View Full Version : The School

03-28-2005, 08:22 PM
The School

You are dropping your sophomore daughter off at high school as she missed the bus. As you are saying good bye to her at the front of the school where you are parked, you observe a young male walking down the sidewalk turn up the walkway to the front of the school. He has black hair in a "punk" style, multiple piercings an is wearing a long black duster. You notice several telltale bulges at various points on the coat. You ask your daughter about him. She says, "Oh, thats Ace, he's in Joe's( your son) first period, he's weird, nobody likes him". Your son who is a junior didn't miss the bus, is already at school and is probably headed for his first class. You are carrying you usual "equipment". You are aware that the school is a no weapons zone by law and has a strict "Zero Tolerance" policy.

What do you do?

Steve Camp
03-29-2005, 04:54 AM
Hop out of my car, and yell, "Hey Ace... gotta minute! There's something I've been meaning go ask ya!"

If he stops and allows me to catch up, then ask him if he'd like to go flying sometime (I'm a pilot). Then play it by ear. Maybe even ask him if he'd like to go shooting. Watch his reponse. If he is nice and stays cool... I guess let him go. Then call the school office and report a suspicion that Ace may be carrying extra-curricular hardware under his coat if I'm still at all suspicious.

If he either speeds up (fast walk), acts really nervous, or breaks into a run, speed dial 911, report that I suspect an armed student may be entering the school.

If I don't see any weapons, or am not able to bump frisk him in any way... I will not draw or take any overt action.

Oh yeah... tell my daughter to get back in and stay in the car.

Does my son have a cellphone? (Who doesn't these days.) Speed dial and/or text him telling him to get out of the building NOW -- but other than the front entrance. NO QUESTIONS, leave by another exit, meet me out front.

03-29-2005, 05:10 AM
-Have your daughter call the police and explain the situation. I wouldn't have her mention that you are armed in this case, because if your instincts are wrong and you go into the school, you're going to jail.

-Have your daughter call your son (assuming he has a Cell phone, which I believe all kids should, with certain restrictions) and get him out of class, having him exit by a different route.

-I'd have to follow this kid into the school. If he's getting in past security (if there is any) and metal detectors (if there are any) then maybe you'll decide that it's OK afterall and leave. Otherwise you can tail him untill police arrive.

-I don't think you have any call to challenge the kid, yet, though you do have good reason to be suspicious.

-You might consider talking to the kid. Maybe asking him if he knows where the main office is or something to give you a chance to size him up. If you are sure he's armed, maybe you can take him down without having to kill him before he can do anything.

-In a situation like this, if it came to it, about the last thing I'd want to do would be to shoot. In other situations 'on the street' I would shoot much more readily than in a situation like this; shooting a kid in a school. This is maybe the one time I might consider trying to intentionally shoot him in a non-vital area. Tough call.

Those are my initial thoughts. I always try to respond to these Tactical Scenarios with my honest first impressions, because in real life that's all I'll have.


03-29-2005, 10:02 PM
Leave my daughter at the car with the cell phone. Tell her to call the cops if she hears gunfire. (Instructions will depend on exactly what I think I see. If I know I'm seeing a gun then the call gets made NOW.)

If there is good security and Ace makes it through, then probably enough, though I may point out his strange bulges to the guards.

If no security, ask him to show me where the class is. Explain that my son is in class with him. Maintain a following position where I can both watch him and react properly, hopefully with pepper or H2H if he goes strange. If he turns out to be normal, pull my son out for a quick conversation and then leave.

Write my daughter an excuse for late arrival.

03-29-2005, 10:26 PM
1. Call Joe (son) on cell phone and tell him to leave school by other than front door and to come to our car in the front, avoiding "Ace" and any of his friends no matter what.
2. Keep daughter with me.
3. Call police and advise them of what I saw, description of susp and who he is, what my daughter said, me vehicle description and location. Advise them of my description, clothing etc, I am legally armed and if I hear shots I am going in. I will stay out of school if no problems to avoid arrest re weapons and loss of weapons, ownership, etc and my ability to protect my family in the future.
4. If I go in, advise my daughter to remain with car and wait for her brother, if possible, then drive away.
5. If police arrive and nothing has happened yet, tell them what I saw, description of susp what my daughter said including who he is. Tell them I will stand by pending the outcome so my children can go back to class.

03-30-2005, 01:33 AM
I wonder after hearing gunshots...

You go in the school armed and you take out the shooter. Do they prosecute you? Figure they wouldn't seeing that you did the right thing. But then why do they have the laws set up so you can't do the right thing?

03-30-2005, 04:37 AM
I, being a wierd kid in school, was taken to the police station 4 times during high school, for reasons non other than looking suspicious, lol. After columbine (i lived in CO. at the time, I was frisked and was intervewed by a Detective, also, when a local bank was robbed, I was interviewed about it, dispite that fact that I was the deffinition of uninvolved, but my name was mentioned by other people, because I was "wierd" and noone liked me.

I would talk to the kid, and if he seems suspicious, be upfront. "Geeze kid, it looks like your carrying alot of stuff under that coat."

"why are you wearing that duster?" I knew kids that would wear coats in the summer here in Vegas due to paranoia of the sun :rolleyes:, to look creepy ect.

Other questions:
Whats under that duster?
Should I be conserned?
You know your gonna catch hell for wearing that ect.

(Even the columbine kids were crying for help beforehand, noone bothered to ask)

Basicly, ask questions, react upon his manarisms.

Steve Camp
03-30-2005, 05:04 AM
I wonder after hearing gunshots...

You go in the school armed and you take out the shooter. Do they prosecute you? Figure they wouldn't seeing that you did the right thing. But then why do they have the laws set up so you can't do the right thing?

I suspect many states have a law similar to Colorado's Lesser of Two Evils statute, that basically says, I broke one law because it was the lesser of the two evils presented me. So... had I gone in upon hearing gunshots, absolutely, positively identified the shooter and taken him/her out... then, when my attorney and I speak with detectives... I would expect my attorney to explain that Mr. 2267 had unenviable choices: do nothing and let people die ala Columbine, or break some silly law about not being allowed to carry a gun into a school and save lives by killing the shooter.

That's the theory anyway.

Anybody got any case law where such a defense was successfully used?

03-30-2005, 05:41 AM
I also wonder how that would play out if you and followed the kid into the school to track him, rather than waiting outside to see if you hear shots. Given the same results, I wonder if you would be prosecuted because you broke the law before you were forced to make the more clear-cut choice after hearing the gunshots (though you would probably have recated sooner and saved more lives by being right there already than if you had to run into the school and find the kid while he had already begun shooting).


03-30-2005, 08:45 AM
I haven't come across any specific case law re justification for going on school grounds while armed. Some states may have the Lesser of Two Evil laws mentioned by Steve. It would seem that if homicide could be justified by circumstances, so could a lesser crime ( Gun on school grounds), but you never know. An example would be Goetz, acquitted for attempted murder and adw but convicted on weapons charges. An interesting treatise on self defense and laws is at the link below.

03-30-2005, 09:12 AM
According to Ayoob, that Doctrine of Competing Harms defense was suggested to Slotnick, but he (Slotnick) rejected it.

Would they prosecute?

Consider the old rule:
"Tis better to be judged by twelve than carried by six"

As in the Goetz case, they may prosecute you just to make people question the wisdom of that rule. Depends on how anti-gun the prosecutor is

03-30-2005, 09:24 AM

Agree re all. As almost always, a judgement call, on how far you want to stick your neck out for other than family.

03-30-2005, 10:12 AM
I think there might be a sliding scale of acceptance of the Doctrine of Competing Harms. For example, if you ran into the school in response to gunshots and stopped the shooter, it would be more readily accepted than if you just followed him in and were caught inside with the gun. If you were caught inside with it and you said that you thought he was armed and it turned out that he was, that defense might also fly. However, if he turned out to be unarmed, you might have trouble with it.

This may be why Slotnick rejected it in the Goetz case. It has to be assumed that he had been carrying the gun illegally on a regular basis and just happened to need it at that time. That's different than chosing, at that moment, to violate the law because something far worse needs to be handled. Also, Slotnick would be more familiar with the "mood of the court" in NYC re illegal guns and might have known that it just wouldn't fly in that court. (Bernie Goetz had applied for and been rejected for a CCW even though under the guidelines, he qualified for one.)

03-30-2005, 10:20 AM
Without shots, sounds like a coin flip.

03-30-2005, 12:31 PM

VERY well put. That sounds about right.


03-30-2005, 04:26 PM
Well even if you followed him without hearing gunshots the odds of someone seeing your ccw are slim.

It's worth the very small risk.