On the Colorado School Shooting

I’m not going to spend much time discussing the recent school shooting in Colorado since most of the facts aren’t in yet. But I do want to quickly mention one important aspect: the extent of time the shooting lasted:

In less than 80 seconds, Karl Pierson “fired one random shot down a hallway,” then entered an area where 17-year-old Claire Esther Davis was seated with a friend, “and shot the female victim point-blank” in the head. “There was no time for the victim to run from the shooter,” Robinson told reporters on Saturday.

Pierson then fired another round down a hallway, then entered the library, where he fired again and ignited one of the Molotov cocktails, according to Robinson.

That ignited at least three bookshelves, causing smoke to pour into the library.

He then fired a fifth round and ran to the library’s back corner, “and there took his own life.”

By 12:35 p.m., it was all over.


The rampage might have resulted in many more casualties had it not been for the quick response of a deputy sheriff who was working as a school resource officer at the school, Robinson said.

This event shows that a lot of damage can be caused in a mere 80 seconds. It also shows that having the ability to respond quickly to school shootings is critical. In most of these shootings the shooter has committed suicide upon meeting armed resistance. That means having armed individuals on site is an effective way to reduce the amount of damage cased by a shooter. I’m not a fan of having uniformed officers on site because it both creates an obvious point of failure and reinforces the prison-like environment that schools already reflect. I would far prefer schools allow teachers and faculty to carry a firearm is they so chose. That would add uncertainty to any plan to shoot up a school and would remove an obvious point of failure.

There will never be a perfect solution to prevent violence but we can work to mitigate its effects. One of the most effective ways of doing so is to have a more widely armed populace.