Florida Sheriff Grady Judd, the top cop in Polk County, pushed back on Tuesday against those who claim the Uvalde massacre proves more armed personnel on school grounds do not thwart active shooters.
What is the claim?
Proponents of gun control have seized on the Uvalde atrocity to advance their opposition to arming teachers and beefing up security personnel at schools.
In the case of Uvalde, the killer was inside the school for more than one hour before police killed him. The school had a resource officer (who was not present at the school when the killer first attacked), and dozens of law enforcement personnel stood outside the school while the gunman was inside on his killing rampage.
MSNBC columnist Zeeshan Aleem, for example, argued that because police officers failed to stop the killer before he murdered nearly two dozen people, teachers definitively could not have stopped him.
How could we expect a teacher — whose job it is to educate children, not protect them from highly motivated armed murderers — to handle the job more effectively in a moment of shocking chaos and terror? At best, supplying a teacher with a gun to confront a shooter is a mandate to have them sacrifice themselves while likely doing little to stop the attack; at worst, the teacher could accidentally harm or kill children, or even be mistaken for the shooter by responding officers.
What did Judd say?
Speaking on Fox News, Judd bashed the idea and MSNBC's advancement of the theory.
"MSNBC doesn’t know so much about what they’re talking about, but that’s not unusual. If they did, they could create the training program, and we’d never have another active shooter," Judd said.
"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," he added. "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. And why those 19 police officers did [not do] that, I don't know."
Earlier in the interview, Judd made it clear how he trains his officers to deal with active shooters.
"At the end of the day we know that shootings, these active shooters, are done between zero and 5 minutes," he explained. "The police response is plus five minutes. We also know that active shooters don’t get to change it to a barricade situation.
"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," he continued. "Push in, save lives, neutralize the threat. We train for that. We expect that.
"I can tell you this: I want them to shoot them, shoot them so much that you can read the local newspaper through them," Judd added bluntly. "Neutralize the threat."
The long-term solution to preventing mass killings at schools, Judd later said, is to "find people long before they show up on the campus." He said communities must work together and report suspicious activity to law enforcement.
"If you see something, you hear something, you say something," he said.