Shootings: Why Don't Schools Have Better Security?

Authored by Ryan McMaken via The Mises Institute,

Whenever there is a mass shooting in the media, commentators rush to figure out on what to blame the latest violence.

Predictably, those who want gun control blame gun control. Others blame mental illness - and perhaps a lack of government programs related to it. Some others blame racism or ideology, as was the case with the Aurora theater shooting when one ABC talking head concluded the shooter must a "Tea Party" member within hours of the shooting. And then there's the Republican politician who blamed the same shooting on “the ongoing attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs.”

The odds of dying in a mass shooting remain amazingly small, as Healthline notes 

"The lifetime risk of dying in a mass shooting is around 1 in 110,154 - about the same chance of dying from a dog attack or legal execution."

Nevertheless, the need to create a theory showing exactly what causes these shootings remains strong in many observers. Often, these theories are followed up with some demand for a change in public policy, whether it be gun control, more health care spending, or changes in education and social policy.

What all of the strategies have in common, however, is that they depend on very indirect solutions related to social engineering while ignoring the most proximate cause of the tragedies in question.

Those who think they can abolish school shootings with gun control, for example, must also then ensure that weapons cannot be attained by illegal means, and that potential murderers will not accomplish the same ends by using other improvised weapons.

Similarly, those who think that addressing mental illness must also assume that all potential perpetrators will receive treatment.

Even more fanciful is the idea that the FBI and other police agencies can be counted on to competently profile, and observe every potential shooter. The FBI's record in this regard is rather sub-par, to say the least.

Moreover, these policies can take years to be implemented, and also require extremely broad, hard-to-enforce changes in policy. These policies also bring with them considerable downsides to the public at large in terms of financial costs and in civil liberties. Expanding FBI power to impose surveillance on every weirdo in America comes at a cost. Banning weapons — and then enforcing that ban — comes at immense cost as well. 

In practice, the most practical strategy is preventing homicidal people from entering schools with weapons is to take a direct approach to preventing this sort of activity.

We already see this logic at work in airline safety, for example.

Yes, the logic is lost on some people, as in the people the spread around this meme:



But the silliness of the quotation quickly becomes obvious. Box cutters and liquids were banned from commercial airplanes. Nearly 100% of adult Americans still own bottles of liquids and knife-like objects such as box cutters. And, virtually no one calls for a nationwide ban on box cutters or even on all substances that might be used to make bombs. 

This is because many people recognize such broad solutions place significant burdens on society overall. 

Just as the key to keeping hijackers on planes is to keep hijackers off planes, the key to keeping killers out of schools is to keep them out of schools

For some odd reason, however, there continues to be resistance to the idea of developing serious, meaningful security strategies that directly address the situations that lead to deaths in areas such as schools, nightclubs, and hotels

Mostly, this is due to nostalgia and fears of hurt feelings. 

We've heard it all many times, of course. We can't have greater security in schools, hotels, and shopping centers because "they will feel like prisons" or "kids will be hurt psychologically" or "it's too expensive."

When the rare tragedy of this nature does occur, though, these lines of thinking all lead to the same scenario: explaining to a child with a gunshot wound: "sorry kid, we could have had armed security personnel at your school, but we didn't want to hurt your feelings." 

The "too expensive" excuse is especially galling since public schools especially are absolutely laden with non-teaching, administrative personnel unrelated to classroom instruction. As this study shows, since 1970, the student population has increased 8 percent while the non-teacher staff population has increased 130 percent. Gee, where could we ever find the resources for more security personnel? 

Leave it up the people at The Nation, however, to call for less security at schools, because that money is being "diverted" from education.

To be fair to the authors, however, they do make two good points. The first is that the number of people who are murdered at school nationwide is extremely low. Secondly, the article correctly notes that a lot of the money being spent on security is really just for show. 

For example, while spending on "security" at schools has increased considerably in recent years, most of that money is spend on cheap quick-fixes like security cameras. Some spending is done on controlling access, but little is spent on competent on-site personnel and other strategies. The conclusion to draw from these fact, though, is not that money spent on security is necessarily wasted. It's just being spent badly. 

Even worse, though, is the dismissal of security measures because they made people "feel" bad or conflict with someone's (usually incorrect) notions of what things were like in the good old days. "My grandpa never had security at his school" is a common thought. Well, maybe grandpa should have, since data suggests homicide rates in the 1920s and early 30s were considerably higher than they are today.

One's feelings about the days of yore and how the world ought to be are not a great basis for taking practical steps toward increasing security. 

In the real world, if school shootings really are a concern, then entrepreneurs and consumers need to work together to find practical, affordable strategies that can be implemented. 

Real experience suggests, however, that consumers don't really care that much about it. Oh sure, people say they're very concerned about it, but their demonstrated preference is usually toward cheaper tuition or keeping their kids in public schools where the administration is more concerned with hiring another guidance counselor than with investigating practical security options. If people were really concerned about it, we'd see a mass exodus of students from public schools with lackluster security measures. We don't see that — and maybe people really do recognize how low the odds really are. 

This lack of concern is also why many hotels — like the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas — can't be bothered with implementing meaningful security. Customers are more concerned with keeping their weekend getaways cheap, and just trusting to luck that nothing bad will happen. Steve Wynn has noted that his hotels do in fact impose surveillance on customers in the name of security — something that has been unnoticed by consumers. 

But, until enhanced security becomes something that is truly demanded by both voters and consumers, we won't see much of it. People, apparently prefer what security experts call the "security roller coaster": panic, forget, repeat. 


Buckaroo Banzai Bud Dry Thu, 02/15/2018 - 18:54 Permalink

If we had men in this country that took the responsibility of protecting women and children seriously, then we wouldn't be in this fucking mess. But thanks to the miserable fucking kikes, and their (((Cultural Marxist))) social programming, men have been transformed into a bunch of cringing faggots, and women into a bunch of screeching harpies.

In reply to by Bud Dry

DeadFred Yukon Cornholius Thu, 02/15/2018 - 19:22 Permalink

What an f'd up article about an f'd up system. Why would anyone decide "It feels like a good day to shoot a bunch of kids"? How do you think you can protect against minds that think that way? When I was in kindergarten 'Mommy' used to bundle me up and have me walk the half mile to school. I got there safely every day and so did EVERY other kid in the school. What happened that makes people see other people as targets for random senseless acts of violence? The problem isn't that we don't have good enough security in the schools. The problem is that schools shouldn't need ANY special security. Buying into the idea we need more security is just making the system worse. It's like seeing hungry homeless people and think we just need to add money to their EBT cards weekly instead on all in a chunk every month. They're not hungry because a month is too long, they're hungry because their lives are messed up. Arrrghh!

In reply to by Yukon Cornholius

caconhma DeadFred Thu, 02/15/2018 - 19:42 Permalink

There are almost no violent crimes in Iceland, Scandinavia, Switzerland, etc. In Switzerland, every single citizen by the Law must have military type automatic weapons. 

But it is America everyday reality. Why? Because in America the legal system is completely broke and corrupt. There is no respect for the Law. It is OK for a police officer to kill an innocent person and be acquitted by a jury of people with no any respect for the Law. Or just look at the immigration Laws in America where the US Congress, US State Governors, and judges consider they can just ignore.

Consequently, other new Laws will change nothing in America. Criminals will always have guns like in Mexico and other countries with no respect for the Law of the Land by their governments and their people.

This Florida shooter will spend the next 25-30 years in various courts making lots of money for various lawyers and judges. Crimes pay in today America. He even might make lots of money writing a book. He even can get married and have children. He even can get a university degree and teach at some on-line universities. 

This is America thanks to Jewdea-Christian religion. This is a slow (so far) fall of the America Empire.

In reply to by DeadFred

bshirley1968 caconhma Thu, 02/15/2018 - 20:32 Permalink

The writer can bugger off. Not interested in more armed police in an already over policed country. He talks about the long odds and then proceeds to proclaim what we need is better security?

What's with the comments about private citizens and entrepreneurs coming up with "something"? Those be goobermint schools, pal. What makes you think private has anything to do with it. You "idea" is just another menu item on the tax feast.

You "parents" can take your chilruns home, and hears a novel idea, start being frickin' parents! That'll fix the school shooting problem. Stop bunching children up in massive, soft target scenarios where they are just being taught how to be LGBT tolerant commies anyway.

As for deterrents? Same as it always was, "Punishment deters crime." Start hanging these bastard's in public gatherings by the neck until dead, and they won't think it's all that cool or worth the attention.

Still calling this bastard a "suspect", "who allegedly killed 17". They know he did it. He admitted he did it, then hang his ass tomorrow.

But take your security and stick it up your ass. I pay over $2000.00 a year to a public school system that I have never used, and it continues to churn out little whores and menaces to society (let's not forget he was a product of this school system), and now you want me to pay to protect them from themselves? You can go f...k yourself....and the horse you rode in on.

In reply to by caconhma

Bigern caconhma Thu, 02/15/2018 - 22:00 Permalink

What fails to attract notice is the strengthening presence of the demonic, manifesting all over the world. There is by extension, a failure to make the correlation of the deluge of these entities with acts of extreme violence, haunts, paranormal assaults, and presences being manifested heavily in certain regions. 

The SSRI's, opiates, and other addictive drugs are to eliminate sobriety and resistance to those things that would take up residence in the human body. It will become more apparent as the veil continues to weaken. The expanding war we see now will be nothing compared to what is coming from beyond.

In reply to by caconhma

Freddie Yukon Cornholius Thu, 02/15/2018 - 20:00 Permalink

Broward County is one of the most leberal in America with Debbie Wasserman-Schulutz and Sheriff Scott Israel who was never a cop.

A girl student on Laura Ingrham radio show said the school had 5 security guards usually riding around in golf carts,  There were also 2 cop cars.  She said the kid started assembling the rifle in the hallway; 

The shooter went to school in an Uber car?  5'9 or 5'7" and lugging a rifle around with mags?  Yeah sure.

In reply to by Yukon Cornholius

Chupacabra-322 Freddie Thu, 02/15/2018 - 20:04 Permalink

There where Security camera’s in the stairwells as well as all over the school.  Where’s the Surveillance footage?  

Why was Secret Service doing there a week prior?

Why did Secret Service change Security protocols  a week Prior?

Reports of multiple shooters.  Is that being investigated & looked into?


KHOU pulled news report which never aired with eyewitness stating two shooters.



Additionally, it was reported by the father of a student who attends the school that both a fire drill and an active shooter drill were scheduled for Wednesday.

That explains the Army being on site, and the multiple shooters. Standard MO. Schedule a drill and it 'unexpectedly' goes live.

There was a drill in Vegas too.

In reply to by Freddie

Yog Soggoth Buckaroo Banzai Thu, 02/15/2018 - 19:37 Permalink

While you stand correct about 70% city men, I have to point out that most schools in Fl. have been turned into detention centers long ago. It was after 9/11 that they spent taxpayers dollars tearing out lockers to replace them with bigger bookbags, (paid for by the parents). That's right, the kids had to tote all the books, even the ones they did not have to read that night. Scrap dealers made out all right, and so did China. East coast is Wasserman town.

In reply to by Buckaroo Banzai

dchang0 giorgioorwell Thu, 02/15/2018 - 18:55 Permalink

Meh. They have a problem with acid attacks in schools instead. Try and ban household cleaners and see where that gets you.

"Two acid attacks are carried out in Britain EVERY DAY as children use deadly liquids in playground disputes and demand grows to ban sales of chemicals to under 18s

Read more: 

In reply to by giorgioorwell

giorgioorwell dchang0 Thu, 02/15/2018 - 19:25 Permalink

That's not side-stepping anything, that's pointing out that your example is literally retarded.  If you don't see the difference between a knife and an AK, then you're not a rational person.

You ban or at the very least severely limit access to something that is literally designed as a weapon of war, as has every other advanced nation on this planet....this whole "but then they'll use knives arguments" is the biggest side step of all.

No other country has this problem on this scale, and all other countries have access to knives, acid, vehicles.

Show me links to the hundreds of mass casualty school attacks happening in other countries with knives, acid, cars, take your pick.

My guess is you'll send the link to the one crazy guy in China who killed dozens of very young kids as your example of what will happen when AK's are taken away. 

You can move on now to the next retarded argument that all these kids are medicated by big-pharma.


In reply to by dchang0

dchang0 giorgioorwell Thu, 02/15/2018 - 19:30 Permalink

Here ya go: it's a college and not a high school, but that's quibbling:…

Here's a high school:…

Google is out there for you to use, same as me. These are just the first two links that came up in under 2 seconds of googling.

Like I said, you're making the "more or less lethal" argument. You aren't interested in actually solving school violence; your real goal is a gun ban.

In reply to by giorgioorwell

dchang0 dchang0 Thu, 02/15/2018 - 20:43 Permalink

Regarding really solving school violence:

I have a simple, easy-to-do proposal that will immediately reduce school violence: stop compulsory school attendance.

There is clearly a segment of the population that doesn't want to go to school. This kid Cruz was reported to beat his head against the wall when his adoptive parents tried to force him to go to school. Clearly, he did not want to go.

But I am referring mainly to the population that would not benefit from going to school. Kids and families that would rather send the kid to trade school or to apprentice under a master craftsman where they can immediately become productive members of society, an asset to their family. Or kids and families that want to homeschool. Or kids and families where the kid is seriously mentally-ill and just can't be properly socialized.

But there are anti-truancy laws and the headcount-based funding incentivize forcing the worst-behaved or least-interested kids to go to school, and these kids WILL take it out on their fellow students. Most of the time, it will be bullying other kids with fists and feet, but some will definitely choose to kill.

Also, by cutting funding to public schools (based on headcount compensation), they will have to be better at educating students, or the parents will choose homeschooling. The schools won't be mere daycare centers where the bad apples poison the other apples*. They'll really teach the kids useful skills.

This proposal is far easier than trying to ban every possible weapon, including household chemicals and makeshift flamethrowers and commercial-grade drones. It doesn't require sending SWAT teams to round up 300 million firearms.

It doesn't require metal detectors in schools. Just let parents choose whether to send their kids to school or not, simple as that.


Note: I am not saying this will eliminate all school violence. As was pointed out by a fellow ZHer, there are parts of the world where schools are bombed. In those areas, schools are usually not compulsory, and the students are still terrorist targets.


* Jordan Peterson talks about this in one of his videos: there was a well-run experiment where a program sent a bunch of poor kids to summer camp, and they found that a handful of bad kids turned the good kids into bad kids.

In reply to by dchang0

dchang0 Umh Thu, 02/15/2018 - 19:17 Permalink

Very true--thanks for catching that.

Clearly giorgioorwell doesn't know much about guns or gun law, yet we're supposed to care when he makes gun policy recommendations.


"Automatic assault rifles" are a partial oxymoron. An assault rifle by definition must be select-fire, which is not the same as automatic. You're just parroting a scary term you read about in the news.

Also, they have been banned from new sales to civilians in the USA since 1986. (Technically the term is "machine gun" in the law.) The only ones that can be bought are those made before 1986, thus they have become very expensive collector items. (Over $7,000 for a full-auto MAC 10, over $17,000 for a select-fire M16.) And the buyers are highly-regulated and carefully tracked by the gov't. They are also outright banned in several states at the state level, even if collectors are allowed to buy old machine guns at the federal level.


Get educated about guns and gun law, then we can have a realistic discussion based on facts and not feelz.

In reply to by Umh

Never One Roach dchang0 Thu, 02/15/2018 - 19:32 Permalink

Why do these snowflakes blame guns?

How about Hollywood?


Look at the miserable condition American families place themselves in. How many kids grow in in single-parent households and many don't even know 'Who be Their Daddy.'

STD's are rampant, decency and respect have gone out the window and we see that even our historically honorable FBI has fallen to rampant corruption. Worse yet, Dems leaders encourage this chaos, violence and rable.

Add to that the leftie philosophy of entitlement, everyone gets a trophy, it's bad to spank yo' kids, etc and this is part of the result. The pother results we see on college campuses such a Berkley.

In reply to by dchang0

dchang0 giorgioorwell Thu, 02/15/2018 - 19:37 Permalink

Funny that you bring up drones.

It won't be long before a schoolkid uses a consumer-grade drone to intentionally attack someone. Maybe 10 years or 20. It's going to happen eventually. Probably will dump acid on the victims or possibly explode or burn.

Told you, the weapon doesn't matter. Its degree of lethality doesn't matter. Banning the weapon doesn't solve the problem of school violence, it just shifts the method of killing to something else.

People can buy or build a flame thrower today:

Cruz could've pulled the fire alarm, stood right outside an exit, and roasted just as many kids with the flamethrower without a background check. The kids would die later of their burns. Are you going to call for bans on flamethrowers? You agree that the flamethrower is a weapon of war, right? And that it's capable of killing as many as 15 kids quickly, right? (Watch the video if you are not convinced.)

A decent high-school engineering student could probably build one for much less than $3200. It's just a CO2 tank with a fuel tank, hose, and nozzle.

You can't stop school violence without addressing the real problem: the person committing the violence, not his more-or-less lethal tools.

In reply to by giorgioorwell

Malleus Maleficarum Umh Thu, 02/15/2018 - 19:38 Permalink

Exactly! 17 American kids are murdered with a madman wielding a semi-auto AR-15, it's a tragedy worthy of destroying what little remains of the Bill of Rights. A drone drops a 500lb. JDAM on a wedding party and kills scores of children? "Tough shit, they shouldn't have gotten in the way...what else is on TV, dear?"

I sympathize very much with the victims, their parents, and the survivors. But even moar police state is NOT the answer! Look at the tools they have now, and they still dropped the ball after this kid was twice reported. You mean to tell me those tools weren't enough? It goes without saying that the government would like even more widespread, intrusive surveillance. They're also likely covering up illegal methods a la "parallel construction" on steroids. Get it through your heads, America: the government cannot protect you or guarantee your safety! That is your responsibility! Notice how these things didn't happen when most Americans were armed? 

In reply to by Umh

SDShack giorgioorwell Thu, 02/15/2018 - 20:03 Permalink

Ever see what a 12 gauge shotgun loaded with buckshot can do? Did you see the carnage left by various jihadis that used rental trucks to drive on sidewalks mowing down pedestrians? You like every other brain dead libtard is focusing on "assault" weapons, when the issue is far bigger then that. Ban guns is your solution, just like banning drugs and alcohol, how did that work out? Because everyone knows that criminals will obey gun laws. Hey dumb ass, how about enforcing EXISTING laws already on the books instead of passing more laws that criminals just won't obey.

Like the Texas church shooter who was dishonorably discharged and should have been put on a no-buy gun background check, but wasn't because the military fucked up and didn't file the paperwork! Or this mentally ill kid that was turned into the FBI by his own mother and should have also been put on a no-buy gun background check, but wasn't. Maybe if the FBI was actually doing their job instead of colluding with brain dead libtards trying to conduct a coup against Trump using the false Russian meme, the FBI could have actually stopped this kid. That's the ONLY type of "gun control" that is needed. Law enforcement and govt doing their jobs enforcing existing law! But we can't do that in today's libtard PC correct world because that might "offend" someone because Criminal Lives Matter!

In reply to by giorgioorwell

MozartIII giorgioorwell Thu, 02/15/2018 - 19:01 Permalink

No other country has so many drugged people! Those prescriptions help your mind.....


How many gun owners do mass killings, that are not on big pharma anti-depressants?  Answer so far = 0


Muslims don't count in this total. They kill everyone, even themselves.


Every mass killer with a released medical background, has been on these drugs!!!  For at least the last 10+ years. I have not researched beyond that.... Nothing would surprise me going further back!



In reply to by giorgioorwell