Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, US Army (Ret.) visited Emery County recently to speak to a large group of educators and law enforcement officers. Grossman is an internationally recognized scholar, author, soldier, and speaker who is one of the world's foremost experts in the field of human aggression and the roots of violence and violent crime. He is the author and coauthor of several books, including On Killing, nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill: A Call to Action Against TV, Movie and Video Game Violence.
For Grossman school violence hits close to home, in March of 1998 he received a phone call asking if he had heard the news about a shooting at a middle school in his home town of Jonesboro Ark. He had a son, who attended middle school in Jonesboro. He turned on the news and learned the shooting was at Westside Middle School. His son attended another middle school. An 11 year old pulled a fire alarm and fled into a field, where he met with a 13 year old. As students evacuated the building they shot and murdered one teacher and four students. Nine students and one teacher were also injured as a result of the shooting.
Grossman said, "Today we are going to focus on one thing, taking those precious children safely to our schools and sending them home to their parents alive". Grossman asked how many kids had been killed by school fires, since the Chicago school fire in 1958? Zero. He then asked, how many kids killed by school violence? In 1997, there were 57 deaths and a quarter of a million students with serious injuries. Our children are more likely to be killed by violence than any other means of death.
Never once had a juvenile ever gone to school and committed a homicide until 1975. In the 1980s, there was only one double homicide in a school. In the 1990s school violence began to explode. He went on to cite several other school massacres.
We have put armed cops in our schools and it works. If there is someone in that school that can shoot back the killer won't try. Utah is leading the nation across America. "People are taking action. I hope there is not a school left in America that is not armed."
"We deter them. We detect them. We say they are just kids. I bet today the Columbine killers would have been spotted two to three times over. We deter them by the hundreds we detect them by the thousands".
We deter them by having lock down drills. In the drills we have to teach if you're in a safe place stay there. If it's not safe get out. If the only way out is through the bad guy, do it. "You have permission to defend yourself".
Ohio offered the opportunity for teachers to attend classes to carry a concealed weapon in school. More than 1,000 educators attended the class after the Sandy Hook murders. Using violence to protect our children is the most natural way to protect them. "Teach them to fight for their lives. If you don't teach kids what to do, they will do nothing." Tell the kids to throw things. We are negligent if we do nothing. "When all else fails, fight for your life."
What can we do to slow them down? Keep the school doors locked including back doors. Individual classrooms need to be able to be secured quickly. At Sandy Hook Elementary the teachers were fumbling with their keys trying to lock the doors as the gunman went down the hallways and killed them. Cops demand the classroom doors be locked. Pass an ordinance if you have to. Keep the doors shut and locked at all times.
In the three biggest mass murders in US schools, the shooter shot out the glass of the front door and stepped into the school. Schools need to prevent this from happening by not having large glass doors or large plate glass windows next to doors. Schools can purchase a laminate from clear-armor.com to prevent a shooter from shooting out the glass.
"Sandy Hook is just the beginning". Vulnerable places will see violence. They will seek out helpless victims because they don't have guns.
"It just gets worse every year. It is the teacher in our classroom that will change the world".
"I had the honor to coauthor Glenn Beck's book, Control. The first things in the book, he says you know it ain't about the guns, the guns have always been there. The last thing in the books says, it's about those sick, sick video games.
New factor. Media violence causes violence in our society. Since the game Grand Theft Auto, there has been an explosion in violence. In the game you can buy sex from a prostitute, murder her and get your money back. In a survey 30 percent of second graders had played the game.
Researchers have looked at brain scan images of kids who observe media violence. They are similar to someone who is intoxicated. Grossman showed pictures of brain scans. The scans showed media violence stunts or "retards" kids brain development: children with violent TV, movie and video game exposure had reduced cognitive brain function. Media violence makes violent brains: violent TV, movie, and video game exposure had an effect on normal kids that made their brain scans the same as children with documented, diagnosed Aggressive Behavior disorder. A parent of a three year old boy who was violent was advised to have no TV, no video games, no movies for one week. After a week of no violent media the boys aggressive behavior ceased. After a week of detox, one boy said "Keep those games away from me. I don't like who I am when I play those games."
An entire school went through a detoxification. Violence went down by 50 percent. Watching less television leads to obesity reduction the average kid spends 53 hours a week in front of the television. Math scores went up 15 percent verbal scores went up 18 percent.You can do the 10 day detox at takethechallengenow.net and download information.
In 2009 in the United States 57 Law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty. In 2010, 77 LEOs were killed in the line of duty. In 2011, 86 were killed. In Washington state 4 LEO were killed while they were eating.
Some prevention tips are: Cops demand the classroom doors are locked. Carry off duty. Less than 20 percent of off duty officers carry. Have the proper equipment such as rifles that will penetrate bullet proof vests. Have smoke grenades in cars in case you need concealment. Have helicopters to drop officers off on roofs and deploy to an area. A fire hose is effective to a certain point. The bad guy will use fire as a weapon of mass destruction. In Russia, the fireman refused to go in. They are despised in Russia. Try and integrate with the fire department. In Israel the fireman are armed.
You have to have your heart and mind ready. We are at war. The single best way to prepare for war is hunting. Teach your kids martial arts. A warrior is one who prepares for war. Are you in this war or not? One who is intensely invested in a purpose. We need our warriors.
What's the score in this game? The murder rate is skewed because of medical technology. The FBI annual crime report has shown a seven-fold increase in murders from 1957-2005. Milwaukee got concealed weapons and crime went down. 40 states have concealed carry laws. Five states have college student concealed carry. Arm yourselves. If every citizen in America bought one bullet we would have over a billion bullets. If you go to the stores ammunition is hard to find. Americans are preparing for a bad time. Americans can smell it. Our armed citizens are our only hope.
We are fudging figures. In 2008 2.5 million were incarcerated. The justice system has run out of space. Can you imagine one day without justice. The only thing we need more than justice is the air we breath. Japan has seen a 43 percent increase in violent crime.
Grossman reminded everyone it's our responsibility to keep violent movies and TV and video games away from our children.
Children learn what they live and live what they learn. What goes in must come out and if garbage goes in garbage will come out.
Be mindful of the things you allow your children to view.