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Arming Teachers To Protect Against School Shootings: In today”€™s program we are interviewing a former Navy SEAL about the effects of arming teachers in school. Is it a good idea, a bad idea, how hard would it be to train teachers in this situation, and will that actually prevent possible future shootings? Tune in now to learn more!

Air Date: 03/21/2018

Guest: Matt Heidt

On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton


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Transcription note:  As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.

Faith And The Culture

Rick:

Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. This is WallBuilders Live! Where we”€™re talking about today”€™s hottest topics on policy, faith, and the culture. Always from a biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective.

We’re here with David Barton, he”€™s America’s premier historian and the founder of WallBuilders. Also, Tim Barton, national speaker, pastor, and president of WallBuilders. My name is Rick Green, I’m a former Texas state legislator.

You can find out more about all three of us and the program at WallBuildersLive.com – list of stations there and also a lot of other great information including archives of the program over the last few weeks. And then at WallBuilders.com, our main website, you can get all kinds of great tools for your family to– and not just your family, actually, I should say your church Sunday school class, your co-op, your local homeschool co-op, all kinds of things to help educate and inspire folks to be better citizens.

Later in the program we”€™ve got a former Navy SEAL coming on to talk to us about arming teachers, good idea or bad idea, and influence that debate in the culture. We all can have a voice on this one because it”€™s a hot topic.

David, Tim, a lot of people talking about this one. Some states are considering legislation right now. Some people are scared to death of actually having a teacher that’s trained to use a firearm, having it with them in a school. Other people are saying, “€œActually, that’s exactly what I want, is somebody to defend my child if some crazy person comes in.”€ What do you guys think?

Go to the Navy SEAL

Tim:

I think we should just skip our opinions and go to the Navy SEAL. That just sounds like more fun. I want to hear from the Navy SEAL and see what he thinks.

David:

By the way, I have to say, Navy SEAL, that is an elite, elite, group. When you hear Navy SEAL, you don’t think Delta Force, you think, “€œthat’s the top”€. So, here’s my question – do you guys even know what SEAL stands for? That’s what I thought. I hear silence all over this.

Tim:

Yes, but I”€™ve got to think about it. Actually, you probably should just go to him and I’ll google it.

David:

I just looked it up and the Free Dictionary says SEAL stands for social and emotional aspects of learning.

Tim:

Um, no.

Rick:

I think you got the wrong one maybe. Yeah,

Tim:

So, what you did is you looked up PETA and it was people eating tasting animals. That’s the answer you just came up with. That”€™s not what that means.

David:

Well, I did find it interesting that that’s their number one answer. The other one that is actually right– this is the Navy we’re talking about this, but it stands for Sea, Air, and Land Forces. So, “€œSE”€ for sea, “€œA”€ for air, and “€œL”€ for land – so, sea, air, land – these guys do it all, they’re into everything.

Rick:

And can go anywhere.

David:

And can go anywhere.

Rick:

And are feared all over the planet and, like you said, lead of the elite. Probably, I forget the numbers that wash out in * now, and how hard it is to get through. There’s some great books on it from Marcus Luttrell”€™s book Lone Survivor to Chris Kyle’s book, and some other ones.

But most of the time when you say, “€œI’m a former Navy SEAL”€ people stand up and pay attention and have great respect for somebody that’s been able to even get into the program, to get through the training, but then to serve in that elite group.

Training, Training, Training

Tim:

Well, and even the idea that the training, as we mentioned, the training they go through– when a Navy SEAL is not deployed, 280 days out of the year they are training. And so certainly if we’re going to talk about the idea of what would it look like to train a teacher – is that a good idea or a bad idea. Well, the people that have done the most training, and that do the most training probably, would probably be the best to speak to this. Which is why Navy SEALs are absolutely the best.

Nobody does more training when it comes to defense, and tactical, and taking out bad guys. Nobody for our military forces does more training than the Navy SEALs. Which is why we thought, “€œHey, we just need to talk to a Navy SEAL and tell us, “€œIs this a good idea, a bad idea, what do you think?”€ What’s the positive, negative, up, down, so help us understand.

Rick:

How hard would it be to train teachers in a situation like that to be able to deal with these things? Great questions. Matt Heidt is going to be with us. Let’s talk a little bit before we go to him about what he does now because he’s with Chad Robichaux, our good friend at the Mighty Oaks Warrior Program.

David:

Yeah, Mighty Oaks, these guys are great what they do. Particularly helping veterans and helping former military get back engaged in life, particularly, if they’ve had trauma or PTS– and they don’t call it “€œD”€. They don’t call it a disorder – it’s not a disorder, it”€™s post-traumatic stress. How to handle that, how to deal with it. And by the way, they might even have some good perspective on this since they”€™re also the guys who trained the federal air marshals, and trained pilots, and trained others.

So they’ve been doing a lot of training not just for teachers, but they’ve been doing training in other areas where we had incidents like in airplanes and aircraft. They really do have a good perspective on this.

Rick:

Matt Heidt our special guest. Stay with us. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live.

Front Sight Handgun Training and Constitution Crash Course

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We’ll do that during the day and then at night we’re going to provide you with a Constitution Crash Course. Visit RickGreen.com today to learn more about this unique opportunity. It’s happening April 13th and 14th and you can attend for free. No kidding. No exaggeration. We’re giving away this one thousand dollar course for free to the first 100 listeners on WallBuilders Live that register for the course at RickGreen.com.

You’ll learn the real purpose of the Second Amendment and why the founders believed it was so important for we citizens to be armed. I don’t care if you’re marksman or you’ve never held a gun in your life, I can promise you that you will leave this training with improved skills and the confidence to protect your family.

It’s going to be a great weekend a fun, fellowship, learning, and sending a lot of lead downrange. And that one thousand dollar course registration, again, completely waived for the first 100 WallBuilders Live listeners to register. You”€™ve got to pay for your own travel and ammo, but we’re giving you the course for free as a gift to our listeners. I look forward to seeing you on the range April 13th. For all the details visit RickGreen.com today.

Mighty Oaks Warriors

Rick:

Welcome back. Thanks for staying with us here on WallBuilders Live. Our special guest today, one of the great guys and Mighty Oaks Warriors. And I tell you, folks, if you have not found out about Mighty Oaks, if you haven”€™t given to Mighty Oaks, you have got to go to their website today. It’s one of the ministries our family loves to support every year and WallBuilders Live loves to support.

So, check them out at MightyOaksPrograms.org, that’s MightyOaksPrograms.org. We’ll have a link today WallBuildersLive.com to make it easy for you. One of their trainers, Matt Heidt, is with us – former Navy SEAL and now one of the program instructors there at Mighty Oaks. Matt, good to have you on, bro.

Matt Heidt:

Thank you very much, Rick. Great to be here.

Rick:

Hey man, appreciate your time, appreciate what you guys are continuing to do for so many of our veterans coming back. And we sing y”€™alls praises all the time here. We just love what you do and you”€™re getting great results.

But today I wanted to talk to you about, very specifically, the idea of actually arming teachers that are trained and ready for that, they get the training they need. Tennessee is passing legislation right now that would do this somewhat in response to the Florida school shooting there, but really in response to the last 20 years of it. What are your thoughts on that? You and Chad have dealt with this from the standpoint of arming pilots. What do you think about arming teachers?

What Does a Former Navy SEAL Think About Arming Teachers?

Matt Heidt:

Well, I think we’re basically faced with a choice here. So, I think, essentially, I think most people recognize that the issue of guns in the United States is an issue that’s been going on for over 240 years. So, there is no material change in the amount of guns that people have access to. So, to characterize this problem as a gun problem, I think most people realize it is not the case. It’s clearly a culture problem and that’s what’s changed.

Rick:

Yeah.

Matt Heidt:

In the past 10 years the culture in this country has changed. There are various ways we go into that, but at the end of the day, the way I see this is if we as a society are unwilling to address these cultural issues, and it seems like we really are not willing to do it as a society, then you have to take steps to harden these schools and to prevent further shootings from occurring.

So, in other words, if you’re going to say, “€œWell, we just accept the reality of this culture and we’re not going to try to do anything to change it.”€ Then to say, “€œWell, but we don’t want our kids to see people with guns and we don’t want to have security measures that are overwhelming on these campuses.”€ Then you’re really kind of stuck because there’s no solution then.

Rick:

And wouldn’t you say, even if as a culture we finally get fed up with a relative– this moral relativism, and saying anything goes, and raising kids to believe that, and the psychotropic drugs, and all the other problems that are the actual real problems in this regard. Even if we are going to move forward with trying to solve those problems, in the meantime you still need to harden the schools into– just like you guys going to defend a particular city or change something there, even if we’re putting the right policies in place there’s still bad guys out there in the meantime that you’ve got to be prepared for, right?

A Pre-Packaged Solution

Matt Heidt:

Absolutely. I think this particular situation is a really good one for this solution and the reason is you have a– each school is unique in the way that it’s built, the way it’s laid out, entrances, the exits, the way the buildings are, and construction material, and so on. So, it’s a very simple matter to go into an individual school and to ascertain its security strengths and weaknesses and then have a group of teachers or staff members who are willing to go through training, including firearms training, that’s tailored specifically to defend the most likely avenues of approach, an assault, that a shooter would take in that particular location.

And so you would– you’re not requiring teachers to become SWAT officers were they   essentially need to sort of solve these kinds of problems on the fly and figure out, “€œWell, how are we going to approach this and this.”€ No, no, no, this is the kind of prepackaged solution that you can develop, probably over the summertime, right. You get some teachers that are interested in this and go through whatever legal requirements are necessary in a given area to facilitate this. And then take the summer with either   security consulting firms, or the local police departments, or whatever the case may be, to take some steps to sort of create better conditions on the campus and then train up the teachers for just this one scenario. That”€™s all you have to do – just figure this out. And–

Rick:

Yeah.

Matt Heidt:

–these teachers go here, this person goes there, these are the responsibilities. And now you have a very solid defensive game plan that is going to be a real match for someone who wants to come in there and do damage.

Rick:

Yeah, because it seems like, you’re the expert here, but from a tactical perspective every one of these stories is some– whether it’s a teenager, or even somebody in their 20s, that has virtually no training. They’re not a skilled operator coming in there. There’s just zero defense against them. And trained teachers that have been through, even some of the most basic law enforcement training, you can’t speak definitively I guess, but more than likely, are going to be able to deal with the situation. Certainly, common sense tells you a whole lot better than just trying to hide the kids.

It”€™s Not Going to Require Rocket Science

Rick:

But it just doesn’t seem like– and I think I hear what you’re saying – this isn’t going to require rocket science to put up some very solid defensive measures for this kind of thing.

Matt:

That’s right and I think you have to take into consideration– Look, I understand people having trepidation about about these issues. But the reality is, if you ask some of these teachers from the Parkland’s school, and they are willing to be frank with you, they would say, the ones particularly who were in close proximity to the shooter and what he did, maybe the day before they”€™d say that, “€œI would never want to have a gun on me. This is a terrible idea for all these various reasons.”€ But once you’re faced with the reality that you’re completely helpless in a contained environment where a person is able to roam freely to this area and take shots at people and you have literally no ability to defend yourself.

Look, we”€™ve talked a lot about the sheriff’s deputies and their failure to respond properly in this case, but there is no choice. When you’re in this kind of a situation you either respond, or die, or get lucky and the guy didn”€™t see you. Those were kind of the three options that are out there. And so–

Rick:

Yeah.

Matt Heidt:

–it just seems pretty obvious that having access to this kind of response– And also, look, if you did what I said, if you prepared the school, if you did the training, if you had the teachers ready, and all this, the fact that that happened would be a massive deterrent against people coming into that school. If you said, “€œLook–

Rick:

Great point.

Matt Heidt:

Summertime news program channel 5 news, “€œToday at such and such high school they’re doing this thing.”€ That word gets out, “€œHey, this school’s prepared.”€

Rick:

That”€™s right.

Preparedness Itself is a Deterrent

Matt Heidt:

You”€™re not going to just walk in here and do whatever you want. These people are prepared right now. That preparedness in and of itself is a tremendous deterrent from this even happening.

Rick:

Matt, that’s a great point that I haven’t heard anybody raise at this point. Because it does, it’s kind of like the gun free zones are the ones they go after. So, if they know that these five theaters allow concealed carry they drive past those five theaters and they go to the one that doesn’t allow concealed carry because they want the sitting ducks. Same thing in this situation. I think you raise a very important point.

And if the media would properly report when these kinds of trainings take place – the Sentinel program at the college in central Florida, we had their president on and talked about his partnership with the sheriff’s department there, and how they’ve been working on this for a year, and they’ve got somebody in every building that’s trained, and hopefully every floor that’s trained, and armed, and ready to respond. Well, ig people know that, then the crazy is probably going to go somewhere else or not go in at all. It is a huge deterrent – I wish more people would talk about what you just said.

Matt Heidt:

Yeah, look, if we’re talking about– the particular focus given this set of circumstances that we’ve been dealing with is a disgruntled student situation. So, if that’s the case, if that’s the big threat people are concerned about right now, then these students more than anyone in the community would be the most aware of the reality that this school has been prepared for this kind of– to repel this kind of assault. And so–

Rick:

Yeah.   

Matt Heidt:

they would know more than anyone else. Okay, so all the teachers are ready, and we’ve seen this training going on, and maybe there’s a sign or two out front of the campus sort of generally saying, “€œHey, guess what – this school is protected.”€ All the more deterrent factor that would create. There’s no question about that.

We”€™re Talking About Teachers Going Through Significant Training

Rick:

How hard is it to get– I’ve seen like with the Sentinel program in Florida they’re talking 140 or so hours of training for anybody that’s going to be allowed, any of these teachers or staff that are going to be allowed. That’s a lot, that”€™s more than virtually every law enforcement program that I looked at, certainly in terms of actual handgun training.

So, this is not– we’re not talking about just saying, “€œHey, if you want to carry, go carry.”€ We’re talking about, to dissuade those that are worried about a gun being on canvas, they need to know we’re talking about teachers that are going through significant training. Much more so than even just a basic concealed carry course is the way I understand it. Is that the way you understand what people are proposing here?

Matt Heidt:

I would say the ideal scenario would be, like I said, to have someone experienced in security consulting to go into individual campuses and create a plan.

Rick:

Yeah.

Matt Heidt:

And then create a training plan and create a, basically, a demand for, “€œOkay, we”€™re going to need X number of people on campus to execute this plan.”€ And then having promulgated that guidance, preparing that training ahead of time. And then these teachers, look, they get paid through the summer, right. My wife”€™s a teacher, she gets paid during the summertime. Come in for a week, we”€™re going to plug you into this plan. Simple as that.

Obviously there’s aspects of that on the range, certainly there’s aspects of that on how to conceal carry. But I think– and those are important aspects and that would certainly be incorporated into something like this. But I think the most crucial aspect of the plan would be that all of the people in the school who have raised their hands said, “€œI’m prepared to be responsible to defend my school that I work for.”€ would be prepared and trained specifically for their campus and the specific issues relating to the geography, the layout, the building construction, the entrance, the exits, and so on and so forth. And just plug them into *.

We Do This All the Time With SEAL Teams

Matt Heidt:

This is something that is not, like you said, it”€™s not rocket science. This is the kind of thing we do all the time in the SEAL teams. We have a lot of support personnel who work with us doing intelligence related activities, and doing logistics related activities, and so on. And of course they deploy with us overseas into combat zones and they don’t go through SEAL training and pre deployment workups like we do of course.

But we create a training program for them and we teach them how to use weapons, what to do in certain situations. We coach them through this process, give them some very basic situations. And it takes about a week and we’re talking about a range of scenarios that these people are going to face that we’re talking about training in the Navy here. Anything could happen overseas in any kind of environment. We”€™re not talking about that. We’re talking about one place on the planet.

Rick:

Right.

Matt Heidt:

Where you’re training people to be prepared to defend that one place on the planet. That’s it.

Rick:

Where the daily routine is virtually the same every day throughout the year. So, your scenarios, and where people are moving, and all that, is almost the same. You’re right – it’s a contained situation where the training could be very uniform.

Very Specific Training

Matt Heidt:

Right. And this is why Chad brings up the example of the pilots being trained by the federal air marshals which is exactly the same thing. You’re talking about in a plane, that’s it. This is the only thing we’re training for. We”€™re training for you addressing that threat, what’s occurring inside a plane in flight. Now, it’s obviously a very extreme and dangerous situation, but it’s not a broad category of various situations that could happen.

There’s only so many things that could really happen in that contained environment. And certainly that’s even more limited in a school. But given the fact that you know the school, you can train the school, and you can do, let’s say, quarterly, daily, certifications, or some schedule like that to keep people up to speed and that sort of thing. This is not a super onerous thing. And, sure, it will cost money, we’re having to spend some money. I think that’s obviously worth it–

Rick:

Yeah.

Matt Heidt:

–given the benefits of the potential outcome of preventing the events from occurring any longer.

Rick:

And pilot scenario is actually a great analogy and example. I saw Chad actually had a post where he talked about that and the fact that all the pilots that they’ve trained that have been carrying now, almost, we’re looking at what, 18 years? 17 years? Not a single negligent discharge– its worked. And speak of deterrent – I would assume that has been a major deterrent because the terrorists don’t know which pilots are actually carrying and which ones aren’t and on which flight. You’d have a similar situation here.

Man, I’m out of time. I”€™ve got to ask you, though, before we go – tell me just real quick what’s going on at Mighty Oaks, what you guys got coming up this year and anything we need inform folks about.

New Mighty Oaks Facility

Matt Heidt:

Well, we’re opening up a new facility in Columbus, Ohio. It’s on the grounds of the Columbus Ohio Zoo which was– the funds were donated by a very generous World War II veteran benefactor, an amazing man. And so this is going to become a real hub location for us on the East Coast to be able to bring our warriors into treatment, and help them, and guide them, and get them through these challenging times. And just to expand our footprint nationally. So, we’re very excited–

Rick:

Love it.

Matt Heidt:

–about this new facility coming online. It”€™s just a spectacular situation. We’re very thrilled.

Rick:

That”€™s great news, man. Alright, MighyOaksPrograms.org.

Did you say your wife’s a teacher?

Matt Heidt:

She is.

Rick:

Man, that’s the one I want armed – the Navy SEAL”€™s wife. I bet she”€™s getting extra training, right.

Hey, man, we appreciate you guys so much. Bless you for what you”€™re doing and really appreciate you taking time to be with us today.

Matt Heidt:

Alright, Rick, thank you very much.

Looking At It From a Tactical Perspective

Rick:

Thanks, Matt. We’re back now with David and Tim Barton. And, Tim, you got what you wanted, man. He looked at it very much from a tactical perspective of what kind of a situation it would be, how you would train these folks, what it would take to have a good plan basically. It sounded like maybe we to put him in charge of local school districts and their training.

Tim:

Well, certainly it sounds like he knows what he’s talking about, as of course he does. And he brought up some great points that hadn’t struck me until he said it. But the idea that when when a Navy SEAL trains they have to train for multiple possibilities of threat assessment even if they’re going to a marked location, all possibilities.

But for teachers, he says, they have one location, right. So, you are training for this building, for this structure. And so you can do very specialized training. That’s a really good point because you’re not having to train for as many different options. You really can minimize and focus your training which makes the training even better because you’re specializing in this one facility.

David:

Yeah, because the thing that SEALs are known for is scenario training. And they create scenarios with this hostage, or this deal, or this room, and they build all these, even structures in which they do this training. And I thought that was so good he said, “€œCreate a scenario.”€ Here’s what might happen at your school and if it happens at your school, train for this one scenario and that’s all you’re responsible for. You don’t have to be the cop, you don’t have to handle neighborhood violence, you’re training for one scenario. And I thought, “€œWhat an excellent point.”€

Tim:

Well, on top of it– So, of course people would say, “€œNow wait a second. But still teachers aren’t– they’re not police officers, they”€™re not Navy SEALs, they”€™re not all of this.”€ But I thought what he said also that was brilliant, he said, “€œAnd when people find out that you are training teachers, what happens is all of a sudden people realize that school is not a soft target.

Rick:

That’s right.

It Disincentives the Idea

Tim:

That school– and so it disincentives the idea. So students that attend this school that are frustrated, they’ve been gone for five or ten years, but they know, “€œOkay, that’s not the place I want to go back to because they’ve been taking these hundreds of hours–“€, whatever it is, right. So, Matt suggests take a week in the summer for these teachers, they’re already on the payroll, right, they’re getting a paycheck in the summer, come for summer and do this training. And I would think especially even teachers that are not excited about guns necessarily, when they see some of these scenarios, they might start thinking, “€œIt probably is smart for me to be prepared.

It was just a night or two ago my dad and I were were helping a guy who had a flat tire and it was in a very bad part of town. I got out of my truck and there were gunshots just a few blocks away. Now, my dad and I were both carrying our weapons, right. So, we weren’t helpless scenario kind of situation, but police officers pull up there around us and say, “€œHey, you’re in a really bad neighborhood. You guys need to get this figured out and get out of here as quick as you can.”€

But it was in that moment I thought, “€œI’m so grateful I have a gun.”€ And I just feel like teachers are probably coming to the place where they’re realizing, “€œI don’t want to be in one of these situations where I recognize it”€™s incredibly dangerous and there’s nothing I can do about it.”€ Not to mention that generally teachers teach because they love and care about kids. And so I would think, even in this scenario, I want to help protect kids and keep them safe.

But as Matt mentioned, if they do the training, they might not ever have to worry about this because people go, “€œThat’s not a soft target. We’d better stay away from that school.”€

Arming Teachers To Protect Against School Shootings

Rick:

Yeah, no doubt. Man, these are great solutions, common sense. Now, that doesn’t mean just because it makes sense to us as we discuss it with our legislators they”€™re going to follow suit. But Tennessee certainly is and hopefully a lot of other states will as well. It just absolutely make sense.

Special thanks to a former Navy SEAL Matt Heidt for joining us today. Thank you for listening. You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live.