The Timid Lakota School Board Candidates, Julie Shaffer and Ray Murray: Being a cop doesn’t automatically make a person an expert on courage

With a big school board candidate election coming up this year at Lakota in southwest Ohio the differences are quite obvious between them. Of the topics most talked about at a recent Meet the Candidates evening at the VOA Miami University Lecture Hall on October 22nd 2018 the topic of arming the teachers to prevent another mass shooting, especially at a large, affluent school like Lakota, and the various ways of looking at that problem was very well defined. Lynda O’Connor and James Hahn had the obvious conservative approach to things, self-reliance, and solution-based results at the point of danger whereas Ray Murray and Julie Shaffer were obvious liberals who believe in big government, passivity, and some kind of prayer to avert danger. Of them Ray had the most ridiculous answer to the question of arming teachers in the classroom, although Julie Shaffer wasn’t far behind with her 22% of shooters hit their targets under duress. Well, that’s 22% better than not having a gun. What a lunatic. But her thinking was very much captured in Ray’s statement which can be seen below, and it took everything I had to sit there and listen respectfully.

I get tired of people like Ray, people who are obviously timid peaceful people lecture the rest of us how society should be constructed to their sensibilities, then selling it as if being a police officer at some point in time gives him the right to say such a thing. As he told his story about wanting to dig into the concrete to get away from a firefight when he was a cop in Chicago all I could think of was the word “wimp.” Now that’s not a politically correct term, but lets face it, that’s what we all thought of it and if we didn’t, we would call ourselves liberals, people who count on some institutional system to avert our fears about the things in life that scare us. Just because Ray was a cop doesn’t make him some magical man of authority on the subject. Lots of people become cops for all the right reasons, and when they get shot at, they learn perhaps that the job is not for them. It can be scary, but for some people, being shot at is exhilarating and they are the best that they can be when danger is presented. I’m sure we have those types of people working at Lakota and it is they who should be carrying a gun. If Ray is too scared, well that’s fine. We don’t want him digging into the hallways of Lakota if there is a firefight. We want someone to engage the target, so I get it, Ray and Julie are not the people we want armed. But when a bad guy shows up, somebody needs to meet them while we wait for the police to arrive, because the body count will be measured in seconds of engagement, not minutes.

Speaking for myself I am an adrenaline junkie. I have been shot at and had guns pointed at me, many, many times. I am a little too crazy for the structure of the military or the police force but unlike the institutional perspective of Ray Murray and Julie Shaffer there are other ways that people get shot at in life. For a time, I was a repo man during the years that a lot of people go to the military repossessing cars from deadbeat owners who often become violent when they learned you were there to take their property away. I volunteered for every assignment I could because I thought it was exciting and when gunfire did break out, I thought it was pure heaven. Being that close to a dangerous situation was fun to me and I couldn’t get enough of it. I was also a bouncer at a night spot I worked at around the same period of my life. I wasn’t yet 21 years of age, yet I was throwing out drunks, breaking up fights, and taking fights to safe places with people much older and bigger than me. And in those fights guns came out all the time and I never thought twice about crying about it or digging into the pavement while bullets flew around. I’ve seen people get shot, and I’ve seen people die. And all that occurred in the private sector. I once knew a judge of very high rank in the city of Sharonville and when I got into trouble, he helped me out. It was a good arrangement and I learned a lot from it. But why did he help me, well, people who love danger as much as I did, and still do are hard to find. And he appreciated that trait and thought it valuable enough to cut me some slack when things did go wrong. Let’s just say that.

I tell that little bit of the story to say that some people love danger and they want to help others get away from it. And we need to empower those people to stop crimes before they happen. It’s better to have someone smashed up and in the hospital sometimes than to play everything safe and leave the problem to the institutions where some pot smoking loser kid who knows they are going nowhere in life decides to go shoot up a school. By the time Ray and Julie’s police arrive, 5 to 20 kids could be killed, because that is the kind of world we are living in. And you’d be surprised at the kind of people who hear a gun shot and will run straight through the bullets to stop the carnage because they have a natural inclination to do well while in danger.

I thought hard about becoming a cop, or joining the special forces in the military, but honestly, I was never a yes sir no sir kind of guy. I don’t like the structure of those organizations, so I didn’t join, even for the ability to carry a gun and shoot down bad guys. It was tempting, but it wasn’t worth enduring all the silly rules. But don’t assume that being a cop makes someone an expert on gunfights. Personally, I’d love to be in a gun fight, every day if I could. So, Ray is speaking from an experience of a guy naturally timid, and that’s OK. But don’t assume you speak for everyone.

Just a rough bet, but I would say that at least 5% of the employees at Lakota have some bit of the adrenaline addiction that I described about myself. When danger happens, they only think of one thing, engaging it and stopping it. They don’t pay attention to the sounds of the gun fire; they are instead inspired like a fine symphony to conduct their lives to the beat of danger. And if not for those types of people, we would have a much more dangerous type of world in America. I would argue that suppressing those types of people with institutional constrictions has led to far more death than in allowing adrenaline junkies who love justice for all to carry open firearms to engage any potential targets in fractions of seconds than the time it takes to make a 911 call. And that again is proof of how ridiculous Julie Shaffer and Ray Murray have been as school board members. They make decisions based on their timid perspectives while the real solutions are handcuffed behind institutional virtue. To assume that everyone in the world is just as timid as they are is more dangerous than arming teachers. And that is what nobody is putting into perspective, that is, perhaps until now.

Rich Hoffman

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