The Defense to Beslan

I wrote before about how we have to expect another Beslan here because it is was too effective. I postulated that the only thing we could do was to storm the school as soon as possible, and try to build schools with more windows. A Dave Kopel story titled Guns, Terrorism & Teachers actually gives me hope that we might be able to nip this idea in the bud.

Arming teachers would do quite a lot for stemming this sort of attack. You don’t need many teachers armed — maybe 1 in 20. What made Beslan terribly effective was that it was a hostage situation. It wasn’t just an attack. By arming teachers, you insure that the next one will just be an attack, not a hostage taking. In an attack, they only hit what targets are available. In a hostage situation, they round up many more targets, have an opportunity to execute and torture at their leisure, and can round everyone up for one large execution (explosion) at the end, like Beslan.

Arming teachers denies them that opportunity. By having adults with concealed weapons in the mix, they cannot take hostages at a school. There is no way for a team of terrorists to herd 1000 students and prepare to repel attacks. In fact, it would be nearly impossible simply to herd the children. They need the adults from the school to do that — adults who know the children and have the children’s trust. To take the children hostage, you must take the adults hostage.

When the teachers are armed, they cannot do that. Terrorist teams cannot absorb casualties in the initial assault. They simply can’t muster the numbers (or they would be guerillas, not terrorists.) They have three choices when there is the possibility of armed defenders: they can kill all adults on sight, they can try to sort out those armed, or they can simply ignore it. The first option is a bust, because they will have no one to manage the children, and the mission is a failure. The second option is a bust because they are likely to have terrorists killed in the search process, making the mission likely to fail. The third option is a bust, because they are likely to have armed infiltrators in their midst who will either stage an insurrection at an opportune time, or wait and then assist the coming assault team, catching the terrorists in a deadly crossfire.

Armed teachers is a wildcard that the terrorists cannot afford to bet against. I think this is the main reason this was tried in Russia and not Israel, especially in regard to the nine Arab terrorists.

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