Armed MO teachers will be “90% accurate.” Feel better now?

offtargetWhen the next school year starts, if Missouri teachers become legally sanctioned, gun-toting secret agents, they’ll be able to shoot bad guys with 90% accuracy–or so claims Shields Solutions, the shooting school that Missouri has hired to train them. Is that supposed to make us feel better about sending our kids to school where teachers have [probably loaded] guns stashed in their desks?

According to the Raw Story:

Shield Solutions training supervisor Don Crowley vowed that his students would have an accuracy of 90 to 95 percent at the end of five days of training. Teachers who aren’t at least 90 percent accurate don’t graduate.

And in an effort to make sure that the wrong students do not get shot, teachers will be using a special type of bullet that is intended to lodge inside the soft tissue of the first body it hits.

So absolutely no plus-P rounds,” Crowley insisted, referring to high-powered ammunition that could pass through more than one person.

So, they’ll be able to kill, maim or injure someone [perhaps the “bad guy,” but perhaps not–perhaps a child who gets in the way] with a high degree of  accuracy? Now, there’s a teaching skill that can really make a difference. If only we could count on teachers to be 90 to 95% accurate in their knowledge of science and math. [Instead, too many are 100% sure that the earth is a couple of thousand years old, that people are not creating climate change, and that dinosaurs and humans lived at the same time. But that’s another post–with a low percentage of actually happening–for another day.]

By the way, speaking of percentages, that claim of 90% accuracy may be 30 to 50% too high–or perhaps even more. Figures that I’ve read say that highly trained police officers–who get more than Shields Solutions’ five days of training– are significantly less accurate than 90%. A recent article in Time reported that:

According to a 2008 RAND Corporation study evaluating the New York Police Department’s firearm training, between 1998 and 2006, the average hit rate during gunfights was just 18 percent. When suspects did not return fire, police officers hit their targets 30 percent of the time. The data show what any police officer who has ever been involved in a shooting can tell you–firing accurately in a stressful situation is extremely hard.

Similarly, the New York Times has reported that:

New York City police statistics show that simply hitting a target, let alone hitting it in a specific spot, is a difficult challenge. In 2006, in cases where police officers intentionally fired a gun at a person, they discharged 364 bullets and hit their target 103 times, for a hit rate of 28.3 percent, according to the department’s Firearms Discharge Report. The police shot and killed 13 people last year.

In 2005, officers fired 472 times in the same circumstances, hitting their mark 82 times, for a 17.4 percent hit rate. They shot and killed nine people that year.

In all shootings — including those against people, animals and in suicides and other situations — New York City officers achieved a 34 percent accuracy rate (182 out of 540), and a 43 percent accuracy rate when the target ranged from zero to six feet away.

Can we really expect teachers, with five days of training, to have a better “hit rate” [what a term!] than New York City cops? And even with more training, many other factors play a role:

Bad marksmanship? Police officials and law enforcement experts say no, contending that the number of misses underscores the tense and unpredictable nature of these situations. For example, a 43 percent hit rate for shots fired from zero to six feet might seem low, but at that range it is very likely that something has already gone wrong: perhaps an officer got surprised, or had no cover, or was wrestling with the suspect.

“When you factor in all of the other elements that are involved in shooting at an adversary, that’s a high hit rate,” said Raymond W. Kelly, the New York police commissioner. “The adrenaline flow, the movement of the target, the movement of the shooter, the officer, the lighting conditions, the weather … I think it is a high rate when you consider all of the variables.”

So, how much better do I feel about teachers–whatever their accuracy rate may be–having guns in schools? Zero percent.