Sheriff blasts MSNBC columnist’s claim Texas shooting proves ‘futility of arming teachers’

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Following the Texas school shooting and the criticism of local school district law enforcement inaction, a Florida sheriff countered an MSNBC columnist’s claim the tragedy proves arming teachers won’t work.

Polk County, Florida Sheriff Grady Judd, the top law enforcement officer in the Lakeland-centric county southwest of Walt Disney World, said Tuesday an active-shooter situation cannot be simply changed to a barricade situation, as Uvalde CISD Police appeared to determine.

He added that the police miscalculation is, if anything, more of a reason for teachers and other adults in targeted locations to be properly trained to stop threats like deceased school shooting suspect Salvador Ramos.

“The door was apparently propped open or left open or unlocked. We know that it took about one hour before there was a response. That’s 59 minutes, 59 seconds too late,” Judd said.

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Law enforcement officers at the scene at Robb Elementary School

Law enforcement officers at the scene at Robb Elementary School (AP/DarioLopez-Mills)

“We know that shootings, these active shooter [situations], are done between zero and 5 minutes; the police response is ‘+5’ minutes. We also know that active shooters don’t get to change it to a barricade situation,” he added.

“When you go in shooting, even though you pause, it doesn’t mean there aren’t injured children or people lying there. Once an active shooter, always an active shooter. Push-in, save lives, neutralize the threat. We train for that.”

“I want them to shoot them, shoot them so much that you can read the local newspaper through them.”

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Mourners grieve at a Uvalde memorial

Mourners grieve at a Uvalde memorial (Wally Skalij/LosAngeles Times via Getty)

Judd further responded to a claim by MSNBC columnist Zeeshan Aleem, who wrote in-part, “hardcore opponents of gun control in the U.S. often respond to school shootings by proposing to arm teachers or add armed security guards to schools. But the inability of police to stop the gunman at Robb Elementary School… exposes the poor reasoning behind that proposal.”

Judd said that once a threat is recognized, it must be “engaged immediately.”

“And MSNBC doesn’t know so much about what they’re talking about — but that’s not unusual,”  he said. “If they did, they could create the training program, and we’d never have another active shooter.”

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“But at the end of the day, as simple as it may sound, the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. There needs to be multiple people on that campus in advance, well-trained, who are prepared to and can go in and stop the threat.”

Why those 19 police officers did that. I don’t know,” he concluded, adding that in Polk County, the response strategy would have been different.