of metal and 20 gallons of explosives each day among the public.....
[smile][wink]

Gary Scoggin

Weren’t the people writing gun laws in part elected by the gun owners?

George Croix

With only two choices, which would you rather have in a pen with you, Gary, a hungry lion or a starving tiger?
Nobody gets to pick candidates for office from an options list....

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