Category Archives: Mindset

Armed Teachers – A Conversation

Really! It is an honest to goodness conversation about teachers being armed. The following is an exchange I had with an old friend of mine. It started elsewhere on social media and I moved my response here. I thought it would be more easily read and understood here.


To lay the ground work, no one that I am aware of is suggesting the compulsory carrying of firearms. The idea is that teachers can volunteer. There are already teachers who carry during the rest of their lives and would like to carry or at least have access to their firearm at work. That is the population we are talking about.

The only unfortunate question we have to ask. Would a gun be used more by a teacher protecting their students or would there actually be more cases of a student getting a hold of the gun, or a crazy teacher losing it and using it on their students, etc. etc.

That’s a great question without a single unfortunate thing about it. I’m glad we’re going to talk about this. Let’s start backwards. You have me on “etc.” as well as “etc.” ;) Next is a crazy teacher losing it and using the gun on the students. Every mass killing I can think of happened after some type of planning. I have not heard of any spontaneous or impromptu spree killings. Forbidding teachers to be armed would not prevent wacko teachers from wacking the students. Too, consider the increasing number of people carrying concealed.

Growing Concealed Carry

In every case where a Shall Issue concealed carry permitting system was introduced opponents claimed there would be “blood in the streets” with people shooting each other over traffic accidents and parking spaces. They claimed it would be a return to the “wild west” (by which they meant a return to Hollywood’s version of the old west which never really existed). What happened? People responsibly armed themselves. Statistically, concealed handgun permit holders are extraordinarily law abiding and I know of zero accounts of permit holders abruptly blowing a gasket and gunning down all in sight.

From this I see that forbidding teachers to be armed will not keep children any safer and allowing them to be armed will not expose them to additional danger.

Students getting the gun. Retention is always a dynamic one considers when carrying. You are considering where to put the gun that will be easy to live with, quick to access, not be seen, and kept there in a way so the gun stays put. While there are many ways of addressing retention for a teacher carrying on-body, the simple solution is off-body “carry” with the firearm in a safe.

[Shall issue means that if you meet a predetermined set of criteria (e.g. not a felon) the issuing agency SHALL/is required to issue a concealed handgun license. As an example you can see Oregon's requirements here: ORS 166.291]

My wife is a teacher, a very good one. She’s grown up around guns as her dad and brother are both hunters, but she, and many teachers we know could never be convinced to carry a gun to school.

I’ll bet she’s great! Like I said, I’m not advocating conscription, just volunteers.

The only logical place to have the gun would be concealed on them so they could access it quickly when needed…and, teachers I know don’t feel that it’s realistic with their jobs of squatting to work with students, sitting with students, playing with students, etc.

I think it is interesting how people without training or experience think they know what is involved in carrying and using a firearm for protection. I wouldn’t dream of telling your wife of what a developmentally appropriate curriculum is for any group of kids.

Actually, as far as defensive situations go, a teacher in a room has a fair amount of time to respond. Take the teacher who lied to the murderer in Connecticut about where the kids were. She knew he was coming and had time to hide all her kids. That would be plenty of time to get a gun out of a safe, especially one like this: Gun Vault

Most folks carrying concealed need to prepare for an ambush of some type. A mass murderer shooting up kids in a school is a frontal assault. I would not spend a lot of time teaching a teacher how to draw fast and efficiently if he or she was just preparing for this scenario.

Additionally, I don’t see the impossibility of on-body carry in the circumstances you describe. There are lots of guns as well as carry options. I’ve had my gun work loose once. That was after crawling around under a house for a couple hours. Without turning this into a primer on concealed carry options I’ll just say those activities are not insuperable barriers to intelligent and responsible on-body carry.

Would you like some examples of guns and holsters that might work?

The Tsunami Dynamic – Knowledge Part 2

April 3rd, 2011

So you are safe and sound on high ground. What’s next?

A Plan

Do you have a rendezvous? Is there a place that you know to meet up with the people you care about? Do you have a couple fall-back places? A plan like this should be very simple. You don’t know what events will happen that will make the plan necessary so be ready to adapt it. No plan survives first contact with the enemy. It doesn’t need to be perfect, you just need to have one.


Do you and those you care about have a means of getting in touch? Always have a phone with you. Cell towers are likely to be overwhelmed with phone calls but text messages are much more likely to get through. Do you know how to send a text message? Do you know how to receive a text message? If you don’t know then make a point of learning how and then sending and receiving at least one text message a week.

We’ll look at other communications equipment but you need to know how to use it. We’re not looking to learn Morse code or anything like that but there are some basic essentials that you need to have covered.


In your gear you will have something to use for shelter. It may be a heavy-duty contractor’s garbage bag, it may by a Kifaru tipi. Regardless, You need to have tested it before you use it in an emergency.

Do you know how to improvise a shelter? Think about how you could find protection from the elements using what you see around you. If you are in the forest then think about using branches, boughs, and leaves. If you are in the city look for cardboard or even a recycling dumpster. Pay attention to what the bums, homeless, and mentally ill do for improvised shelter in the city (those are three distinct groups and should not be lumped in together).

Next we’ll take a close look at fire.

The Tsunami Dynamic – Knowledge Part 1

April 2nd, 2011

Knowledge. It costs little more than time to acquire and weighs nothing. You can take that as far as you want (e.g. fire by friction, first aid, self defense, and shelter building) but what I’m specifically thinking of is knowing how to get to high ground.

You’re at the beach and there is a tsunami warning. Do you know where the high ground is? Do you know how to get to it? You’re in a building and there is a fire. Do you know where the stairs are? Do you know the different ways to get out of the building? Have you used them? You’re at Starbucks and some genius comes in and is robbing the place. You are tucked away out of sight and making the call to 911. Do you know the address? How about the nearest cross street?

Do you know which way is north?

The Tsunami evacuation route might take a little digging to find but the rest are things you can easily find out and know.

So you’ve found the high ground and you’ve made it there safely. Now what? Later we’ll discuss the equipment you’ll have with you but do you know how to use it?

There are several areas of knowledge to have a grasp of once you are safely out of harm’s way. We’ll look at those next.

The Heart of an Amazon

March 2nd, 2011

The Proarms Podcast – Interview with Graciela Casillas-Tortorelli

Download podcast here.

For those of us who only use iTunes to select our podcasts:

The Proarms Podcast

The interview is episode 066

If you are a woman, care about a woman, or are a man, you need to listen to this podcast. If there is a special woman in your life, a mother, daughter, sister, wife, or sweetie, she needs to listen too.

Read up just a little on Graciela Casillas-Tortorelli.

Women are genetically predisposed to be physically weaker than men. They are not genetically predisposed to be more vulnerable than men. Physical strength is certainly a factor in assessing one’s vulnerability but it is hardly the final one. The final factor is the mind.

I would like to write at length about this. I would like to explain why a woman’s typically smaller physical stature does not automatically make her a victim. I would like to discuss some of the options available and good ways for women to maximize them. In light of this excellent interview with Mrs. Casillas-Tortorelli such writing would be redundant. She speaks eloquently and with far greater authority than I could. Her drive is obvious but it is striking how she has accomplished so much without sacrificing, or apologizing for, being a woman.

The Elephant – Real Combat

The following is an article I wrote over at
A question I often hear asked about trainers and people espousing various techniques, tactics, and strategies is, “Have they seen the elephant?” This question is asking is whether those people have actually been in real combat or a real “life and death” struggle. It’s a good question. What reason do we have to believe that a given peace of instruction will be useful when we are trying to protect life? If something worked well in an actual combat situation that means we should do it, right? It’s a perfectly sane thought but in a word, no. If something worked in a specific situation all that means is it worked then. It may never work again. What if the person was just lucky? I’ve heard people say they’d rather be lucky than good. So would I, but since I haven’t found a way to generate luck I’ll prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Even if that person was successful through skill, it still may not apply to me and the situations I’m likely to encounter. There are many very good military techniques that will not apply to us. Yet even here we should pay attention to the military and police to see if we can glean information that we, as ordinary citizens just trying to live our lives, will find useful.

I believe that a wise course of action is to learn about real world examples and look for lessons we can take from them. Below is a list of actual events that strip away nonsense and give us an accurate idea of what these conflicts are like. Some common features to these events are: it was a surprise or an ambush so the good guy(s) and gal(s) were a step behind, the defenders were injured, and the resources the defenders drew on were things like previous training and getting their thought process straight.

This video is 20 minutes but it is absolutely worth your time. I am very grateful Deputy Moore was willing to discuss this with that news team.

Some lessons I learned from this:

  • Carry extra ammunition. Especially if you’re a cop.
  • Carry a blowout kit. Especially if you’re a cop.
  • NEVER quit. Deputy Moore started the fight with FOUR bullet wounds but he kept his head and won.

What did you learn?