PDT Staff Writer
Law enforcement agents, firefighters, emergency personnel, and school personnel gathered and held onto every word as Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, U.S. Army (Retired) talked about putting an end to violence in America’s schools, Monday at the Holiday Inn in downtown Portsmouth.
Grossman, director of the Warrior Science Group (www.killology.com) is a member of the American Board for Certification in Homeland Security; a member of the American College of Forensic Examiners Institute; a former West Point psychology professor; a professor of Military Science, and an Army Ranger, and has combined his experiences to become the founder of a new field of scientific endeavor, which has been termed “killology.”
Grossman said there have been no children killed in school fires in the last 50 years. However, in the 1998-99 school year the U.S. Department of Education reported 47 children were killed by violence in schools, while around 250,000 suffered serious injury as the result of school violence. In the 2007 school year, 63 died as a result of school violence, and again, around a quarter of a million suffered serious injury.
“We have got to prepare for violence like we’re prepared for fire,” Grossman said. “And we’ve got to protect our schools. We’re not allowed to be in denial, and so we talk about how we can deter the bad guys.”
Grossman, author of several books featured on Amazon.com, put out startling statistics and information to several hundred people present at the lecture.
“We have never had a multiple homicide in a school when there was an armed cop present in that building,” Grossman said. “This is important, there has never been a multiple homicide in a school until the late 1970s, when there was a double homicide in a school in California. In the 80s we had a couple more double homicides. In the 90s it began to take off - Pearl, Mississippi; Paducah, Kentucky; Moses Lake, Washington; my home town of Jonesboro, Arkansas; Columbine High School (Colorado); 5,000 years of recorded history, 500 years of gunpowder, 150 years of repeating firearms, and not one single time has any child ever committee a multiple homicide in a school, and now they’re everywhere.”
Grossman said school violence resulting in deaths has taken place in almost every country on earth including Canada, Germany, Finland, Japan and China.
“Around the planet children are committing crimes never seen before,” Grossman said. “And we know what the new factor is.”
That factor which he spoke about to those in attendance was movies and violent video games.
“The sickest video games and the sickest movies are very, very sick indeed,” Grossman said. “Think of the sickest movie you can imagine. Think of the sickest video you can imagine, and believe that there’s ones worse than that. And the kids who play the sickest movies and play the sickest video games are very very sick indeed. All of the school killers all have one thing in common — they dropped out of life and they immersed themselves in the sick movies and the sick video games, and we’ll show the brain scan study shortly here and the way it comes out.”
Grossman said it is imperative everyone work together to protect students from the “internal and the external threat.”
He talked about the “TV Turn Off “curriculum, pioneered by Stanford Medical School. He told those present, the website for the TV Turn Off curriculum is www.takethechallengenow.net. Grossman said it can be downloaded for use in school. He said students will participate in the program if they are asked by their teachers to turn those things off for ten days.
“What we see is immediately, violence cut in half, and test scores go up double digits,” Grossman said. “It has also been one of the most successful juvenile obesity reduction programs we’ve ever seen. If you’ve got a chubby kid and you give a hoot and a heck about the kid, the first thing you’ve got to do is pull the plug.”
Grossman said he believes the trend can be turned around.
“Right now we’re slapping a band-aid on a wound,” Grossman said. “But there really is hope for protecting our kids.”
One of those in attendance was Portsmouth Fire Chief Bill Raison.
“A lot of what he is talking about, the terrorist events that have gone on in other places that we’re looking at, and we’re saying — if it can happen in other parts of the world it can happen here,” Raison said. “And very often those events are involving fire as part of the weapons they’re using. And so that’s one of the things that I’m trying to convey to my guys, that we need to be prepared.”
He said his department, as well as other law enforcement agencies, including the Portsmouth Police Department, saw such activity during a shooting incident at Notre Dame High School in Portsmouth. A teacher suffered severe injuries, but survived the incident.
“There wasn’t a fire there, but we ended up responding, with the police department,” Raison said. “We used our guys to provide perimeter, because the police units were all tied up inside the school. They actually used one of our trucks as cover at the house where the suspect had barricaded himself.”
Raison said preparation is key to dealing with school violence situations.
“So what we are coming to realize is that these kinds of events are going to involve everybody,” Raison said. “Every emergency responder is going to be in the game there somehow, and especially with the use of fire and explosive devices that we’ve seen in other places, comes here. It’s going to really be that much more burden on us to be there, prepared to respond, and to work together.”
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at email@example.com.