Arapahoe High School shooting: Lessons from Columbine

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Big photos below.
It's one of those phrases that gets tossed around after a school shooting, like how the shooter "seemed like a nice, quiet boy" and "didn't fit the profile" -- never mind that there is no profile for school shooters, other than seeming to be nice, quiet boys. From the moment news of the attack on Arapahoe High School went live on Friday, you could see the newscasters straining to get to one of their favorite platitudes, trying to find something upbeat to say about a horror that's fresh and pointless. Governor John Hickenlooper himself said it on Face the Nation this weekend.

"This could have been much, much worse," he said.

Well, sure. Any outburst of public violence that leaves any survivors at all could, in theory, be much worse. Karl Pierson's brief rampage could have been much, much worse for just about everyone at Arapahoe -- with the possible exception of seventeen-year-old Claire Davis, badly wounded when Pierson began firing, apparently at random. But that doesn't seem like much in the way of consolation for Davis or her family.

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Photo by Brandon Marshall
The scene at Arapahoe High School on Friday afternoon.
The shootings at Columbine could have been much worse, too. If Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold had managed to set off the propane bombs they planted in the cafeteria, the deaths might have numbered in the hundreds. Even Newtown could have been worse.

But focusing on the body count misses the point. What is striking about Friday's events is the rapid response by law enforcement. The school resource officer, Deputy James Englert, pursued the shooter into the school. A massive tactical response was on scene in minutes. Pierson was already dead by then; like many school shooters, he was essentially on a suicide mission, a private apocalypse with no second act. But the death was confirmed within minutes, even as the school was being safely evacuated.

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Photo by Brandon Marshall
That scenario is now routine -- and that's what makes it remarkable. The 1999 attack on Columbine exposed all the shortcomings of traditional SWAT procedures -- setting up a perimeter and command post, essentially ceding the school to an active shooter on the theory that to barge in would put more lives at risk -- and prompted a massive rethinking of how to handle such crisis situations.

Continue for more about the lessons from Columbine at Arapahoe High School.


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24 comments
Paul Magor
Paul Magor

Nice governor #42; minimize the seriousness of The victim's injury, whom is in critical condition. "could have been much worse." Tactful you are not!

SteadyPofiling
SteadyPofiling

Didn't a bunch of LIB-TARDS claim that passing magazine limits and universal background checks would keep your children safer? Colorado you have been duped by a bunch of mentally ill socialist freaks! Nothing in the new legislation would have stopped this shooting and these evil freaks are ALREADY licking their lips in anticipation of exploiting this latest shooting they perpetrated to pass more gun laws that will simply put you and your families in more DANGER. Wake up, people. This is an OLD play straight out of the communist handbook. The people must be dis-armed before they can be fully controlled and abused. Tyranny 101.

SteadyPofiling
SteadyPofiling

These mass shooters absolutely fit a profile. Can you imagine if 'libertarians' were killing this many children in mass? The media would have this fact headlined on every outlet and the government wold have already declared WAR on these people. The Colorado LIB-TARD propaganda machine is way out of control:

This latest school shooter: liberal.
Dorner: liberal police officer
Boston marathon bombers: liberal Obama supporters. 

Unabomber: liberal hermit freak

Discovery channel shooter: liberal enviro whacko. 
Ft. Hood shooter: Registered Democrat and Muslim. 
Columbine shooters: children of Democrats and progressive liberals. 
Virginia Tech shooter: Registered Democrat. 
Colorado Theater shooter: Registered Democrat; staff worker on the Obama campaign
Connecticut School Shooter: Registered Democrat; hated Christians. 
Congresswoman Gabby Giffords shooter: Leftist, registered Democrat.
JFK assassin: communist, loved Russia and Cuba
RFK assassin: Palistinian and social justice activist
Martin Luther King Jr. assassin: Democrat activist and convicted felon
Bill Ayers: Weatherman underground bomber and Obama's autobiography ghost writer

..Matt...
..Matt...

50 years ago children were taught to duck and cover under their desks in fear of Soviet nukes ...now they practice hiding and cowering from their fellow students.

So who really won the cold war?

Susan Brown
Susan Brown

I didn't even hear about this, and I am constantly on line...Huh???

RustyShackleford
RustyShackleford

What lesson? How a rich suburban high-school kid wound up able to obtain a shotgun in the first place? Without setting off law-enforcement alerts in the process?

John Martinez
John Martinez

Lessons from Columbine. How? We haven't learned from it yet

John Mccall
John Mccall

RE: Columbine, it was Sheriff John Stone's command to not allow any law enforcement personnel into the building. Stupid decision on his part. The teacher, David Sanders who was wounded and subsequently bled to death, could have been saved, had the dumb-ass Stone allowed police to enter the building. Everyone else was dead within a few minutes of the shooting rampage. Sander's blood is in Stone's hands.

Dev Adams
Dev Adams

For one thing, the police didn't just stand around outside while people were killed. So that was a nice change.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

Interesting take, Paul. Thanks for posting.

terrogin
terrogin

@SteadyPofiling Relax...they'll remember that a man with a gun stopped this shooting...won't they?

stuka1
stuka1

@SteadyPofiling  

"...these evil freaks are ALREADY licking their lips in anticipation of exploiting this latest shooting they perpetrate..." 

Paranoid conspiracy theory much?  

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@SteadyPofiling  "This is an OLD play straight out of the communist handbook."


Do you have a spare copy? ... I can't seem to find mine.


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@SteadyPofiling ... thank Allah they had EASY access to FIREARMS as provided by the LIBERAL GUN ACCESS laws promoted by Tea-tards and Repuglykkkans.



terrogin
terrogin

That's because a man with a gun stopped the shooter. It would work against media sensation to relay that.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@RustyShackleford ... 18-yr.-olds can legally purchase rifles and shotguns ... but rec. marijuana is far too dangerous for them to be allowed ANY access to.



michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

Strong point, John. Thanks.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

The death of Dave Sanders was definitely a preventable tragedy. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, John.

SteadyPofiling
SteadyPofiling

@DonkeyHotay @SteadyPofiling The 2nd Amendment has no provision stating that it will be suspended in the event that a bunch of liberal gun grabbing whackos go around killing people to force their cause. This is just ANOTHER reason people will be keeping their firearms. Self-defense against liberal whack jobs! MOLON LABE!

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